Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #05: Mission: Irresistible - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 150
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Lupin the 3rd

Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #05: Mission: Irresistible

By Chris Beveridge     January 08, 2004
Release Date: January 14, 2004


Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #05: Mission: Irresistible
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
History always repeats itself - especially when the Lupin legacy of spy antics and madcap adventure abound! Former enemies, scheming relatives and stolen Nazi plans haunt Lupin and the gang through SIX uncut adventures! Enjoy the continuing saga of Lupin, Fujiko, Goemon and Jigen, as they defy an escape-proof prison, compete in an International Robbery Championship, fend off Zenigata and try to outwit... a little girl??? A chronicle of Lupin tales no historian can be without!

The Review!
My god, it’s full of Nazi’s!

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Considering its age, it’s a very well kept piece that’s done up essentially in mono, though enough of the sounds are played through both stereo speakers. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and there weren’t any noticeable dropouts. These tracks aren’t going to be real high usage for directionality compared to today’s new releases, but this is definitely prime material from its time, which is what I want.

Video:
The transfer for these episodes continues much like we’ve seen previously, which means that they look surprisingly good for their age and have only some minor issues. The only thing that I can bring myself to complain about with the actual transfer is that some of the scenes are a bit grainy at times, but that’s normal. Colors are solid without being over saturated, though there are brightness shifts inherent in older shows. Cross coloration is non-existent and aliasing is extremely low. This volume in particular tends to show a bit more of the animation problems itself, such as poorly painted areas and a few extra nicks and scratches, but overall looks decent.

Packaging:
As we continue to ignore the logo that has little appeal, the use of Fujiko as the primary character is not something we’ll disagree with. She’s got a great profile shot here with her putting on some lipstick while Lupin is running around in the background. With the heavy pink shading here it’s very eye-catching and retro-feeling with the designs. The back cover provides several animation shots from the show as well as a brief paragraph describing the premise. The episode titles are listed as well as the discs features and production credits. The insert has the same image as the front cover while the reverse side uses some of the opening sequence footage as a background for the chapter listings.

On the downside, there’s no volume numbering listed here nor are episode numbers provided. While the show is definitely very episodic, I still think it’s a mistake to not include at least the volume numbering somewhere. With retailers not being as bad about it as they used to be, as other companies are releasing shows with volumes in the ten to twenty plus range, that argument doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to.

Menu:
I continue to be extremely happy that Nightjar got the gig for the menus here, because they’ve done them up in a very neat retro style way that fits perfectly with the show. While selections are able to be done throughout the entire piece of animation playing, the animation itself is just character names flashing across the screen while black silhouetted versions of the characters jump in and out against a red background as the music plays. It’s just very simple but also very neatly done and in tune with the show. Access times are nice and fast and with little here beyond the episodes, getting around is nice and easy.

Extras:
The extras included in this volume are just thirteen pieces of conceptual artwork that shows off character designs from the episodes included on this volume

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this volume of Lupin, the episode count bumps up to six that the previously skipped episode of the series that dealt with Nazi’s and Hitler could be included. Plenty has been said on the entire ordeal about it in the past and my thoughts on it are still the same; I fully understand skipping it in broadcast though I think it’s silly because even Saturday morning cartoons have had these things in them. I completely don’t like that the home video version was subjected to the movement of the episode. There is always going to be some sort of energy between the broadcast and video release, but anime has for the most part made out well in either providing separate TV-friendly DVD releases or just going with the original material and damn the criticism the mainstream may have. Whether it was more a Geneon or TMS decision falls into a “don’t care” category. I simply do not like how this happened.

But at least the episode is finally included. Amusingly, in the end, it’s a fairly forgettable episode.

But the rest of the volume has some really fun episodes. The opening episode has Lupin caught up in the mischievous plans of Fujiko’s rather large and ugly aunt Bujiko Mine. Bujiko has tricked Lupin into her lair after using the holographic image of Fujiko so that she can get him to puzzle out a mystery for her and lead a trip to unearth Rommel’s buried treasure from World War II. Lupin tries to avoid working with her since he tries to not work with people as scary looking as that, but when Jigen and Goemon get caught in Bujiko’s lair as well, he ends up getting stuck in a bad situation. One of the nice differences with this episode is that it’s one of the rare times you actually see Lupin doing research for a caper and spending time trying to think it out instead of just having it all figured out from the start.

One of the better Zenigata episodes is on this volume as well, where an ancient document dating back a few generations was the prize in a contest during the First International Robbery Contest. As Goemon finds out, his grandfather participated in it with the first generation of the Rat family as a team from Japan to get the prize, but they both failed before they could win it. To prove it, Rat even has the pillbox of Goemon’s grandfather. With that confirming the story, Goemon teams up Rat to steal the document and finish out their families honor.

The document is stored in a case in the Sakuradamon Police Station basement. When Zenigata learns of the plan and tells the chief of that station, it seems like almost every officer in Japan is lined up inside and around the building to protect it as well as to capture anyone who dares try to steal it. With Lupin and Jigen watching on during the 48 hours that Rat and Goemon have to steal it, we see the amusing plan that works for the most part in fooling the police into getting them inside and close to the document. Goemon’s teaming up with Rat is a lot of fun here, particularly the way everyone manages to get along at the end of the contest after discovering what the document really is.

One of the wackier stories on this volume is the English titled “Lair of the Land-Shark”, which has Fujiko caught up in an African prison where there guards are lax but everyone is afraid. If someone escapes, the warden sends off a miniature rocket on wheels that homes in on the target by their smell/DNA that was snipped from their hair when they arrived. The warden pushes himself onto Fujiko constantly, who is resisting his ways since she wants to get out of the prison in one piece. So using someone who is going to try and escape, she gets a note out to Lupin through him about her situation.

So when Lupin and the gang get the message, though not without seeing the results of the iron lizard rocket device, they head to the prison to see first hand what’s going on. Once they get themselves on the inside and tagged by the warden, they end up in a comical Wile E. Coyote style series of chase sequences with three of the rockets chasing them out into the surrounding desert and terrain. Watching them trying to come up with ways to stop these completely unstoppable devices (which go beyond believability very quickly) is hilarious, from the things climbing up trees to drilling through huge fallen rocks.

In Summary:
With six episodes, this volume is chock full of Lupin goodness and was a fantastic way to spend the evening watching. This series is one of those that simply bring a smile to my face as soon as the music queues up and the first shots come across the screen. It’s campy, it’s dated and it’s not the best animated thing in the world, but it makes me laugh and entertains me in a simple way.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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