Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #07: Royal Scramble - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Lupin the 3rd

Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #07: Royal Scramble

By Chris Beveridge     July 14, 2004
Release Date: July 13, 2004


Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #07: Royal Scramble
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
A stolen crown is auctioned off in the black market. Jigen infiltrates the seller, Goemon infiltrates the buyer, and Lupin poses as a jewelry appraiser. When Zenigata joins Lupin, the situation turns into a four-way scramble, and Fujiko makes it even more confusing! Then Lupin finds a beautiful woman in an excavated casket who is not dead, but deadly! Lupin is victimized by her and becomes a vampire. Can Lupin survive even more adventures!?

The Review!
Another batch of episodes, this time pretty heavy with the Fujiko, continues to bring smiles and laughter ? depending on which version you watch.

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.

Packaging:
As we continue to ignore the logo that has little appeal, a double shot image of Lupin with a heavy focus on reds is used this time around as well as an amusing shot of Fujiko loading her gun with lipstick bullets. Much like the past couple of covers, it's not the most attractive cover out there to be sure and probably not one of the best ones used for the series so far. 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. Unfortunately the players language presets were not honored and the track dumped into an English audio with no subtitles.

Extras:
The extras are similar to past volumes with the main extra being the production sketch artwork. There's a second gallery included in this release that shows off the Chrono Q cars and figures for the Lupin series that are being released. This is less of an extra and more of an advertisement though.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Another round of Lupin episodes brings us five more pieces from the "series 2" world. Much like past volumes, each of the installments are standalone pieces with no real continuity to them. When we started up this volume, we ended up initially watching it in English since that's what the disc defaulted to when it ignored our presets. And listening to that track reminded me once again of why I don't like it. While the pop culture references don't quite bother me as much as some others (they do bother me though), I keep finding the mild "cussing" to be a continual sore point. The amount of times in a single episode you'll hear "frigging", "bitch" or "damn" is surprising. Or at least, it was to me this time since my kids were wandering in and out of the room playing.

While the Lupin series is hardly what you'd call child's fare, going by the subtitle script you certainly don't get the same level of dialogue to it. The one episode that focuses on the group in Africa caught my daughters attention with all the animals so she sat down to watch. Now I'm going to be wondering how much of the language she's going to pick up on. Lupin's a show that I'd like to be able to share with her since it is a fun caper show and she's enjoyed ones like Cagliostro, but even that had language issues. In the end, this is what disappoints me most about the localization of the Lupin franchise and every now and then the reminders hit home.

This volume has some fun episodes. One of the early ones has an archaeological dig that has brought to surface a coffin that's well over two thousand years old. To their surprise, inside the coffin is a woman who looks to be in perfect health but in suspended animation, likely due to the statue of the Virgin Mary that she's holding onto. It's nothing quite so holy though as it turns out she's something of a vampire and ends up turning Lupin into one when he tries to steal the ancient and highly valuable statue. Watching Lupin dress up to the part with the fine clothes and top hat is amusing and he hams it up mighty well. While they've not avoided the supernatural in the past, these episodes tend to be a mixed bag. The capers tend to be less linear but the supernatural aspects take you out of the show a bit.

One of my favorites on this disc has the group, including Fujiko, down in Africa where some very valuable jewelry is being worn to a party. Both Lupin and his group as well as Fujiko are intent on acquiring it but things go rather badly when a trio of large angry gorilla's crash the party, cause mayhem and steal the broach. This throws their plans off completely but they're sure there's something more to what's going on so they throw their own party by loading Fujiko up to the nine's with expensive jewelry as a draw. So it's no surprise when the gorilla's attack again and steal Fujiko completely. The fun of watching the gorilla's driving around in their pink jeep or how they manhandle Zenigata is solid and there's a lot of good small laughs throughout this episode. It does have something of an obvious plot resolution and it's not too difficult to guess what's going on, but it's a fun ride, especially as it gets frustrating for Lupin.

Probably my favorite episode on the disc though involves the Fuma Clan ninjas. Goemon sets the stakes by wanting to acquire an ancient sword that's been hidden away in a private castle that was built by an old wealthy eccentric some time before and has Lupin assist him in this. Since there's no apparent real treasure to be had, Lupin's not taking the gig too seriously and ends up causing small problems by letting things slide. But his interest gets piqued when some of the Fuma Clan ninjas become involved and try to manipulate things to their advantage so they can get the sword first. Of course, his interest is also piqued by the beautiful woman who leads this group of ninjas as she changes her look several times in order to trick them. The poem and clock puzzle was interesting as well as they try to explain it out and use it as part of the mystery. In the end, I don't think you can go wrong when you bring ninjas into the mix.

In Summary:
While the episodes do vary in general as to which stories are entertaining and which ones barely leave a mark, overall the show does continue to be fun and thee are plenty of diamonds in the rough throughout the series. It's frustrating though because I do enjoy the performances of both casts but the ADR scripts continue to be a soar point. The English cast's performances are very enjoyable, even skewed towards adult as they are, but the infusion of the language used causes me to have to relegate the show to late night status, something that Lupin really isn't, especially considering the age of the show. In its original form however, Lupin pleases all the way and this volume provided another solid evening of entertainment.

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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