Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #09: The Scent of Murder - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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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: 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. #09: The Scent of Murder

By Chris Beveridge     January 13, 2005
Release Date: January 11, 2005


Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #09: The Scent of Murder
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Lupin enjoys a free vacation to Hong Kong, but the trip becomes a fierce scramble to locate the archaeologically famous Peking Man’s bones! Hijacking an armored truck is a great idea until Lupin finds that he has also stolen a gold lion statue with a special bonus – Zenigata!

The Review!
Providing yet another batch of five episodes, Lupin's stand alone tales continue once more with varying results.

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:
Going with the murder theme, the cover for this volume is kind of neat with the striped night time background to it while putting Fujiko in a trenchcoat and hat to keep her all mysterious as Lupin goes for what he considers a suave look under a lamplight against a darkened city. It's got some certain noir feeling to it though with the comical designs of the characters it doesn't really maintain a serious feel. 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.

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.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Lupin series continues to be amusing, though in different ways depending on which language you listen to, and this next batch of five episodes has plenty of variety to it. A lot of the fun for me in watching this is just the way it's so tame and simple in its storytelling and how different things were in approaching storytelling was. Though much of it simply can't be believed in how it's done, it's got a certain charm to it that almost borders on nostalgia for simpler times with stories that don't relate quite as much to the modern day world events.

This volume has some fun episodes but none are truly stand out material that makes you go jumping up and done. The opening episode was quite a bit of fun as it has Lupin going after the Peking Man's Bones after he ends up accidentally coming across a Chinese magician while escaping from a very persistent Zenigata. The stage magician, fearing that Lupin will end up discovering who he really is, sets him off on an impossible goose chase to find a woman based on a picture taken some forty years or so prior, as she has the bones. While Fujiko is working her own magic to discover the whereabouts of the bones, Lupin ends up getting in deeper when he finds the woman's daughter only to have Zenigata pursuing him even harder. It gets fairly comical with the way Zenigata and the Hong Kong police are after him as they're more persistent on him in this situation than most others.

Probably my favorite episode on this volume is the second one where a specially designed impervious armored carrier is going to carry a sizeable golden lion from Sydney all the way across the continent to its new home. Fearing that someone like Lupin will strike and try to take it, the carrier is so over the top in what it can do that you can see the military drooling over it. Zenigata of course doesn't believe that Lupin won't get away with whatever plan he has, so he ends up stowing away inside the back of the carrier with the lion while Lupin and Jigen spend their time figuring out how best to achieve the heist. The heist itself is something that isn't terribly inventive and has been done before but with the sheep it works out to good comic effect. I also loved the way that Zenigata ended up putting himself in danger and didn't realized what a truly sealed vehicle compartment means. Jigen gets a couple of good lines in here, particularly when he finds Zenigata inside the carrier, but overall this is one of those episodes that really shows what kind of relationship that Lupin and Zenigata have and the weird sense of honor between the two that holds.

The remaining episodes are pretty good but nothing just seemed to be really good or clicked so well that they stood out above a lot of other episodes we've seen previously. Some of the Fujiko material in the Diamond and Minx episode was fun to watch and the episode dealing with the theft of the crown was enjoyable to have Goemon back for a bit of time but the great capers just didn't seem to be here.

In Summary:
Lupin continues to be enjoyable but there's always going to be a string of episodes where things just don't seem like they're putting their all into it, particularly when you consider that this range of episodes is roughly episodes forty-one to forty-five. The episodic nature of the show works for and against it in a similar manner since you'd like to see some more complicated heists but with it the way it is, you get more similar feeling episodes because there are only so many heist stories you can really tell without some overlap. This volume has some enjoyable material on it but nothing that really just jumps out and is memorable beyond watching it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Production Sketches

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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