Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: C+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: N/A
- 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. #13: All's Fair in Love and Thievery
By Chris Beveridge
January 05, 2006
Release Date: January 03, 2006
Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #13: All's Fair in Love and Thievery
What They SayThe Review!
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Lupin drops down to just five episodes for this batch of episode that remain unconnected and don't have quite the spark of some other recent collectionsg.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:
Once again with the weak artwork, possibly the weakest yet for the franchise in TV form, we get an oddly split piece that has the cast along one side of a show while the other features Lupin and his car in darkness. The background of bright orange and the general minimal look of the characters just gives this a look of a really priced down show that nobody can sell. The bottom of the cover has the branded volume name, this time with All's Fair in Love & Thievery. 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 for this release provides a breakdown of chapters for the six episodes and some colorful artwork while the reverse side has the basic credits and production information. 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:
A new menu is set for this volume and it's nicely done though I think I prefer the first one a bit more. Done in almost a shadow box like format, you get what looks like an unfolded piece of paper that has the selections and titles in various boxes while a shadow image of Goemon is across one of them while some of the action music plays along. 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:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In every series that runs a long time, particularly if their so completely episodic like this show, there comes a batch of shows where you just wonder what the writers were thinking – or if they were at all – and the entire show just seems like it's on autopilot with weak stories and mediocre action. This is that volume for the Lupin franchise so far.
While the fantastical elements of the world Lupin lives in are nothing new, a lot of what they do are at least close to being within the bounds of reality but the kinds of things that you could easily work in your standard action movie and you can accept. Sometimes though they go a bit above and beyond and we get a bunch of that in this volume. The opening story for example has Lupin taking on a job where he has to rescue a princess that got kidnapped. This isn't bad in itself but the reward for rescuing her is some massive piles of curry for good eating, so Fujiko bows out. Once the job gets underway, there are hints that it may be a villain from Lupin's past that needs dealing with and we get a lot of robotic versions of the princess trying to stop them. They're a bit much but the entire curry aspect alone, which is an attempt to be funny, just falls flat as does the resolution for it at the end.
Another episode has the group getting caught up in a big board game run by Monkey King era demons and it feels like we stepped into an episode of Dragonball Z. Of course, a lot of Japanese storytelling is based around the Journey to the West so it's not surprising to see Lupin get wrapped up in a Monkey King adventure, especially considering his looks sometimes, but this one just goes overboard as the main trio find themselves being used as game pieces in a "giant sized" game between age old mystical demons. It does have some funny moments as they're all scurrying around the board with the pieces chained around them and it takes on a fun twist as the pieces try to kill each other but it just so drastically felt out of place in the shows context that it was hard to enjoy it.
One episode that was a bit of fun gave Zenigata a good bit of drama and emotion as he finds himself taking protective custody of a woman named Laura. Her wealthy much older husband died recently and she's being sought after by a group of criminals due to how she fits into his massive wealth. In order to ensure her loyalty as well as make it difficult for others to gain his resources, he planted a mini bomb in her heart that would explode if a certain sequence of events didn't play out right. As it turns out, it's her voice that's needed to reveal the real wealth and treasure of the now deceased old rich guy and Zenigata asks Lupin for help in making sure she stays alive. Along the way, Zenigata and Laura end up falling hard for each other and the show plays out some very tragic circumstances that let Zenigata really shine well here, something he definitely needs every now and then to be able to do.In Summary:
Lupin continues to be one of my favorite franchise, though watching the dubs with my kids who enjoy the show continues to be a problem with the mild cursing in it, but this set of episodes was just weak across the board and I felt myself checking the countdown timer more than I normally do. There are good moments throughout but this batch of episodes overall was one of the weakest that I can remember. Even bad Lupin is good Lupin in a way but even that has its limits sometimes as this volume proved.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.