The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro

Title: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro aka Rupan Sansei: Cagliostro no Shiro
Company: Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Genre: Action/Comedy
Format: Movie; 100 minutes.
Dates: 15 Dec 1979

Synopsis: Meet Lupin III, a master thief who is more suave than any man ought to be. After rolling over a casino, Lupin realizes that the bills are counterfeit and decides to seek out the source of the bills. The search leads them to Cagliostro, a tiny European country with quite a history. After saving a would-be bride on the run, Lupin and Jigen are caught up in the adventure of a lifetime with Goemon, Fujiko and Zenigata not far behind!

The Highlights
Overall: A masterpiece, just about everything clicks perfectly.
Believability: Lupin’s feats border on superhuman.
Artwork: Dated.

Ever get the feeling that you’ve laid witness to something that will be around forever due to its timeless appeal? You will after watching Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, one of the finest movies ever created, 2D or live-action. An early work of Miyazaki Hayao, it is easily his finest, as well as the crown jewel of the Lupin franchise. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro was one of the first anime I ever saw, and is still one of the best.

The only way to describe the feeling and style that Monkey Punch created with his Lupin franchise is James Bond meets Sherlock Holmes with even more lovable characters. Miyazaki has masterfully adapted Lupin’s one-of-a-kind style into the best movie of his illustrious career. You will be on the edge of your seat at all times only to fall to the floor laughing. You will stop laughing only to share in a heartfelt moment between characters, or to return to the edge of your seat.

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro is truly a marvel of filmmaking. Starting off with a hilarious, yet action packed escape scene, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro never lets go of your attention until the final credits roll. Not only will the great action scenes and the dynamic deeds of Lupin and co. draw you in, you will be laughing all the way at humor that has made the Lupin franchise timeless. Lupin even wears the green jacket; what more could you ask for from a Lupin movie?

Unfortunately the artwork isn’t as timeless as the rest of the movie, and some scenes border on unacceptable. Also, some of the things Lupin does are beyond the realm of human possibility, even more so than what he does in the rest of the franchise. Apparently, Lupin is so suave that he can convince the law of gravity to ignore him so he can swim up waterfalls, drive up walls, and swim through the air. These antics make even Goemon’s feats of swordplay seem feasible.

These minor complaints should not keep you from watching one of the most phenomenal movies ever made. Once you’ve seen it, you will never forget all the great moments that make this movie what it is. Don’t worry; you don’t need to be familiar with the characters at all to fully enjoy Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. I can’t say it enough, do not miss this one. Words cannot do this title justice.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Kuma

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