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Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 01/28/2002

Synopsis:
Lupin III is one of the world's greatest thieves, stealing the most valuable things that can be stolen. After a successful casino heist, Lupin gets away with literally a car full of money. The problem is, every single bill is a counterfeit! Lupin and his associate Jigen decide to get to the bottom of the fake money and their search leads them to the tiny independent nation of Cagliostro. In Cagliostro, Lupin encounters a runaway bride, and he tries to help her escape her pursuers. Alas, Lupin fails and the bride is captured. As it turns out, the bride is the princess of Cagliostro... and she leaves Lupin with the key to Cagliostro's greatest treasure. Now Lupin must not only get to the bottom of the counterfeit bills, but save the princess and take the treasure as well!
 
Review:
Lupin III the TV series is actually one of the most popular anime shows here in Manila... along with Voltes V, Daimos, and Yuu Yuu Hakusho. Perhaps Lupin III's retro feel appeals to a large chunk of nostalgic anime fans (it really is an old series from way back in the early 70's). Or maybe it's simply because watching Lupin and the gang's exemplary thieving skills and crazy antics is entertaining.
 
What "Cowboy Bebop" is to us now was what Lupin III was to people in the 70's, the main difference being Lupin III doesn't get quite as dark in tone as Bebop does. Instead of going after wanted criminals for the bounty, Lupin and the gang go directly after tons of money and valuables such as jewels, rare artifacts, and the like. Bebop's Spike Spiegel and Faye Valentine could very well be Lupin and Fujiko incarnate; they are all smooth operators -- skilled and suave.
 
In Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin and Jigen are working apart from the usual gang which includes the swordsman Goemon, and the sexy lady thief Fujiko (but that doesn't mean Goemon and Fujiko won't show up later in the movie). Lupin and Jigen find themselves in Cagliostro after following some clues after the heist, and Lupin gets caught amidst a frantic chase involving a princess and some thugs. He loses consciousness somewhere along the way, and wakes up with the princess' signet ring in his possession... and the ring is supposed to be the key to Cagliostro's greatest treasure.
 
Castle of Cagliostro's story is fairly self-contained. One does not really need TV background in order to appreciate it, although knowing the characters before watching Castle of Cagliostro heightens the overall experience. The mood shifts a lot. One minute it's all light and happy, and in the next it's deadly serious. The art and animation are surprisingly good. I've seen a few TV eps here and there, and they can't possibly compare to this movie. The retro ambiance is retained, and the backgrounds are rendered with great detail -- from the lush landscape of Cagliostro to the dank stone walls of the underground dungeon. Neatly drawn characters move with utter fluidity, as is Hayao Miyazaki's trademark style. The visuals are clearly Lupin III at its best.
 
Castle of Cagliostro is a real treat for Lupin III fans, and for just about anyone who enjoys daring escapades and cleverly planned capers. If there's a Lupin movie you should see, it's this one.
 
Miscellanies:
Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro was written and directed by the renowned Hayao Miyazaki.

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Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro
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Review Title:
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro
Alternative Titles:
Rupan Sansei: Cagliostro no Shiro
Type:
Movie
Episodes:
1
Duration:
100 Minutes
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
1979
Suitable For:
Teens
Genres:
Adventure, Comedy
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