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Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro


a.k.a.Rupan Sansei: Kariosutoro no Shiro

Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Format: 1 movie
Dates: 12/15/1979

The master thief is back! After succeeding in a billion-dollar heist, Lupin finds that he has just pulled off the largest theft of counterfeit money ever. Not one to twiddle his thumbs, he sets his sights on the treasure of Cagliostro Castle. The treasure takes a backseat once Lupin discovers the lovely Clarise is being forced to marry the Count. With his ever present gun-toting sidekick Jigen and master swordsman Goemon in tow, Lupin must solve the mystery of Cagliostro Castle and save his girl. Unfortunately the Count, an army of assassins and Inspector Zenigata all have other plans for Lupin.

summary by Mugs


Reviewed: 05/24/2004 by
Grade: 93% av-Mugs

Highs: Truly funny; great pacing

Lows: Nothing comes to mind

I’ve been meaning to see this one for a while. This is based on a few glowing reviews that I had read, as well as the fact that it was written and directed by Miyazaki Hayao.

This movie was my first experience with the Lupin series, and based on it, I must say I’m looking forward to more. The whole movie just functioned so well together: the action, comedy, romance, and drama were beautifully combined into a cohesive unit. Add to that an unforgettable leading character and this one’s a real winner. On a side note, after watching this I can’t help but feel that Cowboy Bebop‘s Spike is a homage to Lupin; they dress the same, as well as having similar attitudes.

The quality of the animation was an unexpected treat. I really wasn’t expecting such high quality from a twenty-something-year-old movie. Everything looks quite good with fluid animation. Of course it’s no match for more modern works like Princess Mononoke or Ghost in the Shell, but this movie’s about content, not CGI.

So if you’re looking for a rip-roaring, nonstop, action-packed, funny-as-all-hell anime (now that’s a mouth full!), watch Castle of Cagliostro.


Reviewed: 05/24/2004 by
Grade: 93% av-Kain

Highs: Style and panache; witty writing and dialogue; engaging setting

Lows: Artwork can be crude at times; standard hero-saves-princess story

Miyazaki does comedy? You better believe it! Before Studio Ghibli, before Nausicaä, there was Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, a rip-roaring adventure with plenty of laughs. This is what anime is all about right here.

The best thing about this movie is that it refuses to take itself seriously. I absolutely loved how events of the story tease you ever so subtly, setting you up for some heart-wrenching dramatic sequence, and then bam!, they hit you with patented Lupin esque humor. I blame the brilliant scripting on making me chuckle and relate to the characters so easily. The design and artwork also exude plenty of class. From the decidedly disco ’70s music to Lupin and Jigen’s fashion sense, a certain identity is established that prevents this from being just another cops and robbers flick.

Really, about the only thing I could find fault with is that the animation sometimes lapses into a version of a really bad blind date. Most of the time I didn’t even notice, but the inconsistency in art quality stuck out like a sore thumb. Also, Lupin always wins, so the ending should come as no surprise.

Castle of Cagliostro is a testament to masterful old school writing. Most contemporary anime lack the style and flair of this movie, automatically making it stand out like a big neon sign. What a wonderful trip back in time to when such things mattered in anime. If anything, watch it to catch a glimpse of Lupin’s rare, green lounge lizard jacket!


Reviewed: 05/24/2004 by
Grade: 95% av-Keitaro

Highs: Innumerable

Lows: Animation feels a little outdated

After watching this masterpiece of a movie, all I could think was, “Miyazaki has done it again!” Whether you like action, romance, comedy or just Lupin movies in general, this one has it all! I can honestly say Castle of Cagliostro is my new favorite anime.

Anyone who is familiar with the Lupin III series will know what to expect: tons of action, comedy and drama thrown in, balanced perfectly. From the action-packed intro to the climax on the clock tower to the clever ending, Lupin always has a trick up his sleeve, and believe me he has plenty of tricks. The scenery is nothing short of amazing, and the voice acting is great. Not totally incredible, but great. As icing on the cake, Castle of Cagliostro has some of the best music anywhere.

While I don’t want to say this is the perfect anime, I had a very hard time trying to find flaws in it. Probably the only thing I could find was that it has a little bit of an outdated feel to it, like watching an old American cartoon. Still, that may or may not be a bad thing, depending on what you like.

To be blunt, Castle of Cagliostro is amazing and you have no excuse not to see it. If you have seen it, watch it again! This one is going on my list of best anime ever and it belongs on yours, too.


Reviewed: 02/20/2005 by
Grade: 92% av-Gatts

Highs: Lupin + Miyazaki = a classic

Lows: A few rough edges in the artwork

At the tail end of the 1970s, Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro combined one of Japan’s most beloved anime franchises with the direction of Miyazaki Hayao. Now, 25 years after its release, it still stands as not only the best Lupin movie, but also as one of the best anime films of all time. It has all the ingredients needed to make it a true classic.

If there is one word to describe watching Castle of Cagliostro, it would have to be “fun.” This movie is quite simply pure, enjoyable entertainment at its best. It manages to create a delightful adventure full of drama and action while still maintaining Lupin‘s trademark humor. Perhaps one of the most impressive components is how well it balances all of these aspects; scenes that begin as fast-paced action pieces seamlessly transition into sidesplitting humor. Everything flows together perfectly while still advancing the plot. The plot itself is nothing new, but Miyazaki pulls it off with such style and class that it feels surprisingly fresh.

Everything in the movie works perfectly. The music exudes ’70s style, and it not only complements the onscreen action perfectly, but also creates an incredible atmosphere. For an anime of its time period, it looks terrific, and the animation is very smooth. There are a few moments when the animation appears a little awkward, but these instances are few and far between. It’s barely even worth mentioning when talking about the anime as a whole because of the overall excellence of the entire film.

It had been a few years since I had last watched Castle of Cagliostro, and watching it again reminded me what an amazing anime it is. It doesn’t require being familiar with Lupin to like, and even people who dislike anime should be able to enjoy it. This anime stands as a testament to its quality as a film, a classic in every sense of the word.


Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.


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