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Lupin III: Mystery of Mamo


a.k.a.Rupan Sansei: Mamo Karano Chousen

Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Format: 1 movie
Dates: 12/16/1978

Left for dead, Lupin’s corpse is kept hidden in a castle deep in Transylvania. Needing to see for himself, Zenigata races to confirm the story. He finds a seemingly-deceased Lupin lying in a coffin and decides to plunge a stake through his heart to give Lupin a symbolic sendoff. No one can kill the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest thief”, however, and he quickly escapes from Zenigata’s clutches in pursuit of the Philosopher’s Stone, a rare item that Fujiko has asked Lupin to retrieve in exchange for a night “together”. Never thinking with the right head has always been his Achilles’ heel when it comes to women. Fujiko double-crosses him but finds that she might have bit off more than she can chew.

summary by Kain


Reviewed: 05/17/2002 by
Grade: 87% av-Kain

Highs: Lupin on a grander scale; story is entertaining; very funny at times

Lows: Drags the final thirty minutes

This is the first movie in the franchise, and I must say it is definitely one of the most enjoyable. I had been somewhat skeptical for years because of critical remarks made about this anime from others who, at the time, were more knowledgeable about anime than I was. I learned quickly to judge for myself and was glad I gave Mystery of Mamo the benefit of the doubt.

One of the first things any Lupin aficionado will notice is the strong resemblance to Castle of Cagliostro in terms of art and animation. Crude as it may seem to some, this artistic style suits the mood better than more contemporary techniques. The music is, as well, suitably cheesy and retro.

Perhaps the hardest task any director of a Lupin movie must face is to give each of the main characters adequate screen time and depth without making the effort seem forced; a delicate balancing act that has been achieved only by a few movies. Mystery of Mamo is one of them. On top of this, there is definitely less of that “win one for the Gipper” mentality that some have harped about in Castle of Cagliostro; everyone has their own agenda and seem perfectly willing to stab each other in the back to accomplish it. Greed is the name of the game when it comes to Lupin III, and I must say this theme was sustained with aplomb.

This movie surely keeps the viewer on his toes; just when one thinks the end is nigh, some unexpected event occurs and keeps things rolling. This is a nice tactic, but it can be (and in this case, is) overdone rather quickly. When this anime finally did end, I knew then why this series has lasted as long as it has.


Lupin III: Mystery of Mamo can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.


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