a.k.a. Rupan Sansei: Nusumareta Rupan
The object of Lupin’s latest heist is stolen by a young girl named Becky; ironically enough, he himself becomes stolen property as the treasure is taken with him. His captor proposes him a simple bargain: steal the legendary Bull’s Eye or he’ll detonate the bomb on Fujiko’s necklace. With Jigen and Goemon reluctantly along, Lupin sets off to rescue Fujiko or get betrayed by her again. Either way sits well with Lupin, as he always says betrayal is an exclusive right given to women.
summary by Mugs
The Lupin television specials seem to have hit their stride, starting with 2001’s Alcatraz Connection. They have started to really pick up in quality, both visually and in content. Visually, this show is much like its two immediate predecessors and looks fine for a 2004 television special. With the franchise being as it is, there are only two questions concerning visuals. The answers are: Lupin wears his red jacket as in all previous summer specials, and Fujiko is a brunette.
Stolen Lupin‘s requisite one-shot character is a young girl named Becky. The daughter of a former partner of Lupin, she is probably the only attractive woman that he has not gone after in the history of the planet. In fact, Lupin has a downright fatherly attitude towards her, in part because throughout the show it’s implied that he may very well be her father. In the end, Becky plays a minor role in the show but supplies some needed content with the comedy and action. The plot could be ripped from any other Lupin anime: Lupin has to steal something, Fujiko betrays him, he repeatedly dodges Zenigata and, in the end, fights the new mystery villain.
The comedy here is what you should except from any entry into the Lupin canon, mostly lowbrow but entirely funny. The action is fun and throws a little bit of everything at you: swordfights, gun duels, zany gadgets, bombs and tanks all liven up the show with a touch of comedy and the standard disregard for the laws of physics.
So what you have in the end is a standard formula Lupin special, but does everything it’s supposed to do well. Stolen Lupin isn’t a mold-breaker like Walther P38, but it is one of the best traditional Lupin anime, ranking up there with First Contact.
Highs: Several good action scenes; never lags
Lows: Too disjointed; unnecessary scenes; absurdity kills suspense
Lupin III: Stolen Lupin wants to throw everything in, including the kitchen sink. It reads like a how-to on every caper/situation/joke that Lupin and crew have been involved in during the last three-dozen or so years. Cramming all that excitement into roughly 90 minutes makes sure the action never lags, but it’s packaged as if processed through a cuisinart.
This movie has not an original bone in its body. Surely the concepts of filching priceless treasure, double-crosses and sophomoric hijinks have never been done in this franchise before, right? But it’s more than that, since that’s the formula that fans have been suckling from the teat of the Lupin III franchise since time eternal. No, the problem lies in how segmented the scenes are, never quite coming together into a cohesive, coherent piece.
What bothers me more than the absence of adequate segue is the ludicrous nature in which events are explained. In an effort to not spoil the movie, imagine someone using the rationale of, “I knew you would be looking for me in Tasmania, so I devised a plan to defeat your army of South Pacific undead with my mallet fashioned from eucalyptus leaves.” Quite often Stolen Lupin resorts to such inane reasoning in a vain attempt to introduce a plot device. Many a time did I roll my eyes at the sheer absurdity of it all. Granted, any Lupin III anime asks the audience to suspend disbelief… but I could only do so until the story is compromised, as it was in this case.
That’s not to say that Stolen Lupin is a horrible anime, for it is not. It delivers everything that this franchise is known for and then some, just without the zeal for which the better movies are known. The occasional nice animation and a scantily-clad Fujiko will only carry a show so far.
Lupin III: Stolen Lupin can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.