a.k.a. Rupan Sansei Sweet Lost Night ~Maho no Lamp wa Akumu no Yokan~
A quest for Aladdin’s magic lamp turns into quite a challenge for Lupin when, after a strange encounter with the Djinn of the lamp, he loses his memory of his last twelve hours. Even worse, he is now cursed with the inability to remember anything that happens to him between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. With a woman he can’t remember at his side, a wildly jealous Fujiko as his opponent and no recollection of what went wrong, how will he regain his sweet lost nights?
summary by Taleweaver
Highs: Fresh adventure idea; a few neat satirical moments
Lows: Sub-par art and animation; mishandling of literally all characters; enough plot holes to last a lifetime
How I wished to have a magic lamp like the one in Sweet Lost Night after watching this movie. Not for the djinn that makes my dreams come true but for forgetting ever having watched this poor excuse for a Lupin III production. Without the doubt, this is one of the worst uses of the franchise. Ever.
The first twenty minutes still leave you hoping for something neat. It starts out with a great, over-the-top chase sequence like those you’re used to, then there’s this neat catch where Lupin loses his memory, and you’re still convinced that the script will pick up the lead and weave an elaborate and mysterious story about the events that Lupin can’t remember. After all, the movie even makes fun of Hollywood’s usual use of amnesia and even includes a few satirical punches at productions like Memento, just to remind you what you can expect from such setups.
And then you’re waiting for great things to happen, and they don’t.
Where’s the eye candy the recent Lupin III movies were famous for? The art and animation of Sweet Lost Night look like early 90s at most, hardly comparable to contemporary anime. Literally all characters are handled badly, from Lupin (who loses his cool more than once) to Fujiko (who is reduced to little more than a whiny bitch). Jigen is there but fails to contribute anything useful to the plot, and I don’t even want to start about how they mangled Zenigata after his first appearance. Same for the bad guys: straight out of the cookie-cutter. Yuck.
Even worse are the uncountable plot holes small and large that infest the movie. The whole “memory loss” concept is taken to the ridiculous when people are brainwashed to make them support ideals they had already been supporting for three whole years before being brainwashed. A mercenary group has literally unlimited access to arms of all kinds yet sells out to someone who would provide them with nothing but literally unlimited access to arms of all kinds. The list goes on and on, and it all boils down to one of the worst plots in the history of Lupin III movies.
Sweet Lost Night isn’t a terrible movie, but it breaks my heart to see a good franchise wasted for something mediocre and sub-par as this production. There are so many better parts to this series that you can skip this one in good conscience, especially if you love Lupin and his buddies. Trust me, you wouldn’t like them when they’re like this.
Lupin III: Sweet Lost Night can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.