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Lupin Shanshei Japanese Blu-ray Anime Review

3 min read
Lupin Shanshei
Lupin Shanshei

What happens when Lupin the Third enters the world of a Japanese Flash animation master? Thirty-five minutes of “What the?!” happens.

What They Say:
(Rough Translation) Lupin has joined forces with the hit animation maker FROGMAN! Known in Flash animation circles for “Eagle Talon”, FROGMAN realizes one of his dream collaborations with ten shorts that parody Lupin and other pop culture icons.

The Review:
Audio:
The sole audio track for this release is a solid Japanese language presentation free of any issues. The series is mainly dialogue driven but manages to throw in some sound effects that liven up the front soundstage.

Video:
This release features ten Flash animation shorts roughly four minutes each. Presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio in 1080p, the video featured vibrant colors and smooth animation. It felt like a show that could easily be running on an Adult Swim style block of programming.

Packaging:
A single disc is housed in a standard sized Blu-ray case. The front cover is fairly non-descript featuring a lineup of the Lupin gang set against a silhouette of a high school. Various secondary characters from the shorts are sprinkled up along the sides. The back features the requisite disc details, summary, and stills. While a banal cover, it does manage to convey that this Lupin title is decidedly different from your typical one.

Menu:
The menu design is adequate and mimics the style of the case’s front cover. You can select to play all the shorts, pick a specific short, or watch a “special” short. It is not fancy, but it gets you into the wackiness effectively.

Extras:
The disc features a “special” two minute short to watch. Where this was a straight to video release, it is unclear why this was not just listed as episode eleven. A sheet of stickers was included in the case; this seems as random an extra as the actual shorts. In that respect, it is a perfect extra for this release.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I was unfamiliar with Frogman’s work; when it was announced he would be creating ten Flash animation shorts featuring the cast of Lupin the Third, I had no idea what to expect. After watching all thirty-five minutes with my limited command of the Japanese language, I only have vague idea of what happened, but I do know that it was more entertaining than most of the ninety minute normal TV specials the Lupin franchise has produced lately.

Attempting to summarize the shorts would be a disservice. The stories range from Lupin as a high school teacher to a young boy that finds Lupin trapped in the woods and takes him home to be his pet and best friend. Throughout most of them, Lupin is usually just referring to everyone with his pet names for Zenigata and Fujiko. He sounds and acts like he is perpetually stoned. I could easily see these shorts playing alongside fare like South Park or Adventure Time.

The parody does not stop with Lupin though. Frogman manages to fit in references to E.T., Terminator, Star Wars, and I am sure many more that I managed to miss in between laughing and going “WTF?!”. Something about theses shorts just clicked with me; the Lupin gang and Frogman’s comedic sensibilities just work together.

In Summary:
I want more of this. I have no idea what most of the dialogue was about, but the visuals alone managed to convey the absurdity of the shorts. Something about the Lupin characters just meshes beautifully with Frogman’s comedic style. While a bit pricy for the casual Lupin fan to import, I found it worth the investment and will be pulling this off the shelf for a good laugh now and again.

Features:
Japanese Linear PCM Language

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Vap Video
Release Date: December 19, 2012
MSRP: 3800 ¥
Running Time: 35 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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