What’s better than Lupin? Lots of Lupin’s running around.
What They Say:
Just when you thought the man was one of a kind, Lupin the Third lookalikes start appearing all over the world, each with their own style and flair! Even the expert Inspector Zenigata can’t seem to track down his rival. From among the rabble rises one ambitious, green-jacketed Lupin imitator named Yasuo. He challenges the man himself to swipe the mysterious treasure Ice Cube and earn the title of “the real Lupin the Third”!
The audio presentation for this release has only the original Japanese language in stereo encoded at 384kbps. The show has a fair bit of action to it and lots of placement across the forward soundstage which is well utilized here, keeping it a pretty bust mix with the way it hits up both dialogue and action as well as a good, rich sounding music score. The way the show works with the multiple Lupin’s on screen makes it important at times when it comes to placement and it works well, making for some of the nuanced differences to come across properly .Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2008, the transfer for this OVA is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Animated by TMS, the show has a very different feel than most of the Lupin releases we’ve seen in North America before and the transfer captures it well with some rich colors, solid darker areas and lots of vibrancy throughout where appropriate. The show is full of action and movement which is very fluid throughout and makes for an engaging production, one that keeps you looking at the details of it due to the number of Lupin’s running around and the differences between them. Detail is good and the show avoids any seemingly noticeable issues such as cross coloration or line noise.
The packaging for this release is rather moody and creepy in a way but with an odd sense about it simply because of the Green vs Red logo that’s in the middle of it which provijdes a near Christmas feel that blends oddly with all the darker colors around it. Having the image of the two Lupin’s here in their color coded jackets, largely obscured facially but with enough to make it clear who it is, it’s a very intriguing cover overall because it does give you something we haven’t seen with other releases that have usually been straightforward. The back cover has a few shots from the show along the top and bottom and a pretty detailed summary of the premise. The discs extras are clearly listed as are the Japanese production credits. The technical strip along the bottom lists everything clearly and accurately with no misinformation. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release uses the same elements as the front cover, but it spreads them apart a bit more so they’re not right on top of each other as we get the green jacket and red jacket Lupin’s. The menu navigation is straight down the middle where we get the colors in red and green – though the Lupin logo itself is the mandated English language gold and black on, and you do everything from the top for language selections. The extras are in their own menu though so that it’s not too overly cluttered. Submenus load quickly and easily and everything is accessible and works without any problems.
While we the translated song lyrics for the main theme of the feature, we also get a pretty solid set of liner notes for it as well by Reed Nelson. With his work on previous Lupin releases, it’s more quality material ehre that goes into the production of the show and some of the neat tricks and ndos that the production makes over the course of its runtime.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While Lupin has had many releases over the years, from TV series to theatrical movies and quite a few TV specials, it’s had very, very few OVA releases. In fact, this one marks the third one depending on your counting and that allows it to play a little differently than the wave of TV specials we got year after year for awhile. One of the fun things about Lupin is that the characters have had some different interpretations over the years, stylistically speaking at least, with the way they portray the lead. His personality has had a few adjustments as well, especially if you were like me and a huge fan of the original manga incarnation, but even across the TV versions he’s been softened over the decades by different social mores. This release doesn’t play into that aspect too much, but we do get a look at a variety of the visual interpretations of the character.
With Red vs Green, we get a show that provides a different view of Lupin as it takes place, seemingly, after Lupin has gone under the radar and apparently retired for awhile. While he’s out of the picture, others have stepped up for different reasons to become Lupin, hence a few of them running around that have taken on the varying styles that he’s had over the years. They’re all committing various capers of their own, but there comes a situation that has them becoming focused on one single goal. This goal revolves around a young man named Yasuo who has a Lupin-esque look about him in general, with more of a wavy and free style hair design to him. He’s a pretty good guy who ends up being given a Lupin outfit and the potential to do the same as the others, and he even gets caught up with the real Fujiko Mine along the way. But unlike the other Lupin’s running around, he ends up getting captured during his job by the police and they all start making their way there to help him out of the pinch.
His storyline also intersects with the other Lupin’s as it starts to delve into a very sought after item, the Ice Cube, which is rumored to be the greatest diamond of them all. Naturally, when Jgen and the others get involved (comically dealing with the fake Lupin’s at times), there’s the basic truth that they understand where the real Lupin is going after the diamond in order to give it to Fujiko since he’s always so hopeful that he can get into her pants and her heart with such things. This turns into kind of the crux of the OVA as it progresses and draws some of the Lupin’s into going after each other, including a hilarious Mexiand standoff moment when the item is in hand, but it also plays to some odd aspects when the truth of the Ice Cube is revealed. Part of the problem is that while we’re introduced to the Ice Cube early on as the item of significance, it never really feels like a main focus of the OVA and more of a side plot.
In a way, this is one of the problems with the OVA in that it never feels like it has a clear and coherent story. A lot of that is just built into the premise overall as we do have so many Lupin’s running around and there’s a good chunk of time spent just wondering what the deal is. There is a lot of fun in it because it touches on the varying types of Lupin’s that have existed, including a comical bit early on that flashes through the TV and movie incarnations, but it’s a gag that can work for only so long. As we get the few main Lupin characters moving around, real and fake, it does get easy to lose who is really who and what the point of it all is. But that said, there’s also a lot of great fun in just seeing how these different people done up as different Lupin’s, with the real one weaving his way through it, deal with the varying situations and the personalities beneath it all.
Lupin the 3rd has long been a favorite property and getting a new release that hasn’t come out here before is always fun. Green Vs Red takes an interesting and amusing approach to what it does and it’s definitely a visually striking OVA with some great animation and a delightful use of the many types of Lupin designs that we’ve had over the decades. The story gets a bit muddled at times and it becomes easier to just enjoy the overall premise and the visuals of it all, but there’s some replay value to it in trying to see how it all ties together once you know what the deal is and how it all connects. With some very strong visuals, great fluidity to the animation and simply the delight of multiple Lupin characters running around, this feels unlikE other Lupin shows and taking risks like that is always worth giving a serious look at.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Liner Notes
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Discotek Media
Release Date: May 21st, 2013
Running Time: 79 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
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.