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Lupin the 3rd Part IV Complete Series Blu-ray Anime Review

11 min read

The thief returns with pretty much a bit of everything…

What They Say:
LUPIN IS BACK AND THIS TIME HE’S…MARRIED?!

There’s a message from Lupin the Third, but this time, he’s not announcing a heist. Instead, it’s an invitation to his wedding. He is marrying the young and famous tabloid queen, Rebecca of the wealthy Rosselini conglomerate. Lupin’s true motive behind his nuptials is to steal the Libertas crown, also known as San Marino’s national treasure. The crown is only brought out during their marriage ceremony.

But as Lupin attempts to steal the crown, his arch-nemesis Inspector Zenigata is ready to pounce, having been tipped off on Lupin’s attempted heist. But who tipped him off, and why?

The story that begins in San Marino will reach all over Italy as Lupin pursues love and freedom in this exciting new adventure.
Contains all 26 episodes on Blu-Ray in Japanese with English subtitles. Presented in Collectors packaging.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio has a 2.0 release in Japanese and a 2.0 in French (no English dub which is sad as just started rewatching Lupin from the US releases which do have a good if take liberties with translations dub) – I watched the disc in Japanese (the French option I also looked at as a la Gankutsou, Lupin is French so along with the AllTheAnime bases in France one of the times it makes sense) there were no issues regarding sound quality, echoing, synching with subtitles, etc – the quality is high overall, but you always wish for the 5.1 for any Lupin series, especially as this one has a lot of twists and turns and a surprisingly ongoing plot…

Video:
Similar with the audio, the video is set in full-screen format via NTSC transfer to PAL format with the show combining animation with a bit of CGI with certain slow mo and weapons (wait, updated technology in a Lupin series? NOOOOOOO!) – the animation goes the Woman named Fujiko Mine route but it definitely still fits the classic Lupin style and it comes out incredibly well defined and in your face with the animation with no real problems with the subtitles, the sound synching in either language, no pause lag or in general, it is a quality release, definitely in the top tier of Blu-Ray releases.

Menu:
The menu is very standard – each disc is the same (no extras) with clips from the show playing in the background and your choices of Play All, Episodes, Set Up (Japanese with English Subtitles or French with French Subtitles) and Credits (which are on all 4 discs which seems a bit redundant) – easily select your pop up menu from the show and no delays in selection so a standard Blu-Ray menu.

Extras:
There are no extras but in the special edition, there is collectors packaging and a 64-page art booklet.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Lupin The 3rd, whilst not a gateway for me into anime as was not even born when it first came out, was one of those series that felt needed to be a must watch or read as I was slowly expanding my catalogue back in the early 2000s when I got into it. I have the US releases of Part 1 and Part 2 (Red/Green Jacket) and waiting on Pink Jacket whilst the UK did get a release of The Woman named Fujiko Mine. Here, this is the first series outside of some of the movies (Caligistro the main one) to get a UK release and it is the most recent one – aired in 2015, gaining popularity so it aired in the countries where it takes most place (Italy and San Marino), it stays strong in what Lupin is known for, an episodic series of chases and chapes, but combines the animation style of the Fujiko Mine series, as well as introducing a new character who is a strong focus throughout, intermixed with the series thefts, and of course the fun camaraderie of the group and the love/hate rivalry Lupin has with the policeman Zenigata.

It starts surprisingly with Lupin apparently about to get married to a woman named Rebecca Rossellini, an heiress to a fortune. Unsurprisingly, Jigen, Goemon and Fujiko are suspicious, and Zenigata even more so. Of course it is a trap and Lupin was secretly after a treasure to be given to Rebecca after their wedding. Whilst it seems to go ahead, Fujiko tries to steal it for herself but gets caught, forcing Lupin to reliquinish it for her release. However, when a police captain leaves with the crown, the plot twist hits as it was in fact Rebecca in disguise, using a Lupin old trick, which is basically her way of saying she is also a thief and a thrillseeker, causing a running gag of Lupin wondering how to divorce her…Rebecca gets a lot more air time and characterization throughout which is rare for a Lupin series as the focus is usually on the core five…which it still is but her development is also a key strength for this incarnation.

From there, it is what you expect from Lupin – a lot of trickery, fun, a bit of raunchiness and a lot of cat and mouse between him and Zenigata – possibly still my favourite cop in anime. We range from getting into football to steal a medical record for a popular footballer, to introducing us to our other semi-main character, a James Bond rip-off named Nyx, who has an ability to echo-locate and tell where people are from footsteps and sounds echoing. He gives Lupin a trust test different to Zenigata, but he always just manages to escape his grasp through trickery and smarts.

Lupin’s other friends also get involved, either with him or on their own – Jigen shows why he is the best sharpshooter in the business in his episode (which even Zenigata acknowledges when he discovers the aftermath), trying to literally steal magic, Rebecca tricking Lupin to getting involved in a movie she is involved with, a tricky secret that Zenigata and Lupin are both after but for different reasons, dealing with Nyx’s daughter being kidnapped as Nyx and Lupin are forced into a strange truce, a supposedly ghostly mansion (also showcasing Lupin’s heart of gold here as people forget if he wasn’t a thief and a womaniser, Lupin is quite the decent guy), whilst in Goemon’s episode we see a flashback in one of the best episodes of the series to the point I wish there was more involving the one episode character he was involved with (basically, he gets a connection with a female assassin and the two form a bond after assassinating a legendary assassin and an African dictator via a politician in Italy…but things definitely aren’t what they seem in present day) and we get the two femme fetales meeting properly as Fujiko and Rebecca try to outdo each other (whilst also getting along for their snark with Lupin) trying to steal a very interesting wine…

So as you can tell, it has the classic Lupin formula. Each episode involves Lupin and/or one of his friends involved in something, with Zenigata trying to catch them at every turn. However, with the additions of Nyx and Rebecca, there appears to be more especially with both of them slowly turning onto Lupin’s side. And from this, an actual story forms – the first episode that hits this is when Rebecca is kidnapped by MI6 and Lupin is asked by her overworked butler/protector Robson – it turns out that MI6 is after information left behind by Rebecca’s old boyfriend Kou, and when Nyx goes berserk after his family is threatened by Robson when they manage to rescue Rebecca, it leads to him being out of a job. Meanwhile Lupin begins to decipher Kou’s old notes, which basically allows him to view himself in a sort of dream world, and via dreams can influence an entire world, hence why he died. Lupin realising the problems this research could have, goes with Rebecca to burn the research, however are caught by Nyx, but before he could kill Lupin, MI6 capture both of them, with Zenigata obtaining Lupin’s custody and Nyx forced to give the research info to make sure his family survives…and whilst Zenigata tries to keep an eye on him, another prisoner escapes MI6 and certainly not one you’d expect…

Anyway, there are of course still some fun episodes alone which is still the focus – he tries to steal the Mona Lisa (which incorporates this mysterious prisoner into the story as a sketch on a coin he recognises as one of his own…it was the Vitruvian Man…and I actually went ‘you are kidding me right?’ when I realised who it was….), a silly episode involving a diamond and a school (this is where the Pink Jacket influence is from), a lost dog to be returned to their owner (for a high reward of course), a movie car that can’t be chased with or tampered by the police as is too valuable, the Fujiko episode where she reminds you that she can utterly kick ass as much as the guys…and the obligatory Lupin/Zenigata team up episode which unsurprisingly is the most fun of the series (and has a plot point as was the first time Lupin met Rebecca…)

But amidst all that, the ongoing plot is underway. So…rather big spoiler here…

*DEEP BREATH

So with painting representing many of the gang appears around Italy, we get everyone (including Rebecca, Zenigata, Nyx and also Gibbons the head of MI6 who also is kind of the big bad) being invited to a enactment of Leonardo da Vinci’s L’Ultima Cena…and it turns out it is in fact Leonardo Da Vinci himself…

….um what?

Believe it or not, it all links – because this was due to Kou’s research and MI6 cloned and resurrected him and as Kou predicted, has the ability to be in the consciousness in everyone on the planet – Leonardo’s plot is to make the world be in his own mould (the next episode see’s him help out Lupin in a theft he commissioned, leads to the death of Gibbons via him and a vengeful Nyx) – this combined with Rebecca legit falling in love with Lupin where she tries to upstage him in various heists means the ending takes a twist when Leonardo does his grand plan of putting his consciousness into everyone’s mind in Italy but with the condition that if the person he takes control of can beat him at their own game, they will wake up – whilst Lupin (sneaking), Jigen (shooting), Goemon (Swordsplay), Fujiko (cards/cheating), Nyx and Zenigata (hand to hand combat) manages to beat him, Rebecca fails and will now become new. Lupin decides to fight to bring Rebecca back in control leading to the final play if Lupin can recover her and everyone else or will Leonardo do so before his artificial body dies…

Yeah, that twist was a bit of a shocker. Granted, it does actually connect with the memories/dreams story so this Lupin series has a plot along with the usual silliness and trickery, and it did throw me for a loop to be honest. I would have never expected that and it actually for the most part works. Leonardo as an antagonist believing in his own ideals whilst he doesn’t have much time to live gives Lupin a true battle of wits outside of his usual dealings with Zenigata. The addition of Nyx and Rebecca add more depth and more competition (Nyx as a secret agent, Rebecca as a fellow thief) and they get development along the road (Nyx’s love for his family, Rebecca’s lust for freedom and her past/falling for Lupin). It does feel the rest of the rogue’s gallery get a bit short changed but they all get an episode to themselves (Goemon’s being my favourite though Fujiko proves her worth when the episode itself has the character of the day call her week when he catches Lupin) and all prove their usual skills (Jigen with his shooting though Nyx kinda nerfs him at times, Goemon can still cut through anything and the Fujiko/Lupin relationship is as backstabbing as ever with Lupin can’t keeping it in his pants despite Fujiko tricking him multiple times) meaning this is a combo of fans of old school Lupin with the adventures, some good comedy like Pink Jacket (the dog episode being the funniest), the style of Woman named Fujiko Mine and its own beast with the reveal of the dream plot and Leonardo Da Vinci being the actual villain? That was not expected from any series, never mind a Lupin one…

It’s episodic, yes and the rest of the cast are a little down toned, yes. However, the fact the new characters are memorable, bits of each version of Lupin are incorporated into this, combined with the new animation and some great music (the reworking of the original Lupin theme combined with the very classy ending are fantastic) make this one of the top releases so far this year – I feel a bit annoyed the dub wasn’t on this version as am just watching Green Jacket with the dub on but the new actors in Japanese do a great job and really feel this is a series even if you don’t know anything about the Lupin franchise you can get stuck into anyway – it’s not difficult to follow in terms of plot or characters, you get heavily involved whether it’s the development, comedy or the chase, and the plot twist near the end catches you off guard that you have to see how it continues. Very highly recommended.

In Summary:
Lupin The Third isn’t a tough series to get into and remains a classic from the 70s till today. Thief leaves calling cards, has gang to help/hinder him, amusing cop (Zenigata is not a bumbling cop either, he’s very skilled and if it was anyone else, he’d win) tries to stop him, fails (or if succeeds, later fails), repeat ad nauseum. As fun as that is, the addition of Rebecca and Nyx to the plot, combined with the later Dream of Italy storyline and the huge twist near the end makes this a joy to watch. Animation of current times, Red/Green/Pink jacket influences but also does its own thing, it is great from fans of Lupin to newcomers to the franchise. One of my favourite series of recent memory, definite must own.

Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A

Released By: Anime Limited
Release Date: June 11th, 2018
MSRP: £44.99
Running Time: 650 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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