“LUPIN!!!” shouts Interpol Inspector Zenigata as the crafty thief outsmarts him and escapes yet again. It’s a classic scene required in any movie about a master thief. Lupin III: The First follows the eponymous thief as he attempts to steal the Bresson diary, which links back to his own past via has grandfather, Arsene Lupin, and unlocks control of a powerful treasure.
I really enjoyed Lupin III: The First! As the odd name suggests, this is a great jumping-on point if you’ve never watched a previous Lupin III movie or show. Based on the manga by Monkey Punch, Lupin III has been adapted numerous times, including The Castle of Cagliostro, Hayao Miyazaki’s directorial debut! This is the first time Lupin’s been in CG and it looks great. They kept the cartoony proportions and antics in the transition to 3D animation, no mean feat.
The action and story would fit with a goofier version of Bond or Indiana Jones – a hidden sect of Nazis seeking a powerful artifact to help restore the Reich. There’s gadgets, crazy car stunts, biplanes, swords that can cut a bus in half, it’s great. I’m not going in depth on the plus, because I want to keep some of the surprise.
The English dub cast is great. They are all industry vets who in many cases have been voicing these same characters for decades. You may not recognized them by their names, but if you watch anime or play video games, you’ve heard them. They are ably directed by Takashi Yamazaki.