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[ café reviews ]


Lupin III
The Castle of Cagliostro

Copyright: 1980 Tokyo Movie Shinsha (Japan), 1992 Streamline Pictures (North America)
Length: 100 minutes
Rating: NR
Format: Original Japanese VHS, English dubbed VHS

Producer: Katayama Tetsuo Director: Miyazaki Hayao Screenplay: Miyazaki Hayao and Yamazaki Haruya Animation Director: Ohtsuka Yasou Executive Producer of English Version: Carl Macek English Translation: Bob Barron

[ plot summary ]

volume 1

Lupin and Jigen have just pulled off a major heist at the government-operated Monaco Casino, only to discover that their hard earned loot is all counterfeit. It's the greatest job of counterfeiting that Lupin has ever seen; good enough to fool a government run casino. Determined to move in on the operation and get a share in the takings, Lupin sets out to discover who is doing the counterfeiting and where. Much to his surprise however, this job will not be all that easy, and will remind him of the time when he was just starting out as a thief. Of a particular heist gone bad, and a young girl that he met so long ago...

[ rated g ]


Suitable for Family Viewing - No real violence to speak of. There are a few scenes of Interpol Agents clashing with Castle Guards, but these are very cartoon-like and no real violence is seen. Perhaps the worst scene in the entire film involves The Wolf being shot once in the chest, and even then only a small trickle of blood is seen. Other Warnings: Parents might want to take note that the main character IS a thief, and that his initial goal is to steal the treasure of the castle.

[ capsule review ]

My favourite of the Lupin series -- especially the English dub version. (My favourite Japanese version is Fuma.) Of the animé dubbed by Carl Macek, two stand out -- Tonari No Totoro, and this one. It's a wonderfully funny blend of action, comedy and intrigue, with just the right blend of evil villians and big-hearted heroes, wrapped up in an intelligent script -- and what else would you expect from the master of Japanese animation, Miyazaki Hayao? I've only seen the original Japanese version once -- and that was many, many years ago. Of the two, I prefer the English dub -- it sounds like the English voice actors had a bit of fun with this one, and as a result, the movie in my recollection is much more lively. There is one line that sticks out that I wish they could have kept, but in a stand-alone movie, there was probably no way they could have -- in the scene when Lupin is flying out of the burning autogyro, Goemon cuts the burning clothes off Lupin with his sword, and mutters, "Matta kudaran mono kitta," ("Cut something unworthy once again...") -- in reference to the old tradition of not unsheathing and allowing the samurai sword blade to cut anything but human flesh. It's a running gag in the Lupin series, but that's another story...

The English version also leaves the original Japanese soundtrack intact -- rather surprising, but again, Macek & Co. probabaly made the right decision. The theme is wonderfully haunting and sad, prefect for the introduction. Animation is not the best I've seen, but it's not horrific, either. The script is well paced, and cleverly written -- little tidbits like Lupin creating the fake ring for use in his future encounter with the Count are skillfully put into the screenplay, letting the audience participate in the fun. And what fun there is! Car chases, roof-top pursuits, damsels in distress and a final showdown atop a clock tower. This show really has it all.- AN

This is one of those rare English dubs, the type which you actually want to have a copy of and which can stand on its own. I made the mistake of lending my copy of this tape to a friend... more than two years ago. I haven't seen it since and have given up on getting it back from him. So instead, I'll live with finding a new copy, or maybe try finding the original version instead. I have to admit that of the two versions that I've seen for this movie, I think I prefer the original version. I can't say for sure since it's been a long time since I saw the original version, but my first impression was that I liked it more than the dub. From what I remember, there are certain aspects of the dialogue where the English translations are kept deliberately loose to allow for dialogue flow. I found that the original version tended to be a bit more humourous in those cases. If you've ever seen Gold of Babylon certain comments by Goemon made will suddenly click into place from the original Cagliostro rather than the dub. Specifically those comments dealing with what Goemon cuts with his sword.

The English dub is especially surprising since it was produced and directed by Carl (the Butcherer) Macek. However, much like his work with Miyazaki's film Tonari no Totoro, The Castle of Cagliostro is well written and directed. The dialogue flows fairly well, although there are places where the wording is a bit awkward. The voice acting is also decent. While there are some weak points in the voice acting, overall it is well done. I found Goemon's voice a bit weak and definitely prefer the Japanese voice actor for him and Clarisse's voice was also a touch weak but they were still quite tolerable. You weren't left cringing from bad acting. The story itself is fast paced and humourous, typical Lupin antics, and will keep you laughing throughout the show. There are some really fun car chases and gun fights, and some truly hilarious baddies in bullet proof suits with claws. The actual dialogue (since we don't have the original to really judge translations) flows fairly well with only a few awkward places. This is one show where it's great to just sit back and relax and not worry about having to read subtitles or have them cutting out part of the picture. - JYN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/R N/A 4 stars
Direction: N/R N/A 3 stars
Acting: N/R N/A 4 stars
Animation: N/R N/A 4 stars
Music: N/R N/A 4 stars
Translation: N/A N/A N/A
Overall Rating: N/R N/A 4 stars

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