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Case Number 03952: Small Claims Court

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Lupin The Third: Mission Irresistible (Volume 5)

Geneon // 1977 // 150 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bryan Byun (Retired) // February 22nd, 2004

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All Rise...

The Charge

History always repeats itself—especially when the Lupin legacy of spy antics and madcap adventure abound!

The Case

This latest release in the ever-popular Lupin the Third series marks the fifth and final volume of Lupin's second season, which originally ran in the 1970s and is currently enjoying a revival on DVD (and cable, via Cartoon Network) thanks to Geneon Entertainment. Lupin has been a favorite of anime fans for three decades, and it's not difficult to see why. Following the madcap adventures of Lupin III, the world's most notorious thief, as he travels the world in search of his next big score, the series is rife with wacky humor, action, and delectable eye-candy in the form of Lupin's improbably pneumatic love interest, Fujiko.

Mission: Irresistible contains a hefty six episodes, including one, "To Be or Nazi Be," that was originally omitted for reasons of political correctness. (Apparently the Nazi theme was deemed too controversial for kiddie TV sensibilities, although ultimately the episode is no less lightweight than any other episode of Lupin.) If you've seen previous volumes of Lupin, this disc will be more of the same—which isn't a bad thing at all, if you're a fan of this series' brand of farcical, irreverent comedy. Lupin is in many ways remniscent of the Pink Panther series of films, with its 60s/70s cosmopolitan sheen and reliable caper-based formula, laced with risqué double entendres. It's a highly episodic series, in contrast to the tendency nowadays towards series-spanning story arcs, and new viewers should have no trouble getting right into the swing of things even in this season-closing volume.

Timeless though Lupin's stories and humor may be, its look is definitely dated; Geneon has done an admirable job cleaning up these episodes, but no one will mistake this for a brand-new anime title. Considering the age of the series, however, Lupin looks as good here as can be expected. Audio fares much better, with a solid Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track (presented in English and Japanese) that, again, sounds great for its age.

English subtitles are included, of course, but sub snobs take note: compare the subtitles to the English dub before automatically skipping the latter. The English track captures the humor and spirit of the show in a way that the prosaic, overly literal, and frankly dull subtitles don't. While one couldn't exactly argue that the English track is more faithful to the original (the writers have taken many liberties in updating Lupin for today's generation, with many current pop culture references that sometimes clash weirdly with the show's obviously 70s look), the spirit is definitely there, not in the subtitles.

There's not much to report in terms of extra features; we get a selection of "conceptual drawings" that will interest fans and the usual set of Geneon trailers.

Lupin is not for all tastes. Anime fans who prefer more sober fare will doubtless find this series grating and juvenile. But if you're in the mood for something light and amiably goofy, it's worth a rental; and best of all, you can jump into it at virtually any point and still enjoy yourself.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Geneon
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
• English
Running Time: 150 Minutes
Release Year: 1977
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Anime
• Foreign

Distinguishing Marks

• Conceptual Drawings
• Geneon Previews

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