Anime: Lupin the 3rd: Crisis in Tokyo

Vandemar

imageFor the uninitiated, Lupin the 3rd is the world’s greatest thief. He steals stuff, sometimes aided, sometimes hindered, by a rotating cast of characters. It’s usually very funny, but the plot is incredibly good, and it’s not afraid to mash things together, such as a serious scene followed by a goofy extended chase sequence. It’s not a particularly tense show and there’s never the question of whether Lupin will pull off whatever outrageous theft he’s plotting. It’s a question of how he’ll do it. In Crisis in Tokyo, he’s after some rare photographic plates. Insanely valuable, of course, but also of interest to just about everyone. The race is on!

Inspector Zenigata is after Lupin again, to the surprise of no one familiar with Lupin the 3rd. The inspector races onto a plane to chase the world’s greatest thief, only to find himself victim of a staged crash and playful fireworks display put on so Lupin can taunt him. Well, he also wants to steal what Zenigata is carrying, but Lupin does take a real joy in tweaking Zenigata. The Lupin-in-his-underwear chase that follows will surely please Lupin’s female admirers, and all this is before the opening title card even shows.

imageThis is Lupin the 3rd: Crisis in Tokyo and it’s an interesting change of pace. This installment in the Lupin series actually spends a lot of its time focusing on Inspector Zenigata. Lupin’s nemesis has the always-pesky thief to put up with, but this time, he also has to deal with a sassy reporter named Maria, who isn’t going to put up with any nonsense from the gruff detective. And while they’re fighting, Lupin is plotting to steal a set of rare photographic plates. Maria, though, may be more than a long-legged, saucy bother to the Inspector. There’s a lot more to her than there would seem, though we only find out about it towards the end.

The first hour of Crisis in Tokyo is full of the Lupin the 3rd trademarks: gadgets, humor, and wacky chases. There are lots of wacky chases in this one, to the point that I counted 4 in the first hour, 2 of which involved Lupin winding up in his underwear. Humor abounds in more than just pursuits, as when Maria makes fun of Inspector Zenigata for wearing a trenchcoat and trademark hat in the summer time. The last 30 minutes take a turn for the dark and twisted and serious, when Maria’s background is revealed, which is kind of jarring, but the ending more than makes up for it.

The soundtrack is all over the place. Genrewise, it hops gleefully from poppy jazz to funk guitars to soft J-Pop. Nothing is particularly standout, but the music does its job. I wouldn’t buy the CD, in other words, but I enjoyed it on the DVD. Unfortunately, the Japanese language track comes only in mono, which means you can enjoy this in English with the good sound, or you can tolerate it in Japanese with bad sound. It’s quite an oversight. The animation is fluid and it definitely has its own retro-70s without the dirty look and drained colors kind of style.

imageCrisis in Tokyo is a worthy entry in the Lupin the Third catalogue, a fast-pace adventure with a lot of excitement. While the ending does kind of drag it down into dark seriousness, the focus on Zenigata makes this one interesting and different enough to merit watching. And there’s Lupin in his underwear, for the girls.

Technical/Extras: 6.0
Unfortunately, the Japanese sound only comes in mono.

Entertainment: 8.0
The first hour is hilarious and entertaining, then everything gets kind of dark and disturbing until the end.

Overall: 8.0

Extras: Character profiles, image gallery, scene selection, Japanese/English language and subtitled, Digital 5.1 Surround Sound

Shannon “Vandemar” Drake is the Community Development Manager for Warcry’s efforts in all things that aren’t games, though he still plays games and pontificates about them endlessly. He also serves as Site Manager for FMA Warcry and frequently contributes to the hubsite. He will talk about anime until you roll your eyes and walk away, which makes him sad. He’s currently watching Tenjho Tenge Volume 2

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