Lupin the III: Dead or Alive

Hawkeye

imageA daring escape from prison, an abandoned island with treasure, and beautiful women make for a tantalizing trio in this madcap adventure. Viewers once again follow Lupin and his band of fellow thieves when they attempt to get the ultimate treasure. As always, it does not go as smoothly as planned.

They are confronted with an impassable and deadly security system, a whole island that can turn itself into a weapon when intruders are present. While they try to find the key to shutting the system down, the story unfolds in a small country near the island. The leader of the island’s tyrannical government, General Headhunter, took over the people after killing their beloved king in supposed vengeance for the death of the prince. However, that story is nothing but deception, as the prince was assassinated by General Headhunter himself. Lupin and his friends must find out the secrets of the royal family in order to shut down the security system and claim the treasure for their own. In doing so, they find themselves surrounded by the dangers of the country.

Lupin fanatics will be delighted to see their favorite characters in this movie, such as: Lupin the master of thievery and disguise, Jigen the expert gunman with a cool attitude, and Ishikawa the Japanese swordsman with an unbreakable sword. The movie wouldn’t be complete without Lupin’s right-hand gal Fujiko, who’s always after more then her fair share of the prize, and, of course, Inspector Zenigata, who’s determined to finally catch Lupin. Those who have never seen Lupin the III before shouldn’t worry, because this movie can stand alone. You don’t need to know anything about the TV show or the characters themselves to enjoy it.

While the animation in the popular TV series often felt a bit gritty and old school, the movie “Dead or Alive” takes it up a notch. The frames are crystal clear and just amazing to watch. Even the characters seem to have a better defined feel to them, making their overall look much crisper and sharper. This isn’t to say that the old Lupin style and funk isn’t there, just that it’s cleaned up and polished. This movie was certainly an eye-popping experience as far as the animation went, and is sure to please even the pickiest of artistic viewers.

imageThe voice acting was excellent, well-timed, and the different voices fit the characters personalities well. The DVD also offered the movie in the original Japanese with English subtitles as well. The music throughout was fabulous, keeping in tune with the classic Lupin jazzy rock feel. One can only hope that there will be a sound track released.

The DVD extras aren’t the greatest ever and leave a bit to be desired. Character bios are hard to read, though they did cover all of the key characters. The saving grace on this DVD is a lengthy interview with the creator of Lupin the III, Monkey Punch. The interview covers how and why he started Lupin and also reveals how he got stuck with the name “Monkey Punch”.

Lupin the III “Dead or Alive” is a fun movie for everyone, old and new fans alike, and brings excellent animation and sound into a wonderful experience. Anyone who loves crazy adventures and mysterious plots should check this movie out.

Technical/Extras: 3

The DVD doesn’t come with any neat toys or stickers, or even a inside pamphlet with the chapter titles, really on the only redeeming feature in this category is the interview with the creator, “Monkey Punch”.

Entertainment: 9

This show is the epitome of amusing. The witty dialogue and intriguing story are sure to catch any viewer’s attention. Also, the animation and music are brilliant and truly enjoyable to experience.

Overall: 8.5

DVD Extras: Lupin the II “Dead or Alive” English Dubbed or Original Japanese with English Subtitles, Chapter Selection, Character Profiles, Trailers, Interview with “Monkey Punch” Creator of Lupin the III.

Buy Lupin III: Dead or Alive! from AnimeNation

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