Lupin The 3rd
The Fuma Conspiracy
Eastern Star / Discotek
Goemon, the master swordsmen of the Lupin gang is getting married to a young girl (like, still in high school young), and the whole gang is invited. But the master thieves become the thieved when the Fuma Clan’s ninjas crash the wedding to steal a vase which will lead them to hidden treasure of the Suminawa clan (from whence the high school girl descends).
The last Lupin title I reviewed was a caper film, a relatively complex plot with mysteries to be solved and plans to be hatched. The Fuma Conspiracy is much simpler. The three groups; Lupin’s gang, the Fuma Clan, and the police, all know where they are going. The story, then, is a race to see who can get to the treasure first.
Lupin, Zenigata, and Fujiko still get the biggest roles in this film, but Goemon has a significant part as well; including some insights into his character which, given his stoic nature, are welcome.
The plot of the movie plays very well with the dynamics of the group. While Lupin’s gang is happy to help their friend out, they are still thieves who have every intention of stealing the family treasure for themselves. It’s like a human version of fable about the scorpion and the frog. Goemon has no choice but to seek the aid of people who freely admit they will betray him later.
Inspector Zenigata has a nice role in the film as well. As the movie begins, he is retired and living as a monk, believing Lupin to have been killed. Upon finding out that he isn’t, he jumps right back into the hunt. There are a number of scenes which explore the nature of Zenigata and Lupin’s relationship. Zenigata saves Lupin’s life at one point, which may seem odd, until you remember that Zenigata is driven by a devotion to the law, and killing Lupin would not be just. While they remain enemies, there’s a mutual respect as well.
Being a chase movie, there are several car chases and a trek through a booby-trapped castle; all of which are lushy animated, creative, and well paced to keep the sense of ‘the chase’ always present.
The animation style has a slight ‘cartoony’ feel to it. Things are a little rounder, and physics are a little looser. It suits the story well, and is exploited to great effect in the car chase scenes.
The DVD from Discotek / Eastern Star has significantly better video than the previous Animeigo disc. It is completely unaltered with the original Japanese credits and titles. Audio is DD 2.0, in English and Japanese. Subtitles are fine, but I think there are 2-3 lines that aren’t subbed in the movie, either that or the timing of the subs is off.