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Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro

After a successful robbery leaves famed thief Lupin III and his partner Jigen with nothing but a large amount of fake money, the so called "Goat Bills," he decides to track down the counterfeiter responsible—and steal any other treasures he may find in the Castle of Cagliostro, including the "damsel in distress" he finds imprisoned there. However, as usual, Inspector Zenigata is hot on his trail. Tracking the legendary counterfeits known as "Goat Bills," international thief Arsene Lupin III arrives at the Duchy of Cagliostro. Once there, he nearly rescues a damsel in distress from the Regent's guards. Following his failure, Lupin takes it upon himself to save her from captivity. (Source: ANN)
User Count8269
Favorites Count128
Start Date15th Dec 1979
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank1391
Rating Rank519
Age RatingPG
Age Rating GuideTeens 13 or older
Subtypemovie
Statusfinished

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<em>The Castle of Cagliostro </em>is by far the most popular movie in the Lupin series. That is because it happens to be living legend, Hayao Miyazaki's directorial debut. Any fan of the Lupin series has already seen *The Castle of Cagliostro* but they're definitely not the only ones who can appreciate it. Story: The story is usually the weak point of Lupin's adventures but not in this case (Miyazaki co-wrote *The Castle of Cagliostro* too). Lupin and his associate Jigen head to Castle Cagliostro to investigate a counterfeiting operation that has cost them a lot of money. This leads into the main story which follows Lupin as he tries to steal (free) an imprisoned woman. The story is straight-forward while still presenting interesting questions. The pacing is fun and keeps the movie stimulating throughout the 100 minute runtime. The only qualm I have with the story is that there are a few coincidences that affect the story like Fujiko's presence at the castle. As a matter of fact Fujiko feels like she's simply in the movie to push the plot forward. Other than that the story is super solid and captivating. Visuals: Considering <em>The Castle of Cagliostro </em>debuted in 1979 the visual quality is impeccable. The flow of the animation is absolutely slick and backgrounds are beautifully crafted. The opening scenes are full of action which really puts how fluid the animation is on showcase right off the bat. The colors are vibrant and immense detail is put into every aspect. I simply can't say enough good things about the production value of this film. Sound: I can definitely recommend the "Manga" english dub. You can stream this version on Hulu for free (sweet). The score is used well and really elevates some scenes, a few tracks are simply beautiful. Maybe it's the generation gap speaking but some of the tracks are just okay or a bit "on the nose", like the use of a xylophone during sneaky scenes. I'd have to say the soundtrack is the most dated aspect of the film but it's still used perfectly and only improves the finished product. Character: I think Jigen and Ishikawa are almost criminally under utilized. They really take a back seat to Lupin on this one. As for the characters themselves they are, well... characters. They're interesting and strongly contrast against each other. Lupin is unflappable and sly, Jigen is excitable and eager, Ishikawa is stern and focused, Fujiko is indifferent and confident. It's really entertaining seeing everyone interact differently among one another. If the core cast of Lupin wasn't a good mix of personalities then the series wouldn't still be around today. The antagonist and the girl that Lupin wants to save are pretty cliché though. She's the average damsel in a tower and he's a greedy Duke hell bent on finding treasure. I can forgive this considering how long ago this movie was made and how well these two fill their roles. She can be sympathized with and he can be hated easily. Verdict: <em>The Castle of Cagliostro </em>is called a classic and rightly so. Even now in 2014 I can look at this: a film 14 years my elder and say it's superb. It's a beautiful film with a beautiful setting, a fun cast, and an interesting story. It's definitely aged well and an easy recommendation to boot.

Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro has a high level of charm because of its blend of goofy, heist-action, and romantic elements. Miyazaki’s magic touch is already present here. A forewarning, this review is not in context of the series Lupin the Third, which I have not seen but understand to be much raunchier than the toned down version presented here. The movie by itself, however, is still effortlessly accessible and hugely successful in this independent context. The cast boasts interesting, dynamic characters: Lupin, Clarisse, Fujiko, Inspector Zenigata, and Jigen. Each of these characters has clear and easily understood motivations. Lupin wants to rob the count, save Clarisse, and escape capture. Clarisse, on the other hand, wants at all costs to avoid marrying the count and is in love with Lupin. Fujiko is the clever one who has motivations that closely align with Lupin’s own. Inspector Zenigata is the uppity, upright officer intent on Lupin’s capture, and Jigen is Lupin’s close companion that’s in it not only for the heist, but his pal as well. The Count, the preeminent villain, has greedy ambitions, which is surprisingly straightforward considering Miyazaki’s other works, where villains are often more versatile. So, the cast of Castle of Cagliostro is varied and has enough depth to build connection to the viewers, though they are not very complex. The eccentricity of Cagliostro is a powerful element, which leads to plenty of laughable moments, fitting the cartoon style like a glove. Lupin’s swimming up the aqueduct’s waterfall, the trap door and impersonation scene, and the generally light violence are exaggeratedly fun. Mixed with the heist plot, the result is an edge-of-your-seat ride where laughs are intermingled with action sequences. The excitement of the characters and plot doesn’t damage the drama, either. There’s an obvious pull between Clarisse and Lupin, driven by each one alternately saving the other. When feelings make there way to the surface - which, importantly, they actually do - they are treated with Lupin’s dissembling, such as when he pulls out the flower. At the end, Lupin makes his choice without avoiding the issue, and the movie is all the better for it. Groovy soundtrack and outstanding animation set the time period and overall feeling of the anime. There’s still a heavy cartoon style in the animation – this was created in the seventies after all - however the characters are realistic enough in looks where it doesn’t hinder empathizing with the cast. The style is light and bright by default, yet shifts to darker colors during serious and intense scenes. The soundtrack is groovy, with all sorts of funky flares to enhance the action and mood at various times. Silence is golden and used appropriately to enhance the tension in certain scenes, particularly those involving one-on-one encounters between Lupin and Clarisse. The Castle of Cagliostro’s seventies vibes, attractive characters, action, comedy, and romance are all handled proficiently. Each one of those elements is used to great effect in the film, and none of them are overbearing to the point of damaging the others. The movie has aged, but in the happy nostalgic way that only makes it that much more enjoyable, like Star Wars, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and When Harry Met Sally. Yes, these are all classics, and The Castle of Cagliostro deserves a spot among or at least right underneath them for what it accomplishes.

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