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Lupin the Third: Secret of Mamo PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Tuesday, 09 September 2008 16:00
Lupin the Third: Secret of MamoAnother dip into the retro pool, this time to the distant days of 1978, brings out Secret of Mamo, one of a myriad of Lupin the Third movies that have been released over the years (although very few of them ever reached UK shores). This time around, someone's been messing with clones - isn't one Lupin enough..?

Could it be true that the world's most wanted master thief, Lupin the Third, has been executed and now lies dead in a tomb? Despite evidence that he does, his arch-nemesis Interpol Inspector Zenigata remains unconvinced and soon discovers that Lupin is actually alive and well and back to his old tricks. Along with his partners in crime, Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa, Lupin has set off to the pyramids of Egypt in search of a mythical precious gem, the Philosopher's Stone, and Zenigata is in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, sexy femme fatale and the object of Lupin's desire, Fujiko Mine, lured by the promise of eternal youth and beauty, has plans to double-cross Lupin by taking the stone and delivering it to a sinister and enigmatic scientist known only as Mamo. But what Fujiko doesn't know is that Mamo's reasons for wanting the stone involve a fiendish scheme that threatens the entire planet...

Thwarted detectiveLupin

I'm new to the world of Lupin the Third, and with the franchise only having had limited exposure in the UK I'm sure I'm not the only one, so here's the brief outline: it's a Pink Panther kind of setup, with Arsene Lupin III (guess where the title came from), grandson of master thief Arsene Lupin, travelling the world carrying off one high-stakes heist after another. Zenigata is Lupin's nemesis, the dogged investigator who follows him everywhere but who, just like Inspector Cluseau, never quite manages to get his man. Lupin's assisted in his "work" by swordsman Diasuke and gangster-type Goemon, and hindered by love-interest Fujiko, all of whom appear in this story. It's not mind-blowing stuff, but it is intended to be lightweight and fun to watch, with plenty of action and comedy along the way.

CaptivesA version of Mamo

That description doesn't make for great expectations, but that's no bad thing and this movie easily lives up to them. The animation style and character designs are a little out-of-place in today's world of shiny CG and moe characters, but taking the age of the movie into account it does look the part. There also seems to have been some restoration work done to make sure that the picture has very little of the little nicks and scratches that you'd expect to see on movies this age.

Story-wise, this outing is more James Bond-style - the thieving only takes place at the beginning of the film, and after that we're well into saving-the-world territory. Mamo's high-tech plan calls for him to become immortal, thanks to his advanced cloning techniques, and if that can't happen then blowing up the world seems to be his fall-back position. Given that Mamo and his clones look for all the world like a wizened old grandmother, it's clear his technique needs work...

As I said, it's not high-brow, intelligent drama - it's a light-hearted action romp with a large dose of humour on the side. I freely admit I'm more of a fan of the modern, glossy style of anime, but Lupiun has a charm that's really hard to resist, and I sat through almost the whole of this with a grin on my face, thoroughly enjoying it. It's not going to be up everyone's alley, but it's certainly worth at least a rental to see a good example of how things used to be.

Rating - ***

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