Lupin III: Secret File
I'm really impressed. While this horrible little pastiche is only 15 minutes long this is some really dense evil. In the time it has it does enough damage to put you off the Lupin franchise for life. If you've got someone you want to break of a Lupin addiction then perhaps you can find a use for this title. But, for everyone else, make every effort to avoid ever seeing this...you'll be happier that way.
There's no story here, so there's not really much of a synopsis. Effectively Lupin phones up to torment Zenigata. Zenigata tries to arrest Lupin but fails. That's really about it. It's simply the most minimal framework for every member of the regular cast to "show their stuff".
The trick is that this was made to `showcase' the Lupin series. As a result the `movie' marking on the tape I got was more than a little misleading. Still, the idea is not bad. Introduce all the characters, give a taste of the atmosphere, show them interacting and using their skills. And then finish off the tape with previews for the upcoming movies which, by now, you're eager to see. The movies being "Legend of the Fuma Clan", "Mystery of Mamo", "Gold of Babylon" and "Castle of Cagliostro".
Except it really doesn't work...it's just such a horrible and evil production that even this short duration is enough to scar you for life. And thank heavens it wasn't a movie, I don't think I could have stomached more. It's got terrible production quality (really terrible) and even manages to look worse than it should. The story is an artificial construct to link together a handful of character introduction. And these introductions manage to make the team look like a complete bunch of jerks.
Zenigata is loud and obnoxious comedy relief, a butt for Lupins joke. Lupin himself is simply arrogant and cruel. Jigen is a violent lout. Fujiko is walking fan service with absolutely mammoth breasts and a slutty attitude. The scene of her doing some 70's dance while wobbling her ample chest, with photo's of motorcycles and blonde women in the background, is one of the most awesomely tasteless sights I've ever seen. And even in 15 minutes she still manages to get her blouse ripped off. If you don't know these characters you'll think they're just an arrogant bunch of annoyances. If you like these characters you'll be screaming at the simplification and injustice done to them. They were trying for cool, but they missed by at least one light year.
But wait! there's more! The dialogue is corny and trite. It's so stupid and stylized that it literally looks like it was scribbled during someones lunch break. The voices are bad, music annoying, and whether they try to be cool, clever or humorous it's equally disastrous. And, even in such a tiny sample, there are still huge plot holes, incredibly silly action and really dumb `gadgets' on the part of Lupin. Just as the really bad writing assassinates the characters it also destroys any sense of story or atmosphere. And they thought this would encourage you to see more?
Mind you, it is mildly interesting to watch them advertise the other movies. It manages to prove that Japanese advertising can be every bit as tasteless, misleading and obnoxiously loud as any other. Watching them try to talk up "Gold of Babylon" is hilarious when you know how bad a film it is. Meanwhile they hype "Castle of Cagliostro", perhaps the most awesome film there is, as a total action piece. They also make an impressive series of un-true claims about it. "A castle from which no one ever returns", "The castle moves"....um, did they even watch it?
Anyway, just in case you have any doubts left I must mention the production....though I wish I didn't have to. One assumes it had some money behind it, but regardless it manages to look really cheap and nasty. The artwork is really, really ugly. The coloring is truly disgusting and the movement is unpleasantly weird. It's really impressively horrible animation, made much worse by the fact they think they're being clever and cool. I'm just going to excuse it as another symptom of the 70's and forget I ever saw it. As I mentioned the voices are awful, giving precious little sense of character as well as being painful to listen to, and the music is period plastic.
None of my regular source have a review of this title. I pray that they never have the misfortune to get any opportunity to create one.