Anime Meta-Review


Lupin III: Tales of the Wolf


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Lupin III: Greatest Tales
  • seen: 1-2 of 2
  • type: OAV
  • grade: worthy
  • people: Miyazaki
  • made: 1979
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

Firstly, the data line is somewhat inaccurate. Carnage-sama rescued me from my ignorance by explaining that these are two episodes from the Lupin TV series. These episodes were originally titled Albatross and Aloha, Lupin. Why, these two episodes? Well, the words `directed by Hayao Miyazaki' should really be enough. Thus these are an OAV here and a TV series there. To add to the confusion they are also sometimes called `Lupins Greatest Capers'.

Lupin, for the few who don't know, is a resourceful and capable rogue. While deep down he has a heart of gold he enjoys the challenge (and rewards) of being the worlds greatest thief. With his companions the laid-back gunman Jigen, the swordsman Goeman and his nemesis/lover the femme-fatale Fujiko he's always got a caper on the boil. The other main character is the capable, but eternally unsuccesful, inspector Zenigata.

How are these? Well, I must admit I was suprised by how much fun they were. The classy character interaction (all the main characters are almost as much fun as wolf), the inventive action and the clever stories are all marvellously paced. And this was before I realised Miyazaki was involved, although that discovery does help explain the class and style with which these are made. Admittedly with the short duration (these are only TV episodes remember) there is a distinct limit to what can be done. This means the focus is on action and event rather than story. Although to be honest these are almost textbook cases of how much depth, character and style can be achieved in a single, stand alone, episode.

The animation is weird. The title animation is stylish but a bit screwy, looking quite similar to the design in `Legend of Mamo'. However once into the story things improved dramatically. The animation is still simple, but is better looking and wonderfully paced and staged. The attention to detail, and technical design is excellent. The dogfight in episode one is great fun (A flying sequence and I didn't guess Miyazaki...I'm so ashamed), as is most of the action on display. The second tape is even more obvious, with a robot straight out of Laputa, a Miyazaki trademarked noble heroine (in addition to fujiko), wolf being the dashing rescuer and yet more flying scenes. This is dubbed, but the voices seemed fairly fitting to me. There's a bit of Fujiko fan-service (yeow!) but she's got so much character that it's not demeaning. Despite its age this is still eminently watchable, although finding it may be challenging.

  • The folks at THEM have a review of this, and give it the five star thumbs up. While there check out the box cover, with fujiko doing the essential high heels and heavy weapons look (yowza).
  • The Anime Critic liked it, giving it a good rating in his review but thought the second episode lacked energy.
  • Lord Carnage calls it a "classic series that has to be watched" in this review, although I bet not all of them are this good. From the two box covers it looks like `tales of the wolf' might be individual stories, while `greatest capers' is both.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:21 WST 2009