The Legendary Thief Returns!
- Episodes : 92 Minutes
- Genre : Action, Adventure, Mystery, Comedy, Seinen
- Airing Date : December 2019
- Producers : TMS Entertainment, Marza Animation Planet
Lupin III (aka Lupin the 3rd) is a name older anime fans know all too well. Created by Monkey Punch in the late 60s, Lupin III has long since been a pretty popular franchise boasting manga, anime and over a dozen films. Today we here at Honey’s Anime were given access to the latest film—Lupin III: The First—in both dub and sub! We watched both but can say that both English and Japanese voice actors need to be praised for their stellar work with these iconic characters. However, was Lupin III: The First’s change to 3DCG a detriment or can the famous thief overcome even this new art style? Let’s talk all about it in our full movie review!
Lupin III: The First Trailer
The Legend Returns!
Lupin III: The First begins by taking us back to the days of WW2 where an older man named Bresson gives his children and his granddaughter a strange trinket and tells them to run as the Nazi’s are soon to approach. The family flees but unfortunately neither Bresson nor his children live. Their daughter however survives but another strange man takes her given trinket and runs from the scene. Just from this opening alone you can tell that our latest crusade will be no doubt one of the biggest Lupin III has ever dealt with!
Decades pass and we arrive at a nice art exhibit that is meant for the legendary Bresson’s diary that has been sealed by various locks for unknown reasons. Cue in our thief Arsene Lupin III as he tries to steal the dairy before Interpol arrives. Unfortunately, Inspector Zenigata arrives just as Lupin appears and this causes our thief to lose the book to a security guard and the inspector. Fans of Lupin know, though, that failure isn’t in our thief’s dictionary!
The young female guard takes the book but, unknown to most, she is actually here to steal it as well and tricks everyone in the process. As she escapes to the roof, Lupin lies in wait and gets the book using some fancy footwork. Just as it seems as he finally gets the book, though, another famous thief arrives in the form of the beautiful femme fatale Fujiko Mine! Fujiko nabs the book from a helicopter and leaves Lupin to be caught by Interpol and our “security girl” escapes during the commotion.
Lupin is quickly rescued by two of his fellow companions—Jigen and Goemon—who as usual cause a ton of destruction that fans will relish in. Even after seeing this style of escape done in dozens of Lupin III movies, in this latest film, it feels almost new thanks to the wonderful 3DCG art style. Think of a Pixar movie and you can kind of see how Lupin III: The First looks like.
Time for a New Girl
Our female guard from earlier arrives back in her apartment and she was followed by our thief Lupin. The girl introduces herself as Laetitia and she is an aspiring archeologist who loves all things from the past. Thanks to her cuteness and crafty thinking, Laetitia convinces Lupin to join her as she knows where the book is.
In a secret airplane, the main plot begins where we learn a secret Nazi organization called Ahnenerbe wishes to unlock the diary as it contains a valuable tool that can resurrect the Third Reich. Fujiko arrives to deliver said book that she nabbed from Lupin but is caught planting a tracking device—the same Lupin used to find Laetitia—in the book’s briefcase. Fujiko is taken away as the men try to unlock Bresson’s diary.
Lupin and Laetitia hitch a ride on the ship via a boat and some food boxes and the two quickly make their way through the airship. Lupin, using his crafty moves, quickly locates the diary and makes a shocking discovery. The trinket from earlier in the film had a pair, one was given to our new girl and the other was in possession of Lupin thanks to his ancestors. Using the two trinkets, Lupin creates a key and unlocks the diary but almost gets into some trouble when he learns the diary has a timer! Lupin uses some deduction and realizes how to unlock the diary safely using the proper sequence of letters the duo discovered earlier on the lock.
The contents within the diary are revealed to be information about a device called “the eclipse” which at first seems like a means for infinite energy. Before we can discover anything further though, Lupin learns of Laetitia’s betrayal and is taken to another airship where a tied up Fujiko is. The pair escape—Fujiko making use of her female charms—and the pair make a daring escape.
The Trials to Reach The Eclipse
Lupin III: The First reunites our team of thieves properly after a bunch of nail-biting action sequences—which were so fun to watch—and they realize that Laetitia’s grandfather Lambert, as well as his partner Gerard, need to be stopped. The team ends up teaming up with Inspector Zenigata and they search for The Eclipse’s location.
Gerard and Lambert find the ruins to The Eclipse but soon discover the place is set up with strange booby traps that only the diary has answers to disarming. Lupin and his team enter as they leave—which seems overly convenient—and quickly use their combined skills to defuse the traps with some silly skills only Lupin and his team have. Hands down, the scene where Lupin uses Jigen’s hat to see where lasers will hit is one of the best Lupin III sequences ever done before!
Sadly, our team is quickly taken hostage when Lambert and Gerard return knowing only Lupin could solve these trials. Lupin’s grandfather—Lupin the First—we learn worked with Bresson to create not only the lock but most likely the trials as well. It ends up being fate that Lupin was able to do what his former ancestor couldn’t and find The Eclipse.
The Eclipse is taken by our evil pair and it turns out to be an item of mass power/destruction! Using The Eclipse, Lambert creates black holes and realizes he has a means of obtaining power unlike anyone before him. Gerard stops the now crazed Lambert and as he’s about to kill Letitia for being a potential threat, Gerard takes a bullet for his adopted granddaughter in the last kind move he will ever do.
Hitler Alive!? Time to Stop The Evil Plan!
Lupin and his team create a trap for Gerard to bring The Eclipse to Hitler—who is thought to be alive—and it works for the most part. Lupin is able to trick Gerard into believing he’s Hitler and makes a move to destroy the weapon before anyone can use it for evil deeds. A battle breaks out between Lupin and Gerard with the latter losing as he’s absorbed into the machine while Lupin uses a nice gadget he stole from the trials before that just so happened to control gravity. Lupin III always has a trick up his sleeve and that is why we love the silly thief.
Our movie concludes in an almost usual manner. Fujiko leaves Lupin with a boat full of stolen goods—which the Neo-Nazi base was full of—and just as Laetitia is going to put the moves on Lupin, who she obviously fell for, the trio find themselves escaping into the sunset. Lupin does leave Laetitia a nice parting gift with an invitation to Boston University, however. Earlier in the movie, Laetitia tells Lambert her dream was to go to Boston University and their world renowned archeologist program. Lupin stole a lengthy thesis from Laetitia’s apartment and sent it in for them to read. Lupin might be a thief but he’s always a kind guy in the end!
In many ways Lupin III: The First feels like most of the movies before it, just a really long episode of the series. However, where Lupin III: The First feels different is the obvious art style. We know for a fact many fans will be turned off by the move to use a 3DCG style for Lupin and his latest capper but in our minds, it actually works quite well. Yes, some scenes fall a bit flat—there is one fight between Lambert and Gerard that just felt overly stiff—but more times, we were impressed by the action scenes and various visual movements. If more anime with CG looked like Lupin III: The First, then we bet people wouldn’t be so quick to hate the polarizing animation style.
Lupin III: The First also nails the voice acting whether you watch it in English Dub—like we did—or English subtitles. The same can be said of the brilliant soundtrack that remixes Lupin III’s original theme song and various tunes from the past. We felt the music was spot on with the themes of the movie and it creates a nice reminder that Lupin III can adhere to the past while still being modern.
Lupin III: The First overall nails the expectations we had for it. Yes, the art style is definitely something new for the franchise but that isn’t an issue at all. We loved the various antics of our “heroes” and no doubt bet that fans of the Lupin franchise will as well!
Lupin III: The First really wowed us. With a run time of 92 mins, Lupin III: The First feels like a super-extended episode but in a good way, thanks in large part to the story and the characters both new and old. We really came to love Laetitia and we pray Lupin’s final comment to seeing her again comes to pass as we’d have no issue with her joining the crew! Lupin III: The First feels like a movie made for a new generation and we pray that people fall in love with Lupin so his legacy continues forever!
Monkey Punch and the various studios involved in Lupin III: The First—such as GKIDS, TMS Entertainment, and Marza Animation Planet—should be commended for their fantastic film. We loved every moment of Lupin III: The First and hope you readers will too when it releases soon! Are you guys/girls excited for Lupin III: The First? Shout out your opinions in the comments below! For even more movie reviews keep stuck to our amazing hive here at Honey’s Anime!