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Lupin III's Greatest Capers - My Turn To Review Something

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I was in a local grocery store the other day, perusing the 99¢ pre-viewed bin, when my 9-year-old brother came across something I hadn't expected--a two-episode "Lupin III's Greatest Capers" VHS tape. So, figuring I could spare a buck for Lupin (and another two for some old martial arts movies also found in the bin), I headed home three miles on my bike, put the bag down, and waited a week before actually being able to watch the tape.


Then, I stayed up until 3 am on a school night, watching it. Had to see Trigun and Inuyasha first, of course.


The starts out with a light jazz version of the Lupin theme, introducing all the characters using various moving poses, much cartoonish mayhem, some nifty silhoettes, and Zenigata chasing the gang around with puppets. Really, I thought they were badly done chibi versions of the characters, but then it cuts to all of them with puppets on their arms running around. Hilarity ensued.


The first episode, Albatross: Wings of Death opens with the guys in a trailer where they're evidently living; Lupin makes dinner and fights Jigen for it when Goemon grabs most of it. Then Fujiko runs in, fires a gun back out the door, and the place gets blown to kingdom come by a German grenade. Lupin's car is stolen and Fujiko is kidnapped by the villain. She manages to leave a smallish object that Lupin figures out is a detonator for a portable nuclear device.


Did I mention that all the voice actors are different from the Adult Swim version? I mean, other than Lupin sounding vaguely like the AS Zenigata, there's no similarity at all. It's also animated slightly differently... I'm not sure, but this series might predate the episodes that they play on Adult Swim. The box says it's from the second Lupin III series, and they all look oddly different (and more or less drawn like they were early versions of the characters--Jigen, for example, has a droopier fedora and his face is rounder... less defined than it is in the Lupin series we all know and love)... info on this is appreciated.


The characters still animate in the same fashion, the guns still look the same, and some proportions are overblown--oddly enough, Fujiko's breasts are not among said proportions. Go figure. She also has short hair.


Back to the episode, Lupin figures out who grabbed Fujiko and follows him to find out that the guy is rebuilding an ancient airliner from the 1930s, inside which he's going to put tiny nuclear weapons small enough to hide in a duffel bag but large enough to destroy a city. The same kind that Lupin has a detonator for.


Lupin sets up a meeting with the guy to trade the detonator for Fujiko, flying Fujiko's clothes (she's been strip-searched) as a flag and saying "He'll know the kind of man I am when he sees the colors of my flag" when Jigen asks him how the guy will know it's them. The whole thing is a trap set by Zenigata, who captures Jigen and Lupin.


After putting them in the paddywagon and stripping Lupin of everything, including a fake foot and a wig over his hair that explodes. Of course, when the wig explodes, Jigen and Lupin get away in one of the vintage airplanes that the guy with the bombs kept in his airplane museum with the big bird that's so instrumental in his plan, but Zenigata tags along for the ride. He's not too enthusiastic until the old airliner starts shooting at them--at which point he realizes that when Lupin told him the whole bomb scheme earlier, it wasn't a sham.


They nearly get shot down when Jigen grabs Zenigata's gun and shoots some missiles out of the air. Fujiko distracts and knocks out a guard, shoots her handcuffs off, and proceeds to knock out everybody that's shooting at Lupin, Jigen and Zenigata. Everything's going fine until the professor that invented the bombs throws a grenade at her--she throws it back and blows one of the engines off the plane. He tries again with a stack of grenades, but she shoots them out of his hand and he nearly blows the plane's wing off.


By doing all this, he mistakenly reveals that there's a nuclear bomb factory hidden inside his plane. After Lupin shears the plane's engines off (knocking the wings off of his own plane in the process), the crew of the airliner bails (save the professor) and Lupin, Jigen, and Zenigata crash into the plane. After they find Fujiko, they run into the professor, who's making off with his bombs. Zenigata hops on his back as he jumps out of the plane, laughing when the professor tells him about the bombs. You see, he still believes the professor's original story, about nuclear bombs being big and those detonators he saw being sparkplugs.


They barely manage to avoid crashing into a mountainside by dropping a bunch of furniture from the plane (much to the surprise of some mountain climbers), and Lupin saves the day again. Once again without making any actual money. :flame:


The second episode I might spoil later, but not now. Suffice it to say that it has cute girls, big robots, explosions, self-sacrifice, "Zenigata the Escape Artist," and quite a few interesting twists and turns. Zenigata's boss also makes an appearance.


Anyway, I absolutely love the tape. The opening and closing bits are good--they're probably at least based on the original Japanese credits and whatnot. The music is great, the two episodes they picked are both hysterical and action-packed, and Fujiko looks good. In that she's smaller all around. I dunno, I just never cared for the Barbie bosom look, anyway.


The only thing I didn't care for much was how Jigen looked--the droopy fedora he was wearing made him look more like Gilligan and his bucket hat than the sharpshooting Jigen we all know and love. Still, he was still fun to watch.


Did I mention that the arms don't seem oddly thin anymore? Well, they don't. Or they didn't... or whatever it is. The tape is copyright 1979 and 81 or something like that, so it's not NEW... though DBZ finished in the 80s, too, and it has just now finished coming out in the States.


I'll give Lupin III's Greatest Capers a 9 out of 11, based on me wanting to use an inane numbering scheme and the fact that it was short and Jigen looked funny. Other than that, I'd recommend getting it--the tape is much better than my description of it. I guarantee.


Well, if you like Lupin in the first place, that is... aw, shaddup.


Have a nice day!

The Insane Space Hunter

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