Lupin The Third In 3D CGI

The action-packed Lupin III: The First is a real crowd pleaser, updating the iconic master thief and his supporting characters in stunning 3D CG animation. The madcap adventure yarn sees Lupin the Third on the hunt for the mysterious Bresson Diary in a globe-trotting quest to unlock its secrets. This time the world’s greatest thief faces off with Nazi scientists and a familiar foe, Inspector Zenigata. Written and directed by Takashi Yamazaki, Lupin III: The First is a wonderful new addition to the storied franchise that will delight old fans and newcomers alike.

The Bresson Diary is rumored to hold clues to a great treasure. The daring thief Lupin III goes on a grand adventure to uncover its secrets. Familiar allies like the sultry Fujiko Mine, loyal gunslinger Jigen and master swordsman Goemon help Lupin along the way, often running interference when Inspector Zenigata gets too close.

Lupin III: The First is pure fun for older fans and serves as a wonderful introduction to the franchise for newcomers

Lupin must outwit the sinister Professor Lambert and his shadowy cabal in unlocking the diary’s clues. A promising young archaeologist named Laetitia crosses paths with Lupin, caught up in the mysterious quest. New to the series, Laetitia brings a breath of fresh air and great promise.

Lupin’s original creator Monkey Punch has made no secret the wily gentleman thief’s adventures were partially inspired by James Bond. Lupin III: The First nicely melds influences from James Bond and Indiana Jones. Exotic locales, beautiful women and a keen sense of humor all play a role in making Lupin one of Japan’s most enduring brands. Crisply paced with a number of delightful set pieces, each classic character gets their moment to shine in the sprawling action.

The movie is a big-screen adventure in every sense of the word, visually updating Lupin’s world for the wonders of brilliant 3D CG imagery. The lavish animated caper’s eye-popping visuals smartly capture the trademark quirks of Lupin’s familiar designs without upsetting long-time fans. I was blown away how easily Lupin III made the transition from 2D to 3D without a hitch. Many iconic animated properties haven’t been so lucky.

Lupin III: The First is pure fun for older fans and serves as a wonderful introduction to the franchise for newcomers. Accessible and dazzling for fans of all ages, discover the delights of Lupin’s wit and humor.

Lupin III: The First Blu-ray screen shot

Video

Lupin makes the leap to 3D CG with impressive results. Normally a franchise that has stuck with traditional hand-drawn animation over the decades, Lupin and his colorful cast of characters receive polished 3D designs that stick close in spirit to the famed originals. Jigen, Goemon, Fujiko Mine – everyone looks quite good with top-notch attention paid to their trademark designs. The animators even capture the spirit of Lupin III’s idiosyncratic movements, something fans will catch right away.

The 3D CG is pure eye candy with dazzling colors and beautifully smooth movement. Animated using the expensive keyframe technique instead of cheaper motion capture methods, Lupin III: The First may have the most impressive 3D CG animation ever made in Japan. While not quite on par with the latest Pixar or DreamWorks big-budget feature, there is no doubt it’s a stunner.

GKIDS provides a nigh immaculate presentation on Blu-ray. The 2.39:1 video is a pure showcase with photo-realistic CG animation. Excellent gradients and detailed backgrounds bolster the refined animation work. The high-contrast, deeply saturated animation is rendered with flawless black levels. Lupin III: The First runs 92 minutes on a BD-50, receiving a nearly transparent AVC encode with only the faintest hints of chroma noise or banding.

This movie is crying out for a Dolby Vision pass in 4K. For the moment, it’s only available on Blu-ray. As is, Lupin III: The First is a sheer video marvel with strong videophile tendencies. Wow friends with its demo-level picture quality.

Audio

Both the original Japanese audio and English dub are heard in fantastic 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtracks. Designed to make a theatrical impact beyond most anime coming from Japan, this is a raucous and high-energy mix. Excellent separation and authentic sound design make for a lively sonic experience.

Lupin III: The First was pre-scored, a practice in animation where the voice actors record their parts before the movie is animated. That means the Japanese voices perfectly sync with the characters’ lips. Which also means that the English dub is a small step behind that smooth integration, recorded long after the animation was completed. It’s a solid English dub that returns many familiar voices in the cast and sprinkles in a few new members.

New characters to Lupin’s world include Japanese voice actress Suzu Hirose as Laetitia, Kōtarō Yoshida as Lambert, and Tatsuya Fujiwara as Geralt. Many English voice cast members return from prior experience with Lupin, including Tony Oliver, Lex Lang, Michelle Ruff, and Laurie Hymes.

Ōno Yūji’s upbeat musical score spreads smoothly across the entire surround soundstage. The pleasing dynamics and intelligible dialogue nicely mesh together. Filled with action and adventure, the discrete mix fires from the rear channels when needed. The substantial bass sounds tight without becoming overbearing.

Optional English, English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles are available. They all play in a white font, residing inside the scope presentation. The English SDH subs are for the English dub, while the ordinary English subtitles provide a proper translation of the Japanese audio. The English dub takes some liberties with the Japanese dialogue, so they aren’t identical. Descriptive English audio is available in 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Extras

GKIDS and Shout Factory have gone all out for Lupin III: The First in two different and attractive editions. There’s the regular Blu-ray/DVD combo release and a spectacular SteelBook edition that isn’t much more expensive.

While both versions feature the same bonus features listed below, the SteelBook Blu-ray receives an exclusive 16-page booklet featuring character concept art. The regular Blu-ray combo release includes a glossy slipcover.

The Blu-ray is coded for Region A. Fans who order the Blu-ray combo or limited edition SteelBook from shoutfactory.com will receive an exclusive 18×24″ lithograph, while supplies last. A set of five exclusive 4×6 postcards are included with orders from the GKIDS store.

This BD has fantastic special features, including an almost hour-long chat between most of the English voice cast. The featurettes in Japanese include English subtitles.

English Cast Reunited documentary (52:57 in HD) – A fun, engaging discussion among the English voice cast that doesn’t get boring. Made during the pandemic, on-screen graphics have been designed around each actor’s voice during the group call. The lengthy discussion features Tony Oliver, Lex Lang, Michelle Ruff, Laurie Hymes and other voice actors. Topics include the original English voice cast reminiscing about their work on the series years ago.

CG Model Gallery (12:39 in HD)

Animation Breakdown featurette (18:11 in HD) – Fascinating for animators, two major scenes have their storyboards fleshed out and then there is an entire section on how the 3DCG animation was crafted.

Yellow Carpet Premiere featurette (01:19 in HD) – Video taken from the Japanese premiere on November 11, 2019.

Interviews with Director and Japanese Cast (33:45 in HD) – Interesting format with two members of the Japanese cast answering questions like their prior knowledge of Lupin. Director Takashi Yamazaki goes over the manually intensive work needed and early storyboards, practically rewriting the screenplay several times.

Trailers and Promos (10:23 in HD) – Eight different teasers and trailers, including additional international spots.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Lupin III: The First
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

The storied franchise makes the leap to 3D CD animation with fantastic results in this big-budget theatrical movie, retaining the essence of what makes Lupin such a popular character across manga and anime.

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User Review
5 (1 vote)

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