French Professor Bresson's diary is not just a collection of personal notes. Rather, it should point the way to a great treasure. Of course, Lupine III cannot be told twice, which is why he is only too happy to access the long-lost book at the festive exhibition. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people interfering with him. First he is disturbed by a young woman who has pretended to be security personnel. Then the thief Fujiko appears. At the end of the day, his old opponent Inspector Zenigata decided to finally put Lupine III behind bars. But that's just the beginning of the adventure for everyone involved …
Even beyond the age of 50 there can still be a first time. See Lupine III: The First . Conceived by Monkey Punch in 1967, the master thief has already taken on a wide variety of forms . It started with a manga, followed a short time later by the first series . Various anime films have been produced since then, including the classic The Castle of Cagliostro by Hayao Miyazaki . Countless TV specials followed, and for a while there was a new one every year. And even as a live-action version, the indestructible charmer and scoundrel did gymnastics across the screen, most recently with Lupine III – The Master Thief . As a fan, you were actually used to the most diverse manifestations.
And yet there was great skepticism when it became known that Lupine III would now also be up to mischief as a computer-generated variant. The character head of all things, which has remained so true to itself for decades, as a soulless CGI image? That didn't sound very promising, especially since Japan is still struggling with this form of animation. It is all the more surprising that Lupine III: The First has not only succeeded in transporting the popular and familiar template into a new dimension. The film actually belongs to the better titles in the meanwhile quite extensive filmography of the permanent thief.
Takashi Yamazaki , who already demonstrated his ability to give indestructible 2D veterans a new 3D polish in your story in Dragon Quest and Stand by Me Doraemon, was responsible for this. While the adaptation of the video game suffered from squeezing a story that was otherwise told in several dozen hours into a little over an hour and a half, he had a free choice in Lupine III: The First. However, with this freedom he did not want to enter into particularly large experiments. Rather, he relies on the tried and tested, lets the usual characters appear, even when the plot is running, he refrains from trying something really new. After all, the audience first had to be convinced of the look, at least the content should be familiar.
The optics can really be seen. Of course, you shouldn't expect detail-loving excellence from US blockbuster studios like Disney or Pixar . But the settings are atmospheric, there are always nice details. Above all, the designs were transferred very well into the new form of presentation. Lupine, Zenigata and all the others have retained their characteristics, also with regard to facial expressions and animation. The fact that the latter, as is so often the case with computer-generated ones, is a bit excessive and doesn't think much of gravity is less of a problem with Lupine III: The First. The film has a comic-like atmosphere anyway, in which everything is covered. In contrast to many western productions, which pursue a realism that clashes with the animations, this fits together better.
The story itself is of course quite nonsense and in part not really understandable. But it's fun and – not just because of the characters – it has a nice nostalgic factor. The contribution from the Nippon Connection 2021 takes a classic adventure scenario that also brings back memories of Indiana Jones because of the Nazi involvement. Secret treasures that promise great power always attract. As always, there are lots of disguises, regular chases and smaller secrets that are revealed. Even if it would be a shame if there were no cartoons for the master thief in the future, Lupine III: The First definitely makes you want more as a possible alternative.
OT: "Lupine III: The First"
Directed by Takashi Yamazaki
Screenplay: Takashi Yamazaki
Template: Monkey Punch
Music: Yuji Ohno
Animation: Tokyo Movie Shinsha, Marza Animation Planet
If you want to find out more about the master thief and his adventures: In our special on Lupine III we review the career of the manga and anime hero. There are also dozens of reviews of past titles.
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