I am a person who grew up watching a lot of different western cartoons. These ranged from strange shows like Jackie Chan Adventures to Justice League all the way to classic shows like the Looney Tunes. By watching these, even though I’ve watched anime for a very long time, I’ve always had a more western or North American thought process when it came to anything I’ve watched. I’ve always had a fondness for relatively well defined characters put into different situations each episode, very much like the Looney Tunes or a lot of other western television shows. Lupin the Third is very much like the Japanese version of Looney Tunes. The episodes are their own short one shots that have a different style of story, the characters are well defined in what role they play, and the series has had a lot of different representations, recreations, movies, episodes, and series, but the joy in watching the Lupin crew is never left behind.
Every frame of this show looks gorgeous. The characters are brightly colored and pop out of the nicely drawn backgrounds of the Italian country side. Each shot is framed extremely nicely and are well composed. The characters are never off model and are highly detailed. Below are some examples. Most of the cars and other vehicles are cg when moving, but it’s done a lot better than most and you can barely tell most of the time.
Also, I should mention that the animation in this show is top notch. The characters move very fluidly and the action scenes are well choreographed. Even though these action scenes aren’t as lengthy or as impactful as what we can expect from Studio Bones or Madhouse Productions, they are not skimped on at all. The company behind this show, TMS Entertainment, put a lot of effort into the production of this show and it shines through and through.
Lupin’s gangs is the same as it always was in every other series. Lupin is still the perverted master thief, Fujiko Mine is still the sexy femme fatale who is Lupin’s equal, Jigan is the expert marksman who plays dialogue off of Lupin, Goemon still is the quiet guy with the invincible sword, and Detective Zanigata is still the guy from Interpol who is trying to captured the rest of them. The smartest thing about this show is that it keeps the interactions the same while naturally inserting characters that develop throughout the show. Lupin and crew are like mentors to these people and they help these other characters grow throughout the show.
As I said before, the show is episodic and has different adventures each time, but there is an overarching story throughout it. Frankly enough though, it is the weakest part of this Lupin series. Similar to Cowboy Bebop, there are a few two-part episodes in it and they always felt like they needed more explanation and more time to develop. The ending of the series is also a little bit rushed, but it does give the impact that is needed. Lupin’s adventures in Italy needed to end somehow, and they did a pretty decent job at doing it. Exposition in this show is great, because for most episodes all it takes is three to four lines of dialogue and the viewer knows everything they need to know for the rest of the episode.
I am probably not the right person to measure sound in capacity, but the voice acting was spot on. Each voice actor fit the role of the characters they were assigned extremely well. It almost felt like the voice actors were born to fit these roles. The music was solid too. A lot like the music of the original series with added Italian violin flair and added use of a wider spread of instruments. A great way to upgrade and homage the music from the past.
This isn’t the most sophisticated or philosophic and thinking series that ever existed, but it is a great time to watch. If you need a good pick me up series after watching something dour or just want to have a great time watching Lupin and the Gang stealing unique items, then I would suggest giving this series a watch.