At this point, it feels like I am writing about Lupin content for the Lupin gods. That and it’s probably because more Lupin things have been released recently. Mystery of Mamo appeared over Thanksgiving on Youtube and I had to watch it and write about it. Then there was Lupin Zero which I also had to write about. Now this Lupin film with Cat’s Eye appeared and it’s kind of obvious at this point right? I am obviously writing about it. Why wouldn’t I? I really like watching Lupin and then turning around to write about them. It’s one of my favorite things because Lupin really is one of those franchises that even if it isn’t good, it’s still highly enjoyable.
This film is a crossover with Cat’s Eye. I do have the first season of Cat’s Eye on dvd from when Nozomi was losing the rights to release it. Then discotek got it…yeah. Same thing happened to me with the Rose of Versailles. So I knew that Cat’s Eye existed before this film appeared on Amazon Prime and I knew that they were three attractive sisters who stole paintings from the Museum. I didn’t know anything other than that. I should have studied a bit more before watching this film, but I can jump into the series, whenever I do it, Especially since films usually simplify plot ideas and the series make them more long and complicated. Perfect.
The Start of a Fun Crossover
From a Lupin stand point, the film started with how one would expect a Lupin thing to start. Lupin is starting some sort of crime but on a boat in Tokyo where they work on stealing a painting and then escaping with Zenigata thrown into the mix somewhere. One important figure to this film, Dennis, is a hit man who is leading the chase to acquire the painting from Lupin after Lupin imitated him at the trade deal there. It’s a lot of fun with a lot of interesting and chaotic sorts of nature for them too. It’s as action heavy as you would expect Lupin to be.
At the same time Lupin’s heist is happening, the Cat’s Eye girls are performing a heist at a museum to acquire a different painting. Those girls being Ai as the youngest one, Hitomi the middle girl, and the oldest Rui who all work at the convenient Cat’s Eye cafe. Especially one that their father painted which belongs to them. It’s a very high leveled and intricate sort of heist with a lot of traps the girls need to escape from and they barely make it. So this is a good introduction to their story and the story of the film itself. Honestly, I enjoyed it quite a bit.
So this film is one of those crossovers that you know what is going to happen. The two thieving sides will be seemingly against each other at first. There is even a scene where Lupin is way more aggressive against these girls then they have ever been before hand for some reason. So it tries to fool the person watching this that the two sides will be competing throughout it for these paintings pretty hard and I don’t see that happen pretty often. But no, I loved seeing the Cat’s Eye girls and the Lupin gang act together to defeat the actual enemy at the end. It’s very formulaic stuff, but it’s still very satisfying.
Lupin Gang supporting the Cat’s Eye Girls
The best part of this film is seeing Lupin and his gang mentoring the Cat’s Eye girls. Ever since Lupin Part 5, the gang has been moved away from the immaturity of the franchise of the past and this film carries a lot of that energy in it. You know, even if Lupin was wearing his pink jacket from Part 3. Something which is known as being chaotic in the Lupin fandom. So yeah, he is looking over kids. Well, Rui is in her late twenties but the Cat’s Eye haven’t been involved with higher level sort of Lupin world traveling heists before. At least that is something that I am going to assume because Lupin is longer and has world traveling crimes all over the place.
That leads to seeing the gang being pretty protective over the Cat’s Eye girls. Fujiko is doing her usual Fujiko things by working with the bad guys until it’s her time to strike. The other three cast members (Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon) watch over them. Especially with Lupin trading thieving secrets with Ai when Lupin is injured. Plus Jigen and Goemon holding the line to allow the girls to do their thing. Lupin is still a crafty guy who pulls all sorts of tricks. You know, even when he is injured he gets hurt badly in this. Same with Jigen and Goemon who are down to their core when fighting against the villains on display.
I mean that in all positive ways. The Cat’s Eye girls are never treated as complete children at all. The term is inexperienced. Each of the Lupin gang, including Fujiko, knows that the Ai, Hitomi, and Rui can pull off heists. That is never a thing that is in doubt and those abilities they possessed lead to them defeating the antagonist group. The difference is that Lupin and the gang make sure that these girls will never be hunted by this group of villains with their armies and machine guns ever again over the objects in their position. I enjoy that fact. It’s really heart warming.
Noticing Modern Lupin Things
I am a casual Lupin fan compared to a lot of people who have been Lupin fans for longer, but I am noticing a lot of Lupin things that these modern adaptations are suffering from. At least I feel like I have watched enough older Lupin series to tell something is happening with these newer shows and projects. For instance, finding a backstory to Lupin in a case where he didn’t need one is becoming such a larger continual thing. Something which happens in this film to connect Lupin to the Cat’s Eye women and it is a little frustrating.
But I can say that taking Lupin and presenting him in a more family friendly way has taken a lot of bite out of the franchise. I mean, Lupin III acts a lot more mature and less perverted in this film right? He is now an actually mature adult who is still fighting the sins from his past due from the backstory of this film. Why does Lupin III and his gang really need a backstory because usually Lupin is an episodic adventure series where every case/episode is different. So the result is a much more mature Lupin for a family friendly audience and a backstory. That is also a little bit of a Castle of Cagliostro thing. Why couldn’t Lupin just be an actual nice guy instead?
Oh, there are the Neo Nazis being involved as the bad guys in this film too. I realize its Europe and rich people had ties with them, but what does stifle some of the film’s creativity. I think I said enough about this for this moment. Nazis and Neo Nazis are easy targets as bad guys in this film because they are horrible people. I will never turn down Lupin destroying these people because they deserve it. Screw being nice on this issue, None of these people deserve anything.
This entire film is cg and honestly, it could be so much worse than it is. It isn’t at that high level of cg animation like Lupin III: The First where the cg didn’t feel so stiff and it actually was very expressive and full of energy. That means it was a lot of fun to look at. I call the cg in this film to be above average, something at the level of Knights of Sidonia. Plus the character designs between Lupin III and Cat’s Eye were changed a bit so they could fit in a universe together. The cg was awkward at points but I can dig it honestly. It must have been a lot of hard work to put this film together on the scripting level and animation. So I can accept some stiffness.
So in general, Lupin III vs Cat’s Eye was a good time. It was an hour and a half of good character moments, design action, and Lupin being Lupin in a different capacity. Plus I got to see the Cat’s Eye girls on a more personal level. The action was nice, the characters were written in ways that make sense for this film. Even if the film was obvious where it was going, nothing dragged at all. It felt right for the crossover it was going and it was the result we all wanted to see. I’m not sure what else to say other than Lupin fans might have mixed reactions to this film, but I hope some people liked it well enough like me.