By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
GKIDS & Shout! Factory
Anyone unable to visit movie theatres because Lupin the 3rd The First was a limited screening will now see this CGI film on demand through various online video streaming services. The added content which is part of this package (and the home release) had me fall in love with this gentleman thief all over again.
To be fair, the many voice over artists involved in the localizations of the television series, Lupin the Third Part Two, made him popular. He would not be where he is today in the global-scale; he’s beloved as James Bond (artist/creator Monkey Punch acknowledged his inspiration is from this spy franchise). In America, Tony Oliver (Lupin the III), Michelle Ruff (Fujiko), Richard Epcar (Daisuke Jigen), Lex Lang (Goemon) and Dan Lorge (Zenigata) loved working together, and the stories they have to tell in their reunion special—included in this digital package—is very much worth the watch. It’s an audio recording, and I suspect the reason it was done this way is to keep the talents safe. Not even Lupin wants to mess with the pandemic.
Their connection is just as intimate as the original cast’s. Yasuo Yamada (Lupin the III), Eiko Masuyama (Fujiko), Kiyoshi Kobayashi (Daisuke), Makio Inoue (Goemon) and Gorō Naya (Zenigata) time together ultimately creates a family. And you can’t break apart a family. I’m glad Pioneer/Geneon brought back the voices fans are familiar with than recast for the American take. It would not have flown, as the gang revealed, in the reunion featurette. Tony even explained why Zenigata is called pops in the anglicized version. What’s heard is everything normally expected to be learned at a convention panel.
To hear how loosey-goosey they are shows how comfortable they are not only with the role but also with bringing something new to the character in these localizations.
The second featurette with the original Japanese talents gets into even more detail about the history of the franchise and how loved it is from their perspective. It revealed why I thought the film had a French flavour. Part of the production took place here, and Laetitia is comparable in personality to Marionette from Miraculous.
This release has a bit of everything to get newcomers up to speed about this franchise. What I love the most is that he’s now jumping off the screen. The transition to 3D CGI is very respectful to the Monkey Punch’s character designs, and yes, I digging that red leather coat!