Lupin III Movie: Blood Seal Eternal Mermaid
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Lupin the Third is a master thief, the grandson of an equally famous master thief. Along with his cohorts Jigen, Goemon and Fujiko, he takes on the most incredible jobs while always slipping through the grasp of his nemesis, Inspector Zenigata. “Blood Seal – Eternal Mermaid” is the most recent movie in the decades-old franchise, aired on television in early December, 2011.
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Quick Spoiler-free set-up: It’s time for Lupin’s latest heist, and he has his sights set on two famous jewels being secretly auctioned at the museum. But while escaping the museum, he runs across a teenaged girl, Maki, who implores Lupin to teach her how to become a thief herself — and she won’t take no for an answer. However, Lupin soon learns that the value of the jewels is far greater than he imagined as he finds himself tangled up in a centuries-old mystery involving an ageless mermaid. As Maki reveals her true motives to save her friend, the seemingly immortal Misa, Lupin finds himself in a supernatural quest that ultimately leads back to his own past with his own grandfather.
My Impressions: Sorry I’ve been distracted with other hobbies, so my reviews have been falling further behind. But as I’ve expressed elsewhere, I really don’t care very much how far behind I am, I’m going to take my own sweet time at this, because rushing it would lessen the enjoyment. There’s plenty of blogs that put out reviews within the same week as when the show aired…this isn’t one of them.
But even that being said, a little bit of brevity can’t hurt to get the ball rolling, so I’m spending less time typing and more time watching.
So, cutting to the quick: I am beginning to think that I have been missing out by largely avoiding the much-storied Lupin franchise to date.
Lupin the Third has been around forever, first wrenched from the mind of manga master Monkey Punch back in 1967, and this movie (aired in December 2011) marks the 40th anniversary of the Lupin anime. In short, Lupin has been around as long as I have, with countless television episodes, specials and movies over the decades. Lupin is definitely on the short-list of major anime/manga franchises that make up the foundations of modern Japanese animation. And after so much time, it seems just as entertaining and fresh as ever — it has aged well.
But other than various minor odds and ends (including far too many quarters wasted with Cliff Hanger at the corner arcade in Carrollton thirty years ago) over my anime-viewing years, my own experiences with Lupin have been very limited. Last year, I reviewed the 2010 Movie, The Last Job, moderately favorably as it garnered a “B” grade from me.
Lupin, in my mind, has always been somewhat of an anime version of James Bond — more specifically, the Roger Moore version of James Bond, with somewhat of a wink-and-a-nod, tongue-firmly-in-cheek portrayal of the famous British spy. Add into that a heavy dose of The Pink Panther, especially with the bumbling antics of Inspector Clouseau.
Although, with this particular movie itself, perhaps a non-anime analogy would be better served by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Just swap out the tale of the eternal mermaid and the secrets of immortality with the quest for immortality through the Holy Grail, and viola, Lupin becomes Junior. Well, the analogy is far from perfect, but there are some rather striking comparisons.
If anything, this movie shows that Lupin has not lost his touch, and it’s a fun romp from start to finish. All of the main characters are just as you might expect, with Fujiko being Fujiko, Goemon being Goemon, Jigen being Jigen, and Zenigata being as ridiculous as ever. It’s also well animated, which is a plus, and there’s a twist at the end that brings Lupin closer to his long-lost grandfather as well. Although, I must admit I’m not crazy about throwing in the supernatural element into the mix of the story (not something I expect in Lupin), but…well, okay, it is what it is. This is not some sort of grand, modern-era re-imagining of Lupin, THANK GOD — why mess with a classic when it works just as well today as it did ten, twenty, thirty years ago?
FINAL MOVIE GRADE: B
It’s fun, it’s engaging, it’s entertaining — nothing that is going to knock your socks off, but it shows that the Lupin franchise has not lost its touch. For anyone who is already a Lupin fan, it’s a treat. And for anyone who is unfamiliar with Lupin, I can still recommend this as well; you don’t need to be steeped in the history of the characters to figure out who is who and what is going on. As for me, I am thinking perhaps it is high time for me to go back and try out some of the earlier Lupin offerings (there’s plenty to choose from).
- Four minutes of the opening chase scene on Youtube
- Wikipedia Entry
- My Anime List Entry
- Anime News Network Entry
- AniDB Entry
- IMDB Entry
- If you like this, you might also like: Cowboy Bebop or Cat’s Eye.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “This was the first really fun ride for Lupin in a long while. The past few specials have been pretty terrible, especially the last one, The Last Job, wherein the running joke was Lupin being bitten on the ass by a ninja dog. This time around there were all the classic trademarks of Lupin: A heist, some chases, a secret treasure, a henchmen for Goemon to battle. Only the execution was really quite good.” – Otaku Revolution
- “I would actually suggest that people watch The Castle of Cagliostro first if they have never watched a Lupin film before since I think it is the best Lupin film. Blood Seal – Eternal Mermaid is clearly trying to emulate the brilliance of that film, and while it does fail on many aspects it is still a brilliant and thoroughly enjoyable film to watch. ” – Illogical Zen
- “So bleh. Everything was a sharp step down from The Last Job which already had its own share of production issues. Adding some plucky little kid to show up Lupin was also just a horrendous decision. It hasn’t been that long since the Conan special and at least he’s supposed to be a genius instead of some little brat selling popcorn. I didn’t really care much one way or the other for the voice actor changes in the face of everything else wrong with this special, so at least they weren’t irritatingly bad, but this was probably the worst of the recent specials since the mostly incomprehensible Red vs Green.” – Tenka Seiha
- “As tends to often be the case here, I’ve written a lot regarding this latest Lupin III special. However, despite the less than stellar final third of the special, the rest of the anime is good and the new seiyuu get into their roles quickly. As such, it is certainly well worth a look-see for Lupin III fans.” – AstroNerdBoy
- “All I know is that I enjoyed it and didn’t think it was a waste of time to watch and in my opinion that’s all that really matters to me. It was fun and entertaining if a bit yeah I’ve seen this before.” – Hillbilly Otaku
ROUND ONE RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round One: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Working Season 2, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Season 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, Kyousou Giga, Gdgd Fairies, Toradora OVA, Blue Exorcist: Kuro no Iede, Deadman Wonderland OVA, Lupin III Movie: Blood Seal Eternal Mermaid
Thumbs-down for Round One: Morita-san wa Mukuchi Season 2, Kimi to Boku, C3: CubexCursedxCurious, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls, Shakugan no Shana Final, Mashiro-iro Symphony: The Color of Lovers, Persona 4: The Animation, Maken-ki, Cross Fight B-Daman, Digimon Xros Wars Season 2, High Score, Infinite Stratos OVA, Hidamari Sketch SP, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai OVA, Queen’s Blade Premium Visual Book, Dragonball Z: Episode of Bardock, Sengoku Paradise Kiwami, R-15 OVA, Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi OVA, Eiyuu Densetsu: Sora no Kiseki
Coming up next: Yay, finally finished up first round of the Fall 2011 Season! Now it’s time to move on to the second episodes of everything listed above that received a thumbs-up.