Fifty years ago, Lupin the 3rd first appeared in Monkey Punch. To mark the occasion, Funimation premiered the newest movie, Italian Game, at Anime Expo this year. Named after an opening move in a game of chess, the movie plays out in an equally elaborate fashion. Each individual sequence seems separate and independent from all the others. When in actuality, and you only discover this at the end, each move made by all of the characters lead to a glorious conclusion.
The movie starts with a daring train chase with Lupin and Zenigata attempting to rescue a noble family member of the city, Rebecca Rossellini. After her rescue, and a quick whirlwind marriage to Lupin, the story kicks into gear. Multiple heists, each heavily guarded, challenge Lupin and his associates Jigen, Goemon and Fujiko as they fight to be the first to steal valuables. These increasingly difficult heists culminate with Lupin going after the racing to the final treasure, that of the Count of Cagliostro (yes, the very same Cagliostro you’re thinking of). I wish I could go more into detail, but honestly it feels like I’ve given away too much with this simple description.
The thing that I immediately noticed was that the art style of the characters had remained the same. Each character still bore their trademark looks despite it being in the modern age. But, there were some subtle improvements, for instance the characters had a new depth to them. Speaking to the legacy of the Lupin franchise overall, fans will be happy to see that animators haven’t gone overboard in “bringing them into the future”. Merely polished them up to help them age a bit better.
The action and comedy mix is still spot on from the series and movies of old as well. From start to finish of the movie, you were either laughing at some incredulous interaction between Lupin and Zenigata. The slapstick elements are hard to pull with many modern series, but Lupin continues to lead the way when it comes to physical gags. During the screening, the first part of the movie had the audience laughing several times. Of course, The Italian Game dishes out equal parts action and comedy, and when it does action, it does it very well. I found myself on the edge of my seat on a number of occasions, such as when Lupin must escape from an MI6 agent able to track his every move.
Overall, this was a worthwhile experience and a joy to see such a recognizable character returning to the silver screen. The movie itself also rewards fans of older movies, this one seems to have a direct connection with Castle of Cagliostro, while still remaining a stand alone movie for new fans to easily get into the story. Honestly, if you’re looking for comedic antics and fast paced action I can’t recommend this movie enough. Sadly, once again, this movie had an electronics ban. So I’m sorry to say, there aren’t any images for me to share this time. But take my word for it (unlike Lupin, I’m not trying to trick you) this movie is a must watch!