11 February 2023Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Lupine III anime and the 40th anniversary of Tsukasa Hojo's Cat's Eye manga, the TMS Entertainment studio has created a new crossover of the Monkey Punch character on behalf of Amazon Prime Video. The film was in fact made as "Original Net Animation", that means a product intended exclusively for distribution on internet channels.
The crossover series of the gentleman thief Lupin, created by Monkey Punch, comes back after a decade from the last successful episode.
The film takes place in the context of the 80s, during the original timeline of Cat's Eye, and sees the three thieving sisters engaged in recovering three precious paintings made by their father. During their work, however, they come across Lupin III, who is also interested in recovering the paintings and revealing an ancient mystery that hides behind them. There will be international intrigues and the inevitable presence of Inspector Zenigata who will join forces with Detective Toshio to find themselves entangled in the affair too.
The character of Lupine is not unusual in these crossover operations, which has already occurred in the past in the two very successful crossings with Gosho Aoyama's Detective Conan (a television special in 2009 and a film in 2013).
The settings, the story, the twists and the surprises that gradually develop in the plot of the film make it pleasant both for the old fans of the two manga and for a vision of a new audience that the Amazon Prime channel allows to reach. The style of the story is the classic of all Lupin's adventures, where there will be numerous action scenes for a very dynamic storyline.
As in the previous crossovers, a beautiful work has been done in terms of the music soundtrack, where the classic themes of the respective anime are alternated and, in certain situations, combined together, managing to create a perfect atmosphere in continuity with the television series.
The real weak point of this film was the inexplicable choice to change the drawing style of both series to create something new that has nothing to do with the splendid stroke of the originals. Idea, however, in total discontinuity with the previous crossovers where instead an excellent job of merging the styles was done where the characters were made with the utmost care and respect for the originals.
The graphic sector was created in a CG which unfortunately penalizes enormously not only from the point of view of respect for the original design, but also due to a poor fluidity of the animations, not ideal for a film in which the action is the predominant part of the story.
Despite the flaws highlighted, the film is widely enjoyable, and I wonder why a union between the two most famous groups of thieves in the history of Japanese comics had not been thought of previously.
Lupine remains a subject that lends itself a lot to this kind of operation and I wish, in addition to the production of animated series and recently also the television transposition of Netflix, that they can continue to show off interesting products and who knows, a new collaboration with the catty thieves of Tsukasa Ojo.
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