Despite its various flaws, Lupin the Third (ルパン三世) still has a lot of visual appeal. It doesn’t deserve the flame it received post release.
Lupin the Third Synopsis
Lupin III, grandson of legendary gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, steals an Olympic gold medal in Singapore but is forced to surrender the treasure to his rival Michael Lee. Later, Lupin is (again) betrayed by Fujiko and captured in Thailand by Inspector Zenigata. However, Zenigata soon reveals he actually needs Lupin’s to stop an underground auction. Should Lupin succeeds, Zenigata promises Lupin that his criminal record would be erased for good.
Most critics, including Japanese ones, slammed Lupin the Third after its release. To be honest, while I agree with their criticisms about the action sequences and plot holes, I didn’t feel the movie was that terrible. After all, most of what I’d expect from a Lupin Anime movie was in this live-action adaptation.
- A high-tech stronghold. In an exotic land.
- Lupin III’s endearing cheekiness. And boy-like infatuation with Fujiko.
- Jigen’s astonishing marksmanship.
- Goemon slicing the most impossible things with Zantetsuken.
In my opinion, the reason for the movie receiving such damning reviews is that many elements from Manga and Anime will never feel right when played out in real-life. In the case of this Anime live-action adaptation, this would be the characters’ signature but impractical costumes, Zantestuken decimating everything and anything, Fujiko’s inexplicable betrayals, etc.
Yet, these absurdities need to be in any Lupin movie, the absence of which would bring on a different wave of criticism. One that’s almost likely to be LOUDER. Going by this, I think it’s perhaps best to just stop adapting Manga and Anime for live-action, because it’s seldom going to end up well. But of course, business profit would dictate that this practice continues. Fans would insist so too. And so we can look forward to more indignity over disappointing adaptations for many years to come.
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