DVD Review: The Castle of Cagliostro (Lupin the III) – Special Edition

Manga and Anchor Bay Entertainment produce a new version of the 1979 Hayao Miyazaki classic.  Is this one worth the upgrade?  Read on and find out.

Lupin the III is the grandson of the famous French thief Arsene Lupin.  He shares his grandfather’s skill in the realm of thievery.  He and his partner Jigen have just robbed a Moroccan casino and are driving down the road with their haul then Lupin tells Jigen to toss the money out the window.  Turns out that they’ve stolen millions of dollars of counterfeit “goat bills.”  Lupin decides to go to the country of Cagliostro to track down the source of the goat bills. 

When he and Jigen arrive in Cagliostro they have a flat and are changing it by the side of the road when a girl, dressed in a wedding dress, in a car rushes by with some thugs in pursuit.  Lupin always has an eye for the ladies and takes up the pursuit to save her.  He succeeds in saving her, but she is taken by another set of thugs.  He’s only left holding one of her gloves and her signet ring falls out.  He recognizes the crest and goes to the ruin of a castle which has the crest above the entry.  The caretaker tells them that the castle burned down 7 years ago and the Duke and his wife were killed. The only survivor was their daughter Clarisse. 

Ten years ago Lupin tried to break into the Castle of Cagliostro to find the source of the goat bills but was unsuccessful.  Lupin decides that this time he will find the source.  Lupin’s other partner the swordsman Goeman arrives.  Lupin’s nemesis Inspector Zenigata arrives when word reaches him that Lupin is in the area.  The evil Count Cagliostro has kidnapped Clarisse in order to marry her and join the two Cagliostro dynasties and find the secret treasure of the family.  Lupin swears to rescue Clarisse and prevent this travesty for occurring. 

Castle of Cagliostro is a fine film from Hayao Miyazaki and has all of his trademark touches.  Miyazaki has a fascination with mechanical devices of all kinds, we get to see an auto gyro, a ship, castles, and the final battle takes place in a clock tower.  He also provides a cast of colorful characters and villains. 

He also adds an interesting twist in that the treasure of the Cagliostro’s is not exactly what you think it is.  It has heavy doses of action, adventure, and comedy.  The transfer of this version is also superior to the 2000 DVD.  The colors are vivid where the colors of the 2000 DVD looked faded in comparison. 

This version still has the 2000 Manga dub which does have some language issues (son of a bitch, bastard, and shit to name a few – no F-bombs though) and if you don’t want the kiddies to hear some new phrases you may not want them to watch this.  Parental discretion is advised, though I think you can hear all of those on network TV these days(?).

The new edition still has the English opening credits, which are freeze frames of the original opening credits.  This was done to remove the Japanese characters for better English consumption.  It’s a shame that the original opening was not offered as an option.  This edition also adds a nice selection of special features. 

Castle of Cagliostro is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and enhanced for 16×9 televisions.  The feature also offers a selection of audio options, English Surround 5.1, English 2.0 Surround, Japanese Mono, French Mono, and Spanish Mono.  English subtitles are also offered.  The disc is double-sided with the feature on one side and the bonus features on the others.

The final battle takes place in a clock tower

The final battle takes place in a clock tower

Special features include the entire feature length storyboard by Hayao Miyazaki with the Japanese feature soundtrack.  There is also a 25 minute interview with animation director Yasuo Ohtsuka (in Japanese with English subtitles), the 2 minute Japanese trailer, a photo gallery (more of an art gallery really), and trailers for other anime titles. 

I’ve always enjoyed Miyazaki’s work and Castle of Cagliostro holds a special place in my heart since it was the first title of his that I recall watching.  This edition is worth the upgrade since it offers better picture quality and a nice selection of special features.

The Castle of Cagliostro (Lupin the III) – Special Edition is now available for pre-order at Amazon for an August 29th release. As of yet, there is not a release date for this version of the DVD in the UK. Visit the DVD database for more information.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.