Lupine III - The First, the review of the limited edition Blu-Ray

Lupine III - The First, the review of the limited edition Blu-Ray
The animated film Lupine III - The First has had a rather troubled path both in terms of production and arrival at the cinema. In fact, the film was due to arrive in cinemas at the end of February thanks to Anime Factory, a Koch Media label specialized in the Italian edition of oriental multimedia works. The gentleman thief film, however, was one of the first films to undergo the lockdown and after a series of postponements, the distribution took place directly in streaming, on Amazon Prime Video from 15 September. On October 29th Lupine III - The First arrived in limited edition Blu-Ray and DVD and here is our review.

Lupine III - The First is the first debut in 3D computer graphics for the gentleman thief and it is an important qualitative and technological leap that at the time was approved and encouraged by the famous author of the manga Monkey Punch who passed away in April last year. The director of the animated film is Takashi Yamazaki, famous for directing the first 3D version of Doraemon in 2014 and last year also Dragon Quest: Your Story.

Lupine III - The First: a unpublished story set in the 60s

The story of Lupine III - The First is set in Paris in the 60s. Here the famous protagonist, who takes his cue from Arsène Lupine of the author Maurice Leblanc, does everything to steal the diary of the archaeologist Bresson in order to be able to take possession of an immense treasure called Eclipse, an heirloom not stolen by his grandfather Arsenius I. This object, however, is also sought after by the young and cultured Laetitita, by Fujiko and by a dangerous Nazi organization.

After discovering that he has many aspects in common with Laetitia, Lupine decides to continue the search for the Eclipse together with the girl in addition to the inseparable Jigen and Goemon. In a story made up of double games, twists and landscapes inherent to the diary, the adventure takes the protagonists and antagonists around the world to discover the true nature of the Eclipse.

Between storytelling and new technology: innovation and tradition

The film is halfway between an Indiana Jones-style adventure and the famous Lupine III - Il Castello di Cagliostro, but all in 3D graphics that often turns out to be somewhat mistreated when it comes to works from a manga or anime. The work done is quite convincing and at times unexpectedly surprising. Lupine is the classic one with the iconic red jacket with the addition of elements taken from the first adventures and other more modern ones. His character always remains the light-hearted, ironic one that has accompanied entire generations for years.

We are faced with an anti-hero with human behaviors, but with immense ability to escape and robbery. Lupine III - The First, therefore, is a film that exploits a lot of fan service and tries to revive the passion of the most nostalgic and make the famous character known to the youngest. This is because the spirit of Lupine, of his gang, but also of the elements around them such as the yellow 500, are always the same, reproduced with great precision by the technical staff with a meticulous search for every expression, movement and artistic and expressive detail. The computer graphics, in fact, often tends to show an extreme realism that leaves the viewer speechless.

The best is shown with the chases and the escape in cars that return the true emotions of the old animated series by combining them with the realism and detail of modern technology. As for the characters, the process of defining the pattern was relatively simple, but for some it even seems that they have received an incredible benefit as for Jigen and Zenigata who now have more marked details and a character less marked by the classic clichés.

The slightly less convincing character, unfortunately, is that of Fujiko Mine for whom the procedure has been much more complex due to the various images that have been given to the fascinating thief over the years. Different speech for the settings for which meticulous and detailed historical research has been carried out with a lot of intervention by a staff of French animators who have recreated the appearance of some places of the time such as motorways that still did not have the centerline.

The Italian dubbing and the Blu-Ray special edition by Koch Media

The work of the Italian voice actors including Stefano Onofri in the role of Lupine, Alessandra Korompay in the role of Fujiko should also be praised , Joy Saltarelli who surprisingly becomes Laetitia, Alessandro D'Errico who plays Jigen, Antonio Palumbo is Goemon and Rodolfo Bianchi is Zenigata again.

As for the special Blu-Ray edition brought to Italy by Anime Factory and Koch Media, this is very accurate especially in the particular materials. The sales package features a good quality hard cardboard dust jacket with a very neat print on the front and details on the film on the back. Inside this there is the classic blue Blu-Ray case inside which there is an interesting Booklet in which some details of the film are told with interviews with the director, character cards and production notes and six cardboard cards depicting Lupine in two different versions, Jigen, Fujiko, Goemon and Zenigata (unfortunately the character of Laetitia is missing, which in the film has, however, its considerable importance).

The Booklet and the cards are made in an excellent way , in particular the weight of the cardboard of the cards and their size that is anything but contained make them very attractive to true fans of the brand and an added value to the entire packaging. Sore point, however, once the CD is inserted in the player: apart from the film, there are very few Extra contents. In fact, these are limited only to a short docu-film on the dubbing entitled In Sala Dubbing with Stefano Onofri, Alessandra Korompay and Rodolfo Bianchi, to the sequences of Italian and textless titles, to the teaser, to the Original Preview and to the cinematic trailer. Nothing, therefore, about the artistic realization or behind the scenes of the drawings. A real shame.

Special mention for the video and audio quality that are set on a fixed resolution at 1080p at 24 frames per second and a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio codec perfectly enjoyable with a home surround system, but also with any television system. Interesting addition of the original dubbing in Japanese with the same audio quality as the Italian dubbing, however the subtitles are only in Italian.

Conclusions

In conclusion this special Blu-Ray edition of Lupine III - The First showcases a film made especially for historical fans in which novices can appreciate the aesthetic details, but may have some confusion about the introspective and psychological aspect of the main character and his supporting actors. The story is intriguing, although not original and perhaps too much derived from the brand's past and other film products. The content of the sales package of the Italian edition of Koch Media is rich in booklets and celebratory cards, pity the scarcity of relevant extra content which is limited only to the curious docu-film on Italian dubbing.



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