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Anime Movie Review: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

"Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro" 4K blu-ray cover.

"Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro" 4K blu-ray cover.

Quick Info

  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Distributor: Discotek Media
  • Released: June 23, 2015, for blu-ray
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Availability: On blu-ray, DVD, and digital, streaming the Streamline English dub on Hoopla

Story Summary

Lupin III has pulled off another caper and stolen money from a casino. He discovers that the money is counterfeit and decides to find the creator of the fake currency. Entering the country of Cagliostro, his car breaks down and they have to fix their tires. Then they see men pursuing a woman in a car and take off to help her, leading Lupin to his next caper.

This Movie Is Really Fun

I do have some familiarity with the Lupin III franchise but I wouldn’t call myself a diehard fan. I’ve watched Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, the more mature take on the franchise but most of the time the Lupin III is a little less mature and goofier, and light-hearted.

The movie is an enjoyable adventure story and I liked it, it was a fun movie and while it’s not exactly true to these characters, I probably wouldn’t have watched it if I hadn’t watched The Woman Called Fujiko Mine first.

I know that the characterization is different from the manga but I found it to be an enjoyable movie anyway.

Lupin III preparing to break into Count Cagliostro's castle.

Lupin III preparing to break into Count Cagliostro's castle.

Lupin the 3rd: Castle of Cagliostro 40th Anniversary Edition 4K Blu-ray Trailer

The Animation Is Stunning!

amazing, especially the car chase scene in the early part of the movie. It still looks amazing. The hand-drawn animation is stunning and looks so good.

The animation for the car chase and some of the later fights look really stunning. The backgrounds are also beautiful watercolors that are nice backgrounds to look at while the characters talk or explore the area.

Everything about this movie looks amazing, but it’s also special because ever since anime moved to digital animation, hand-drawn animation became something animators stopped doing because digital animation is easier.

This film was also made in seven months, and that is amazing, especially since animated feature films usually take much longer to produce, in both America and Japan.

The animation still looks fantastic despite being a 40-year-old movie. And that is a testament to Hayao Miyazaki’s amazing work, and he made this as an unknown director when this film was released so he didn’t receive as much praise in Japan as he does now for his work with the studio he founded, Studio Ghibli.

Why the Film’s Streamline English Dub Is Weird

I watched Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979) on Netflix with English dub first and then I rewatched it with the Japanese dub and English subtitles. There are major changes in the script between the English dub and the Japanese audio with the English subtitles because of copyright reasons.

The first major change is that if you only watch the English dub, you’ll notice that they never utter the main character Arsene Lupin III’s name, “Lupin”. It’s because the character of Arsene Lupin was not in the public domain at the time so since they were not allowed to use the name of Arsene Lupin, they just have to call him “Boss” in the Streamline English dub. The manga English dub that was released later was able to call him “Lupin” but the character of Arsene Lupin went into the public Domain in 2015.

The Japanese dub doesn’t have this issue since Japan has a very short copyright lifespan compared to other countries.

It does make the movie worth rewatching because of all the script changes. If you usually watch the Japanese track with English subs you won’t notice anything out of the ordinary, because all these changes mainly apply to the 1995 English dub track.

I do like the English dub for this film, it’s not the best I’ve ever heard but it’s a lot of fun. The specific English dub I’m reviewing is the English dub that Streamline did for the movie.

Lupin III

Bob Bergen is entertaining voicing Lupin III, his delivery is a little corny, but this is playing to the corny side of the Lupin The Third franchise so it works, but sometimes the character sounds a little silly.

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Yasuo Yamada voices the character in Japanese and he’s a little less corny, but he plays up Lupin’s mischievous side, as well as the times he needs to be serious.

Both actors portray Lupin uniquely in their own way that works for the character in different ways. While the English voice work isn’t bad at all, the Japanese voice track is excellent, although Bob Bergen is a fan favorite when it comes to the English voice actors for Lupin III.

Daisuke Jigen

Steve Bulen voices Daisuke Jigen and while he’s not my favorite English voice for this character he did a good job, although it is weird hearing him call Lupin “Boss” instead of his name. I liked his voice work and I’m not gonna nitpick too hard on the dub, because it is an old dub, and it’s not a bad one, it’s just weird if you’ve heard these characters voiced by different voice actors in English and Japanese.

Kiyoshi Kobayashi does a good job as Daisuke Jigen, but I can’t really compare him to the other Daisuke Jigen's seiyuu because haven’t heard the original Japanese tracks for other Lupin The Third anime.

Fujiko Mine

Edie Mirman voiced Fujiko Mine and I liked her voice work in this movie. She did a decent job and while she’s not my favorite choice for the voice actress, she’s good enough.

Eiko Masuyama voiced Fujiko Mine in Japanese and she gave a great vocal performance in this film. She sounds really nice but I don’t usually watch this series in Japanese.

Goemon Ishikawa XIII

Steve Kramer voiced Goemon Ishikawa XIII and I think he was good voicing this character. He was a good choice for voicing this character and he doesn’t sound corny or stiff.

Makio Inoue is the seiyuu for Goemon Ishikawa XIII in Japanese and I like his voice work too. He sounds serious like the character usually does and he gave a good performance.

Inspector Koichi Zenigata

David Povall voices Inspector Inspector Koichi Zenigata, his name was mistranslated as Keibu in Japanese, which translates to “inspector” in English. He did a good job voicing this character and he did a good job in this role.

Gorou Naya voiced Inspector Zenigata in Japanese and I liked his work. He was funny and he has interesting interactions with Lupin and he’s not as corny as David Povall but he’s still a good choice to voice this character.

Lady Clarisse de Cagliostro

Joan-Carol O'Connell voices Lady Clarisse de Cagliostro and I enjoyed her voice acting for this character. Her character was interesting and her voice actress did a good job for her vocal performance.

Sumi Shimamoto also did a great job with her voice acting in Japanese. She brings the character to life and gives her an innocence that I enjoyed about the character.

Count Lazare de Cagliostro

Michael McConnohie is good as Count Lazare de Cagliostro. He put on a great villain voice that made him sound very evil and menacing. I liked his voice work for this movie.

Tarou Ishida is also great as Count Lazare de Cagliostro. I enjoyed his voice acting and this character was performed very well in both languages, but I like the Japanese seiyuu a little more than his English dub actor.

The English dub is good but the Japanese dub is better. It’s not the best English dub, but it’s not the worst English dub for an anime movie. I liked the dub and I don’t think it’s a bad English dub but the Japanese dub is great.

Yuji Ohno - Castle of Cagliostro OST (car persecution)

The Music Is Beautiful

Yuji Ohno is the main composer for the Lupin The Third franchise and has done the soundtrack for the movie and the series. He’s carried the franchise when it comes to the soundtrack and I liked the music.

The soundtrack is exciting, emotional, and beautiful; it’s very nice to listen to. Lupin The Third: The Castle of Cagliostro has an amazing soundtrack that I enjoyed a lot.

Lupin meeting Countess Clarice.

Lupin meeting Countess Clarice.

Reader Poll

The Characters Might Be Seen as Being Out of Character

Fans of the characters in Lupin The Third have been disappointed that the characters don’t act and behave the same way as they do in any of the main entries or spinoffs of Lupin The Third because they behave differently than how they are in the main entries of the series.

While the characters' behaviors change I enjoyed the story even though everyone’s behaving differently than they usually do. But some fans wish that everyone were more in-character than they are in the film.

It’s An Enjoyable Movie That Not All Fans Like

Lupin The Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979) is an amazing movie, but some fans say it’s not a good Lupin The Third movie. It’s mainly because the characters aren’t particularly in-character compared to the rest of the franchise.

The movie has amazing production value and a good dub and an excellent Japanese track. It’s a movie that I enjoyed a lot. I’ll probably get the movie eventually, but I did enjoy watching the film on Hoopla or digital rental

Quick Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

Great story, characters, and world-building

The English dub can be corny

Amazing hand-drawn animation

They were not allowed to use the name "Lupin" due to copyright issues

Good English dub, excellent Japanese dub

Viewers might not like the slow moments

Beautiful soundtrack

My Grade: A

Lupin The Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979) is an amazing movie that shows off what hand-drawn animation is capable of and it’s amazing how the movie has held up after 40 years.

The anime film is excellent and the English dub is good but the Japanese dub is excellent, while the English dub is old, it’s pretty decent.

The story is very well-written and it’s just a fun adventure romp. I enjoyed it very much and it was the second Lupin The Third anime I have watched.

It is worth your time and money if you enjoyed the movie, I enjoyed watching it on Netflix, but now the streaming license for it has expired, and I’ll probably watch it again sometime. It is a fun movie that everyone can enjoy.

My Rating

The Movie Is Slow-Paced

Lupin The Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979) is a little slow-paced with quiet scenes that develop characters after the high-octane action scenes. I like the quiet scenes because they give the viewers a chance to breathe, but some viewers might be bored.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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