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Anime Movie Review: "Lupin the 3rd - Operation: Return the Treasure" (2003)

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

"Lupin the 3rd: Operation Return the Treasure" DVD cover.

"Lupin the 3rd: Operation Return the Treasure" DVD cover.

Quick Info

Directors: Jun Kawagoe
Distributor: Discotek Media
Runtime: 90 minutes
Released: December 6th, 2016
Availability: On DVD, digital rental, streaming on RetroCrush.TV

Story Summary

Lupin III and his gang are trying to find the Trick Diamond, which is hidden in the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Spain. To find the Trick Diamond Lupin has to return the treasures that Lupin’s rival, a thief named Mark Williams stole.

Meanwhile, Mafia boss Ivan “Rats” Crockovich is also trying to find the Trick Diamond and swipe it for himself.

This Is a Fun Take On a “Lupin III” Caper

While Lupin the 3rd can be a very formulaic franchise when it comes to the core premise, Lupin the 3rd: Operation: Return the Treasure has Lupin doing something interesting that’s not just stealing a treasure.

The reversal of having Lupin return stolen treasures is a fun concept that turns the character on his head because he’s doing it to get a treasure, not because he wants to return treasure just to return it.

It’s a fun premise that makes the movie entertaining and has a lot of comedic moments with Inspector Zenigata.

Only Lupin III could turn this into a selfie.

Only Lupin III could turn this into a selfie.

Epic car chase scene!! | Lupin III: Operation Return the Treasure (2003)

The Animation Is Nice

The animation is good, it’s not the most amazing animation ever but it is nice to look at. The car chase scenes are always fun to watch and it’s always over-the-top when it comes to Lupin’s capers.

The art style is good; the animation is decent so you’ll have a fun time if you enjoy anime if you like heist stories.

The Voice Cast Is Great!

Lupin the 3rd: Operation Return the Treasure has a good voice cast when it comes to the Japanese voice cast. The Japanse dub is pretty good and I enjoyed the Japanese dub. There was no English dub when this was released in the U.S. and the DVD so I only have to review the Japanese dub of the anime movie.

Lupin III

Kanichi Kurita voiced Lupin III in his second movie for taking over the role after Yasuo Yamada passed away. He did a great job in the movie and he had fun with the character. He gives Lupin a lot of personality that gives life to the character and he’s a great seiyuu.

Daisuke Jigen

Kiyoshi Kobayashi did a great job as Daisuke Jigen. He’s been voicing the character for a long time and I enjoy his voice work in the role of Daisuke Jigen.

Kiyoshi Kobayashi gives Jigen a lot of personality despite his character’s stoic and serious nature. He did a great job in this role.

Goemon Ishikawa XIII

Makio Inoue voiced Goemon Ishikawa XIII and he did a great job in this role, I always like his voice work in this role.

He never talks a lot, just when it’s important for his character to talk. Makio Inoue is a great voice actor and I enjoy his work a lot.

Fujiko Mine

Eiko Masuyama voiced Fujiko Mine and she did a great job in this role. I enjoyed her voice work and she’s great in this movie. Fujiko is being her typical self and doing what she’s notorious for, betraying the gang for her own profit.

She does fall into a familiar pattern, even though I find it entertaining it can become predictable.

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Eiko Masuyama still did a great job in the role of Fujiko.

Inspector Koichi Zenigata

Gorō Naya did an excellent job as Inspector Koichi Zenigata and I love his voice work too. He's always fun as Inspector Zenigata. While he didn't get to do too much in the movie due to the plot of the story, he still has a big impact on the entire story.

Gorō Naya did a great job as Inspector Zenigata, I enjoy his voice acting a lot and his character is always fun to watch in Lupin the 3rd.

Ivan Crockovich

Gaetano Varcasia did a good job as Ivan Crockovich and while he’s a very generic villain his seiyuu still did a good job. His character was just too generic for me to care that much.

Overall, the Japanese dub is very good, it’s not the best Japanese dub I’ve heard but it was very enjoyable and I did like the voice actors in their roles.

01 - Bersaglio Rosso - Lupin III Return The Treasure For Ultimate Pleasure

The Soundtrack Is Excellent!

Yuji Ohno composed the soundtrack and his music is always nice to listen to. While the soundtrack is great the music is fun and the soundtrack is enjoyable.

The music fits the emotional tone of the movie while still being fun and exciting. Lupin the 3rd soundtracks are always fun to listen to. The music fits the movie very well and while it isn’t my favorite movie, the soundtrack is still great.

I enjoyed the soundtrack for this movie a lot. Yuji Ohno made a great soundtrack for a fun movie.

The Villains Are Okay, but Not Amazing

While Lupin the 3rdcan have great villains, Lupin the 3rd: Operation Return the Treasure just has generic villains. They’re not the most interesting characters, but they’re just okay.

The villains are just run-of-the mill criminals and they aren’t that interesting to watch. It is neat that each member of Lupin’s gang had a villain to fight one on one but they’re not that interesting when it comes to the overall story, they’re just not that interesting to watch.

While there are many generic villains in the anime, it’s always annoying when they have a generic villain in one of the TV specials or theatrical movies for Lupin the 3rd.

Unfortunately, the villain for this movie was okay, but not amazing.

The Story Is Fun, but a Little Generic

Lupin the 3rd: Operation Return the Treasure is a fun anime movie that I enjoyed a lot. It turns the typical Lupin the 3rd caper on its head but is held back by having generic villains that aren’t as interesting as they could be.

It was fun to see the main cast have interesting fights with them, but the villains aren’t important in the narrative.

The story itself is a neat concept and I enjoyed it. The movie is fun, but not one that I’ll be buying for my own DVD collection. The movie is streaming in the U.S. and Canada on RetroCrush.TV.

It is a fun movie that was worth my time but not necessarily my money. It is available legally for free so you don’t have to spend money if you don’t want to.

I don’t feel I wasted my time watching the movie but it wasn’t my favorite Lupin the 3rdmovie.

This makes sense in context, I promise.

This makes sense in context, I promise.

Reader Poll

My Rating: B-

Lupin the 3rd: Operation Return the Treasure is a fun movie that I enjoyed but I won’t be buying for my DVD collection. It was a fun but generic movie. I enjoyed the movie as a fan of Lupin the 3rd but the movie wasn’t the best movie in the franchise.

It was a lot of fun to watch, but it wasn’t quite a must-have anime movie for your DVD collection.

It is, however, streaming on RetroCrush.TV, so you can watch it for free if you live in the U.S. or Canada. It is available for free so you should watch it if you want to see the movie without paying for a digital rental.

I recommend Lupin the 3rd: Operation Return the Treasure if you want to watch a fun Lupin the 3rdmovie and just enjoy an interesting twist on his typical caper. It is not the best Lupin the 3rdmovie I’ve watched but I still enjoyed it, even if it’s not my favorite movie in this franchise.

This movie does have a lot of the generic tropes used in the Lupin the 3rdfranchise when it comes to the plot points and what happens to Lupin’s gang.

If you don’t like the plot points that are commonly used in Lupin the 3rdyou won’t enjoy this movie.

It is a fun movie that is enjoyable but not the best movie in this franchise. It is still a fun movie that is a nice heist/adventure flick for any Lupin the 3rd fan to enjoy. It’s not the best starting point but it’s a good movie.

My Rating

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