Friday, September 20, 2013

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Lupin The 3rd: The Fuma Conspiracy

While there's still some debate among the fans as to whether this was movie instead of an OVA, Lupin III: The Plot Of The Fuma Clan was in fact the very first OVA starring the famous thief. It did have a limited theatrical run in Japan to promote the movie(similar to a certain Pony movie!), but this was an early OVA during the mid-80s. It features a few different voice actors from the regular cast in the Japanese edition. It was released originally in America by Animeigo using the name "Rupan" instead of Lupin apparently due to international copyright involving the original French Lupin character, even though it didn't stop Streamline Pictures from using "Lupin" in their releases including the original dub of Castle Of Cagliostro. This has recently though been re-released through Discotek Media along with some other Lupin anime.

The actually acts as a follow-up to the second manga series where Lupin was thought to be dead by the rest of the world after an explosion on a boat. Thinking this, Inspector Zenigata had retired with his family to becoming a Buddhist munk. But, Lupin comes out of hiding after his mate, the swordsman Goemon, when his bride Murasaki gets bridenapped by the modern day ninja originization, the Fuma Clan. The Fuma want Murasaki to get her family's ancient treasure, which is a lost stash of hidden gold. Zenigata comes out of retirement to take on the case, although its revealed early on that his subordinate is really an agent for the Fuma. After several great chase sequences, our heroes manage to rescue Murasaki, and make their way to the mountain cave where the treasure lies. However, this cave is filled with more traps than Indiana Jones could deal with. The Fuma corner the Lupin gang at the subterranean castle of gold, with their leader getting into an thrilling duel with Goemon. But the gold kingdom starts to cave in, burying the Fuma. Lupin & Co. escape, with Zenigata in hot pursuit.

You can really tell the difference in how more emphasis was given to the quality of animation in this one than the previous three Lupin movies. Granted, Cagliostro is great mainly because Hiyao Miyazaki was at the helm of it, but The Fuma Conspiracy holds it on well enough with the attention given to the movement of the characters. The fight sequences and chase scenes are exceptionally fine considering the time they came out in. The story is a little against the norm of your average Lupin flick as it takes place entirely in Japan, as opposed to in some exotic location. It's certainly worth a look, even though you might want to check it out in the original Japanese only as the American dub is a little stale.

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