ANIME EXPO: 50 Years of Thievery – A Celebration of Lupin the 3rd with the U.S. Premiere of “Italian Game” – Animation Scoop

ANIME EXPO: 50 Years of Thievery – A Celebration of Lupin the 3rd with the U.S. Premiere of “Italian Game”

A master thief. A hit man. A Samurai warrior. A femme fatale. Add a Japanese detective as tenacious as Wile E. Coyote. Mix them all together with clever plots, over-the-top action, slapstick humor and snazzy theme music, and you have the ingredients for Lupin the 3rd, a formula that has generated a 14-volume manga series, five animated TV series, 26 TV specials, and eight theatrical films (two live-action), including The Castle of Cagliostro, the first feature directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

It seems appropriate that the American premiere of Lupin the 3rd: Italian Game happened on July the 3rd. TMS Entertainment USA arranged the screening at Anime Expo in Los Angeles at the J.W. Marriott’s Diamond Ballroom. Hundreds of fans lined up for the occasion. You can get an idea of the fun from this trailer:

Once inside, the fans found on their chairs a free commemorative tee-shirt designed by Hisao Yokobori.

2:00. After a welcome from our host, a snafu occurred. The film began half-way through an introduction. Then the action stopped, the screen turning blue.

“Looks like Lupin stole the film,” said a fan sitting behind me.

“Yeah, he would do that,” another said while the surrounding fans chuckled.

The film was restarted from the very beginning, and the newest adventure of Lupin the 3rd proceeded to the delight of an enthusiastic crowd.

Now in Italy, Lupin has learned about the kidnapping of the wealthy hotel magnate, Rebecca Rossellini. A zealous fan, Pietro Panini, has forced her aboard a train and threatens to kill her unless she marries him. Naturally, gallant Lupin won’t stand for this and he takes off to rescue her in his customized Volkswagen Beetle—but not before Inspector Zenigata snags them together with a pair of handcuffs. Lupin and Zenigata call a truce; saving the damsel in distress comes first. The resulting chase is alternately thrilling and hilarious. Lupin has to drive through uneven terrain to catch the runaway locomotive, all the while dodging sheep, fording a river, avoiding being hit by another train, facing the threat of a wildfire, and trying not to lose his breakfast sushi. This has to be the greatest, wackiest chase ever animated; a live-action version couldn’t do it justice.

Meanwhile Lupin’s girl friend, Fujiko Mine, is keeping tabs on the mysterious Masked Earl. He has challenged Lupin to find the hidden treasure of Cagliostro—a game that attracts the involvement of Britain’s MI-6 and its top agent. His name is Nyx. He looks like Daniel Craig, and he has a license to kill. Lupin has to avoid being shaken and stirred by this guy.

Directors Kazuhide Tomonage and Yano Yuichiro don’t make it easy, either for Lupin or for the audience. For example, the identity of the Masked Earl is hidden by a cinematic design trick. He’s shown with a pointed chin. When the real identity is finally exposed, the culprit has an entirely different body structure.

The press release asks, “With all the players in place, the Italian Game begins … but who will be the winner?”

The audience, of course. Some fans there cosplayed their favorite characters and posed for photos:

TMS has yet to announce a U.S. domestic theatrical or TV release for The Italian Game, though they have announced Miyazaki’s 1979 film, The Castle of Cagliostro, for a limited release this September.

While the trailer claims this is Cagliostro’s first U.S. release, Streamline Pictures had dubbed the film into English and released it in 1991. Manga Entertainment produced their own version in 2000. TMS’s trailer for the 2017 release is this:

TMS’s new English-language Lupin the 3rd website will likely keep fans posted on release dates.

Bob Miller

Bob Miller

W.R. Miller - known informally as “Bob” - is a writer who has contributed to publications such as Starlog, Comics Scene, Animation Magazine and Animation World Magazine. Bob has been involved in animation for two decades, as a writer, character animator, special effects animator, and storyboard artist - For more information about Bob, check his website: http://wrmilleronline.com/
Bob Miller
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