Lupin has a lively time of it this time in a classic car race from Madrid to Paris. The race prize is Napoleon's dictionary, which contains the key to the Treasure of the Empire, something that just about everybody seems to be after. Lupin and his buddies take off after the prize, pursued not only by the perennial Inspector, but also by an army of secret agents from around the world. Classic cars and state-of-the-art weapons heighten the speed and thrills of this adventure.
Napoleon's Dictionary is a pretty good early Lupin special.
Lupin is after Napoleon's Dictionary because, as you could imagine, it has information that can lead to a treasure. Lupin enters a old fashioned car race with the dictionary as the prize, and his gunslinger partner Jigen comes along for the ride. Fujiko is of course also after the treasure, and the classy samurai Goemon shows up to help his friends.
This is one of the less elaborate Lupin stories, feeling more like an extended episode of the TV series than a movie. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does lack the epic feel of
some of the other specials.
We have some very fun stuff from Goemon, he's especially eccentric in this one. Zenigata and Lupin have some laugh out loud scenes handcuffed together, and Jigen like usual is the straight man to balk at Lupin's antics. Fujiko does have less screen time in this than I'd like though, her fun sex appeal is always a nice touch.
The plot in this one does give some brief attention to Lupin's grandfather Arsene Lupin, and father Lupin II. This is a nice touch for fans of the series.
All in all, this is your typical Lupin caper. A solid entry, but not one that stands out. It's a fun watch, with a laid back feel, jazzy music, and some hilarious comedy. Lupin fans, you may as well give this one a watch.
I'm writing this review for people familiar with the Lupin III franchise. If you aren't search for a review for the main series instead.
Story: The plot sounds interesting on paper, Lupin participates in a classic car race. But the special ends be being a forgettable mess. If you really think about it, this special seems more like something that would be in an episode of Red Jacket than a 90 minute special.
Art: The chief animator was Yasuo Otsuka, who was an animator in the Green Jacket series and has a passion for drawing vehicles. But this despite it being about a car race, this
special looks more like a train wreck. Were the animators given too little time? No funds? I really don't know. The style is similar to the previous two specials, but uglier.
Sound: If there's anything that would escape the incredible awfulness of this special, you think it would be Yuji Ohno's always fantastic soundtrack. But not really... most of the music was from red, but the ending theme was pretty bland. However, this special as ONE saving grace, and that is the voice acting!
I'll probably never mention the voice acting this these reviews again since anyone who knows this franchise knows how good it is. But this time it really stood out, probably since everything else was so awful. But there was actually an interesting scene with the voices were Lupin and Zenigata were dress as each other and the VA's were imitating each other's voices
Lupin and the gang are back in the 90’s for some more treasure stealing fun. This time, Lupin and Jigen join an old funny car race from Madrid to Paris with the prize being Napoleon’s Dictionary. The dictionary, of course, holds a secret to finding a great treasure.
This having one of the lesser strange plots and no crazy plot “twists” like Mamo (first movie) and Gold Babylon (movie 1985). It more or less sticks to what makes Lupin great; a crazy fun action ride with quick wit much like the TV show. It was even directed by the well-known Osamu Dezaki (Aim for the Ace,
Black Jack, Ashita no Joe).
Getting into the characters, this 90 minute special primarily focuses on Lupin, Jigen, and Inspector Zenigata, with limited appearances from the typical rest of the gang; mainly sexy Fujiko Mine who doesn’t truly factor in until near the end.
Sound and animation are only slightly better than Gold Babylon, which is a total disappointment going from 1985 to 1991. Music is fairly bland instead of the usual hot jazz that the Lupin franchise is known for.
Although the atmosphere this special puts on is very enjoyable. All character interactions are filled with wit and humour. Even the over-the-top crazy homage to every major world power going through tough economic times (post communism) all come to the conclusion of chasing Lupin for the same treasure he is after. That final fifteen minutes is ridiculous and would make anybody laugh, or at least get a good chuckle out of.
Lupin III Steal Napoleon's Dictionary is one of the better specials and or films of the franchise to date, just on the fact that most others are way too weird. Although it does not break any new grounds on the franchise like Castle of Cagliostro did, this special holds true to the classic Lupin formula in slightly above average fashion.