In the middle of an airborne heist, Lupin goes from stealing to stolen as he's carted off and forced to do a job for a mysterious man identifiable only by the brand of cigarette he smokes. Lupin's mission: to steal the infamous "Bull's Eye", a small green jewel best-known for the fact that everyone who's ever stolen it has ended up dead. Along with the challenge of alternately evading and pursuing a young thief with a competitive streak, Lupin and the gang must unravel the mystery of the Bull's Eye before its curse - or their mysterious taskmaster - gets the better of them.
"Lupin III: Stolen Lupin" is my first contact with the Lupin III franchise, and I found it to be quite a clever, nifty offering. This Lupin III special is a mixture of the jazzy, devil-may-care swagger of "Cowboy Bebop" and the smooth, suave style of a James Bond film, with a dose of goofy comedy thrown in for good measure. It's a strange concoction, especially when you consider there's even a samurai featured amongst a cast that more or less hails from the modern-ish era. Despite all these ingredients that simply shouldn't mix, everything blends together rather well and by the end, I grew to
like it for all its bizarre qualities and childish comedy.
The central attraction of "Lupin III: Stolden Lupin" is its plot, which is just full of surprises. At one point I was sure I could guess what's going to happen, only to see yet another unexpected twist throw off my prediction. My least favourite part is the comedy... but I suppose you've already guessed I was going to say that :P. To me, the comedy seems especially out of place in light of some of the more serious content in the later parts of the show. I also disliked the voice acting, sounded so bad that at first I thought I was watching a dub before realising that I couldn't understand any of the words spoken. Some of the characters also annoyed me with their utter stupidity - I know the purpose of their existence is to be fooled by the other characters but come on, they could have made it less obvious!
The animation is pretty smooth and pleasant for the most part, but some of the character designs look really out of place. I'm guessing what happened is that the characters from when the franchise first appeared did not go through much of a redesign, while the characters introduced in this modern title are given a modern design. And unlike the mish-mash of styles of the anime itself, this retro-modern fusion of character designs comes off as weirdly jarring rather than well blended.
Anyway, "Lupin III: Stolen Lupin" is a good, entertaining, anime. Like I said, I've not seen anything from this franchise previously, but this special has certainly made me a little curious as to what else the Lupin III franchise has to offer.