When Fujiko acquires and memorizes papers called the Columbus Files, she is attacked and loses her memory. Lupin, a treasure hunter named Rosaria, and the cackling villain Nazaroff all pursue Fujiko, as she is the only key to the location of Columbus' Egg, a treasure connected to the mysterious Orgone Energy.
Da Capo of Love: Fujiko's Unlucky Days (The Columbus Files) is a nice Lupin special.
It starts with Lupin and Fujiko up to their usual shenanigans, until they are bombarded by explosions and things get wild. The story here is that Fujiko has amnesia, and only she knows where the treasure is. And of course, getting Fujiko's memory back is Lupin's top priority.
Lupin is pretty serious a lot of the time in this one, because Fujiko is who he cares about the most. It's always nice to see that kind of emotion from the world's greatest thief. There's plenty of great comedy from the man as
well of course. He has a great villain to comedically own here too, the green jacketed laughing madman, Nazaroff.
Jigen and Goemon both get some good stuff here, Goemon is hilariously eccentric in this one. Lupin and Jigen's usual tag-team is put on the backburner in cases like this one though, when a woman needs Lupin's help. Inspector Zenigata pops up from time to time, and while he's used sparingly he does get some good laughs.
The main story does get a little shaky by the end though, involving mad scientists and a crazy world domination plot.
Yuji Ohno gives this a very smooth jazz soundtrack of course, with the appropriate intensity added when needed. The original voice acting from these veterans is great as well. And some fun trivia, Nabeshin of Excel Saga fame directed this special.
All in all, this is a good Lupin adventure, with some nice attention given to Lupin and Fujiko's always interesting relationship. Check this one out.
Now I believe I am allowed to say I am a fan of the Lupin III franchise. I love the characters, the comedy, the unrealistic gadgets, the fight sequences, the music, and on occasion the villains.
However, in this particular special left a sour taste in my mouth.The question is; why?
It's hard to think of how they achieved this with the main cast of the show, since I love watching all four of them, but in this only Lupin is used correctly and he can't save it no matter how hard he tries. Seriously, he tries so hard
to save something in this special.
The opening scene is reassuring enough with a classic game of wit and tease between Lupin and his dear Fujiko-chan after just stealing 'an entire Swiss bank', boggles the mind I know. Obviously there's 1 item Fujiko was after and this is the title mentioned 'Columbus file', which is the only document locating the mystical 'Columbus Egg'. This is where things start to head down hill, literally.
A five second countdown might as well appear on screen the instant Lupin sets his eye on the file, and his hill top mansion is promptly blown to bits. Events transpire which destroy the file, leaving Fujiko (whom apparantly memorised it in the 2 minutes she had it) both as the bad guys' one and only target and missing. Yeah, that's new, but wait it gets even more original! She reappears in the special's leading original charater, Rosaria's, house with amnesia! Oh boy.
Now you know why Fujiko is not Fujiko during this escapade, but lets move away from spoilers and onto the other characters:
Jiigen; the fastest gunslinger in the world, often capable of shooting numerous enemies before they've even reached for their holsters, and he does nothing. Nothing at all. The only memorable things Jiigen does is to have a joke Yaoi scene with Goemon, and drive the escape vehicle! Jiigen's an awesome character and more than capable of kicking ass without anyone's help, but in this he might as well just stay in the car.
Goemon; the ultimate swordmaster, capable of cutting through pretty much anything...wait I stand corrected, make that, absolutely anything. His abilites are completely overused, including the running gag that he's able to hit broken machinery and get it to run. This complaint is opitmised toward the end where he LITERALLY CUTS A TORNADO! I can believe that Goemon has superhuman sword skills, like cutting rock or even entire builings, but the wind?
Zenigata, easily my favourite character of all Lupin II's cast, a comedic gold mine of dogged determination and bad luck. Is completely underused and as result his normally hilarious attempts to capture Lupin are reduced to idiotic annoyances. Moving swiftly on.
Rosaria, one word: coincidence. Her entire motivation and backstory are centred around the Columbus Egg, and then Fujiko, the only possible key to finding the egg shows up in her house. Otherwise she's fairly consistent, but no-one who will be remembered.
Next, in contrast, is someone you will remember (espcially if you watch the Japan version of One Piece) Nazarov. Intially introduced as a disembodied high pitch scratchy voice with an annoying laugh, he is the special's recurring henchman character. And what design & personaily do they go for?... It's just Lupin in his green jacket. Not kidding either; he looks similar, he's just as much of a jackass, pervert and cross dresser. The only difference to Lupin (other than Lupin's charisma and brains) is he has less experience. Even Zenigata mixes them up at the end. Why can't writers understand that cloning your hero and turning the clone evil doesn't necessarily a good villain make? Overall he's just annoying.
Finally at the Boss. He has no name as I recall, but his evil plans involve a made up energy called 'Orgone Energy', which happens to cure heart disease and cancer, and yet, it also controls tornados and turns people into the Hulk. Anime science, ladies & gentlemen, anime science, and believe me that's not all of it. Back to 'The Boss', his motivations intially seem morale until he's revealed to be the pure evil as all head villains must be, but this plot twist is handled poorly and I was left apathetic when I could tell I was supposed to care.
Now, I've gone on and on about what's wrong with this special. So what's right with it?
One, the music. It's Lupin III on top form with another catchy improvised version of the theme and more often than not good music direction within the special.
Two, Lupin. He's used properly and his actions are easily believable as the his own. However, one character, whether be the lead or not, can't save poor overall writing.
Three, the acting. Not any real bad performances, but Nazarov's voice sounds wrong to me when not coming from a psychopathic clown.
Four, the art. Can't complain here.
That's about all I can think of really, there's the odd good joke, but the charm and comedic grace I associate with Lupin III is absent.
In summary of this boring ass (completely bias) rant. The special is not a chore to watch but also it's not an enjoyment. Lupin III can, has and should do better.