Mysterious Babylonian Tablets unearthed in Manhattan provide tantilizing clues about the location of the Tower of Babel - not the biblical one, but the original one, built out of solid gold!
The Mob is out to get the gold, but so is Lupin III.
It's Thugs vs. Thieves when Lupin & Co. go up against a fearsome flyswatting Polish Mafia boss, a bevy of beauty-contest policewomen, Zenigata, the hard-luck Interpol Inspector, a mysterious bag-lady AND his own girl-friend in a trans-continental trust-nobody trek after a treasure of biblical proportions!
Another Lupin movie for the ages, and if Mamo (first Lupin movie) was weird, Legend of the Gold Babylon really steps it up a notch. Mamo had some dialogue and a story (somewhat), where Babylon is more non-stop Loony Toons-like chase scenes and slap stick Western humor. It is ironic how a movie with such a big Western influence never made it to the West.
Directed by Shigetsugu Yoshida (nothing of note) and key animation by Satoru Utsunomiya (Akira), there is a reason why this is a decent anime to look at but nothing more. The action is fun at first, but each scene just consistently
drags on with Lupin and the gang dodging hundreds of bullets one after the other. For example, the beginning starts with Zenigata chasing Lupin on a bike on the weird face billboard for 15 plus minutes in a Scooby-Doo door to hallway fashion.
Our “story” is seemingly forced for Lupin to find the lost gold of Babylon based on an ancient stone tablet found under Madison Square Garden in New York City. Mob bosses and the like join in on the search, and the constant need to try and kill Lupin along the way. As crazy as it sounds, it really is that crazy; nothing more and nothing less with this movie.
Everything is over the top in this Lupin movie and not for the better. All that’s been witnessed and written before plus just a few more examples: Goemon can slice lightning now, Lupin has all sorts of gadgets always on him and can pull them from out of nowhere (dynamite, parachutes, etc; has not been done to this extent), and even a random international police beauty pageant that manages to be as racist and stereotypical as possible to every major country at the time.
Unless there is the itch to watch more Lupin and the gang, just skip over this one.
An essential for Lupin III fans and a decent movie if you can put yourself in the mindset that this was made in the '80s at the same time as the Pink Jacket Series with a huge effort to mimic Western animation gags.
STORY: One thing I can say is canon about all Lupin movies and specials...I learn something new about geography or history. This one is about some mysterious tablets, Hitler, New York, and ancient gold from Babylon. And aliens. Before I get into what's bad about this movie, there's always something worth the watch in every single Lupin special. Something about every single Lupin
special or movie will make you laugh out loud and this one was no different.
ANIMATION: The cons? This is such an old school cartoon. Complete with random stuff popping up with zero explanation, suspension of belief, and hokey, Road Runner and Coyote style gags. Another con was the art. The animation is not great and I can see why it was never released in America.
Even worse was the story. In the start, Lupin and Zenigata essentially put on a show for every American tourist stereotype ever in the audience. There's a motorcycle race between the two of them that goes in and around this giant face decoration thing. This lasts for almost 15 minutes (no exaggeration). I feel like there just wasn't enough effort made in making this movie.
CHARACTER: The characters are horrendous. Old school, hokey, pink jacket era characters, story, and animation. We've got pimps and a cast straight out of Sanford and Son. Lupin wears a "hip" version of his green coat. Then we get a full minute of an old lady doing a strip tease. And she's the most detailed of any of the characters in this movie. There's this scene with a Miss ICPO pageant in which the special manages to insult half a dozen countries as well as women in general splendidly. I don't know why I'm surprised, considering how much Monkey Punch seems to hate women (I say this based on some of the main characters' open sexism as well as the numerous rape and almost-rape scenes in the original Lupin manga.) Goemon has sliced all sorts of things in the past. Satellites in space from the earth. A water spout. Numerous clothing articles. Things that "cannot be cut." In this special, he slices a bolt of lightning.
ENJOYMENT: This brings me to the enjoyment level. Suspend your belief, push yourself back into the '80s, and don't expect much except easy laughs. Then you will enjoy this movie. Again, it's worth a watch but not the best Lupin fare.