Lupin, the master thief/spy/Jack of all Trades, has been executed, but he is still alive, and not even Lupin himself knows how that is possible. While trying to figure out, however, he and his gang are thrust into a conspiracy involving clones, Lupin's un-trustworthy rival Fujiko, and a miniature madman's plot to take over the world.
The Secret of Mamo is a crazy, memorable, and pretty enjoyable Lupin movie.
The first theatrical Lupin movie, this has some very solid animation for 1978, and some very interesting direction. Very colorful and lively. The soundtrack by Yuji Ohno is a blast too, and of course the original voice cast delivers.
The story in this one is pretty crazy, and by the end it's pretty much pure nonsense. Lupin is up against a psychotic diminutive man with a god complex, and it leads to some very strange things. Including a cameo from Hitler, naturally.
This movie has a fairly brisk pace for the most part, bad things
just keep happening to the Lupin gang. One minute they're on the run from a freakishly large truck, the next they're being bombarded by bombs.
Where this movie gets really weird is the characterization. Lupin is less cool and laid back in this one, in general he's pretty pissed off and annoyed, even with his loyal gang. I have to admit, this makes Lupin less likable to me in this one.
Fujiko has a pretty big part in this one, she's quite entertaining, although she does make some questionable decisions. Jigen makes out well in this, and Goemon is pretty cool like usual. Zenigata is great in this, tirelessly hunting Lupin down. But again, seeming a bit out of his usual anime character when he actually wants to kill Lupin.
The movie in general is closer to the tone of the manga, with it's insanity and less likable characters.
So, pretty much, this is a very memorable movie, it goes above and beyond into the realm of insanity, and it's quite entertaining. The classic dynamic that the characters usually have in the anime is somewhat skewed here though, and the story itself is not entirely satisfying.
None the less, this is a wild ride that I recommend checking out.
It starts out with Lupin dieing… I kid you not; this is really how it starts. The guy had the same fingerprints, DNA, and even looked the same as him. And yet, after a while, you see him rather fine and alive moments later. It’s rather creepy in a way. Then when we get to the story with Mamo, it gets even creepier and action packed with one chase scene after another.
Lupin is none to bright, though he is a rather lucky guy. His addiction to women even breaks the trio up for a time when he picks Fujiko over his partners. He’s irrational at
times when not seeing the full picture and so it tends to get him into a lot of trouble that the others have to bail him out of. Fujiko is actually a rather good counterpart, using her sex appeal to make him do as she wants, and yet in this movie, it appears she actually does care for him a lot. It’s rather interesting and changes a couple things, giving insight into why she pulls him around. In the end though, it seems that she is just a little to greedy.
One thing that is actually rather interesting is that they did a rather good job at mimicking the idea of a Samurai in Goemon. I know people are going to go ‘well hey! It’s Japan and they know about samurai’ but really, all the other times I see samurai in anime, they are actually not as well done. If you look at the long line of anime samurai, name one person that is the very idea of a true samurai from history. Can’t get many, right? With one strike, he tries to take down an enemy, which is much closer to the original idea.
I cannot believe that Zenigata is still alive after all he’s gone threw. That guy gets into more problems then ever including surviving bombs being dropped on him.
The opening starts with something rather odd, a women’s egg being used for what I would think of as a cloning experiment. A good way to start if I must say for something that seems to be a cloning experiment story line. The artwork is rather lacking in detail and the characters become rather exaggerated with arms stretching out or legs turning into something close to stick figures threw parts of the shot. Still, it’s not actually a bad thing. It gives the show character and comedy which works well with how the script is created. This is one of those shows that I’m actually saying the script is better with the somewhat cheap animation they have. It fits! Now another part of the show was a bit interesting as Lupin has a chase scene threw famous pieces of artwork and then runs into clones of both Hitler and Napoleon.
The English voices are rather interesting, and I can’t believe they really used Lupin’s voice the way they did. I don’t know exactly which version I watched on Hulu but I believe it’s the Geneon version which has him played by Tony Oliver with a rather weasel like voice. He’s cocky and annoying in most cases, not sounding like he was the majestic thief although, as you keep watching it, it does tend to grow on you. Inspector Zenigata has a rather good voice for a bumbling detective though he has a bit of a Texan accent. The script is pretty cheesy, though I heard it’s like this for the Japanese dub too. I had to rather laugh when one of the American characters actually calls Jigen a democrat when he stands up to them about their politics.
Directed by Soji Yoshikawa who has only directed some of Ashita no Joe beforehand really went to left field on this one. The story follows Lupin and the gang, of course, stealing something, but it begins with Lupin’s death?
First off, the art is really different compared to the show. For example, Fujiko looks like the main female character from Samurai Champloo (if you have seen it), and for some odd reason Goemon the samurai is either Arab or got a really good tan. These are just some of the odd changes in art style the viewer will
notice right away with any previous Lupin experience.
Music and character development is your typical Lupin with catchy Lupin themes to Lupin being his annoyed quirky self. The story however, gets really sci-fi-ish really quick. It starts out with a heist in Egypt and then goes from place to place around the world with little reason. The overall goal though is to find out who is trying to kill Lupin and the gang. Then we meet the main bad-guy who is a strange shortly drawn blue James Bond villain who wants to destroy/take over the world.
Then, there are the awesome yet weird things to notice throughout the film. Pay attention to funny things like the American lighting his cigarette by his Statue of Liberty figure flame. These will crack you up and keep you going through this weird Lupin adventure. There is even a scene where Lupin and the gang are in a car being chased by a massive blue truck (Optimus Prime anyone?).
This is a wild ride of pure nonsense if I have ever seen one, even for Lupin. But hey, give it a try. It is guaranteed for a few good laughs.
I really like this one because it shines more of a positive light on Fujiko! In this one, it starts off with Fujiko seemingly same-old-same-old. IT turns out the lady thief is helping a madman because she believes him and his power, and wants to share it with Lupin. She says and shows her affection for her rival, and it's not weird or sleazy on her part.
I feel like her character was very earnest with her intentions, and it all went wrong because of the madman. "But, why would she even trust a madmen?!" Well, who hasn't trusted people they shouldn't have trusted, around here?
All the characters are guilty of trusting characters we see as clearly untrustworthy. I'm so into the way Fujiko and Lupin were in this one. It lost points with me for using magic on Fujiko right after they were saying it wasn't magic!
I'm not a big fan of the art style as I'm not into long anatomy. The sound quality is better in this one than a lot of other's in the time period. The sound effects are together, and the lip syncing is normal.
I would recommend this to Lupin fans, anime fans, and anime new-comers!