The special's story centers on the kidnapping of Rebecca Rossellini, a beautiful business owner who is a featured character in the new Lupin III TV anime series that is currently airing. Upon hearing of her kidnapping, Lupin rushes to her rescue. Additionally, Lupin receives a written challenge from a mysterious person named "The Masked Count" suggesting a contest: who can obtain the "inheritance of Count Cagliostro" first.
We can say that "Italian Game" is probably one of the most disappointing Lupin TV Special ever made.
It was a nice choice setting the story in continuity with the last serie (the blue jacket one) with the same animation style and re-proposing the new characters we met, a countinuity that sounded like a warm "don't worry, there's still some of it".
So, what went wrong?
The challenge to find the heritage of the Count of Cagliostro (open reference to Miyazaki's film) is covered only by the last 20 minutes of the special, before that we have to see again a lot of material from the serie.
took three entire episodes and they sewed them together to make a huge introduction that takes three quarters of the time.
The problem is that many of the scenes make sense only in the context of a standalone episode and they're completely useless for the development of the plot. They could have just condensed the major events in 5 minutes while keeping a good connection to the serie.
The original part suffers for the lack of time, even looking at it simply as an extra episode, we get undeveloped new characters (the Masked Count was ok, but it needed more space) and a rushed resolution, if not forced.
I can save only the majestic opening made by Koji Morimoto, maybe the only part which was worth watching.
In the end, if you really enjoyed the blue jacket serie and you desperately need to see more of it, maybe you can appreciate it.
But if you're looking for a fresh tv special I don't recommand it.
I can say I've developed a standard for my Lupin content, and this failed on the character development. One thing I can take away from this is after seeing the character development go so wrong I have a better understanding of what right looks like.
The opening is way to long with clips that happen in the movie, with no context. It even some shows very dramatic scenes, but I have that "why should I care" when they scenes are around the girl I don't know yet. And, the opening is too long.
Speaking of the character development girl, I don't feel like she actually learned anything
because her development was rushed and it felt empty.
The plot and storytelling are rushed and feels empty. This is also one of the ones where Fujiko is useless.
I don't suggest this to fans or new comers to Lupin or anime, in general.