Lupin the Third - Mystery of Mamo DVD Review
the Third: The Mystery of Mamo
is the first anime film produced in what would become an ongoing
theatrical and made-for-television films. The film was first released
as simply "Lupin the Third" as the
feature title before finding a different subtitle many years later,
then called "Lupin vs. the Clones" to differentiate it from Lupin
films which follows its creation. This
Lupin adventure dates back to 1978 and from there on it's a history
countless Lupin titles in theaters, on DVD, and on television (with
television mediums both finding a great degree of success).
Mystery of Mamo is
actually a title assigned to the
film following the original circulation given to the early Lupin effort
hit U.S. shores. That new title given to the Japanese release gives a
away right from the get-go (which has caused some fans in Japan
at the new title) and for some Japanese fans the film
is even referred to as Mystery of Mamo, because
of the popularized American title.
upon the manga from Monkey
Punch and following the creation of the original anime, which featured
incredible array of talented artists (including the genius of Hayao
and Isao Takahata of Studio Ghibli fame), this feature film effort is
quite different from the heroic spirit found with Miyazaki's
the character, as demonstrated with the effort The Castle
of Cagliostro, which would follow the "Mystery of Mamo" release
shortly thereafter and to the delight of audiences in Japan and
rest of the world.
storyline for this effort is
simplistic. Without going into the details of how the plot unfolds, the
underlining idea is that Lupin is offered a chance at immortality by a
scientist named Mamo who promises him an opportunity to join his ranks
forever, but the real issue found is that Mamo is creating clones.
Lupin has to
figure out how to stop Mamo's plan, which revolves around creating
the best individuals in the world and annihilating the rest. Thus the
are... well... the entire world, which hinges on the whim of the crazy and
delusional scientist. Can Lupin save our entire planet's population?
tune in to find out.
revelation that this plot focuses
around clones is a massive spoiler
for the film, but it's also the backdrop of the plotline utilized for Mystery of Mamo, which otherwise
stumbles around as Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon cross lands in their
journeying fashion while Zenigata purses them.
of course, there's a
subplot involving Fujiko and her own involvement with Mamo, and it all
supposed to blend magnificently somehow by the time the credits roll.
succeed? That is another question altogether, and one that I personally
agree with favorably. Lupin the Third: The Mystery of Mamo is a
consider Lupin one of my favorite
anime characters, and while Miyazaki's take on the character is
favorite take on this beloved anime character, I've also been
other interpretations before. This is just not that strong of an
effort. If you
look at the film from even just the narrative flow you can sense that
more of a rushed effort without as much care given towards elaborating
plot. Instead, the film substitute's good storytelling for weak humor,
characterization, and animation. Each of these elements feels quite
rushed and even
unfinished at times.
direction is by Soji Yoshikawa
(who also worked on early episodes) and it is clear he was less
a craftsman in comparison to Miyazaki and Takahata, and perhaps the
was not a well-directed film and it stumbles often because of how
feels with animation that seems underdeveloped and under-utilized. This
of the many differences between Mamo and Cagliostro. In Mamo, scene
there are moments where the line artwork seems incomplete and
is something that would never happen to an effort by Miyazaki. There
many moments where backgrounds seem obscured and side characters aren't
finished being drawn or animated.
film jumps around a lot too, so
it's something that would have been difficult to animate, and some may
more forgiving as a result. Yet I found in disappointing and I imagine
are other Lupin fans who will feel a similar way in regards to the
Mamo. The plot was ridiculous, and it felt like a bad B-movie with some
exploitation "thrills" that were so unneeded and unworthy of the Lupin
was appalled by how Fujiko was portrayed in Mystery
of Mamo too - gone was the intelligent and charming sleuth who was
parts companion and competition to Lupin, and instead was a poorly
girl in distress, sexualized in a misogynistic way, and without
the Third: The Mystery of Mamo
seems to have a devoted fan-base, but I can't quite understand why. The
charming and charismatic Lupin has been replaced by a character so
and ego-centric (beyond what is consistently found in this franchise)
just seemed mean spirited, incoherent, or undercooked. If that wasn't
virtually everything about the filmmaking seems to falter or disappoint
animation, storytelling, direction, to the essence of these beloved
biggest mystery behind The Mystery of Mamo is why this
being such a frequently offensive and boring trip into "adventure" with
was glad to see it end. The occasional side-trips into solid
(such as when Lupin enters into a canvas environment of paintings in a
moment) don't even work as well as they could, and falter due to
underwhelming animation, which I found to be a detrimental element of
production disarray. The Mystery of Mamo
comes up short-changed and so do the fans of everyone's favorite
with a heart for adventure.
of Mamo arrives
on DVD with a worthwhile
transfer preserving the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, featured in its original
exhibition. The colors are a bit less robust than I would have
the transfer is clean and consistently stable without any real issues
grain, damage, and other print inconsistences that I thought might crop
This is a worthwhile transfer.
audio portion of this release is
the greatest selling point: the film contains not one, not two, but four different English dubs. All of
these English dub options are in addition to the release's Japanese
presentation. Fans who ever hoped to see a "definitive" release with
all of the
different audio dubs will be pleased with this release, which contains
Streamline's Dub, the Manga Entertainment dub, Pioneer's dub, and
English language track.
original language option is my preferred
choice due to it representing the original language option, and it is
option I utilized the most, but sampling the audio presentations proved
each track was serviceable for the film even considering some of the
variances in sound quality.
each audio track the dialogue was
clear and easy to understand. The 2.0 audio isn't any revelation, but
the job done solidly and without any real problems on the disc. This
should be impressive for fans of Mystery
of Mamo hoping to have all dubs.
technically included under my
review of the "audio" section but it's essentially a bonus feature as
well: all four English dubs previously
various formats or editions are included on this DVD release as well.
who ever hoped to see a definitive
release with all of the different audio options will be pleased by this
addition to these English audio
dub options, the disc also includes "Why Mamo Matters", an essay
Mike Toole, liner notes written and compiled by the LupintheThird.com
interesting interview (written) with voice actor Bill Dufris, and
of the originally released movie program.
Mystery of Mamo
is a disappointing Lupin feature film and it barely hints at the
come in The Castle of Cagliostro or
in any of the other hugely exciting Lupin films worked on for the years
follow. This release, on the other hand,
contains a slew of English dub tracks, and other worthwhile written
supplemental materials. Fans of the film will probably want to purchase
release but Lupin fans hoping for something else entirely to arrive
should buy some other Lupin releases (i.e. skip the release, perhaps go
straight towards purchasing the Lupin:
Complete First TV Series set if you haven't already).
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.