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Lupin III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon is a 1985 Japanese animated film co-directed by Seijun Suzuki and Shigetsugu Yoshida. It is the third feature film based on Monkey Punch's popular Lupin III manga. It was released on subtitled VHS and LaserDisc in North America by AnimEigo in 1994 under the "Rupan III" name, due to copyright concerns with Maurice Leblanc's Arsène Lupin.

Plot

Lupin searches for a gigantic hoard of hidden treasure originating in ancient Babylon. With the help of his usual team, a set of stone tablets, and a drunken old woman by the name of Rosetta, Lupin competes against mafiosos Marciano and Kowalski who are also set on finding the lost Babylonian treasure. Complicating matters is Inspector Zenigata, who has been roped into judging the "Miss ICPO Beauty Contest" and must now drag a group of nominees around with him, all eager to prove themselves as agents. Will Lupin get to the treasure before Marciano and Kowalski lay their grubby hands on it? Will the trail of talent following Zenigata interfere with him finally apprehending Lupin?!

Production

This film is the only Lupin film where he wears the pink jacket from the third TV series. AnimEigo released the film with English subtitles and Japanese dialogue under the title "Rupan III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon" on VHS in the North America in 1995. In 2005, Discotek Media acquired it for a DVD release, however it was later cancelled due to NA's declining anime industry; other sources claim that the rights of the film were simply too expensive due to Seijun Suzuki's recent rise to popularity with western audiences. Regardless, It remains the only theatrical animated Lupin III feature not to receive an English dub.

Reception

The film is often maligned by fans of the series, much like the rest of the Pink Jacket series. Main Complaints stem from the bizarre, often incoherent plot, and the sloppy art style. When released in United States during the 1990's, many disliked the film for it's sordid nature as the only other Lupin film released at the time was the wholesome Castle of Cagliostro. In recent years however, opinions seem to have softened up. With the introduction of Monkey Punch's original manga and The Red Jacket Series, western audiences have become more acquainted with the playfully lewd style of the series as a whole, and now accept the film with much better perception of it's nature. The art style has now been described as being unique and abstract, while the story itself is now appreciated for the same reasons as Suzuki's other films. Nevertheless, despite new found appreciation, Babylon is still widely regarded to be the weakest of the Lupin films.

Cast

  • Arsène Lupin III: Yasuo Yamada
  • Jigen Daisuke: Kiyoshi Kobayashi
  • Mine Fujiko: Eiko Masuyama
  • Ishikawa Goemon: Makio Inoue
  • Inspector Zenigata: Goro Naya
  • Rosetta: Toki Shiozawa
  • Marciano: Asaki Kalusel
  • Kowalski: Chikao Ootsuka
  • Willy: Obon
  • Chin: Kobon
  • Caramel: Fumi Hirano
  • Jinjao: Keiko Han
  • Zakskaya: Rihoko Yoshida
  • Saranda: Keiko Toda
  • Lasagna: Saeko Shimazu
  • Additional Voices: Kenichi Ogata, Teiji Oomiya, Hiroshi Fujishiro, Noboru Taguchi, Takuroo Kitagawa, Susumu Otaki, Naoko Kawai

Trivia

  • The only known anime film Seijun Suzuki directed. He also worked on the third series. Ironically, Lupin was partly inspired by his style of filmmaking.
  • When TMS decided the time was right to make a third Lupin movie, they first chose Mamoru Oshii as director, based on the recommendation from Hayao Miyazaki. During the pre-production stage, however, the company considered Oshii's plan as too avant-garde, and replaced him with Seijun Suzuki and Shigetsugu Yoshida.
  • Discotek was originally going to release this movie on DVD in the U.S. after The Plot of the Fuma Clan was released. But it resulted that purchasing the rights to the movie was more expensive than the other two Lupin movies they obtained previously. The reason why is because international media rights to Seijun Suzuki's films have gotten more expensive. So Discotek has decided to wait for whenever the price becomes cheaper.
  • Mamaro Oshii's original idea for this movie was for the story to have no protagnogist at all. Lupin III wouldn't be seen at all throughout the movie.
  • When a paparazzi asked Lupin if he hated any food, Lupin says it's Tako(Octopus). This was derived from episode 2 of the Green Jacket series when Lupin couldn't stand octopus meat.
  • This was the last Lupin III theatrical movie to feature Yasuo Yamada as the voice of Lupin III.

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