films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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Lupin III: Dragon of Doom

Rupan Sansei: Moeyo Zantetsuken
1994 / 90m - Japan
Adventure, Comedy, Crime - Animation
Lupin III: Dragon of Doom poster

A pretty traditional Lupin adventure. A notorious villain is chasing a rare and powerful artifact, asks Lupin's help and the rest is history. While there's some variation in execution and genre balance, the crux of the Lupin films doesn't seem to change all that much. Lupin is a master thief and no matter how cunning his adversaries are, he's always better than them.

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The first half of the film is spent on retrieving the artifact (which is stored in the shipwreck of the Titanic), the second half is basically one big carousel of deceit, with Goemon playing a central part in the story. The plot itself isn't all that interesting really, the ending is also incredibly predictable, but as a hook it offers plenty of opportunities.

The animation quality is rather mediocre, though it gets better whenever the action ramps up. The characters are a fun bunch, the sense of adventure is on point and the action scenes are pretty hilarious. These Lupin films aren't real stand-outs, but they sure are a lot of fun and because they're quite short, they're also easily digestible. I guess I'm a fan.

City Hunter: Death of the Vicious Criminal Ryo Saeba

City Hunter Special: Kinkyû Namachûkei!? Kyôakuhan Saeba Ryô no Saigo
1999 / 90m - Japan
Action, Comedy - Animation
City Hunter: Death of the Vicious Criminal Ryo Saeba poster

On the same level as most other feature-length City Hunter films. My main critique is also exactly the same: 90 minutes is too long for this type of material. The mix of comedy and action is pretty effective, but it's too repetitive to entertain from start to finish and the film inevitably starts to drag during the second half.

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The premise is a carbon copy of earlier films. Some woman seeks out Ryo with a special mission, Ryo accepts but is seemingly more interested in the girl. Cue some ecchi comedy and an arsenal of hammers to keep Ryo focused on the case. In the second half, things get a bit more serious. If you're familiar with the City Hunter franchise, you've seen it all before.

The animation is too static, character designs are a little bland and the soundtrack isn't exactly inspired either. Compare it to the Lupin III series and City Hunter is worse on just about every level. It's still quite light and entertaining, it's just not consistent enough to keep it up for 90 minutes straight.