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The inoffensive

Lupin III: The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure

Rupan Sansei: Harimao no Zaiho Wo Ee!!
1995 / 90m - Japan
Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Lupin III: The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure poster

A Lupin III film by Osamu Dezaki, not a director I'd immediately consider for the Lupin franchise. Then again, this series has always attracted odd and atypical directors (remember Miyazaki, Suzuki, Koike), so it's not that big of a surprise. Don't expect a typical Dezaki film though, this is just another Lupin episode.

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The Lupin films all follow a very similar setup. Lupin is chasing yet another high-profile treasure, working with and against the usual crew of familiars, plus a couple of random bad guys. It's a weird and animated bunch who all get entangled in a complicated quest to find the treasure.

The film holds a perfect balance between adventure, action and oddball comedy. It's a shame that once again the animation is quite poor. Monkey Punch's style doesn't really demand complex detail, but it would benefit from more intricate animation (as Miyazaki and Koike proved). Still, good fun, much like most other films in the series.

Space Adventure Cobra

1982 / 99m - Japan
Animation, Sci-fi
Space Adventure Cobra poster

Worthy but flawed

Black Jack

Burakku Jakku
1996 / 90m - Japan
Animation, Drama, Thriller
Black Jack poster

Plain forgettable

Golgo 13: Queen Bee

1998 / 57m - Japan
Animation, Crime, Thriller
Golgo 13: Queen Bee poster

Slightly better than the original, but only by a small margin. The animation is a step up from the first one, then again there are 15 years between the two films, so it would've been really bad if that hadn't been the case. Apart from that, these films are pretty much on the same level.

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The plot is extremely basic and hardly worth bothering with. Golgo isn't a very interesting character, neither is Queen Bee. They're just simple stereotypes who lack personality. You'd expect the action to make up for that in a film like this, but even the action scenes are very static and lifeless.

It just comes off as very cheap and derivative, with little to no redeeming qualities. At least the film is short and while it's clear corners were cut wherever possible, the animation shows at least a small glimpse of the talent hiding behind this film. That's not enough to make it an enjoyable experience though.

Big nopes

The Professional: Golgo 13

Golgo 13
1983 / 91m - Japan
Animation, Action, Crime
The Professional: Golgo 13 poster