A review of "Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro" - a timeless fairy tale with the most famous animated thief
The narrative starts at the end of a bank robbery that Lupin and Jigen committed. A robbery that netted so much cash that it completely filled Lupin's vintage Fiat 500. When Lupin reveals that the money is only fake, the two understand that they have been tricked. The money comes from Cagliostro, a little town in Italy that is home to some of the greatest forgers in the world. The two then go to Italy, where they arrive at the accused town and see a bride who is being pursued by criminals while escaping in a car. Thus, they come across Clarissa, the fiancée of the mysterious Count Cagliostro, who is constantly holed up inside his castle-fortress and protected by a large number of private guards. Thus, the young Clarissa, who was imprisoned against her choice, is entangled in the mystery surrounding the forgers. Young Lupin deals with money and young women in problems on a daily basis.
Why you should watch it?
The Castle of Cagliostro, a clandestine spy conspiracy disguised as a fairy tale, features a princess in peril who is imprisoned in a castle, a terrible jailer, a brave knight who must set her free, and to top it all off, a rich hidden treasure. This unusual love story between two people who are very different from one another, but who already from their first magnetic encounter with that particularly sweet and romantic atmosphere, made even more incredible and memorable by the music, where the two characters bring out what the other lacks, is the kind of love story that Miyazaki is skilled at telling.
The Castle of Cagliostro is a timeless fairy tale that successfully combines all the elements that are typical of Lupin's world with an adventure of mystery and fascination in the discovery of fantastic worlds and kingdoms. This is the kind of animation that will later inspire Hayao Miyazaki's future works with the creation of the great Ghibli masterpieces.
Castle of Cagliostro firmly establishes the figure of Lupin as a hero and not as a mere thief, paving the way for a portrayal of the protagonist that (in subsequent filmography to the present day) has remained imposing and is used in the vast majority of cases. Lupin's face is still "clean," not too caricatured, he wears the historic green jacket.
Lupin III is once again the star of an enjoyable, no-frills, action-packed adventure, perfectly balanced between drama and comedy. He is here portrayed as a bumbling, gallant hero in contrast to the more cynical and ruthless character of the manga (an aspect that attracted much criticism at the time from purists). In addition to the protagonist, the ancillary characters succeed in leaving their impression despite having a limited amount of screen time.
It is impossible to overlook the movie's newcomers, in addition to the other gang members and Inspector Zenigata, who is constantly hilarious in his encounters with Lupin: While the Count of Cagliostro is a villain who, despite his basic characterisation, is repulsive and convincing to the right extent, Clarisse is a heroine who, despite her inevitable adherence to the canons of the typical princess to be saved, possesses some traits that seem to anticipate those of future Miyazaki heroines (it is therefore inevitable to note the extreme resemblance of her features to those of Nausicaa).
As for the technical aspect, The Castle of Cagliostro is a remarkable masterpiece and can be considered as an example of an excellent animated film's creation. Even only the opening car chase sequence by renowned animator Kazuhide Tomonaga is worth viewing, but overall the entire movie is a continuous sequence of aesthetically stunning sequences executed in classic manner that, in the eyes of the modern audience, acquire even more value.
The plot of Miyazaki's novel is flawlessly organized, and the characters are clearly described so that the viewer can tell if this is Lupin III's first adventure or they are fans of the original TV series. The film's strong point is its direction, which, with its strongly cinematographic imprint and its balance between comedy, romance, and action, makes any viewer realize from the outset that they are watching a film with a real identity. The technical department is truly enviable, the animations are fluid and clean, and the music is superb.
The second movie in the series directed by the great Hayao Miyazaki is one of those works that cannot be missed from the cultural baggage of every fan, as it is the sublime and virtuous progenitor of a filmic, scenic aesthetic. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro is a timeless film that is still as enjoyable and up-to-date as ever thanks to the fluid animations that make it a timeless film that is still as enjoyable and up-to-date as ever.
My personal vote is: