The Castle of Cagliostro: Special Edition

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

When Lupin and his friend Jigen are double crossed by a swindling counterfeiter, they know just what to do, track him down and collect some revenge. Lupin and Jigen aren’t the type of people you want on your bad side, as Lupin is a master thief and Jigen handles the heavy weaponry quite well. But the wrong has been done to them, so they scamper off to find the one who left them high and dry. Their search leads them to the land of Cagliostro, where the Count that rules the secluded area is considered lord and master. Our heroes first come under the attention of the Count when Lupin tries to rescue a young woman from some men, who turn out to be cohorts of the Count. While the rescue did not work out, Lupin did manage to salvage some good from the attempt, as he now knows the secret to unlocking the hidden fortune that belongs to Count’s ancestors. Seeing a chance to kill three birds with one stone, Lupin and Jigen plan to raid the castle, but with the daunting task ahead, they enlist the aid of three other adventurers. Once inside the castle, this crew must free the kidnapped young woman, shut down the operation of the counterfeiter that wronged them, and make off with the riches. Seems simple enough, right?

While I am not an expert when it comes to anime, I can tell which ones I like, and this one struck a chord with me. I do love the blood and guts style anime, but this movie offers a more mainstream style, almost playing like a film you’d expect to see in a theater. There is action and chase scenes galore, but the real draw in this picture for me was the humor, which is rampant and very amusing. But even with the humorous overtones, this is an adventure movie, first and foremost, and it stands as quite a good one. All the elements you’d expect, such as near misses, gun battles, car chases, it’s all here in top form. The case has an interesting statement, which says that Steve Spielberg called this one of the greatest adventure movies of all time, and that guy knows adventure! It is of note to mention this movie was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who was also behind the smash hits Princess Mononoke and Kiki’s Delivery Service. I recommend this movie to those who enjoy anime of the more mainstream vein, and in truth, I really liked this picture even though I normally prefer blood and gore type anime. Manga has gone back and given this film a deluxe new treatment, so this Special Edition will line up just fine with your other Studio Ghibli DVDs. In other words, this is a fun movie and even if you own the previous disc, you’ll want to upgrade without hesitation.

Video: How does it look?

The Castle of Cagliostro is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The previous transfer was good for the time, but this new version surpasses it in all aspects. The print has some minor wear signs and debris, but is clean enough, all in all. The improvements here are not extreme, but you will notice a sharper, more detailed overall image, which is great news. As before, the colors are bright and never bleed, while contrast is crisp and provides no reason for complaints. This is a welcome enhancement in the visuals, more than reason enough to upgrade to this new version.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio has been bumped up also, from common stereo soundtracks to full on Dolby Digital 5.1 options, so fans should be pleased. This is still an animated film from 1979 however, so keep your expectations realistic, as this movie is no powerhouse. The center channel handles the bulk of the load, with the surrounds kicking in from time to time. The surround presence isn’t that dynamic, but it is well used and serves to add some life to the audio, which is needed. I found the original Japanese dialogue to be clean and clear, even though I had no idea what was being said. This disc also includes English, Spanish, and French language tracks, as well as optional English subtitles, just in case.

Supplements: What are the extras?

As with Disney’s wonderful Ghibli titles, we have the complete animated storyboard collection, which is an excellent and appreciated supplement. This is a great way to look at the artwork’s evolution process, so kudos to Manga on its inclusion. This release also includes an interview with animation director Yasuo Ohtsuka, a photo gallery, and the film’s Japanese trailers.

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