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. The disc lacks supplement, but looks and sounds great, so if you dig the flick, pick it up. If not, the movie warrants at least a rental.
Video: How does it look?
The Castle of Cagliostro is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. As with that of all animated features, the visual transfer here needs to ride things double tough to bring a high quality image onto your screen. The animation is crisp and fluid, nothing is lost in the move to this digital medium. The colors are bright and full, with no bleeding present. Contrast seems on deck as well, with no overly dark or bright regions. I do have a quibble with this transfer, as some scenes show some shimmering, which can be distracting.
Audio: How does it sound?
When you view this movie, you have your choice of three audio option. You can listen to the film in an English stereo track, a Japanese stereo track, or a Japanese stereo track with English subtitles. So no matter how like to listen to your anime, this disc has all your bases covered. The overall experience is quite good, but would be much richer with a dedicated surround track. As it stands, all the elements have their day in the sun, nothing gets lost in the motions, but the impact just isn’t as strong as I think it should be. The dialogue has no problems staying afloat, with high grade clarity and consistent volume as well.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Two trailers are included, one for Manga’s fanclub, the other a montage of recent and upcoming Manga releases. A small catalog of Manga products is found as well, which gives a brief text description of the titles. I think trailers would have been better than text, but that’s just me.