In the new animated film available on Prime Video, two legendary gangs of thieves meet for the first time: on one side the beautiful sisters Cat’s Eyes, on the other the Lupine III team. Great expectations for this highly anticipated cross-over, let’s find out in our review if the promises have been kept.
There are characters who, although belonging to different narrative universes, seem made to meet each other. In this case the encounter-clash between the band of beautiful thieves Cat’s Eye/Cat’s eyes e Lupinthe famous gentleman thief created by Monkey Punch, in a celebratory feature film seemed to promise sparks.
Three sisters, three paintings
Disclaimer: in open disagreement with the choice made in the Italian edition, for our review we prefer to use the original names of the protagonists of Cat’s Eyes rather than those of the old Mediaset adaptation.
Two daring theft attempts took place at the same time: on the one hand, Lupine III and his companions deceived a paramilitary organization and appropriated a very valuable painting. Meanwhile, in a building in the center of the city, the three thieving sisters Hitomi, Rui and Ai, known as Cat’s Eye, have managed to steal a painting from a rich and despicable individual.
The particularity of both paintings is that they are the work of the famous painter Michael Heinz, and that they are part of a triptych. For the sisters, the paintings represent a new piece to discover what happened to their father, a mystery that, in some way, also seems to involve the past of Lupine III.
A race thus begins between the two groups to track down and also take possession of the third painting, while a dangerous organization, the Faden, is set in motion against them, which seems mortally intent on getting their hands on all three paintings.
Between daring escapes, betrayals and deadly traps, Lupine III and the cat thieves will have to stand together to unravel the mystery of the three paintings and prevent the advent of a new dictator.
From drawings to CG
Lupine III vs. Cat’s Eyes was born as a celebratory feature film to celebrate Lupin’s 50th birthday and (almost) 40 – but it’s not nice to talk about age, come on! – of Cat’s Eyea series created by the talented mangaka Tsukasa Hojo and transposed into an anime which at the time enjoyed considerable international success, known in Italy as Cat’s Eyes.
In Hojo’s original work, the three Kisugi sisters run a bar that serves as a front for their thieving business. However, the criminal enterprises of Rui, Hitomi and Ai are not dictated by greed but by the desire to discover their father’s fate, a feat that will only be possible after recovering all the works of art by Michael Heinz, a very successful artist who , as it turns out during the story, is their father.
From this pretext then the thefts of the three acrobatic and beautiful girls take off, constantly as vainly in the target of the frustrated police inspector Toshio Utsumi, Hitomi’s boyfriend and unaware of the girl’s real identity.
The meeting between the three and Lupine takes place on the occasion of one of these missions, with both parties determined to recover this triptych depicting the three most important people in Heinz’s life.
The feature film was entirely made in CG and cell shading, and is directed by Hiroyuki Seshita and Koubun Shizuno. Both are veterans of CG animation, having already directed major works such as Blame, Aijin and the Godzilla trilogy – Planet of the monsters.
If from the point of view of the action the animations maintain a good level, resulting sufficiently fluid, the same unfortunately cannot be said of the models of the characters, which appear flat and not very expressive.
It is the three cats (Rui, in particular) who pay the most, with a design that takes away all the charm of the previous versions.
The soundtrack pays homage to the very famous themes of both series, in a mash-up that was also quite successful in the opening “Theme from Lupin vs. Cat’s Eye“.
Lupine III turns 50, long live the incorrigible gentleman thief!
Unfortunately the major problem of the film is not the choice, however questionable, to use the CG but a completely out of focus plot.
It would have been reasonable to expect interactions between the various potentially very interesting characters, for example, but these are limited to an obvious pupil/mentor relationship between Toshio and Zenigata, relegated to little more than comic extras, and an inconsistent exchange between Lupine and Ai , the youngest of the three sisters.
More generally, it almost seems that the authors have no idea how to handle the entire mythology of the characters (there is a scene, which we will not spoil, related to Goemon’s sword that will have made Monkey Punch fans’ skin crawl) nor even the cats, who all the time never express their potential ending up, often, by seeming neither up to the situation nor the comparison with Lupine, ridiculously more skilled than them and constantly several steps ahead, moreover often forced (poor guy) to have to play the role of quasi-mentor and defender of the three sisters.
More generally, the plot proceeds wearily between highly telephoned twists and characterizations and motivations of the opponents laughable, when not clearly far-fetched.
Just a few action sequences are saved which, however, only increase the regret for what in the end turned out to be a huge wasted opportunity.
We approached the review of Lupine III vs. Cat’s Eye probably with excessive expectations. However, it was legitimate to expect at least a comparison between iconic, beloved and, above all, potentially complementary characters. Instead, we found ourselves faced with a feature film that often loses its thread, further penalized by a character design that is absolutely not up to the situation and which is based solely on some successful action scenes and only on the character of Lupine III.
The choice to reproduce the westernized names of the characters from Cat’s Eye both in the Italian dubbing and subtitles is highly questionable.
Because we like it
- The idea of bringing together two myths of Japanese animation with so many points in common was intriguing.
- Some scenes are well done and take full advantage of the nostalgia effect.
- The character design of the characters, and in particular of the three cats, is completely inadequate.
- The story is banal and unbalanced.
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