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The Castle of Cagliostro (Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro) (1979)

  Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Written by: Maurice Leblanc, Hayao Miyazaki, Monkey Punch, Tadashi Yamazaki
Starring: Tarô Ishida, Eiko Masuyama, Gorô Naya, Sumi Shimamoto, Yasuo Yamada
Links: The Castle of Cagliostro on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

The Castle of Cagliostro (Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro) (1979) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986).

"A different debut" - a review by pearly

Lupin (Yasuo Yamada) is a thief with a conscience. After stealing many millions of yen, he comes across Clarisse (Sumi Shimamoto), a young woman being chased by a car full of bad guys. Lupin goes in to help Clarisse, but she is taken away to Cagliostro, a country which has been ruled by an evil Count (Tarô Ishida) since the deaths of the King and Queen.

Lupin follows Clarisse's kidnappers to the Castle of Cagliostro, which is defended by lasers and trap doors, and not only must he attempt to get past all these obstacles to save Clarisse, but he also has Inspector Zenigata (Gorô Naya) on his tail, trying to bring him to justice for his thievery. Before the tale is through, Zenigata and Lupin must work together to achieve both their aims, but will their pride stop them from doing so?

The Castle of Cagliostro is Hayao Miyazaki's directorial debut (for a film). Though I have not seen any of the earlier stuff about the lead character of Arsene Lupin, there appears to be quite a history. Miyazaki himself started his career with two television series about Mr Lupin III, but even earlier than that was Arsène Lupin (1932), a film not associated with Miyazaki in any way. Miyazaki has taken the characters created by Maurice Leblanc, and run with them.

Perhaps it is because of this that The Castle of Cagliostro is quite different in tone to the other Miyazaki films that have come since. Maybe he just hadn't found his groove yet. But while there are female characters in this story, they really aren't the focus of the story, they are probably a bit older, and they display only some of the heroic qualities that his future characters have. It is probably closest to Porco Rosso (1992) in content.

The Castle of Cagliostro is also styled more like the kinds of television series I remember watching when I was a kid, with music that wouldn't sound out of place in Astro Boy, and the kind of story / bad guys you would see in Inspector Gadget. This is definitely less kawaii anime, and more manga anime (if that makes sense).

The antics of super-human Lupin were fun to watch. It shows its age a little in terms of the animation; if compared to Spirited Away (2001) the gap would be quite substantial. Still, for me, story is a little more important than looks, so I wasn't bothered much. Nothing much magical in this one, which is one of the things that appeals to me about most Miyazaki films, though there is something nice towards the very end. Had I not already been a huge fan of Miyazaki, this one alone may not have been enough to get me super-excited about his next releases, but watching it today, having seen all his other stuff, I greatly enjoyed it.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 17 Sep 2004

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