Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo

By now, most every anime fan worth their weight in 100 ton hammers knows the name Lupin--or, since the rights are strange here in the States, Rupan or the Wolf. However you know of him, he's one of the most hysterical anime characters ever created and his ragtag bunch of associates knows how to have a good time.

The stories of Lupin, master thief, range from masterful to incredibly pedantic. Thankfully, Mystery of Mamo doesn't fall in the latter category, though it doesn't aspire to the greatness of Castle Of Cagliostro. The thief finds himself hanged at the beginning of the tale...or perhaps not. He meets up with Zenigata, the agent whose neverending quest is to bring Lupin to justice, to find out that it was in fact an exact look-alike of himself that was executed. After leaving Zenigata far behind, he steals a mysterious rock from an Egyptian pyramid, only to find out that his new treasure has a far greater purpose. Through a series of chases, stunts, and hilarity, we find out about a mysterious man/creature/god known as Mamo who has found ways of cloning people and plans to start the human race all over again. Of course, Lupin can't let that happen, even if he is on the wrong side of the law.

Mystery of Mamo is one of the funniest anime I've seen in a long time. Renting it on DVD, I found myself stuck with only an English dub. Nonetheless, the dub was still very satisfying, a long way from the drudgery of such dubs as Vampire Hunter D, though it obviously strays from the original text in some respects. Mamo runs long by at least 20 minutes or so--and comedy that drags can kill. The ending goes on far too long primarily due to the fact that the only character who isn't funny is Mamo, who owns the last reel or two.

So how to rate it? Any Lupin fan will very much enjoy this movie. If you haven't yet been exposed to the lecherous antihero, starting with Plot of the Fuma Clan or any of the Miyazaki Lupin shows would be a better start. Nonetheless, Lupin is great fun and this is a reasonable entry for the endless series...and watch for lots of interesting plot similarities to Moonraker, which opened over a year later.

Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo -- lots of comic violence, nudity -- B