The Castle of Cagliostro

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The Castle of Cagliostro
Genre: Action
Starring: Yasuo Yamada
Sumi Shimamoto
Taro Ishida
Goro Naya
Release Date: December 15, 1979
Country: Japan
Sequel: Legend of the Gold of Babylon

Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (Japanese: ルパン三世 カリオストロの城 Hepburn: Rupan Sansei: Kariosutoro no Shiro) is a 1979 Japanese animated action-adventure comedy film co-written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki as his feature film debut. It is the second feature film featuring Monkey Punch's master thief Arsène Lupin III, from his manga series Lupin III. The film was Miyazaki's first time directing a theatrical feature after having previously worked as an animator for Toei Animation and Telecom Animation Film and directing several television shows including Lupin III and two episodes of Lupin III Part II.


When master thief Lupin III (Yasuo Yamada) discovers that the money he robbed from a casino is counterfeit, he goes to Cagliostro, rumored to be the source of the forgery. There he discovers a beautiful princess, Clarisse (Sumi Shimamoto), who is being forced to marry the count so he can find the legendary treasure of Cagliostro. In order to rescue Clarisse and foil the count, Lupin teams up with his regular adversary, Inspector Zenigata, as well as fellow thief Fujiko Mine.

Why It Rocks

  1. Feature film debut of Hayao Miyazaki.
  2. The animation is surprisingly amazing for Miyazaki's first film.
  3. Appealing character designs that stay completely faithful to the manga and show.
  4. Amazing voice performance for sub and dub.
  5. Extreme amounts of hilarious comedy everywhere, with Lupin III himself being the funniest character in the movie, and he's still likable.
    • All of the humor is mainly based on sight gags, such as Lupin's overeating.
  6. The film tones down the over the top wackiness of the Lupin III TV show and gives Lupin a decent plot for him to dig his teeth into, while still staying faithful to the manga.
  7. All of the action is nonstop without any wasted moments.
  8. Clarisse is also a very sympathetic character, and she has great chemistry with Lupin.

Bad Qualities

  1. Like My Neighbor Totoro, the Streamline Pictures dub isn't as polished as the original, such as when they literally named Lupin The Wolf!
  2. While being better than the Streamline Pictures dub, the Manga Entertainment dub peppers the dialogue with constant swearing that wasn't in the original script, which gets annoying fast.
    • Discotek Media released a more "Family-Friendly" version of the Manga dub in their release of the movie (alongside the Streamline and unedited Manga dubs) that removes most of the profanity.
  3. Some fans criticized the depiction of Lupin as a bumbling hero rather than a ruthless criminal.


Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 92% approval rating based on reviews from 12 critics, with an average rating of 7/10. Some fans maintain that it is not a "true" Lupin title, due to Miyazaki's altering of the titular character into a bumbling hero, rather than his original ruthless criminal self. Monkey Punch, creator of Lupin III, called Castle of Cagliostro an "excellent" movie, but agreed Miyazaki's vision of Lupin differs from his own. He said, "I wouldn't have had him rescue the girl, I would have had him rape her!"



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