The first of several animated features based on the exploits of Lupin III, a popular Japanese manga (comic book) character, LUPIN III: THE MYSTERY OF MAMO pits the international jewel thief against a 10,000-year-old billionaire in a well-paced adventure blending slapstick highlights with
intrigue and science fiction.
Jewel thief Lupin III steals the Philosopher's Stone from the Great Pyramid in Egypt but holds out on delivering it to go-between Fujiko, his rival and sometime lover, who's working for the mysterious Mamo. Mamo's agents succeed in kidnapping both Lupin and Fujiko and spiriting them to Mamo's
Caribbean island stronghold where Mamo is revealed to be the elusive billionaire Hayward Lockwood.
The diminutive Lockwood declares that he's 10,000 years old and has survived this long by continually cloning himself. He needs the Philosopher's Stone to complete a secret formula for immortality.
Lupin's associates, Jigen and Goemon, arrive at the island, followed by their longtime nemesis, Inspector Zenigata, and U.S. military agents. Lockwood escapes with Fujiko to a rocket base hidden in ancient Colombian temple ruins, followed by Lupin, his partners, and Zenigata. Lockwood turns out to
be only a functionary of the real Mamo, which is actually a giant brain encased in a glass bubble attached to a rocket which blasts off into space once Lockwood sets off a series of nuclear missiles. Lupin had managed to plant a mini-time-bomb on the brain's glass bubble, causing it to explode in
space. He also manages to start an earthquake which destroys the warheads before they can lift off.
The creation of pseudonymous manga artist "Monkey Punch," Lupin III was inspired by the famous literary character, jewel thief Arsene Lupin and has been the star of comic books, a popular long-running TV cartoon series, and several feature films including Hayao Miyazaki's popular CASTLE CAGLIOSTRO
(1980). THE MYSTERY OF MAMO, the first theatrical Lupin feature (produced in 1978, but only now released in the U.S. on video), has a plot and scope reminiscent of the James Bond and OUR MAN FLINT superspy adventures of the 1960s. Although not as artistically accomplished as Miyazaki's
breathtaking work, it remains consistently entertaining and offers a more deliberately comic style, reminiscent of Italian animation of the 1970s with more cartoon-like characters, than most Japanese theatrical animation.
The romantic interplay between the perennially lusty Lupin and the calculating, attractive Fujiko is never consummated but lends some comic and sexy moments. The brief nudity of Fujiko may make the tape unsuitable for younger children although it is handled in a humorous fashion.(Nudity, sexualsituations.)
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- Released: 1978
- Rating: NR
- Review: The first of several animated features based on the exploits of Lupin III, a popular Japanese manga (comic book) character, LUPIN III: THE MYSTERY OF MAMO pits the international jewel thief against a 10,000-year-old billionaire in a well-paced adventure bl… (more)