Lupin III: The Secret of Mamo stands as one of those films which may simply be described as fun. The villain’s plot bears an amusing resemblance to the later Read or Die OVA. Both films show the use of clones, and the villain desires to perpetuate himself at the expense of the rest of mankind. However, here is a case where the earlier version of a story fails in respect to a later rendition, since ROD succeeds on more levels. But, there are still plenty of reasons to watch The Secret of Mamo.
Though one is disappointed by a commonplace plot, the action and character dynamics are well executed. Though I did not get to hear the original sub, the 2003 dub offered on Hulu features some great English voice talents. Richard Epcar (Batou of Ghost in the Shell and Kenshin’s Master in Rurouni Kenshin) delivers a brilliant performance as Lupin’s sidekick and best friend, Jigen. Lex Lang, famous for playing Sanosuke Sagara in Rurouni Kenshin and the many movie trailers he narrated, also does well as the master swordsman Goemon. Michelle Ruff (Rukia Kuchiki in Bleach) was dealt a difficult role in Fujiko Mine, but pulled off a passable performance. A little known voice actor known as Paul St. Peter lent a Naraku-like air to Mamo, the villain, and I wonder why I had never taken notice of him before. Even some guy by the name of Tony Oliver managed to perform okay in the role of Lupin.
Despite the stellar dub, the plot of the film itself struck me as kind of lackluster. The involvement of the US government and the Russian government seemed like it was randomly thrown in there. Inspector Zenigata strikes one as a third wheel, even though he is given the main focus in the beginning. But, the poor plot cannot completely undo the good action sequences and great acting, the movie earns the following score:
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