This movie was quite different for the Rupan Sansei franchise before The Woman Called Fujiko Mine came along. Being one of the more darker titles in the franchise, Island of Assassins features Lupin crossing paths with a gang of assassins called Tarantula on a hidden island and meeting a woman named Eren desiring freedom from the group. Unlike many titles in the Lupin franchise, Lupin isn't out for loot this time around as he tries to figure out who among the gang is in possession of his original Walther P-38 handgun and being his former partner in crime. In addition, the movie is one of the more violent titles in the franchise with plenty of onscreen killings taking place and the trademark comedy you would find of Lupin is more restrained here, with exception to Zenigata's antics. Eren gets a good amount of focus in this movie so you know enough about her to know how she got involved with Tarantula and why she wants freedom from the group, making Lupin's interactions with her throughout their ordeals all the most interesting.
The visual presentation to the movie is also solid as Lupin's gang and Zenigata are given a bit more detail than usual to add to the movie's more serious plot while retaining their trademark appearances. The animation has plenty of nice moments to check out for animated sequences considering the physical feats of the members of Tarantula with flipping and the use of knives, as well as some of the usual overly elaborate stunts done by Lupin and the gang such as Lupin's motorcycle jump onto a fleeing blimp in the movie's climax.
That isn't to say everything about this movie was perfect. With Island of Assassins mostly focused on Lupin, the rest of his gang and Zenigata don't get much to do in this movie besides either aiding Lupin at points or providing comedic relief. Also, the movie doesn't really do a good job at focusing on who Lupin's former partner was as his face was never shown when a flashback of the betrayal was shown, which does limit the appeal of this film to a good extent since viewers can't care for this element to Lupin's past too much. The darker direction of the film may also be a turnoff to those who are fans of the more comedic approach to the Lupin franchise.
Still, I really enjoyed Island of Assassins as it still retained the regular elements of the Lupin franchise while creating a plot that is more darker than the norm with the annual TV specials and movies. Lupin's interactions with Eren and the plot involving those wanting to escape from the island were enough to make up for the subpar plot involving Lupin's search for his former partner.
Last updated Sunday, May 26 2013. Created Sunday, May 26 2013.
I put off watching this title for a while since it is billed as the darkest story of the franchise. While I believe this to be true, it is not so dark as to lose its way and not have elements we love about Lupin.
This TV-special attempts to tell two stories. The first is the tale of Lupin's past and his first partner. The second is the tale of this island of assassins with primary focus on Ellen (as a romantic interest for Lupin) and the leader of the assassins, Gordeau. The first tale is almost an afterthought, and indeed, Goemon and Jigen make a remark on this. The second tale is made interesting primarily because of Ellen. Exploring while this young woman is on an island full of killers was pretty good to me. I enjoyed the adventure of attempting to make the great escape of those who are on the island against their will.
The 1st story is really nothing more than to have a plot twist. Since we know nothing of this person before their identity is revealed, we really don't care beyond the mild suprise at learning who on the island was Lupin's former partner. After that, there was nothing. It would have worked better had Lupin reflected upon this former partner earlier in the pic. They had an opportunity when Goemon asks the obvious question, but the writers passed on giving anything.
Goemon, Jigen, and Fujiko have limited roles in this picture. All come to light when needed, but don't do much beyond that. Zenigata's role is that of comic relief with his attempted recovery of various injuries he keeps getting. Not the crew's finest outing.Bottom line: not as pretty as some Lupin titles, but it does the job. It is a darker, more violent title than other ones in the franchise, but the story is interesting enough to make it worth a rent.
Last updated Thursday, October 06 2005. Created Thursday, October 06 2005.