Lupin the Third: The Secret of Mamo (Rupan Sansei: Mamo Karano Chousen) (1978)

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Released 16-Aug-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio
Gallery-Conceptual Artwork
Trailer-Desrt Punk Vol 1, Inyasha, Ranma, Gundam Seed Collection
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1978
Running Time 101:55
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Yasuo Ôtsuka
Soji Yoshikawa
Richard Epcar
Madman Entertainment
Starring Yasuo Yamada
Kiyoshi Kobayashi
Eiko Masuyama
Makio Inoue
Gorô Naya
Tony Oliver
Richard Epcar
Michelle Ruff
Lex Lang
Jake Martin
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Yuji Ono
Alex Agoston
Yuzo Aoki

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Lupin the 3rd (or Rupan Sansei as he is known in his native Japan) makes his Region 4 DVD debut in the classic Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo. Lupin the 3rd is an extremely popular anime and manga character created by artistic genius Monkey Punch (Kazuhiko Kato.) 

    Originally debuting in 1967 in the Weekly Manga Action, the series was a parody of a fictional French jewel thief named Arsene Lupin. The character was a hit in Japan and has spawned TV shows and movies. The Rupan theme is a popular ringtone on Japanese mobiles. The first time I heard of Rupan, a Japanese friend was describing him as "the Japanese James Bond." While not exactly correct, I can see why they chose the description. Lupan is quite the lady's man but he is not a spy.... he is a thief. Most of his adventures involve him nobly stealing from the rich to give to the poor, a modern day Robin Hood! The Lupan logo also has the signature James Bond Walther PPK gun silhouette.

    Rupan is the world's most skilful and wanted thief. He comes across as inept, but he uses that as a ploy to put people off the scent. He generally steals from people who deserve it and he and his gang often foil the exploits of their competition. He is not your typical hero, and yet in Japan he is very much loved.

    This film has not always been called The Mystery of Mamo - in Japan it was originally Rupan tai Kuroon. It means Rupan against the _______. I'm not going to spoil it because it gives away a major plot point that doesn't occur until the last 10 or so minutes of the movie. Interestingly enough, when the film was released in the west the literal translation of the name was deemed stupid as it essentially tells you the end of the movie in the title. Western distributors changed the name to The Mystery of Mamo, then Japanese distributors adapted that name on subsequent re-releases in Japan!

    The plot in this film follows Rupan around the globe as he hunts down the world's most valuable treasure, a stone which holds the key to eternal life. Fujiko (Rupan's love interest) is tricked into giving the stone to the mad Mamo but Rupan has a surprise for them both. Rupan and co set out on an adventure which spans the globe until the final showdown with Mamo. In this film, though, there is more to Rupan than meets the eye.

    I found the movie to be a lot more enjoyable when watching it with the Japanese audio track. The English one sounded a little cheesy.

    The animation has dated, but there is quite an entertaining (if not farfetched) story to be found.

    If this is your first exposure to Rupan, I'd recommend a look. Fans will already know that this is a must have purchase.

    Let's hope that the other Rupan films are released in R4 soon.

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Transfer Quality


    This presentation is in PAL at the ratio of 1.78:1 and the disc is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is pretty good for an older animated film. The transfer has been cleaned up and is possibly the best this film has ever looked.

    The image is relatively clear.

    The colours are bright and vivid, with some very 70s coloured wardrobes.

    Whilst not pristine, it's clear that money was spent on cleaning up the print.

    That said, however, there are film artefacts from time to time. Specks of dust/dirt are sometimes visible, but only for a second. Nothing too distracting though.

    There is little to no grain and no pixelization/MPEG artefact issues.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two main audio tracks; English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)  & Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s.) 

    The dialogue comes through sounding good on both.

    There are no synch or other similar audio issues.

    The surrounds don't get used but there is range across the front three that adds depth and direction to the mix.

    There is no sub woofer, nor was I expecting it.

    There are yellow English sub-titles available that are easy to read and seem quite accurate.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio

Conceptual Artwork 

    Drawings of key characters


    Desert Punk Vol 1, Inyasha, Ranma, Gundam Seed Collection

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 release has 10 promotional shots that we don't get. It's too close to call, so a tie.


    Overall, a fun (but wacky) film that is enjoyable to watch. It's not the best Rupan film though.

    The video is great for an almost 30 year old film.

    The audio is 2.0 but it doesn't feel like anything is missing.

    The special features are sparse.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Monday, November 13, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
What about "The Castle Of Cagliostro" ? - deckard3