Lupin the Third: The Secret of Mamo is the first film based on a manga series originated in the late 1960s by Kazuhiko Kato under the Monkey Punch moniker. It was swiftly made into a Japanese childrens show, but this was the first anime installment to make it to a cinematic release.
The film was made in 1978 and has a straight from disco funk track that careens along throughout the flim. Bandy legged Lupin III himself is an Austin Powers-type character who is turns to putty at the site of pretty girl Fujiko Mine and needs to be looked after by his partners in crime including a dour katana wielding samurai Goemon Ishikawa and a fellow trilby-wearing thief called Daisuke Jigen. Leading to an action comedy which is one-part Austin Powers, one-part Pink Panther and one part Raffles the Gentleman Thief.
The animation is a nice period piece, not quite as stylised as modern anime and their are some surreal Looney Tunes type moments like a car skating around on a piece of bent armco barrier like a railway line and a grim but dim villain’s henchman. Or a the multi-story lorry and trailer that looks like something from a bad acid trip and runs over police cars like as if they were roadkill.
As one would expect of an old print, the transfer to DVD isn’t as vibrant as modern anime but for nice light-hearted fun you can’t beat Lupin the Third: The Secret of Mamo .