Project #143: Lupin III: The Pursuit of Harimao’s Treasure

Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj. Well it’s been a while since a reviewed something Lupin related so let’s review another Lupin III special. A lot of people ask me why I don’t just do an arc dedicated to Lupin III since I review his stuff so much. Well there’s actually a few good reasons why I don’t do a Lupin III arc in fact it’s the same reasons why I don’t do a Studio Ghibli arc. There are a lot of Lupin specials out there with one being made each year. I try to keep an arc to one month unless it’s something special I want to review and for Lupin I would need more than a 1 or 2 to cover up all of his specials. It’s also a matter me tracking down these specials/movies and finding the time to review them. Finally, the most important reason why I don’t do an arc on Lupin is because he’s my favorite anime character. While everybody was saying Goku from Dragonball Z was their favorite anime character I was saying Lupin was my favorite anime character. For me, this was the character that made the rogue hero look cool to me. Because I have so much respect for Lupin and the series in general I want these reviews to be special when they come out. The same thing can apply to Studio Ghibli. Ghibli is one of my favorite animation studios so I want these reviews to be special as well when they come out. With that being said let’s take a look at The Pursuit of Harimao’s Treasure. This was the 7th Lupin special (fitting seeing how this is my 7th time reviewing something Lupin related) that came out in 1995 and is directed by the late Osamu Dezkai who was involved with a number of animes as well directed some of them. He also holds the record for having directed a majority of the Lupin specials with this one being his last before he retired from the Lupin series. Let’s see if Dezkai left on a good note and take look at The Pursuit of Harimao’s Treasure.


So the special starts with Lupin stealing a bear statue from a museum in some winter region. He triggers all of these alarms not caring one bit (like a boss) and escapes the museum by snowboarding through the streets (this would be a good level for a Lupin game). He stops at a taxi stop where he gets picked up by Jigen on a snow mobile where we get exposition into what’s going on. It turns out Lupin and Jigen are after the treasure of Harimao, a legendary thief from WWII who stole gold and silver from the British and Japanese army accumulating a fortune worth more than 800 billion pounds (and according to Google that’s over 1 trillion US dollars. I think I just had a small stroke). Before dying he hid the treasure with the only way to find it is to find these three special statues that have a puzzle you need to solve in order to find it (three? Usually it’s 5, 7, 8, or 10). They keep running from the police until they arrive at a plane where Jigen has hired Goemon as a part-timer to help them on their adventure (part-time? That’s so insulting to his character. Hire him full time). They escape and fly to the location of the man who will lead them to the location of the remaining two statues Lord Archer a retired spied of British Intelligence who is said to be the one who inspired all those British spy movies we see today (thanks for the Kingsman). We see that Fujiko is there posing as a reporter (and I have to admit I’m not very fond of the design choice they went with Fujiko in this movie. She just doesn’t look like that seductive femme fatale we’ve come to love and not trust all these years) and we also meet Archer’s lovely granddaughter Diana an assistant professor in archeology at a university (well with her teaching I doubt anybody will be paying attention in class). At Archer’s manor he receives some very bad news involving the Channel Tunnel (the French have surrendered and closed their part of the tunnel). The tunnel has collapsed on itself trapping a train carrying passengers and Zenigata on board and since Archer is the insurance holder he has to pay for all the expenses and he doesn’t have nearly enough money to cover the expense (so this is how they treat the man who gave his life for his queen and country). Archer proposes finding Harimao’s treasure in order to cover the expenses and Diana decides to go with him on his journey to uncover the statues. The first statue is in Amsterdam and thanks to Fujiko, Lupin now knows where to go (alright. You guys get the statue, I’ll indulge myself in this country’s finest weed, alcohol, and strip joints. Don’t wait up).


They arrive in Amsterdam where the statue is hidden somewhere in the Amsterdam castle. After getting away from the tour group (with one of them being a small boy who is openly perverted and keeps sexually harassing his tour guide. He’s gonna live an interesting life) they make their way up to one of the castle’s towers where Goemon chops a finger off a Buddha statue because it’s doing the wrong hand side. This unlocks a secret passage way filled with traps and puzzles where Lupin gets separated from the others and makes his way to the bird statue only have it snatched away by Diana. We get an interesting boat chase sequence where we see Zenigata has escaped from the Channel Tunnel, Scotland’s finest officers, and has made his way to Amsterdam to capture Lupin (I am convince that Zenigata is a cyborg. There’s just no other way to explain his inhuman abilities). He also has the bear statue which Lupin stupidly left in the hotel room. Lupin and his gang lose Archer and Diana and try to find it where they intercept a message from some German military officer who is also after the statues (// Sure enough it is Nazis (neo-Nazis if you will) being led by this woman named Herr Maphrodite (why does this sound like plant name?) who wants to find the treasure and use the money to start a third world war (yeah because getting your asses kicked two times already wasn’t enough for you). They surround Archer’s boat, get the statue, and take Diana as prisoner (because she has blonde hair and blue eyes. You racist bastards). As their captain is flying away with her Lupin and Jigen catch up to them where Lupin boards the helicopter trying to get the statue back. He gets the crap beat out of him (I mean just basically owned. He didn’t even get a chance to throw in a punch) but he does save Diana and they get captured by Zenigata who believes that Diana and Lupin are partners who are dating. He decides to take them back to French where they’ll be thrown in jail but on the train ride there Lupin escapes and gets his statue back from Zenigata. As Lupin is trying to escape that Nazi captain comes back trying to get the statue from him and shoots up the train. Lupin gets Diana to safety by having her jump off the train and she takes the statue from Lupin (you know for a college professor you sure know how to steal stuff). Lupin manages to get back in the CHOPPA where he takes on the big Nazi captain this time winning (impressive considering that the guy is a giant apparently) and getting the bird statue. After getting away from the Nazi captain Lupin and Jigen (where the hell is Goemon?) decide to team up with Archer and Diana and split the treasure 30/70 in favor of Archer.


The final statue which is the monkey is located in Bangkok. Fujiko has decided to stay behind for some reason (I smell a betrayal in the future) leaving only Lupin, Jigen, Archer, and Diana to find the statue (okay seriously where is Goemon? This is starting to piss me off). Archer tells them the statue is located in an old temple which is guarded by the military to stop looters (well they should be okay then since they’re just thieves). As they wait for night to come Archer tells them the story of how he met Harimao and his bandits. During the war Archer got shot down and landed in Bangkok where he was recused by Harimao in his men who nursed him back to health. Before Harimao’s death he shared the secret of the statues with Archer believing him to be a trustworthy British man (and he was right. Archer hasn’t told this secret to anyone. Not even the Queen of England. That takes balls). Back at the hotel Fujiko follows the representative from the insurance company where she finds out he’s actually Herr Maphrodite who crossdresses as a woman (for some very odd reason) despite the fact that he actually hates women (than why dress up as the thing you despise the most? That’s like Seras dressing up as Rarity from MLP: FiM even though she can’t stand her). Fujiko confronts him where she works out a deal with him to get the treasure all for herself (traitorous whore). Back with Lupin night has finally come and they make their move where Jigen distracts the guards and Lupin sneaks into the temple with Diana (not the ideal first date but Lupin has always found a way to turn things in his favor). After evading the guards they make their way to the Pleasure chamber where they find the monkey statue as well as Goemon (where the hell have you been?). They get the statue, Lupin fights and beats that Nazi captain again, and they escape. With all the statues in hand and the Nazis right on their tail with Fujiko and Goemon (and Zenigata) teaming up with them they arrive at an underwater temple. It turns out Harimao was a firm believer in the ways of Buddha (interesting) and it turns out he hid the treasure in this underwater temple. They use the bear and the bird to open the first doors where they arrive at a lake in the temple where Archer tosses in the monkey and this summons Harimao’s treasure a giant golden sub filled with treasures and made out of gold and platinum (and yes, it is fully operational. My friends, that is stupid rich right here). The Nazis with Herr Maphrodite leading the charge sees the golden sub and he wants it big time (// He wants it so much he jumps out of his CHOPPA, drop kicks Lupin, punches Jigen, and holds Archer at gunpoint where he tells him to stop the sub. The rest of the Nazis come in where Fujiko kisses him revealing him to be a man as payback for abandoning her and Goemon. Maphrodite freaks out from the kiss allowing Lupin and the others to fight back and gain the upper hand. But Maphrodite shoots Archer in the chest and decides to go down like a badass taking the sub with him. Lupin and the others escape with Zenigata capturing Maphrodite and the special just ends with Lupin asking Diana to dinner which she says yes to (way to pick up the loose ball Lupin).


Final Thoughts


So how does Harimai’s Treasure fair in the other Lupin specials and movies I’ve watched so far? Well I think it’s a rather good movie. Lupin is at the top of his game in this special by chasing girls, looking for treasure, fighting Nazis, and just being an all-around enjoyable character. The story is a good treasure hunt as we travel all around the world while also engaging in spy-clichés and fighting some pretty good Nazi villains. Maphrodite is a pretty crazy villain. He’s a man posing as a woman and hates women. I would love to hear his backstory. While Lupin is good the rest of the characters are underused big time here as they take a backseat and only serve as comic relief for the movie. I was hoping that just like Lupin they would play a major role in the anime but no they’re just there for comedic effect and nothing else. The only character who sort of moves out of this role is Archer who comes across as a retired badass spy who’s enjoy one last adventure before he dies and seems to be the guy who moves the plot forward in the special. I also don’t like how the movie just up and ended on a sour note like that. It might have worked if during the credits we saw the date and see Lupin cheering her up. That would have made the ending a little better but as far as endings go that wasn’t the best way to end special.


The animation is good for its time. It’s the same animation used for the 5th movie and the action and chase scenes done in this special are really fun to watch each one being well done for the time and creative. Music is always a treat and it’s a good watch both in the sub and dub.


Final Score


The final score for Harimao’s Treasure is a 7/10. It’s a good special and a hit for Lupin fans to watch with the only real downside being the ending and the poor use of the other characters. Other than that I think special is really enjoyable and put it as one of the more fun specials to watch. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.


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