DVD Title
Lupin the III: The Castle of Cagliostro
International Title
Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro
DVD Length Original Length
102 Minutes 100 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Manga Video 2006
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English, Spanish, French English
Region Number of Discs
1 1 (Double Sided)
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.85:1 5.1 Surround, 2.0 Surround, 2.0 Mono
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (12)
. Trailers: Lupin the Third: Castle of Cagliostro, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (US DVD), Karas: The Prophecy (US), Blood: The Last Vampire (US), Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd Gig (US), Tactics (US)
. Interview with animation director Yasuo Ohtsuka (25 Minutes)
. Complete Storyboards (99 minutes)
. Photo Gallery (15)

First off, yes Manga Video has shamelessly copied the general look of Disney's Studio Ghibli releases, complete with a red banner at the top and a similar cardboard sleeve that comes packaged over the amaray case. However, how does this release stack up to Disney's efforts in the region 1 market and Manga Video's own 2000 release of the title (The Castle of Cagliostro)? Unfortunately, the video presentation is actually a grade down from the previous effort in some respects, although this disc sports an excellent audio presentation and a good sized collection of supplemental content, which is located on the flip side of the disc.


Why Manga Video? Honestly, the video presentation on this disc isn't bad by any stretch; however, I was expecting a stark improvement over the 2000 release while this disc instead took several steps backwards in some respects. First off, on the positive side, the video here looks much sharper than the previous release while artifacting has been reduced, although it's still noticeable in some parts. Also, in terms of grain present, both releases tend to be fairly even in this respect, although the 2006 release is marginally better.

On the other hand, the disc's biggest detractor is the travesty that was done to the movie's opening credits. For this release, Manga Video took out the fully animated segment here and literally replaced it with a "slide show" of grainy screen captures with English text and logos placed over it. This might not have been so bad if that sequence wasn't originally so brilliant in itself, showing both Lupin and Jigen traveling across countries toward Cagliostro. The ending of the movie was also altered, although this time the only thing that was changed was "The End" was removed and the end song is looped several times to accommodate the English credits (which look badly compressed and hard to read).

Another unfortunate aspect of this release is that the colors aren't nearly as vibrant as the 2000 release. Something which is very apparent in a side-by-side comparison, such as the following three examples:

2000 vs. 2006
2000 vs. 2006
2000 vs. 2006

The difference really is night and day. Of course the sharpness and reduction of artifacting does help this release a lot in its video presentation; however, I don't think it was too much to have expected the overall video quality to have been an improvement over its predecessor, instead of succeeding in some respects and failing in others.

Castle of Cagliostro is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.

 Audio: Star Rating

This release really shines over its predecessor in the audio department. In total, there are five tracks present. Of those five, the two English dubs (same dubbing as the 2000 release for reference) are the only surround presentations, which are 5.1 and 2.0 respectively. Unfortunately, these don't sound like pure surround tracks, which is especially noticeable on the songs as the audio sounds identical across the English and Japanese tracks. In other words, the dubbed portions and some of the "new" audio effects sound to be enhanced for surround, but not the music or other parts taken from the Japanese audio track. Speaking of, the Japanese mono track here is in excellent shape, a vast improvement over the slightly muddled and distorted Japanese track that appeared in the 2000 release.

This disc also comes with two more mono audio tracks, one dubbed in Spanish and the other French. Unfortunately the audio on these is more muddled, not sounding as clear as the Japanese or English tracks but still pretty good regardless.

The audio can be accompanied by, removable, English subtitles that correspond to the Japanese track.


 Extras: Star Rating

Manga Video has packed this release with extra content, although sadly most of it isn't all that interesting. To that point I must unfortunately admit that the best extra here is acutally the original Japanese trailer, which is in excellent condition. The other standout extra is the storyboard feature, which runs 99 minutes long, same as the movie. This extra is accompanied by the film's Japanese track with English subtitles (removable), and is a full length rendering of what the movie looked like when it was story boarded. How many people are interested in this is hard to say, a similar feature is found on all of the recent Hayao Miyazaki DVDs from Disney, although its inclusion is welcome.

Another supplemental feature is an interview with animation director Yasuo Ohtsuka, which runs for an impressive 25 minutes. Unfortunately, the interviewer didn't appear to do his homework for this session, as questions like if Ohtsuka was a fan of Lupin before making the film are stated... even though Ohtsuka was behind the character's very first television show. The interview in general also has very little to do with the Castle of Cagliostro, as most of the conversation tends to drift toward the Lupin character in general or just modern animation. Overall, it's interesting in parts, although tends to overstay its welcome for its long duration.

The last extra, not counting the English adverts for other Manga Video titles, is a short photo gallery for the film. Some of these are concept art, which is nice to see although all of it is badly cropped in order to fit inside a tiny display window (...why was this done?). The rest of the shots appear to be just screen captures or possibly promotional stills. It's hard to say, really, as the presentation is so small, but all of the segments are directly from sequences in the film.

On a final note, the sound on the menus here is sadly unbalanced. For example, menus like the "Audio Setup" have background music that's incredibly loud, especially compared to the audio level of the main feature, which is just jarring and makes the title feel rushed.

 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, this is still, despite all of my complaints, a fairly good release. However, its definitely disappointing in some respects and not quite the vast improvement over the earlier release that I was hoping for. If someone has never owned the movie on DVD before, then this is a great disc to get started with the magnificent film. However, if one already owns the 2000 release then it's hard to suggest picking the newer version up except to completists or if they happen to locate this disc at a very reasonable price. Those with widescreen TVs will of course be advised to pick this up, though, considering that this is the first region 1 release of the title that supports an Anamorphic widescreen presentation.

- Anthony Romero  
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