Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 2nd, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2002
Director: Minoru Ôhara
Writers: Shoji Yonemura, Monkey Punch
Cast: Masaru Ikeda, Makio Inoue, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Jûrôta Kosugi, Kanichi Kurita, Eiko Masuyama, Shûichirô Moriyama, Ichirô Nagai, Gorô Naya, Tamio Ôki, Romi Pak, Shunsuke Sakuno
DVD released: March 30th, 2010
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
DVD Release: Discotek / Eastern Star
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Lupin the III is a manga series that was created by Kazuhiko Kato under the pseudonym Monkey Punch in 1967. Over the years there have been T.V. series, OVA (original video animation) direct to video, theatrical films, made for T.V. specials and a live action adaptation Lupin the Third: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy.
The series main character Lupin is a mastermind thief who has an uncanny ability to pull off the most impossible jobs. He often works with three other characters Fujiko Mine she often uses her voluptuous body to get what she wants, Daisuke Jigen a expert marksmen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII a renegade samurai warrior. The plot for Lupin III: Episode 0 – First Contact is essentially a origins story which retraces how these four characters first meet. The film starts off with a reporter who has secured a interview with Daisuke Jigen.
The plot for Lupin III: Episode 0 – First Contact revolves around a scroll that reveals how to create a indestructible steel. Besides Lupin and his friends, there is also a mob boss who is hell bent on getting his hands on the scroll and its secrets. Another character which also plays a prominent role in this film is a character named inspector Koichi Zenigata, a Japanese lawman who has come to America to apprehend Fujiko Mine.
Lupin III: Episode 0 – First Contact does a good job filling each characters back stories. And the story holds up well as a standalone adventure making this film easy to enjoy even if you have not seen any other Lupin the III films. Ultimately Lupin III: Episode 0 – First Contact is a fast paced adventure that has just the right mix of action and comedy.
Lupin III: Episode 0 – First Contact is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. This transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback. The image remains stable throughout, colors are vibrant, black levels are strong and details look sharp.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included. The audio is clear and balanced throughout.
Extras for this release include a extensive drawing gallery and trailers for Lupin III: Episode 0 – First Contact, Lupin the Third The Fuma Conspiracy, Lupin the Third: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy and Fist of the North Star. The main extra included with this release is a detailed and informative audio commentary with Reed Nelson of LUPINTHETHIRD.NET. Overall Lupin III: Episode 0 – First Contact gets a strong DVD release from Discotek that is on par with their other Lupin the III DVD releases.