Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (Manga Entertainment)

(Note: While this film was previously dubbed by Streamline Pictures, that version seems nigh-impossible to get your hands on legally these days, so I'll be reviewing the 2000 Manga Entertainment dub that I currently own on DVD. I have also seen very little of the other Lupin III dubbed properties, so there won't be any comparison to them here)

Ah, Lupin III. He's perhaps the most legendary thief in animation, the Danny Ocean of Japan, and his finest hour may just be 1979's The Castle of Cagliostro, which also served as the theatrical debut for the legendary director Hayao Miyazaki. It's one of his most purely fun, exciting films, and Manga Entertainment's 2000 dub reflects that quality as well as the few more serious moments. It's not my favorite Miyazaki dub, to be sure. The adding cursing occasionally seems unnecessary, and the acting occasionally gets a bit stiff, but overall it's quite good and certainly recommendable. On with the review!

LUPIN III (David Hayter)-It's admittedly a bit amusing to see Hayter in this role, considering how his most famous role, Solid Snake, is also well-known for sneaking around. But Hayter is quite excellent here, giving oodles of charm and confidence to the gentleman thief, especially since the odds are against him quite often. Hayter also does well in Lupin's quieter, more reflective moments, as when he remembers his first visit to the castle and when he says goodbye to Clarisse at the end of the film. Aside from the occasional bit of stiff delivery, Hayter is easily one of the highlights of the dub.

DAISUKE JIGEN (John Snyder)-Snyder's gruff, scratchy tones bring both humor and badassery to the grouchy gunslinger, and he plays off of Lupin's eternal optimism quite well. No complaints.

GOEMON ISHIKAWA (Mike Gregory)-Goemon doesn't get a whole lot to do here, but Gregory's deep voice is a perfect match for the honor-bound samurai, and his delivery of "This object is unworthy of my blade!" makes up for the fact that I prefer the original line "Once again, I have cut a worthless object." Again, no complaints.

FUJIKO MINE (Dorothy Elias-Fahn)-Dorothy fits Fujiko perfectly, whether she's undercover as Clarisse's governess, making a daring escape with a bleeding Lupin, or impersonating a newscaster to help expose the Count's counterfeiting scandal. I'm disappointed she hasn't been able to play Fujiko anywhere else, but her performance here works perfectly.

INSPECTOR KOICHI ZENIGATA (Kevin Seymour)-Aside from Hayter and another actor we'll see in a moment, the late Kevin Seymour (who also directed the dub) gives my favorite performance in the dub, giving Zenigata plenty of his usual hilarious enthusiasm for pursuing Lupin as well as a surprising amount of dignity. Zenigata gets his finest hour as a character here, seen as a truly honest cop in a world of criminals and corrupt Interpol officials, and Seymour gets that across beautifully with his scratchy, world-weary voice. He also gets a hilarious scene where Zenigata, exposing the Count's printing presses with the help of Fujiko's camera, does a very poor job of acting surprised and shocked at the discovery (since he and Lupin had already discovered it), especially the line "Oh, no! I came here to capture Lupin and uncovered a criminal plot! Oh, what to do?"

COUNT CAGLIOSTRO (Kirk Thornton)-Kirk is just great here. He brings a wonderfully snooty, aristocratic haughtiness to the Count that does a very good job of giving us the impression that the Count will be a more cultured, Bond-esque villain. This impression is very wrong, and as the film goes on the Count gets slimier and more piggish with every scene, and Thornton's performance reflects that beautifully, even getting in some great evil laughter at the climax. He's just having so much fun playing this awful, awful man and the Count's comeuppance is even more effective as a result. Next to Hayter and Grant, this is easily the high point of the dub.

CLARISSE D'CAGLIOSTRO (Bridget Hoffman)-It's tough to play the innocent ingenue, but Hoffman is very good at it, and she manages to suggest Clarisse's true inner strength as well as her fragility and soft heart. Not much else to say, honestly, except that it's a very good performance.

JODO (Milton James)-The Count's butler/right-hand man is almost as slimy yet aristocratic as he is, and Milton does that perfectly, although it's kind of amusing since he played another butler (Norman in the first season of The Big O) who's much nicer than the creepy Jodo.

The smaller roles and extras are done quite well, with Joe Romersa providing an amusing Schwarzenegger impression as the Count's captain of the guard Gustav, while the late, great Barry Stigler gives a legitimate sense of warmth and age to the old groundskeeper Christopher, and actors like Jeff Nimoy (as the archbishop's driver) or Bambi Darro (the waitress who gives Lupin some crucial info) pop up as well.

In summary, The Castle of Cagliostro is a solid dub. It's not the greatest dub I've heard, no, but it does its job quite well with some very good performances, and you won't be clawing your eardrums out from sheer audio agony. If you get the chance, give it a whirl and prepare to have some fun.


  1. I consider this Miyazaki's weakest, but most enjoyable film.

  2. I must admit like Richard better as Jigen lol, but this dub ain't half bad

  3. For some reason the Region 4 release from Madman comes with the Streamline dub. This was not mentioned anywhere on the box and only became apparent to me when I heard the words "asbestos suit".

  4. For the most part, I prefer the TV anime's English-language cast (the exception being Lupin, because Hayter was fantastic). I find them to be more in line with the characters' personalities than those that dubbed this film. Though other aspects of this dub, such as the translation, far outshine the TV show (which was loaded with unnecessary and bizarre modern pop culture references).

  5. Sorry for the 4 year late reply.

    Just wanted to say I agree with you on John Snyder's ruff, scruffy voice, such a badass. I too am a fan of his work with my his Jigen role probably being my favorite of his along with Bob from Cowboy Bebop and Ghoda from GitS 2nd Gig. He's a criminally underrated actor, and is a quite great on screen actor as well, with his Star Trek performance probably being his most known for.

    I also wanted to chime in on Epcar and Goemon. is it confirmed anywhere or by him on facebook that he actually played this role in the manga dub? He isn't listed in the credits anywhere or credited under any of his aliases (which most of the Cagliostro cast were) at the ending. I'm starting to think that it's actually Michael Gregory who played the role because the sound of his voice matching Goemon's in the dub is uncanny. I would love your 2 cents on the subject or if there is a source out there for confirmation that would be great. :) Peace

  6. Might want to edit the blog to reflect that Epcar does not play Goemon

    1. This is a bit of a mystery. There is in fact a dub in which Epcar voices Goemon. Epcar himself has acknowledged in interviews that he did the role, and Behind the Voice Actors has an actual clip from his dub on their "Voice Compare" page for the character...(

      After a bit of research, I can find no commercially available version of the film featuring Epcar's dub. Castle of Cagliostro used to air quite regularly on Toonami, and there is zero question in my mind that Epcar voiced Goemon in that version. This leads me to believe that there may have been a redub made exclusively for television.