ANIME & MANGA - Review
15:00 - 8th June 2013, by Andrew Osmond

The Castle of Cagliostro

Before Spirited Away, before Totoro, before Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki's first anime movie was The Castle of Cagliostro. It came to Japanese cinemas in 1979, making it one of the oldest anime available in Britain. The question, then, is whether the 33-year-old film - already released on VHS and DVD - can benefit from Blu-ray (there's also a DVD in this double pack).

Blimey, it can! The colours are pumped up vibrantly, making the older editions look faded, while the 5.1 DTS HD Japanese soundtrack similarly inflates the squealing tyres, explosions and organ dirges. The picture's not immaculate, with visible colour "speckles" in some shots, especially parts of the title sequence (blues seem particularly prone). But it's still a splendid-looking Cagliostro.

The film's a crime-caper and swashbuckler, a romantic adventure like The Prisoner of Zenda. Like that Anthony Hope novel, it's set in a fantasy European country (the titular Cagliostro), stocked with lakes, mountains, fairy-tale castles, an imprisoned princess, a ninja army (!) and a dastardly red-caped count. The drawing exudes charm, looking like one of the old Tintin comics (not last year's CG version). And for the hero, there's Lupin the Third.

If you're watching Cagliostro after many years, and remember it for the action highlights, you may find it slower than you remember, with a leisurely first act putting everyone in their places. But it's an evergreen, as funny and exciting as it always was. And what's this; a cynical subplot about the world banking system covering up its dirty secrets? Holy topicality, Lupin!

A classic shines anew! If you haven't seen it, forget your preconceptions about anime or Miyazaki, and settle in for a treat - a caper film with great gags, mischievous fun and romantic yearning. If you're considering whether to upgrade from DVD, this new edition's not perfect, but the sound's brilliant and the enhanced colours make it the best-looking Cagliostro we've seen.
SCORE: 5/5
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