The Castle of Cagliostro Anime | My Reviews 05 NOV 2008

The Castle of CagliostroIt sure took me long enough to get around to it, but now I can finally say that I’ve seen one of the most favourably mentioned anime classics of all time, The Castle of Cagliostro.

For those of you who have never heard of it, The Castle of Cagliostro is the second animated movie based on creator Monkey Punch’s popular Lupin III franchise, but what makes this one particularly special is of course the fact that it is directed by the one and only Hayao Miyazaki (before he went on to establish his particularly famous Studio Ghibli). As such, the movie carries all of the Miyazaki staples that always seem to make everything he touches turn to gold, meaning that The Castle of Cagliostro is indeed one of those must see masterpieces.

Released in 1979, The Castle of Cagliostro tells the story of the gentleman thief Lupin III, grandson to Maurice Leblanc’s French literary master thief Arsène Lupin, and his partner Daisuke Jigen who travel to the Duchy of Caligostro in search of the source of the so-called ‘Goat Bills’, counterfeit currency of an almost legendary quality.

However, their entry into the tiny Duchy soon becomes a whole lot interesting as they get involved with a runaway bride trying to escape a vicious gang and are soon drawn into a sinister plot that has some major international ramifications. A crooked baron, a detective hot in pursuit, a mysterious group of assassins out for blood and an ancient riddle promising immense riches are more than enough reason for our playboy master thief to get in on the act!

On the story front, Miyazaki manages to craft an involving, action AND drama-packed script that comes across light-hearted for the most part but always manages to keep you guessing and by no means bored. His characters are all charming in their own right and there are very few people who you don’t feel any sort of connection with.

The visuals for The Castle of Cagliostro carries that immediately likeable Miyazaki feel to them and the attention to detail and small movements are as astounding as always. Having been produced in 1979, the screens do come across a little dated, but they are so well done that one easily looks past this.

Unfortunately I only got to view the English language dub of this classic, so I can’t give any comment on the original voice actors, but in terms of the English voice actors, everybody involved puts in a great performance. Similarly, the musical score is just as top notch and as whole, the package just comes across as beautifully polished.

The movie is fun, excellently paced and meaty enough for you to sink your teeth into, and when combined with Miyazaki’s critically acclaimed directorship at its helm, The Castle of Cagliostro instantly becomes a movie that all those who call themselves an otaku must see.

Two thumbs up without a doubt! :)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.