Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro ★★★

Hayao Miyazaki's feature film debut may not be as polished as his best works but it's still an impressive start to what would later become one of the most celebrated film careers in motion picture history and wonderfully captures the legendary filmmaker planting the seeds of what he would portray so flawlessly in his later films.

The Castle of Cagliostro (also known as Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro) tells the story of a flamboyant thief who along with his partner-in-crime robs a casino only to later discover that the money is counterfeit. The plot covers his adventures in the land of Cagliostro; the rumoured source of forged bills, where he tries to save the princess from a corrupt Count.

Co-written & directed by Hayao Miyazaki, the film is an very light-hearted & endlessly fun adventure that contains many elements which later became Miyazaki's own trademarks, most notable being his fascination with European architecture. The hand-drawn animation has a very different tone n feel when compared to the rest of his filmography & same goes for its narrative.

Bearing more resemblance to stories one might associate with the character of Tintin, The Castle of Caglostrio is full of action & plays out like a mystery for the most part. Humour is used to great effect, characters aren't mere caricatures plus are brilliantly supported by the voice cast, the plot does get a bit cumbersome near the final act but it still does well in retaining its sense of fun for the most part.

On an overall scale, The Castle of Cagliostro is an influential example of the anime genre that has garnered a devoted fan base over the years & remains one of the only two films directed by Miyazaki that doesn't feature in Studio Ghibli's repertoire. The animation may be crude & unrefined but the quality of storytelling isn't. An enjoyable, entertaining & fun ride, if not a memorable one, The Castle of Cagliostro is definitely worth a shot.

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