It should be no surprise that I’m a fan of Lupin the III. Lupin premiered on Adult Swim in 2003, and as a 13-year-old, I was instantly drawn to the show (for some reason…). Luckily though, I ended up sticking around because I actually loved the show.
Lupin and his gang have now been entertaining audiences for 50 years now. And after all this time, you know what you’re getting into with a Lupin movie—that is until Lupin the III: Goemon Ishikawa’s Spray of Blood (SOB) happened.
Like any show, you’ll get an occasional character-driven story, and as the title implies, this one focuses on Goemon—Lupin’s samurai swordsman. And…well. You know how everyone was excited for an R-rated, full claws bared, Wolverine movie? Enter Goemon. And with how much happens, it’s shocking how little blood exists in this movie. But it wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve blocked it out.
The movie starts with Goemon acting as head of security for a Yakuza boss. After failing to protect the boss, Goemon sets out to regain his honor by killing the man responsible, Hawk. By traditional standards, Hawk fits into a villain role we’ve all seen before: he’s a seemingly untouchable and unkillable mountain of a man. He’s armed with two hand axes and possesses superhuman agility and reflexes.
The story regrettably doesn’t focus on a heist but more of a stereotypical samurai redemption story. Honest to god, if it wasn’t for the stylistic animation, music, and violence, I may not recommend this movie. But oh my god, SOB is gorgeous. We see Lupin and the gang portrayed like they have never been before. It’s a refreshing stylistic change from your typical Lupin film and series. The music is beautifully somber to the point where it feels like you’re breathing its atmosphere.
Then comes the violence. It’s a complete shift from any Lupin creation before it. This movie holds the distinction for containing the most brutal arm injury I’ve ever seen. It certainly doesn’t help (and is a credit to the animators) how cleanly and effortlessly Goemon’s and Hawk’s blades slice through people. I believe it will take a spell for that title to fall. Don’t let the above image fool you, this movie is shockingly not bloody. Give this iteration of Lupin a chance. It is well worth your time.
Overall Score: 8/10