The Plot of the Fuma Clan
|Lupin III: The Plot of the Fuma Clan|
Lupin and Jigen in their modified Fiat 500, with Inspector Zenigata in pursuit, in a scene from the video.
(Rupan Sansei: Fūma Ichizoku no Inbō)
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Comedy|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Masayuki Ōzeki|
|Produced by||Koji Takeuchi|
|Written by||Makoto Naito|
|Music by||Kiyoshi Miyaura|
|Released||December 26, 1987|
Lupin III: The Plot of the Fuma Clan (ルパン三世 風魔一族の陰謀 Rupan Sansei: Fūma Ichizoku no Inbō?), first released in North America as Rupan III: The Fuma Conspiracy, is the first original video animation based on Monkey Punch's Lupin III manga. It is also the first Lupin animation to not feature Yasuo Yamada (due to a tight budget) as Arsène Lupin III, who is instead voiced by Toshio Furukawa, and the only one to not feature Kiyoshi Kobayashi as Daisuke Jigen.
The movie begins at the wedding of Goemon Ishikawa XIII and his fiancée Murasaki Suminawa. During the ceremony, the Suminawa family heirloom, a valuable antique urn, is entrusted to Goemon. Before the ceremony is completed, several ninja attack and attempt to steal the urn. Lupin and his colleagues fight off the ninja, but during the confusion, another group of ninja kidnap Murasaki and leave a ransom note proposing to trade Murasaki for the antique urn.
Meanwhile, Inspector Zenigata has retired to a Buddhist temple following the apparent death of his long-time quarry, Lupin. Kazami, a colleague from the police force, tries to persuade him to return to work. Zenigata has "no interest in a world without Lupin"; but when shown a photograph of Lupin taken at the disrupted wedding, Zenigata comes out of retirement and resumes his lifelong pursuit of Lupin.
At the Suminawa household, Clan Elder Suminawa explains to Goemon that the urn holds the secret location of the Suminawa family treasure. The Fuma Clan ninja, who attacked during the wedding, have been trying to steal the urn for centuries. He refuses to trade the family urn for his granddaughter Murasaki, so Lupin steals it. Lupin and Jigen discover that the urn contains a hidden drawing revealing the location of the treasure: a cave deep in the mountains. Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon follow the ransom note instructions and exchange the urn for Murasaki, but the ninja double-cross them and start shooting. Inspector Zenigata and his officers arrive in time to see Lupin his friends escape on a train. The race is on as Lupin and company try to beat the Fuma Clan to the treasure, with Zenigata in hot pursuit.
Following a lead, Fujiko discovers the Fuma Clan headquarters, but they discover and capture her. Among the ranks of the Fuma Clan, Fujiko spots Inspector Kazami, who has secretly been working for the clan's Boss. The Fumas have also discovered the map on the urn; and now that the urn is useless, they tie up Fujiko and Kazami puts the urn over her head to mock her. The Boss, Kazami, and the ninja leave for the treasure cave. Fujiko escapes by enticing the lone guard to scratch her back. When he does so, she bashes the urn on her head into the face of the guard. As she escapes, she sees a golden key among the urn shards. She takes the key and keeps it secret.
Inside the treasure cave, Suminawa confronts The Boss. He disarms Suminawa and has him thrown over the cliff. When Murasaki and Goemon arrive, they begin negotiating the trap-laden caves beneath the mountain to find the ancient treasure. Murasaki discovers a secret passage, but the Boss and the Fuma Clan ninjas follow them stealthily.
Goemon enters a hall lined with samurai armor, but his entrance has triggered the hall to fill with a hallucinogenic gas. The gas causes him to attack Lupin and his friends, and in the scuffle he inadvertently injures Murasaki. After surviving the gas, Lupin and company enter a large cavern, where they find an old castle furnished from top to bottom with items of solid gold. They are ambushed by the Fuma Clan; Kazami captures Murasaki and holds her hostage at knife point. Not wanting to cause the death of Goemon, Murasaki throws herself off the castle roof, taking the treacherous Kazami with her. Enraged, Goemon pursues the Boss in a running battle across the roof, ending with the Boss' death. Lupin and Jigen rescue Murasaki, who had just managed to catch a ledge to prevent her from falling to her death.
At the cave entrance, Zenigata and his officers rescue Suminawa from the river at the base of the cliff. He explains that the cave is rigged to collapse, because the golden fail-safe key in the urn - the one Fujiko found - has been lost. Zenigata and Suminawa rush into the cave and arrive at the castle just in time to tell Lupin and friends about the collapse. Zenigata and Suminawa exit via the main tunnel, but Lupin's group exits through a distant tunnel and escapes from Zenigata and his officers. Fujiko saved a gold roof tile, but refuses to share it and rides off on her motorcycle. Goemon bids farewell to his fiancée, declaring that he must undergo training to address his weaknesses; only then will he return to marry Murasaki. She calls out to him, declaring that she won't wait for him. Goemon looks back at Murasaki for a moment, then continues on his journey.
|Arsène Lupin III/Rupan III||Toshio Furukawa||Robin Robertson|
|Daisuke Jigen||Banjō Ginga||Sean P. O'Connell|
|Goemon Ishikawa XIII||Kaneto Shiozawa||Mark Franklin|
|Fujiko Mine||Mami Koyama||Michele Seidman|
|Inspector Koichi Zenigata||Seizō Katō||Marc Matney|
|Murasaki||Mayumi Shō||Amanda Spivey|
|Old Man Suminawa||Kōhei Miyauchi||Mike Way|
|The Boss||Masashi Hirose||Paul Johnson|
|Inspector Kazami||Shigeru Chiba||Dave Underwood|
|Gakusha||Shigeru Nakahara||Scott Bailey|
|Squad leader||Yū Shimaka||Jim Clark|
|Police officers||Kazuaki Koide
|Wife||Hiroko Emori||Billie Houle|
|Boy||Yōko Ogai||John Paul Houle|
|Girl||Chie Kōjiro||Rachael Seidman-Lockamy|
|Woman||Erii Yazaki||Sara Seidman|
Due to budget concerns, TMS decided not to employ the regular voice cast for the OVA, instead going for a slightly less-expensive yet still well-known Aoni Production cast. When the news was broken to Yasuo Yamada, it was not made clear who was responsible for the dismissal, leaving him with the impression that Lupin III's creator Monkey Punch had lobbied the producers for a new voice actor. In reality, Monkey Punch was happy with Yamada's portrayal, but felt that he had no business in telling the production company what to do. Monkey Punch tried to reassure Yamada (with whom he had developed a friendship during the years of Lupin TV series) that he had nothing to do with it, and the regulars were reinstated with the first television special, Bye-Bye Liberty - Close Call!. However, the relationship between Yamada and Monkey Punch was permanently strained by the casting substitution.
The budget focused on the animation. In the background, the characters have a very distinct style, which is not usual in anime, but more common in Western cartoons. Before working on this movie, Telecom Animation Film had done projects in the West, such as "Tiny Toon Adventures." Two of their employees were Hayao Miyazaki and Yasuo Ōtsuka, who is the supervisor of this film. Lupin's cars are based on the vehicles owned by Hayao Miyazaki, a Citroen 2CV, and Yasuo Ōtsuka, a Fiat 500. By using their own cars as models, they were able to keep the animation consistent throughout production.
The story is located in Japan, so the production staff could easily research the locations and props. For example, the treasure cave mountain is based on a real location in the Gifu Prefecture: Mt Shakujo, as well as the local spa's rotemburo, an outdoor soaking pool, used in the police chase.
Although classed as an OVA by TMS, The Plot of the Fuma Clan was first given a theatrical release on December 26, 1987. The home release followed on April 5, 1988. Due to this some media consider it to be a theatrical movie.
In the United States, AnimEigo released it in early 2003 under the title Rupan III: The Fuma Conspiracy, and referred to the title character as "Rupan" in the English dub and subtitle scripts. Licensor Toho demanded the change out of fear that the estate of Maurice Leblanc, creator of the original Arsene Lupin, would sue for the unauthorized use of the name. In October 2007, a 20th anniversary edition was released by Discotek Media under the title Lupin the 3rd: The Fuma Conspiracy. It is now out of print.
While The Plot of the Fuma Clan is one of the more highly regarded Lupin III movies in America, it was not well received in Japan. The replacement of the usual voice actors and the usual composer alienated the fans. However, the animation values are exceptionally high, as seen in the police chase through the market. For example, the license plates are legible and the sideswipe scratches are visible, too.
Mike Crandol, writing for Anime News Network, called The Fuma Conspiracy "quite possibly the best-animated installment of the series", far superior to the later TV specials. He praised the chase scenes as the film's highlights and the fact that the characters "express their personality through their movements", something he said is uncommon in anime. However, Crandol stated the "touch-and-go plot" makes it a poor introduction to Lupin III for new viewers and felt that the film was too "rushed". On the voice actor change, he noted that Toshio Furukawa makes Lupin sound like a "novice scamp than the experienced thief from other adventures." Otaku USA's Daryl Surat also called this the best Lupin animation and praised the chase sequences.
- "So, Which Lupin the Third Anime Should You Watch Next?". Otaku USA. Sovereign Media. December 10, 2012. Archived from the original on June 27, 2003.
- Nelson, Reed (2007). Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy, 20th Anniversary Edition (motion picture). Discotek Media.
- ルパン三世アニメ全歴史完全版. Futabasha. April 1, 2012. p. 153. ISBN 978-4-575-30406-0.
- The ルパン三世 Files. Kinema Junpo Sha. July 24, 1998. pp. 164–165.
- ルパン三世 Perfect Book. March 13, 2003. p. 144. ISBN 9784796635011.
- "New Anime Distributor". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-08-27.
- "Rupan III: The Fuma Conspiracy - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-08-27.
- "Lupin III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon DVD on Hold". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-08-27.
- "Lupin the Third The Fuma Conspiracy". Discotek Media. Retrieved July 27, 2015.