Lupin the III: The Castle of Cagliostro and the dress of Princess Norinomiya

Recently, I joined the service of Tsutaya Discas, the Japanese version of Netflix. So, I rented the Hayao Miyazaki's 1979 film "Lupin the III: The Castle of Cagliostro" which I’ve never seen before.

In this film, I could examine then 38 years old Hayao Miyazaki's profound resources of his animation making. The movie is based on the thief Lupin the III, a Japanese manga character who supposed to be the grandson to French master thief Arsene Lupin in Maurice Leblanc’s novel. (for more details, please read here)

In the last scene, Lupin finds final treasure of Cagliostro, the ruin of Roman City under the lake next to the castle, and Lupin could not steal this treasure, since “this treasure is too big to my pocket”. This scene is a citation from Maurice Leblanc's "The Girl with the Green Eyes", and Miyazaki's exciting re-interpretation of Leblanc is that Roman ruins had been saved by Gothe tribe for last 400 years. The final battle of Lupin and Cagliostro held on the clock tower is a quote from Kuroiwa Ruiko and Edogawa Rampo's "Ghost Tower", which is also Japanese adaptation of Alice Muriel Williamson's "A Woman in Grey" in Meiji era.

There is a longstanding rumor in American anime circles that Steven Spielberg considered Castle of Cagliostro "the best action movie ever made", and I also think that Spielberg got a lot of influence from this film.

When Stephen Spielberg released the new prints of E.T. as its 20th anniversary, he modified the last scene; when the children on the bicycles with E.T. in the basket flying to the full moon sky, the policemen point the guns to them. However, in the 20th anniversary print, by using CG technology, the gun was turned into walkie-talkie. I think one of the reasons why Spielberg edited the last scene of the policemen is that comparing the last scene in Miyazaki's animation, the one of E.T. is too harsh for children.

In Lupin the III, the police leader Mr. Zenigata tries to arrest Lupin, but the heroin princess Clarisse in white wedding dress asks him not to capture Lupin, since he did not steal anything. Then, Zenigata reply to Clarisse, “Yes, he did steal - your heart”. Then, all the Japanese police members under the leader Mr. Zenigata smiles to the princess Clarisse, then they start chasing Lupin who left Clarisse. This smile shows so much personality of Miyazaki, and his characteristic continues to appear in his next film “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”.

After I watched the film, I read an interesting story about Princess Norinomiya, the 3rd child and the only daughter of Emperor Akihito. In the interview of NHK, one of her classmate told that Princess Norinomiya was a big fun of Miyazaki's Cagliostro film, and she made a drawing of princess Clarisse in the white wedding dress with Lupin(In the film, Lupin stole Clarisse on the wedding day). Norinomiya wore a white dress, which is almost the same one as Clarisse on the wedding day. Had worked as an ornithologist specialized in kingfisher, her sensitivity had an antenna to catch Miyazaki’s thoughtful and touchy message.

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