Legend of the Gold of Babylonnote , first released into Japanese cinemas on July 13th 1985, is the third Lupin III animated theatrical feature, co-directed by Seijun Suzuki and Shigetsugu Yoshida. It is the only theatrical representation of the "Pink Jacket" era.
The movie opens in New York City: Lupin and his crew this time are after a legendary treasure, the Gold of Babylon, which is also craved by the son of the man who first discovered the Gold, Marciano, boss of the New York mafia. Furthermore, Zenigata has been roped into judging the "Miss ICPO Beauty Contest" and must now drag a group of nominees around with him, all eager to prove themselves as agents. Aided by his team, a set of stone tablets and a drunken old crone named Rosetta, Lupin sets his eyes on the treasure. But what's really the link between the Gold of Babylon and New York?
The film actually has a very interesting production history. Originally, Hayao Miyazaki had been approached to direct, but he was engaged with his own projects and had lost interest in the franchise so declined. The next person to sit in the director's chair was a young Mamoru Oshii (yes, THAT Oshii), who wanted the film to be about Lupin "stealing fiction itself". Oshii ended up being fired from the project, but many of his ideas were later re-used in his own films, such as Angel's Egg (which came out the same year). The film was then passed to a few other directors, before reaching Suzuki, someone who had directed a few episodes of the series, but was mostly known for cult films.
It was released on VHS back in the 90's by AnimEigo as Rupan III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon. Discotek Media announced a license rescue in 2009 but then never released it until 2018, which adds a brand new dub by the Red Jacket cast.
Complete spoilers below don't read further if you don't want to know how this caper turns out!
- Abhorrent Admirer: Rosetta, a very old lady, towards Lupin, much to his horror. She stops halfway through the movie (thankfully).
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Goemon manages to slice apart a tank's turret without harming the Chinese love interest inside, because "Zantetsuken doesn't cut flowers..."
- All Chinese People Know Kung-Fu: Qing Xiao, the Chinese Interpol agent, is a kung fu expert.
- Amazon Brigade: The ICPO Beauty Contest nominees following Zenigata through the movie.
- Amazonian Beauty: The Russian agent is the tallest, bustiest, and strongest of the group.
- Anime Chinese Girl: Qing Xiao, including stereotypical clothes, hairstyle, and speech. (Note: the other Chinese character Wang speaks with the same broken Japanese.)
- Big Bad: Marciano, boss of the New York Mafia, and primary competition against Lupin in his goal to find the gold.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The entire film is filled with these.
- Brainless Beauty: Nearly all the nominees.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Fujiko does this by whistling the series' theme music.
- But Now I Must Go: Rosetta, in the finale.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Kowalsky's punishment for failing him is spanking. He uses a custom-made flyswatter which looks like a spiked club of sorts, hurts like hell and can even be poisoned.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Rosetta, who randomly tries to kiss people and claims to have dated Alexander the Great and Napoleon. Later we find out that she wasn't bluffing.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Marciano does not like the idea of Fujiko being interested in any other man, especially not competition like Lupin III.
- Crazy Homeless People: The old lady Rosetta sings an apparently random lullaby, drinks a lot, and flirts with Lupin, insisting that she's really quite attractive.
- Denser and Wackier: Compared to other Lupin movies, this one has a quirky story, odd animation and bizarre characters and situations. A good example is when during the climax the Statue of Liberty is so shocked to see the levitating Tower of Babel that has a face fault and drops her torch.
- Dragon Their Feet: Marciano is pretty much a wimp, and his right hand man Kowalsky poses the greatest threat.
- Eldritch Abomination: We get a glimpse of is as it descends from the sky to send the spaceship to collect the Tower of Babel.
- Explosive Cigar: Near the end, Lupin threatens Kowalsky with some cigars which are presumably bombs powerful enough to wipe out the floor of the skyscraper they're in. Kowalsky thinks this is a bluff and after disposing of Lupin and Fujiko, lights one of the cigars. Lupin wasn't bluffing.
- Fanservice: Including some cheerleading girls in the beginning, the nominees, and Fujiko. Also the true form of Rosetta.
- Latex Perfection: Lupin's most excellent disguise in this film is of Fujiko, appearing good enough to make Marciano jealous that Fujiko might like Lupin more when "Fujiko" says ...But He Sounds Handsome about Lupin.
- Love at First Sight: Qing Xiao and Goemon fall for each other while fighting on a train.
- Marshmallow Hell: The Russian agent does this to Zenigata when he accidentally insults her. Unlike many examples, this is played as a Cool and Unusual Punishment rather than fanservice.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Marciano's men.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: There are some gargantuan crocs in the temple where the golden lion is kept.
- Panty Shot: When Qing Xiao tries to drop kick Goemon, causing him to blush.
- Poisoned Weapon: Kowalsky's flyswatter can release a deadly toxin.
- The Starscream: Near the end, Kowalsky murders Marciano and takes his place.
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The titular treasure, the solid gold Tower of Babel was built under the direction of aliens, who then tried to take the tower with them but failed and had it dropped where New York would have been built centuries later. In the finale, they come back to retrieve the tower.
- Surprisingly Good English: Rosetta's rhyming song about Babylon is entirely in English, and her actress sings it with surprisingly good, if exaggerated, pronunciation.
- Tank Goodness: The nominees steal some army tanks at one point to chase Lupin with. They all end up being partly destroyed.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Alas, Goemon doesn't look for Qing Xiao after their train scene, and the other nominees gag her when she calls for him in the finale.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: What, you really thought that the Gold of Babylon was a mere statue?