Every once in a while, I stumble across an older title that sounds kind of interesting and it sits around until I get around to watching it. Seriously, I have about 15 completed dramas sitting here waiting for me to find time to watch them. Good thing summer is upon us and the TV schedule is dropping, it’ll give me a chance to get through the backlog.
Lupin no Shousoku, or “Lupin’s News” is a 2008 movie broadcast on WOWOW and now, nearly 6 years later, I get to see it! So how is “Lupin’s News”? Read on and find out!
Mizorogi is a detective who is obsessed with cracking difficult cases right up until the statute of limitations expires. 15 years ago, he failed to solve one of the biggest cases in post-war Japanese history, the theft of 300 million yen. His last suspect waited out the statute of limitations and walked out of the station and there was nothing he could do about it. A lot has changed in 15 years but when he hears from his former chief that he wants him to take command of an investigative squad investigating new information that has arisen in an old murder investigation, he’s surprised, considering the last they worked together, he failed, but the stakes are high and the time is short before the statute of limitations runs out and a killer may walk free.
Overall, the story was a pretty straightforward cop drama. Three boys who are poor performers in school, had concocted a plan to steal the final test questions from the headmaster’s safe, calling the plan Operation Lupin, after the cafe where they came up with the plan. The cafe is owned by the aforementioned suspect in the 300 million yen theft. Along the way, the boys’ teacher, Maiko, turns up dead, an apparent suicide who plunged off the roof of the school to her death, but is it really? The plot takes a bunch of twists and turns and the death of the teacher, Operation Lupin and the theft of the 300 million yen become entwined in a very interesting way.
The character of Mizorogi is an interesting one. He comes back to the big city to solve this case, but he’s largely disrespected by his fellow detectives, both because he’s known to have failed to solve his previous case and because he’s an outsider, working at a remote precinct. The series features a lot of flashbacks, all the way back to 1968 and the original 300 million yen heist, we spend a lot of time in the mid-1970s when the murder takes place and, of course, plenty of time in the “present” of 1990, when the series takes place. Because we do have characters in several different time periods, they get complete makeovers for each and they are done believably. Watching Japan in the disco era is kind of scary. The rest of the detectives, throughout the course of the movie, do come to respect Mizorogi over time and his shame at having failed to bring the robber to justice in the past turned to pride by the end. There was one reveal at the end of the movie that was pretty obvious early on but I still think the emotional impact that the reveal had worked quite well.
And now for our cast. Just watching the movie, I didn’t really recognize anyone, which really made me curious what these people had done before. Kamikawa Takaya, who plays Mizorogi, was also in Iryu Sosa, which I’ve previously reviewed and had a small part in Mr. Brain. Okada Yoshinori, who played Kita Yoshio, one of the former schoolboys suspected of the murder, was also in Iryu Sosa, it seems like there’s a reunion going on here… or a pre-union since this movie was released long before these other shows, plus he was in ATARU, which I reviewed here and the Kagi no Kakatta Heya Special, also reviewed here. Kashiwabara Shuji, who played Tachibana Shoichi, another schoolboy who has fallen on hard times, has also been in quite a few of my favorite shows, mostly in bit parts, like Shinzanmono, reviewed here and Toshi Densetsu no Onna (and my review).
Lupin no Shousoku is a solid movie and one that anyone who enjoys mysteries and cop dramas will enjoy. At 2 hours, it isn’t a major time investment and the characters are intriguing and there are plenty of twists and turns, such that you’ll never really suspect who really done it in the end. Give it a shot if you can find it!