Hayao Miyazaki made his directorial debut with this animated caper, featuring the gentleman bandit Lupin and his merry group of thieves. This is the second feature to be adapted from the Lupin III manga series by Monkeypunch, so Miyazaki is working with plenty of pre-existing material. (And good stuff too, as the Lupin character proves to be a delightful precursor to the likes of Inspector Gadget and Indiana Jones.) Even so, Miyazaki shows signs of the distinct, fertile imagination that would flower in masterpieces like Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro. The castle itself—a water-bound tower of turrets and bridges in which an imprisoned woman awaits a forced marriage to a conniving count—is a wonder to behold, a forerunner to the other castles that would define many of Miyazaki’s films. The count’s minions, meanwhile, are eerily masked creatures with metal claws, blurring the line between reality and fantasy, while a female spy working inside the castle points to the prominent women characters his later films would depend on. All of this is set against gorgeous, hand-drawn backdrops that seem almost too painterly for the amusing anime hijinks that otherwise define Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro. This is highly enjoyable, but the perfect match of vision and material was yet to come.