Last month, Japan lost a cultural giant. April 11 saw the passing of Kazuhiko Kato — better known by the pen name Monkey Punch — the creator of "Lupin the Third." The manga, about a playboy thief descended from fictional French gentleman thief Arsene Lupin, debuted in 1967 and has been a pop-culture staple since.

Over the years, anime and other spinoffs have transformed Kato's edgy, adult-oriented "Lupin" into a family-friendly franchise. But every so often, a project course corrects, bringing back the original manga's sense of danger and sexiness. That's the case with the original video series "Lupin the IIIrd," helmed by Takeshi Koike, maybe anime's coolest director. Each episode of the series, released to theaters then video every couple of years, centers around a different character in Lupin's orbit. This time, it's his long-time love interest and ultimate femme fatale, Fujiko Mine (Miyuki Sawashiro).

True to its title — and as no one familiar with the franchise will be surprised to hear — the film opens with Fujiko doing some big-time fibbing. She's posing as the live-in maid for a man named Randy, who's stolen a fat chunk of cash from his employer and locked it up with a code known only to him and his son Jean. Enter this episode's Big Bad, the creepy assassin Binkam (Mamoru Miyano). Aside from super strength, Binkam has the power to hypnotize by chomping down on poisonous nuts and blowing their powder on his targets' faces.