Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Year Released: 1979
Rating: 3.0

Light-hearted, intensely fun early film from Miyazaki takes notorious thief Lupin to a European castle where he uncovers a secret counterfeiting ring run by an evil Count, gets to save a damsel in distress and has to evade (and briefly join forces with) good ol' Inspector Zenigata from Interpol (the two of them go way back). Though it isn't as 'personal' a project as Castle in the Sky or My Neighbor Totoro, this does feature a strong female character in Fujiko, Lupin's rogue (sometimes) gal pal and shows off Miyazaki's skill at directing action sequences, as Our Lanky Hero skitters across many a rooftop, evades sentinels with swords, scales steep towers and leaps from object to object effortlessly (the chain-smoking doesn't seem to affect his lungs). At the end, Lupin wins the heart of the girl he rescued, pecks her forehead and the drives off to another adventure: leave the hoes wanting more.