Authentication | Lupin III – The Castle of Cagliostro Japanese B1
September 3, 2016
Comparison between the 1979 1st release & 2014 re-release Japanese B1 posters
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro is the feature length directorial debut of Hayao Miyazaki — one of the most famed animators of all time. Long before his breakout hit My Neighbor Totoro, Miyazaki was working as an animator for Toei Animation and TMS Entertainment. Based on his previous work on Lupin III TV episodes, Toei green-lit a movie project with Miyazaki at the helm, handling directorial, writing, design, story-board, and animation duties. Lupin the III is based on a long-running manga series dating back to 1967. It follows the escapades of master thief Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of Arsène Lupin — the fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise created by French writer Maurice Leblanc in 1905. Lupin III is a treasured commodity in Japan with over 21 volumes in the original manga series, 5 different television series, 10+ films and countless other special TV-movies, videogames, etc… It was therefore quite a start for Miyazaki!
The rarity of the 1st release 1979 B1 poster cannot be emphasized enough. B1s for this film have turned up quite often lately, however, those are from the little known 2014 re-release of the film. Nearly all of the R2014 posters are found rolled and the artwork and fine print text is always a bit blurry. Please use our comparison photos below to distinguish between the true 1st release poster from the R14 poster.
At first glance, the two posters look identical. Indeed, when the first copies of the R2014 poster arrived in circulation many collectors (and dealers alike) assumed they must be originals from 1979. The print quality on the 2014 re-release poster is surprisingly good. Below is a close crop of a section of the title. If you really stare at the two about the only visible differences are, 1) the R14 poster has a more defined print pattern with more moire (the result of photographing a photograph), and 2) the R14 poster image has slightly higher contrast. Unfortunately, neither of those “tells” would be useful when purchasing from internet sources.
Luckily whoever printed the 2014 re-release slightly cropped the left side of the poster. In the next two comparisons you can see cropping that is even visible on most web images. The most obvious spots are in the lower left — the cropping of the empty space between the suit jacket and the pants leg (black shadow area is almost completely cropped out) — and in the upper left — the cropping of the castle bridge and the sky below it.
A final point of comparison is in the lower right corner of the poster. In fact, the blurry eirin number on the R2014 posters was the first red flag for many questioning how it could be an original from 1979. Even in the extreme blow-ups of the eirin number you can still easily make out the number on the original, while the R2014 poster is garbled. For extra insurance when buying online, you could ask the buyer if the eirin is legible.
To prove the cropping on the left side can be used to differentiate between the first release and the R2014 — even using poor web images — please see the auction image below that I recently I stumbled upon. Guess which year the poster is from?
Over the years, a few people have questioned if the 2014 release was indeed a theatrical release, or if the posters were simply printed to coincide with the remastered blu-ray (also released in 2014). Rest assured, the 2014 poster is a true theatrical poster. Here is a link to the [Lupin III Japanese wikipedia page] with citations mentioning the coordinated theatrical/blu-ray release. I’ve also included pictures below of a theatrical flyer (which shows a May 9th 2014 release) and a theater ticket from Toho Cinemas & pamphlet from the night after it opened.
As a reminder, Marquee Poster has many original theatrical posters from Hayao Miyazaki, including both of the Japanese B1s described above.