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Project Nitsuj Project #4: Lupin III vs Detective Conan

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Welcome to another blog of Project Nitsuj. Today, we’re changing things up and reviewing an anime movie. What can I say about Detective Conan? Nothing, I’m really not a fan of the show. I don’t hate the show nor do I dislike it I just never really got into the show so I decided to skip over it. I do respect the legacy of the series for being one of the longest going mangas and animes today and give it credit for being both creative and funny. Now for Lupin the Third that’s another story. Lupin is considered one of the most iconic anime characters ever created, getting his start back in the late 60s and still being popular with yearly TV specials, multiple movies, and four anime series it’s no wonder this guy still remains present in everybody’s mind. He’s smart, funny, clever and showed us that not all thieves are bad people, so animes revolving around the smart and clever thief (i.e. The Bandit King Jing and Mouse) all owe thanks to Lupin the Thrid. With two likable and well respected characters you have to wonder what would happen if they ever crossed paths? Well TMS answered that question when they released the Lupin the Third vs Detective Conan special.  The special was released in 2009 and received a lot of praise ranking first on the Japanese Anime TV ranking near the end of March. So is it really that good a special? Let’s find out who’s smarter the detective or the thief, this is Lupin the Third vs Detective Conan (bell ring).

Our story begins in the European kingdom of Vespania located in “I don’t know, don’t care and neither should you” country where we see the queen, Queen Sakura go on a hunting trip with her son Prince Gill and royal family member Gerald (brother of the queen) even though she finds the whole thing barbaric (so then why go?). You’ll also notice right off the bat that the animation seems to favor the Conan series more as opposed to the Lupin series. Gill goes off hunting only to find a fox in which he misses it and chases after it. The fox comes to a beautiful Sakura tree where the queen is admiring its beauty before the fox comes by. The queen urges the fox to runaway but a fire is shot off and she is shot by Gill. Gill seeing what has happen cannot believe what he has done and commits suicide to atone for his acts. We then get a quick glance at our two main characters. We first cut to a baseball game being watched by Conan, Ran, and Kogoro where the news hits that the queen and prince are both dead. After that we cut to a plane on its way to Vespania being ridden by (begin Lupin music) the man himself Lupin the Third. He uses a fake disguise to get pass airport security and walk out of the airport unnoticed.

Once the introductions and intro are out of the way we go to the palace where Princess Mira who looks exactly like Ran (I would call this lazy character design on their part but it serves a purpose in the special) is being taunted by protestors not wanting her to be the next queen because she’s too young (birds are gonna fly, fish are gonna swim, trolls are gonna troll). It’s here that we see she has a very bitching spoiled attitude by not wanting to be queen and not wanting to go to Japan for some hotel opening in the fear of being killed. But luckily, the palace has hired Jigen to be her bodyguard but she refuses to have anything to do with him (you know I never really got how nobody knows about Jigen, I mean, shouldn’t it be clear that he’s Lupin’s partner in crime so why isn’t he as wanted as Lupin or recognizable?). This leads us to why Lupin is in Vespania; he wants to capture the Queen’s Crown. He failed to get it in the past and thus security has been made tight so that no one can get it. But knowing Lupin he has a plan.

We then cut back to Conan who is attending the grand opening of the hotel with Kogoro and Sonoko. Conan sees one of the waiters poison the princess’ drink and exposes them. After pointlessly kicking over a wine cart (seriously, was this like his first day on the job?) he tries to escape but is taken down by Kogoro. After that scene Mira can’t take it anymore and runs away only to run into Ran who quickly disposes of the guard following the princess (you know, when a royal guard is defeated by a high school girl I think it’s time they took a step back and ask themselves what the hell is our problem?). They then do anime cliché 59: trading spots with your identical twin in which Mira becomes Ran and Ran becomes Mira. Mira ditches Ran only to be found by Conan who chases after her while Ran returns to the hotel posing as Mira. Mira is picked up by Mine Fujiko who knows who she is and is chased by Conan. We then get a short but decent chase scene between the two in which Conan literally jumps the railing on a bridge using a skateboard (I’m not gonna question it, I’ve learn to accept these things) but is beaten by Fujiko. Cutting back to the hotel Ran explains the situation and the royal guards decide to use her as a replacement for Mira much to Kogoro’s protest. Well enough of this scene I wonder what Lupin’s up to (goes to next scene)?

There he is I bet you forgot he was in this special. We see him and Jigen sneak into a Vespania mine in order to find Vespanian ore an ore that has ultimate stealth powers. Using the power of dowsing Lupin finds the ore and escapes but is immediately attacked by the air force only to escape unharmed. We then return back to Conan’s side of the story and to be honest this is one of the major problems with the special, it focuses more on Conan then it does Lupin. You can’t have one character have more screen time then the other in a crossover that’s not how they work. In a crossover you’re supposed to balance each of the main characters showing that they’re both on equal ground that no one is better than the other and give them both a fair amount of screen time. When you keep focusing the story on Conan it makes it feel like this special is more of a Conan special and Lupin is just there for the ride. Anyway, the next day they plan to hold a conference in which they’ll announce that Ran is posing as the princess but Keith the head of the royal guards slips Ran a sleeping pill and prepares to return to Vespania. Once word reaches Conan he chases down the plane on the runway unnoticed and gets on the plane via landing wheels (okay seriously what is up with security in this special he would have been shot down if this was done in the real world). We then meet another familiar face, Zenigata who takes Kogoro as his assistant to Vespania to save Ran and stop Lupin from stealing the Queen’s Crown. Cutting back to Lupin in his hideout we see that Fujiko and Mira are crashing over. Lupin tries to take a sneak peek on Fujiko in the shower but instead sees Mira and gets clobbered by the laundry machine and toilet (you forgot the kitchen sink, if you’re gonna do that joke do it all the way.). We also get to see the legendary boxing glove spring gag which the series is known for (I like to call it the Cock Blocker 3000. Perverts trying to get inside your pants? We’ll they’ll be stopped entirely with the Cock Blocker 3000. Cock blocking, stopping guys from getting some since the dawn of time).

The next day we go to the palace where Keith explains that he believes the queen and prince were killed by Gerald and wants Conan and Jigen to find proof (Don’t lie to Keith *smacks*! I know it was you! You wanted them dead so that could ascend the crown ya sick bastard! Woah, sorry about that, L.A. Noire flashbacks). Now you’ve probably notice something missing in the Lupin vs Conan special. Yeah! Lupin vs Conan! Seriously, they barely appear in any scenes together and have very little interaction between the two characters. Hell, I don’t even think the characters know who each other are at this point. If anything Conan has more interaction with Jigen then he does with Lupin throughout this entire special it might as well have been called the Conan and Jigen special. Also, another problem with this special is that it focuses a lot more on Conan then it does Lupin who’s barely in this special. I know most of the important parts happen on Conan’s in but still they make it play out that this is a Conan special and Lupin is just there to bring in the older crowd.

So finally and I do mean finally after about an hour into this special Conan and Lupin meet at a vending machine where Lupin breaks the machine and tries to take all the cans but is stopped by Conan. They engage in a friendly banter where Conan hints that he knows Lupin has a gun in his jacket but Lupin outsmarts Conan and reveals that he just has a camera in his jacket and snaps of picture of Conan. All in this entire scene last for about 5 minutes. Was it a good scene? Yes, but still, 1 HOUR INTO THE SPECIAL AND ONLY 5 MINUTES LONG!! I know I’m harping on this a lot but I wouldn’t be taking this so seriously if the special wasn’t called LUPIN VS CONAN! And the fact that the special makes it sound like they’re gonna be going up against each other but instead it makes it feel like we’re watching two separate specials.

 Okay, getting back to the story, Zenigata and Kogoro arrive at the palace where Kogoro reunites with Ran and they each exchange information and get caught up on the situation. After a little persuasion from Keith, Kogoro agrees to help with the investigation. After a little exposition on both sides Ran and Mira make the switch and become themselves again. Meanwhile, Lupin finally makes his move to steal the crown but is stunned to find that Fujiko has stolen his ore (which doesn’t sound as disturbing as it should), takes the crowd and traps Lupin in the vault triggering all of the alarms. So how’s Lupin gonna get out of this? Why, by having Goemon who comes right out of nowhere slice through multiple levels in the palace and make an opening through the roof for Lupin to escape. Now call me “Crazy” but couldn’t Lupin have done this from the beginning and saved himself and us time? *Calls the screenwriters* THINK PEOPLE!

After that Conan and Lupin (disguised as Kogoro) reveals that it was Gerald who killed the queen and Gill because he wanted to become king and use the power or Vespania ore to make a profit from the world (it always comes down to power in monarchy takeover doesn’t it). Both sides engage in a short but amusing fight in which Mira finally decides that she will lead her country and not forgive Gerald for what he has done. After a Micheal Bay explosion (an explosion that serves no purpose only to advance the plot in a last resort) we see a flashback in which Lupin did in fact steal the crown in the past but gave it back to the young queen Sakura (props for the green jacket in the flashback that was a nice). He takes the crown back from Fujiko off screen and gives the crown back to Mira saying it looks best on her and that’s pretty much the end. While the credits roll we see Mira become queen, Zenigata searching for Lupin who has escaped and Ran and Kogoro are thanked for their efforts. In the last scene we see Conan being taken back to Japan by the cops who are actually Lupin and the gang and they decide to help get him back to Japan seeing as how he has no passport on him. Lupin also calls Conan by his real name, Shinichi Kudou. This needs to be explained, I don’t know a whole lot about the Conan series but I know for a fact that only a select few people know Conan’s true identity, how did Lupin find out? The special ends with Conan saying thanks but saying that if they cross paths again he’ll definitely arrest Lupin (you mean like you should have been doing in this special).

Final Thoughts

I’m sorry but this special fails on multiple levels. The story isn’t really all that interesting you can kinda figure out who the real culprit is right off the bat. The story balance between Lupin and Conan is terrible. As I said before they focus the story mostly on Conan and barely focus on Lupin throughout this special. Probably the biggest problem with this special is that it failed to deliver on what the title said it would. Lupin and Conan barely interact with each other and when they did they weren’t really challenging each other and Conan spent most of the time interacting with Jigen in solving the case. The animation isn’t anything great it’s your standard special animation which seems to favor the Conan style more than the Lupin style while the music seems to favor Lupin (if you listen closely you can here Love Squall being played as Fujiko’s theme). While it’s not bad or stupid it’s just a special that failed to execute what it was trying to do and any attempts at trying it failed horribly. Yeah Lupin is fun and so is Conan but other than that nothing really makes this special work I honestly think people just tuned in to this special just because of the  title and were sorely disappointed at what they saw.

Final Score

The final score for the Lupin vs Conan special is a 4/10. If the story had centered on Lupin trying to steal the crown from the princess while she was in Japan and Conan was trying to stop his attempts at stealing the crown then work in the whole murder mystery it would have been a pretty good special. Okay, maybe not the best story but it would have given us a good starting point for special and at least it sounds a little more exciting and well-structured then what this special did. If you’re a Conan fan you might like this but if you’re a Lupin fan like myself I think you’ll be disappointed in this special and should skip it. That’ll do it for now; I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.

P.S: I have an e-mail account now. If you would like to send me an anime request, some feedback on how I could improve to make my reviews better, or just leave a comment on what you thought about it I would greatly appreciate it. My e-mail address is: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

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A Cincinnati native who enjoys watching anime and reviewing anime. Tune in and read as he reviews all kinds of animes and tells you what animes are good, what are bad, and ones you should and shouldn't watch. If you would like to send me a request, feedback, or comment please send it to iamprojectnitsuj@gmail.com

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