This is a match made in heaven, and literature.
Lupin the III, grandson of Arsene Lupin, takes on Sherlock Holmes' protege: Boy Detective Conan. It feels like a homage to the book written by Maurice Leblanc where Lupin the I takes on Herlock Sholmes(originally Sherlock holmes, but the title was changed because of a lawsuit, much like how Lupin's name was changed to Edgar in France... Also because of a lawsuit.)
Anyway, this story is right on with a scenario we could see in either Lupin or Conan's TV program but this has large portions of artistic-style from both shows as well as other exterior sources. All in all the animation is a delicious mish-mash of styles that clash but work together so wonderfully you'll be wondering how they pulled it off rather than comparing the two styles.
All the primary and secondary characters are great and seem like they've been pulled right out of the original TV broadcasts, plus all of the character seem at the top of their game for this Abbott & Costello-esque switch-up.
I went into this film with a certain mind-set about what to expect and was completely blown away with how Lupin and Conan would match-up.
And I love how, in turn, Conan meets each of Lupin's gang and always comments "You don't seem like a bad-guy, so why are you doing bad things?" or something similar, some of the scenes are really ingenius so I have to give it to the writers for this one.
If you like either show then you'll love this movie; it's got all the feel of a crime-mystery but doesn't let you down as far as the jokes and slapstick is concerned. This is a great match-up and they didn't have to change any of the characters to create the smooth flow of this film.
Make sure you enjoy any, if not all, of the 20 Lupin TV-specials before you watch this one and a few Conan movies if you can, this one isn't only for nostalgic value though, this will be great for new fans aswell.
Grab a few friends and knock a few drinks back, this one is gonna have you staring at the screen in awe of the magic the entire time.
STORY – 8/10
If you’re not a fan of Lupin the 3rd, you really should be. He’s basically the most famous anti-hero in japan, and for a good reason. The Lupin the 3rd series was made by Hayao Miyazaki before he founded Studio Ghibli. He even made a film based on the series called ‘The Castle of Cagliostro’. But anyway, enough about him past. I’m not acquainted with the Detective Conan series (or ‘Case Closed’ as it’s called in the English version) , but I do know a little about him. However, this is supposed to be more about Lupin. He should be the main character, and yet he sadly gets little screen time. Still, that’s the one problem with the story. The rest plays out pretty well. It’s got good action, good plot and good humour – the three things a Lupin story need. What it also needs is a bit of Lupin chasing after Fujiko, which does happen with hilarious results. While the plot is a little cliché at the beginning, it quickly changes. All in all, this special does well in capturing the essence of Lupin the 3rd. The ending does give you a little surprise, but don’t push your luck.
ANIMATION – 7/10
Considering how this was made in 2009, I was expecting more CGI. I couldn’t find a single bit of it here, so that’s a bit disappointing. Other than that, the rest turns out pretty well. It’s quite true to the original, so that makes it okay. The chase scenes do seem a little underdone, however. They’re over way to quickly, and it makes you want more. This does bring the animation down, but it still works well. Maybe there’ll be more CGI in the next special, or the movie.
SOUND – 9/10
I’ve gotta say, the 2000s era theme song still gives me goosebumps to date. As a jazz musician, I really respect the soundtrack of this special. It’s intense and brings back the nostalgia of the original series. I do wish the theme song had gone on for longer, though.
CHARACTERS – 8/10
There’s not much to say about Lupin. Lupin is Lupin, and you can’t change anything with him. Sure, there have been some flops in his character (such as the live action movie), but when it comes to the anime he’s generally his same awesome self. Detective Conan is also an interesting character. This is the first time I’ve seen him, and I really like the idea. Of course, you can’t have a Lupin film without the supporting cast. Jigen, Fujiko (who is barely called Fujiko throughout it) and Zenigata make their return, but sadly Goemon doesn’t show up until the end. The Conan cast also seems pretty cool. I can’t really say much about them, since this is my first time seeing them, but they seem pretty cool. You can’t really change the characters in a Lupin film, however I’m surprised how little we see of Lupin. They even call it a ‘Lupin the 3rd special’, and yet most of the time it focuses on Detective Conan or Fujiko. And also, what’s up with the title? It’s supposed to be a ‘verses’ film, and yet it’s more of a team-up film. Bit still, it’s a good film nonetheless.
OVERALL – 8/10
This much better than Red VS Green, and I’d easily recommend it to any Lupin or Conan fan. It’s not the type of film that people who don’t usually watch anime will enjoy, but anime fans will like it. They call this a special, but at 1hr and 45min it’s obvious that this is a feature length film. They’re now saying that they’re going to make a film that brings back the two characters, so it obviously means that it’ll be longer than this. And you know what, I really want to see it. I wanted to see it anyway, but after seeing this I want it even more. The ending makes you want more, and I’m glad they answered the rhetorical request. I just hope it doesn’t end up like the Gintama film, where you have to wait several months after the release for the blu ray to come out before you can see it online…
This movie is a good homage to both series and blends well. Others don't agree.
Other reviews were quick to point out that it was not actually Lupin vs Conan, but rather Lupin & Conan. This is true. However, I don't agree that it's something to bash this movie on. Conan solves mysteries. Lupin the 3rd is already known to be a robber. It's not a mystery. The story had to revolve around a case that Conan would have to solve, and somehow have a treasure that Lupin would steal. The stories in either series were always outlandish in their own way, and this movie was no different. It would fit perfectly in either series.
Also, although Lupin and Conan do not meet each other until right about halfway through the movie, it was not necessary that they meet earlier, and the movie gives plenty of screen time to all characters. Familier faces from both series show up, and no one acts out of character. Fans of both Lupin and Conan can watch this and know that it will not dissapoint them.
Both the art style and the presentation was a good mix of both series. The music was always fitting and taken from the openings. Even the words displayed on screen had a typewriter feel to it, classic Lupin III.
Some Cons to the movie were inevitable. Neither Lupin nor Jigen ever use their handguns, they don't even both to pull them out. It's true that Lupin's style is subterfuge, but at one point Jigen and Goemon take out guards carrying machine guns (who were all bruised up), seemingly with their fists, all off screen. This is only my opinion, but a little bit more action would have been nice. Maybe Jigen could have shot a bullet out of the air, with his bullet. He's known to do that.
Overall, it was exactly what someone would expect from mixing the two together. Mystery, action, comedy, and above all good characters.