Anime DVD Review: Lupin III vs. Detective Conan The Special

Lupin III vs. Detective Conan The Special was a crossover television special for both the Lupin III and the Detective Conan (aka Case Closed) franchise. The special aired on Japanese television in 2009.

Lupin III vs. Detective Conan The Special
English Publisher: Discotek Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: October 27, 2015

The special starts in the European kingdom of Vespania, where the queen is killed during a hunting trip and her son (the next in line for the throne) commits suicide after thinking he killed his mother. Gill’s sister, Princess Mira, is supposed to be next in line for the throne, but she doesn’t believe she should be the rightful heir. It doesn’t help that there’s a growing faction that believes that Mira is unfit to govern. It turns out that Mira has a strong resemblance to Ran Mori from Case Closed.

Duke Keith, the chief of Commons of Vespania, makes Daisuke Jigen, a former trainer of the country’s regular army, a personal guard of the princess. It turns out that Lupin is also in Vespania. He and Jigen have a plan to get their hands on the crown for the Queens of the Realm.

It’s arranged for Mira to take a trip to Japan to help increase her popularity and replace her mother for an engagement she was supposed to make. Kogoro and Conan are in attendance, along with Sonoko. Ran is running late. It’s obvious Mira really doesn’t want to be there, and we see that Duke Keith is doing all of the talking during the event. Just as it’s time to make a toast, Conan exposes a plot to poison the princess. In the confusion that follows, the princess makes a run for it because she wants to get away from her situation. As she runs away, she bumps into Ran, and the two are shocked to see how much they resemble each other.

Of course, this leads to Mira and Ran switching places. In order to avoid an international incident, it’s decided that Ran will pose as Mira until right after a press conference scheduled for the next day. The real Mira, however, is found by Fujiko Mine, who knows the princess’ true identity and takes her around Japan for the evening.

The special sees the important characters from both the Lupin III franchise and the Case Closed franchise converging at Vespania. Kogoro and Conan work on investigating the murder of Queen Sakura, with some involuntary help from Jigen. When it’s time to reveal the truth, circumstances lead to Lupin (disguised as Kogoro) working together with Conan to let everyone know what really happened. Even though Conan worked with Lupin and his group in this special, he makes it clear at the end that if he should ever cross paths with them again, he’ll make sure that they are all arrested.

When I first heard about the Lupin III vs. Detective Conan crossover a few years ago, I was intrigued by the idea, but also found myself wondering how well it would really work. When I went into watching this special, I thought it could either work really well or end up being a disaster. I’m happy to say that after I watched this special, I enjoyed it and thought that it worked. The interactions between the Lupin III characters and the Case Closed characters were amusing, with my favorite being the interactions between Jigen and Conan. Another concern I had was how well the character designs of the Lupin III franchise would blend with the character designs from Case Closed. Even though there was a noticeable difference, I didn’t find it to be as jarring as I had feared.

One thing I should caution about this crossover for viewers who are familiar with Case Closed but not Lupin III: with the addition of the characters from Lupin III, there are scenes included in this special that you wouldn’t see in a regular Case Closed episode. There is some brief nudity of Princess Mira in the shower, as well as Lupin not-so-subtly seducing Fujiko. There is a noticeable difference in tone between this special and regular episodes of Case Closed.

Overall, I enjoyed Lupin III vs. Detective Conan The Special. I’m glad that Discotek Media acquired the license for this special and made it available on home video for a Western audience. As a Case Closed fan with some familiarity with Lupin III (which is primarily the Castle of Cagliostro anime film), I was glad to finally have the opportunity to see this crossover special for myself and experience this little piece of the Case Closed franchise.

When it comes to this DVD, it only has Japanese 2.0 Stereo audio with English subtitles. However, it should be noted that the English subtitles can be turned off. I assume this option is for viewers who are confident that they can understand what’s being said when they listen to the Japanese audio. The aspect ratio for the video is 1.85:1 16:9 Widescreen. I had no complaints with either the video or the audio for this release.

The only bonus feature included is “Liner Notes.” This includes eight pages of text that explain characters and concepts from both Lupin III as well as Case Closed, as well as translation notes. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised or disappointed by this bonus feature.

If you’re a fan of either the Lupin III franchise or the Case Closed franchise, this DVD release for Lupin III vs. Detective Conan The Special would be worth adding to your anime home video library.

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