Anime / Lupin III: Alcatraz Connection

The thirteenth entry in the Lupin III Yearly Specials, Alcatraz Connection first aired on Japanese television on August 3rd, 2001. Being the first Lupin III TV-special of the 21st century, it was also the first to make use of digital animation instead of traditional ink-&-paint on cels.

Lupin and his pals pull a heist on Machine Gun Kelly, a casino cruise rumored to have been whitewashing, near the coast of San Francisco. After their heist is botched at the hands of Zenigata and his assistant, inspector Terry Crown, Lupin reveals to his comrades that he did steal something valuable from the cruise: computer data containing the coordinates of the Yankee Slade, a 19th-century carrier that sank with countless gold bars in tow after a heavy storm. Unfortunately, the wreckage is too deep below the surface to reach with a conventional submarine. Whilst they try to figure out a solution, however, they are ambushed by mafia members, leading to Lupin being captured in the progress. After he's saved by Jigen, they seem to have crossed paths with a criminal organization called Secret 7, who are somehow connected with the island Alcatraz, the Yankee Slade treasure, and others.

Complete spoilers below — don't read further if you don't want to know how this caper turns out!

This TV Movie features examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: As is typical of Goemon's Zantetsuken. He slices a hole right through the thick ceiling of the casino cruise's money vault in the opening heist.
  • The Alcatraz: The Trope Namer appears in this movie, obviously.
  • Animation Bump: Some of the opening credits sequence, provided by Hiroyuki Imaishi, is energetic compared to the rest of the movie.
  • Cable-Car Action Sequence
  • Dirty Cop: Terry is slowly building up as one right up until halfway through, where it's revealed that Terry really is the leader of the Secret 7 and a criminal mastermind related to Al Capone.
  • Faking the Dead: After Lupin is successfully put into prison (not Alcatraz) by Zenigata, Terry visits his cell, supposedly kills him and puts the Derringer in his hand to make it look like suicide. What Terry didn't know is that during the struggle before the kill, Lupin switched the bullet in the Derringer with a blank and then made use of fake blood and very convincing make-up to make it look like the bullet did kill him. Zenigata, of course, sees through the whole charade and makes use of it to have a private talk with him in the morgue.
  • Foreign Language Theme: A new lyrical version of the series' theme song was introduced from this special onwards. The new lyrics are in decently coherent English.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first scene involving the Secret 7, the leader is holding two walnuts in his hand which he crushes when he gets angry. Later on, Terry is seen doing the same.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Zenigata falls into this when Lupin tells him the true reason he keeps on thieving is because the fact that he's his most Worthy Opponent keeps motivating him into doing what he does best.
  • Loud of War: One of Huang's preferred forms of torture is putting a metal case over the victim's head and banging on it with a hammer.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Alcatraz really turns out to be an underground city where convicted crooks live in joy and luxury.
  • More Dakka: Andy is rather fond of this trope, hence his nickname Machine Gun Kelly, which he also applies to the casino cruise he owns.
  • Never Suicide: Zenigata is smart enough to know that Lupin would never commit suicide, even if it were his last resort.
  • Only in It for the Money: This is the only entry in the Lupin franchise where Goemon plays this trope straight.
  • San Francisco: This TV-movie takes place there most of the time.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The sea monster that emerges near the Machine Gun Kelly during the opening heist turns out to be an inflatable decoy set up by Lupin to distract the cruise's main security. Zenigata shoots a hole in it to blow their cover.
  • Shout-Out: Lupin compares Zenigata to Dirty Harry at one point.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Lupin declares that he can find himself in Huang: he also likes torturing people, though he prefers to torture hot girls instead.
  • Torpedo Tits: Lupin disguises himself as a woman during the opening, and squeezes sleeping gas out of his breasts, knocking out the guards who were trying to chase him.
  • Torture Technician: Huang
  • Who Shot JFK?: Becomes a plot point by the third act. It turns out John F. Kennedy (and later his brother Robert) was assassinated because he shut down Alcatraz when he found out what it truly was, something the "convicted" gangsters of the facility weren't very happy about.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Secret 7 leader (who is really Terry Crown) shoots mafia boss Marcano in the head because he brought up Lupin's theft of the Yankee Slade data in a very underestimating light.