''Episode 0: First Contact'' first aired on Japanese network NTV on July 26, 2002 and is the fourteenth of the Anime/LupinIIIYearlySpecials. It was created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ''Lupin III'' franchise on TV (as marked from the debut of the [[Anime/LupinIIIGreenJacket first series]]).

In a smoky bar, a reporter named Elena begs Jigen to tell her the story of how the Lupin gang originally met and came together. She tells him how Lupin is always too distracted to tell her the story, so she needs Jigen to tell her. After much cajoling, Jigen begins to tell the story:

Years ago, he was in the employ of a mafia boss named Galvez. Galvez's most precious possession was a rare treasure from Japan, an indestructible metal case containing the instructions to a great treasure. Two rival thieves, Lupin and Brad, are after the treasure. But when tragedy strikes, Brad's girlfriend Fujiko takes up his cause in revenge. She, in turn, is being pursued by a dogged Japanese detective, Zenigata, for her crimes in his country. Meanwhile, a samurai named Goemon is searching for a lost sword that would be worthy of his skill, one that would also open Galvez's sealed case. As the plot thickens, all five characters are drawn together…

This special was extremely well received, especially by the (small in number but very dedicated) Western fans. After multiple entreaties by fans to Creator/{{Funimation}} failed, Creator/DiscotekMedia licensed and released it in 2009. It is notable for being the first ''Lupin III'' anime released on DVD in North America without a corresponding English dub.[[note]] Creator/{{AnimEigo}}'s short-lived release of ''Anime/LegendOfTheGoldOfBabylon'' was the very first stateside ''Lupin III'' feature without a dub, but it was VHS only. Also, Discotek themselves had previously published the 1974 live-action film ''Film/StrangePsychokineticStrategy'' without any dub.[[/note]] There is, however, a DVDCommentary track from BigNameFan Reed Nelson.

'''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:
* AbsurdlySharpBlade: Zantetsuken's cutting ability is a major plot point of the film.
* AllAsiansWearConicalStrawHats: Justified in the case of Goemon, the tradition-obsessed samurai is wearing it to keep his head dry.
* BackToBackBadasses: Jigen and Goemon when they're attacked by Galvez's men.
* BigEater: Zenigata orders ten hamburgers and finishes them all.
* BikerBabe: Fujiko rides a motorcycle for much of the movie.
* CigarChomper: Galvez.
* ChaseFight: The duel between Lupin and Goemon. Lupin runs away as an increasingly frustrated Goemon tries to fight him. It begins with Goemon on foot, chasing Lupin in a car, then they're running on top of cars, as well as around Central Park. Lupin mostly just wants to escape.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Fujiko, of course. During the course of the movie, she manages to betray Lupin, Galvez, and Shade.
** She's accused of betraying Brad as well, but the Narrator hints that Lupin picked up some subtle body language from her telling him that she truly loved him.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Zenigata singlehandedly takes takes down three drug dealers. [[spoiler:Who later turn out to be undercover officers. Whoops.]]
** He also takes out a STREET of toughs, in order to interrogate them on Lupin's location. [[spoiler:Subverted when you see Zenigata is just as badly beat up as the people he's left on the street.]]
* TheDragon: Shade to Galvez.
* EmbarrassingRescue: Lupin saves Jigen from Galvez's goons. Jigen is ''not'' pleased.
* EpisodeZeroTheBeginning: The movie is a prequel explaining how the gang all met. [[spoiler:[[UnreliableNarrator Maybe]].]] Not the only OriginsEpisode this franchise has had, but it is ''an'' Origin.
* EveryoneMeetsEveryone: The whole point of the "Episode".
* {{Expy}}: Shade heavily resembles [[Film/TheMatrix Neo]].
* FireForgedFriends: Pretty much how Lupin's gang comes together.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Lupin tells Jigen that robbing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is his dream, and he could do it if they worked together. Guess what Lupin and his gang rob during the credits.
* HeelFaceTurn: Jigen at the end, when he decides to join Lupin instead of fighting him.
* IgnoreTheFanservice: Fujiko takes a shower in Jigen's apartment, comes out in just a towel, and tries to seduce him by leaning over to show her generous cleavage off, and then when he ignores that, starts to drop the towel. He uses the barrel of his magnum to hold it on her body while simultaneously threatening to shoot her if she tries that again. This is also a slightly defining moment for Jigen, as he is the only one consistently unaffected by Fujiko's appearance (even Goemon is affected; he just blushes and looks away when she's naked, though).
* ImplausibleFencingPowers: Goemon can ''cut lightning''.
* IncendiaryExponent: Lupin and Goemon's fight, just as in the other two versions of their meeting.
* InfernalRetaliation: Lupin sets Goemon on fire, ''with a squirt gun!'' Goemon returns the favor with rope. The next time Lupin tries it, Goemon deflects the liquid, and the fire sets a tanker truck on fire.
* LatexPerfection: Lupin begins the movie disguised as a woman, and steals the key to the Clam of Hermes disguised as [[spoiler:Crawford]]. In the end, it's revealed that [[spoiler:Jigen, our Narrator, is really Lupin.]]
* TheMafia: Jigen worked for them as a gunman.
* MacGuffin: The Clam of Hermes.
* MacGuffinDeliveryService: Galvez and Fujiko plot to have Lupin steal the key and then steal it from him. [[spoiler:Lupin is aware of this, but he still ends up captured.]]
* MuggedForDisguise: Lupin lures the NYPD director into a news van, and after the sounds of a scuffle, steps out wearing his clothes.
* MythologyGag: The movie contradicts Goemon's introductions in the manga and the first TV series, but the fight between Lupin and Goemon is filled with references to both of them.
** George [=McFly=] resembles and plays a similar role to Akechi Kogoro from the original pilot film.
* NoMacGuffinNoWinner: [[spoiler:The scroll ends up being destroyed. Which technically means Goemon wins.]]
* OlderSidekick: George [=McFly=] for Zenigata.
* TheRival: Jigen to Lupin, at first.
* SleepingDummy: Lupin uses one to fool Galvez's hit men.
* ThemeMusicPowerup: When Lupin, Jigen, Fujiko, and Goemon are together for the first time in Galvez's basement, the new version of ''Lupin III '78'' starts playing just as they begin kicking ass.
* UnreliableNarrator: An argument about this at the end of the film ensues. By fans after the end, as well.
* WholeEpisodeFlashback: Except for the frame story with Elena, the entire special is one big flashback.