Anime: The Castle of Cagliostro
1979's The Castle of Cagliostro
— the first full-length feature film directed and largely written by Hayao Miyazaki
) — is a stand-alone entry in the long-running
franchise Lupin III
. Tropes and characters not specific to this film are listed on the Characters page for the franchise.
Lupin and Jigen have just pulled off a successful casino heist; fleeing in their car, they're up to their necks in cash...which Lupin soon realizes is counterfeit. These legendary "Goat Bills" (counterfeit bills which could easily pass for real to all but the most trained eye) inspire the duo to pay a visit to the tiny European Grand Duchy of Cagliostro, long rumored to be the bills' source, for their next heist.
Once Lupin and Jigen cross the border, they end up rescuing a girl in a wedding dress from a group of armed mooks
trying to capture her. The girl is Clarisse, the daughter of Cagliostro's late ruling Grand Duke and the betrothed fiancé of the regent and Count of Cagliostro (whose side of the Cagliostro family line oversees and perpetuates the nation's dirty business). A legend says a reunification of the two families will unlock the secret of Cagliostro's lost treasure, which the Count desperately wants. Jigen figures something else is up when he notices Lupin's familiarity with Cagliostro's landmarks, Clarisse, and her mysterious ring.
Certain things are, of course, inevitable: Lupin tries to steal the girl, the treasure, the source of the Goat Bills, and whatever else he thinks he can get away with; Fujiko is in the castle trying to steal at least one of Lupin's targets; the Count is a formidable villain; and Inspector Zenigata is still trying to hunt Lupin down (though he gets more than he bargained for).Castle of Cagliostro
is famous for being Miyazaki's first film, but a couple of its scenes achieved their own fame. The car chase at the beginning of the film was allegedly praised by Steven Spielberg
as one of the greatest car chases ever set to film, and he's alleged to have called Cagliostro
one of the greatest adventure movies of all time.note
The other famous scene is the climactic battle-and-chase in Cagliostro's clock tower; at least two groups
of American animators
have paid direct homage
In the West, this film has gone through a few hands. It was originally used (along with The Mystery of Mamo
) to make a laserdisc game by Stern
called Cliff Hanger
. Then it was licensed in the early 90's by Streamline Pictures
; its DVD was one of the very first anime released in the format (and one of Streamline's last releases ever). Manga Entertainment
picked it up in 2000 and gave it a new dub, and its license lapsed in 2010. Discotek Media
acquired the license to Cagliostro
in 2014 and released both a DVD and Blu-Ray (the latter for the first time in the US) in 2015. Their release includes both the Streamline and Manga dubs, an official subtitled version of the film, and a re-creation of the original subtitles used in TMS's 1980 theatrical release of the film in the United States.
A "Family Friendly" version of the Manga dub was also created specifically for this release.Complete spoilers below
— don't read further if you don't want to know how this caper turns out!
The Castle of Cagliostro features examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The castle's sewers are spacious enough for Lupin and Jigen to pass through.
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The many quiet scenes of Cagliostro comes from Hayao Miyazaki's desire for "breathing" in a film. They are present to contrast against the tense action scenes, and allow the audience to relax, or fall in love. One special scene in this film is Lupin wandering around a burnt out castle in a contemplative mood (because Lupin is remembering his past) with Jigen wondering what is preoccupying him before demanding an explanation(by strangling him). Another special scene is when Lupin has broken into Clarisse's room and is trying to give her hope that he can help her escape (giving her hope and letting the audience fall in love with her innocence).
- Action Girl: Fujiko.
- Adaptational Heroism: Lupin and Fujiko (especially Fujiko) are more heroic in this movie than in any other depictions.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: The film ends with Inspector Zenigata revealing that Lupin III, Gentleman Thief that he is, has stolen the heroine's heart.
- All Myths Are True: The counterfeit activities in Cagliostro. Lampshaded by Zenigata who mentions that he heard rumors about the counterfeit activities but couldn't have imagined it to be run by an independent nation.
- Alternate DVD Commentary: A fan-made commentary track for was produced for Caglisotro back in 2004, and another one is packaged with the 2014 Discotek Media DVD (and 2015 Blu-Ray).
- Always Save the Girl: This is lampshaded in the car chase.
Jigen: Which one are we helping?
Lupin: The girl.
- Ambiguously Brown: Inspector Zenigata is noticeably more brown than his police companions, despite still being clearly Japanese. Amusing when Lupin disguises himself as Zenigata, because he can apparently create the square jaw and ruddy-face without a Latex Perfection mask. Similar tones are used for Gustav, also without any real explanation.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Cagliostro family has been using its super-counterfeits to screw with international affairs for centuries. Lupin states that the Cagliostros are responsible for the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages, the collapse of the Bourbon Dynasty, funded Napoleon Bonaparte's conquests, and caused The Great Depression.
: (reading Apocalyptic Log
) "Here, Gennosuke Kawakami, Spy for the Japanese Army, met his end. Avenge me. 1904-3-14."
- And Now You Must Marry Me: The Count strongarming Clarisse to marry him.
- And the Adventure Continues: Zenigata and his men are hot on Lupin's heels as everyone leaves the country of Cagliostro, and Fujiko escapes with the Goat Bills' master plates. "The End", but life goes on.
- Anti-Hero: While Lupin's place is hard to pin down on the best of days, in Cagliostro, he falls firmly into the Mr. Vice Guy role. While he's as gleefully enthusiastic about the caper as usual, he shows more interest in protecting Clarisse (choosing to save her even before he recognizes her) and even lets the girl go for her own good.
- Anywhere but Their Lips: Lupin kisses Clarisse on her forehead in the movie's finale.
- Arc Symbol: The goat as Clarisse and the Count's family coats-of-arms, appearing on rings and buildings all over the place.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Dirty Count Cagliostro fits the bill.
- Armor Is Useless: Partially averted. The Count's assassin squad wear plate armor underneath their cloth ninja costumes capable of standing up to a .44 magnum fired at point blank range...which as expected, proves no match for the anti-tank rifle Jigen brings to deal with them...nor with Goemon's blade.
- Arranged Marriage: Between Clarissa and the Count.
- Asleep for Days: Lupin sleeps for three days after being severely wounded in a fight with the Big Bad. He's distressed to discover how long his nap has been — since it means he might be too late to save the day — and demands large amounts of food in order to recover his strength.
- As You Know: Inspector Zenigata drops an Info Dump to the audience when mentioning to the Count that his wedding is in five days.
- Author Appeal: Obscure aircraft, precipitous heights, gorging on food, Ghibli Hills.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The Count is quite a match for Lupin during their climatic sword fight inside the Clock Tower.
- Bad Bad Acting: Zenigata's "we went in for Lupin and look what we found!" on-camera act falls under this. It does not escape the notice of his Interpol superiors:
U.S. Interpol Leader: Good Lord, he's a bad actor.
- Bandaged Face: Lupin wears a face bandage after the failed attempt to free Clarisse.
- Bat Deduction: How does Lupin jump to the conclusion that the goat figure's eye sockets works as a lock for the two keys?
- Batman Cold Open: The opening scene cuts right into the final moments of a heist Lupin and Jigen pull at the San Marino casino, establishing our heroes to be skillful thieves.
- Battle Butler: Jodo, who controls the Count's Elite Mooks.
- Beautiful Dreamer: The count watches Clarisse sleep in her tower chamber. He then notices that her ring is missing.
- Big Fancy Castle: The titular castle.
- Biker Babe: Action Girl Fujiko drives away in her motorcycle with the Goat Bills plates in her bags.
- BFG: Jigen's massive PTRS-41 anti-tank rifle.
- Blade Brake: The Count uses his sword to stab the rocks, saving his butt after falling off the clock tower's hands.
- Blatant Lies: Invoked by Zenigata, in the Streamline dub, when he exposes the Count's counterfeiting ring on live television. First by leading Fujiko down into the cellar, where he puts on a show of "accidentally" finding his printing presses.
Zenigata: (blinks innocently) "Can you believe it?"
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Streamline Pictures dub mixes Blind-Idiot with Macekre and Writing Around Trademarks (The LeBlanc estate was still affecting translations). One example is for Zenigata introducing himself to the Count, as Inspector Keibu Zenigata. For the record, his actual given name is Kouichi, and keibu is just the Japanese word for "Inspector". But his full name wasn't included in the script – it rarely is – so making "Keibu" his name was a choice minimizing the amount of invention.
- Blowing Smoke Rings: Lupin does this at least twice during the film.
- Bowdlerization: The Discotek Media rerelease includes a "Family Friendly" version of the Manga Entertainment dub that removes and replaces as much of the profanity as possible. According to Reed Nelson, one of the people involved in the DVD's production, this censored dub was created specifically for this release in order to bring the movie closer in tone to both the original Japanese script and Miyazaki's Disney-released Ghibli movies.
- Bookcase Passage: Fujiko uses one to enter a Secret Underground Passage that would lead her to a fireplace and after that to an observation room behind the Count's office, equipped with a Portrait Painting Peephole.
- Bridal Carry: Lupos carries Clarisse this way towards the end of the movie.
- Calling Card: Lupin leaves two, a literal one on Jodo's back and later his hat on the statue that takes pictures.
- Catch a Falling Star: Lupin "dives" after Clarisse who is pushed down the Clock Tower by the Count. Lupin catches her midair and thanks to Soft Water, they don't receive any injuries when hitting the water surface.
- Ceiling Cling: Lupin clings to the ceiling in order to avoid one of the trap doors. Inspector Zenigata after him doesn't.
- Chased Off into the Sunset: The movie ends with Lupin III and his gang fleeing in the Fiat away from the police into the sunset.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The Autogyro.
- The fake ring. Right before Lupin and Jigen are attacked in their room by the Count's assassins, you see Lupin fiddling around with some sort of forgery kit. What's he doing, you ask? Making the fake ring he gives to the Count about halfway through the film.
- Chekhov's Skill: A fairly subtle one: Lupin's long-jumping skills from the very beginning of the film.
- The Chessmaster: Lupin is firmly in this category, with himself and everyone else (including Femme Fatale Fujiko and Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist Inspector Zenigata) involved in a small-scale Gambit Pileup aimed at stopping the Count.
- Thematically, chiaroscuro is also a major element of the plot, with Clarissa's ruling branch of the family representing the light, and the Count's doing-the-dirty-work branch representing the shadow. The hidden treasure is revealed when (the rings of) light and shadow unite.
- The wedding scene when the "resurrected" Lupin confronts the Count begins with heavy shading; between the bright candles and Clarisse's dress, versus the helmeted Count and his hooded minions. Colour is used to highlight aspects of the scene that would've been hard in pure greyscale, such as the inside of the Count's cloak, and Clarisse's dull eyes.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Possibly the one time Fujiko doesn't betray Lupin. Depending on how you interpret her running off with the plates.
- Churchgoing Villain: One of the Count's henchmen is moved to cross himself when he sees the Bishop arriving.
- Climbing Climax: Inside and outside the Clock Tower.
- Clock Tower: The castle has a prominent clock tower between it and the reservoir lake. The film's climax takes place with a long chase through it.
- Clockworks Area: During the Climbing Climax, when the Count and his men pursue Lupin and Clarisse up the castle's clock tower. It leads to a fight amongst the clock-tower's gears which may be one of the most iconic in cinematic history.
- Combat Commentator: Fujiko, now a journalist, is enthusiastically commenting the wedding events.
- Cool Plane: The Count flies an autogyro! (Yes, Lupin steals the plane) Hayao Miyazaki uses this trope as a Creator Thumbprint.
- Could Have Been Messy:
- Goemon slices and dices with his metal-cutting katana and Jigen blasts away with an anti-tank rifle, yet neither one of them is ever actually seen to kill anyone with said weapons. Even when Jigen shoots out a car's tire with his Magnum, we see thugs go flying but not actually any dying.
- Averted with Lupin's wounds and the deaths of the Count and his thug in the clock tower.
- Couldn't Find a Lighter: Royal guard Gustav demonstrates the castle's laser defense system by holding out a cigarette to be zapped, then placing it in Zenigata's mouth.
- Counterfeit Cash: The Goat Bills are counterfeit bills which can fool all but the most trained eyes.
- Crazy-Prepared: It's not entirely clear if the lasers, radar and trap doors in the castle were placed by the Count himself or are remains of the Roman builders. Anyway, somebody was Properly Paranoid.
- Damsel in Distress: Clarisse is pursued by the Count and one of Lupin's priorities in this story is protecting/rescuing her.
- Damsel out of Distress: Clarisse escaped from a mansion surrounded by lasers, participated in a car chase, saved Lupin's life several times (by way of shoving him out of the way of gunfire and throwing her body on a gun and knocking it aside), said she was "not really" afraid when they were being peppered with gunfire, and shoved the Count off the clocktower when she saw her chance — and she was willing to become a thief to boot. A lone woman facing down a Nebulous Evil Organisation run by a Manipulative Bastard with an army of Elite Mooks (which took Lupin's team and an entire army of Interpol agents to bring down)? As Lupin said, she was a brave girl.
- Deadfoot Leadfoot: Clarisse faints in the driver seat of her car, calling for a Big Damn Hero moment by Lupin to save her from crashing down the cliff. Leads to a Literal Cliffhanger moment.
- Death Trap: The Count is a big, big fan. His security fetish is one of the first things which alerts Zenigata to the fishy goings-on in the castle.
- Defiant to the End: In the Streamline dub, Lupin's response to the Count pointing out that the thief is surrounded by his forces and likely about to die, "The game ain't over, Count. In fact, it's just beginning!" The Count contradicts that and drops him to his supposed death in the dungeons, but true to Lupin's word, he is just getting started interfering with the villain's plans.
- Diagonal Cut: The wedding ceremony is interrupted by Goemon slashing the altar diagonally in half, making the huge cross fall over.
- Dirty Old Man: Lupin accuses Count Cagliostro of being one, though it's questionable if the Count had any feelings for Clarisse at all.
- Don't Look Down:
- Darkest Hour: In the final third of the film, Lupin III is wounded, bedridden and hiding, Zenigata is taken off the counterfeiting case with the Interpol council refusing to accept his evidence, Clarisse is drugged and is about to be put into a forced marriage by the villainous Count who is sure he's won it all.
- The Dragon: Jodo.
- Dramatic Unmask: There is a sound effect when the Archbishop unmasks himself to reveal Lupin.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Lupin incapacitates one of the Elite Mook marines and uses his swimsuit to get past Jodo.
- Dressed in Layers: Lupin wears a Zenigata disguise over his regular suit and a diving suit over both of them.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Inspector Zenigata does this at home after he has been taken off the case against his will.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Lampshaded in the same breath as Always Save the Girl.
- Early-Bird Cameo: As Lupin and Jigen drive away from the Casino with their loot, sharp-eyed viewers can spot the top of Goemon's head and the end of his sword in the back seat of the car amidst the cash. Do all those cars suddenly falling to bits earlier make sense now?
- Elite Mooks: The Count employs assassins with masks, metal claw gauntlets, and armor Jigen can't shoot through without an anti-tank gun.
- Enemy Mine: Lupin and Zenigata call a truce so they can both get out of the castle dungeon alive and Zenigata can go after the Count for the making the Goat Bills. Given how often they work together in other Lupin titles, though, their teamwork here isn't quite as strange as the trope name implies. Lampshaded by Zenigata who promises Lupin to arrest him once they are out of danger.
- Engineered Public Confession: The fake family ring, which the Count seized from Clarisse, has a hidden microphone, so Lupin can overhear the Count confessing his Evil Plan to Clarisse.
- Evil Chancellor: The story begins after the Count has taken power from the dead Duke who ruled. There's no suspicion raised In-Universe for why the Duke might've died in a huge blaze inside his Stone Castle, especially when the Count has a secret army, counterfeiting operations, and is called the "shadow" line of the family. The only member left of the "light" line of the family is Princess Clarisse, and the Count rules as regent in her place.
- Evil Laugh: The Count sports an evil laughter during the chase scene in the Clock Tower.
- Exact Eavesdropping: Fujiko, via the Portrait Painting Peephole, overhears the Count talk about his counterfeiting activities and learns about Lupin's arrival.
- Exact Words: The film's Darkest Hour ends when Fujiko telephones Inspector Zenigata about a critical fact: Lupin is planning to be at the Count's wedding and while the cop is off the counterfeiting case, his standing orders to arrest the thief anywhere around the world are still in force.
- Fakin' MacGuffin: Lupin makes a copy of the ring with a microtransponder inside, so as to trick and then taunt the Count. He's seen making it shortly before the Count's assassins attack the room he rented.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: Clarisse, being a princess, has one.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: The Count squashed by the hands of the big clock. Also the mook squashed by cogs. Both scenes are handled discreetly.
- Famous Last Words: "Let me go! Let GO!" The Count of Cagliostro
- Free Wheel: In the Cold Open, the casino staff's cars fall apart as a result of Vehicular Sabotage. A wheel from one rolls away and hits the bumper of the one car that had remained intact thus far, causing it to collapse. Additionally, when the car carrying the thugs chasing Clarissa crashes, one of its wheels goes flying.
- Gentleman Thief: This is played straight with Lupin, which may come across as strange because he's… Lupin. He's acting this way because he's still grateful to Clarisse for saving his life many years ago. Jigen calls Lupin out on his atypical behavior fairly early in the film.
- This may be a case of Recursive Adaptation. Miyazaki took more direct inspiration from Maurice Leblanc's novels than he did the Lupin III manga and anime. The same novels that inspired Lupin III in the first place.
- Ghibli Hills: The Cagliostro countryside qualifies.
- Girl in the Tower: Clarisse is locked away in the North Tower by the Count, so she could not escape again. Cue Lupin and his Wall Crawl skills. Little does he know that he is being Lured Into a Trap by the Count.
- Glass Slipper: When Clarisse rushes off, she accidentally leaves behind her family ring which Lupin uses to track her down.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Two deaths via clock – one of the Count's Mooks and the Count himself – are signified only by sound.
- Go Through Me: Clarisse does this twice for Lupin, at different points during the film.
- The first happens near the midpoint, after Lupin's been shot and left critically wounded, by Jodo. Not only does she prevent him from falling to his death, she tells Cagliostro that if he intended to kill Lupin, he'd have to kill her too. Cagliostro responds by having Jodo open fire, with each shot narrowly missing by inches. Clarisse doesn't budge, despite fearing for both their lives.
- At the film's climax, Cagliostro prepares to fire at Lupin as he hangs from a ledge of the castle's clocktower. Clarisse literally leaps to his rescue, by jumping from the tower and attempting to take Cagliostro with her; complete with a Big "NO!".
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: Early on Lupin uses this tool to save Clarisse from falling off the cliff, they end up in a Literal Cliffhanger.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Lupin in a quite moment with Clarisse in her tower room, letting a rose magically appear in his hand, then unraveling the flags. She is totally sold on it.
- Green Around the Gills: Lupin falls sick and his face turns all green after he overstuffs himself on food to regain his stamina. Combined with Balloon Belly.
- Hammerspace Parachute: Fujiko jumps from the Autogyro and unfolds a parachute that wasn't visible before.
- Handshake Refusal: Even after they have become Fire-Forged Friends, Inspector Zenigata refuses to shake hands with Lupin.
- Hard To Light Fire: While on top of the main castle, Lupin III is trying to light a rocket but has a lot of difficulty with his lighter. He eventually drops the rocket and has to long-jump over the towers manually.
- Haunted House Historian: The groundskeeper, informing the heroes about the fire that killed Clarisse's parents and left the castle in ruins.
- Historical In-Joke: A brief scene explains how Cagliostro's currency counterfeiting was responsible for the 1929 Stockmarket Crash and World War II.
- Historical Rap Sheet: The Cagliostro family's centuries-old counterfeiting operation caused the collapse of the Bourbon dynasty, financed Napoleon and brought about the Wall Street Crash.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The count activates the emptying of the reservoir lake, and the process sets the Clock Tower to 12, crushing him between the hands.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Lupin is severely wounded, but recovers after gorging himself to the point of being sick and then sleeping.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
- Averted at the rooftop when Jodo hits Lupin with a single bullet fired.
- Played straight right after when his machine gun misses Clarisse and Lupin continuously. Also the mooks manage to never get a hit on Clarisse and Lupin at close range in the Clock Tower.
- Impersonating an Officer: Lupin infiltrates the titular castle by posing as Inspector Zenigata, claiming that the real one Gustav saw was an imposter. It works. Gustav falls for it and attacks Zenigata and his men, allowing Lupin to slip inside unnoticed.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Goemon falls under this trope largely because Katanas Are Just Better ("this is no ordinary sword", he says). When a wounded Lupin falls into the car from the autogyro, Goemon's sword swipe gets Lupin neatly out of his burning clothes without further scratching Lupin. (Other examples are on the page for the Trope.)
- Improvised Weapon: Lupin uses several of these, but the most notable is the long-handled spanner he duels the Count with.
- In Harm's Way: The discovery of the Goat Bills brings Lupin and Jigen to Cagliostro.
- Instant Dogend: All of Jigen's smokes (only some of Lupin's) are battered and bent before he takes his first puff.
- Instant Expert: Lupin tells Zenigata to to fly the autogyro, so he can jump onto the tower's roof and save Clarisse and Fujiko. Lampshaded by the inspector who says that he can't fly this thing. But he does well.
- Interesting Situation Duel: The fight amongst the Clock Tower's gears is one of the most iconic in cinematic history.
- Interpol Special Agent: Inspector Zenigata actually has people to report to in this film, although they seem more preoccupied with politics than law enforcement, which puts Zenigata at odds with them.
- Karmic Death: The Count manages to unlock the treasure, but by doing so, the clock tower automatically moves to noon and the clock's hands crush him. The camera cuts to a long Gory Discretion Shot but you can still hear a nasty crunching sound.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Jigen's bullets bounce off the Elite Mooks — but Goemon's sword doesn't. Fans of the series know Goemon's sword is a one-of-a-kind katana possessing a super-sharp edge.
- Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Implied. Look at all those corpses in the oubliette. Most of them were killed either for political reasons or to keep the counterfeiting operation from being exposed.
- The Kingdom: The Dukes were the official rulers and kept up a good front, but the Count's family line was responsible for carrying out the Dirty Business.
- Lady Killer In Love: Lupin, who cannot forget Clarisse.
- Lolicon: In the Japanese version, Lupin accuses the Count of this in the wedding scene before he sets off the stock of fireworks hidden in his archbishop's robes.
- Latex Perfection: Lupin and Jigen wear face masks to hide their identity when crossing the border into Cagliostro.
- Limited Wardrobe: Lupin is always wearing his green jacket when not in disguise. Exaggerated, as we see him wearing that same jacket ten years earlier as a youngster in his Flashback.
- Literal Cliffhanger: Early on, when Lupin and Clarisse are hanging from a wire off a cliff.
- Little Brother Is Watching: Possibly the reason why Lupin Did Not Get the Girl. At the end of the movie, Clarisse hugs Lupin tight and begs to become a thief and leave Cagliostro with him. Lupin visibly trembles before pushing her away gently. Did he not want her to move to the dark side? Or was she just his Girl of the Week?
- Lost Wedding Ring: It's a Plot Coupon and Lupin holds it.
- Lull Destruction:
- The Streamline dub is somewhat notorious for this, adding expository dialogue into normally quiet scenes. Inverted at least once in the same dub when, at the point where Jigen's supposed to complain about him and Goemon not being able to do anything before the gang was forced to retreat, he says nothing.
- The Manga/Animaze dub does this as well, but only a couple of times, such as when Lupin is reading aloud Japanese text that was accompanied by silence in the original, or a little extra bickering between Lupin and Jigen.
- Lured Into a Trap: The Count knows that Lupin is coming for Clarisse and captures him shortly after his arrival in her tower.
- Malevolent Architecture: The titular Castle is full of booby traps (and a basement of skeletons to show for it).
- McNinja: The Count's assassins have armor underneath their black catsuits that protect them from small arms fire.
- Micro Monarchy: Cagliostro is this. See also Ruritania.
- Military Salute: Inspector Zenigata salutes Count Cagliostro when he reports in. Cagliostro doesn't even acknowledge it, being the asshole he is.
- Mind-Control Eyes: Clarisse has pupil-less eyes as a result of being drugged for her wedding so she would not speak up.
- Money to Throw Away: After the heist at the opening, Lupin and Jigen toss away the useless (to him) counterfeit Goat Bills.
- Mood Whiplash: The scene on the rooftop, when the party has almost escaped and Lupin tries to leap onto the Autogyro and gets shot by Jodo. Up to that point the movie was extremely light-hearted with the heroes displaying extreme Plot Armor. The minutes following are more on the dramatic side.
- Mook Lieutenant: Gustav for the royal guard and Jodo for the elite mooks.
- Mooks: The normal Cagliostro castle guard and the Interpol troopers fall under this.
- Ms. Exposition: The waitress at the inn who connects the ring to Lady Clarisse, provides background to Clarisse (the convent) and informs them about the upcoming wedding.
- Mugged for Disguise: Lupin does this to the one of the marine mook and later the Archbishop.
- My Greatest Second Chance: Lupin got his ass kicked 10 years before trying to infiltrate the castle and discover the source of the famous counterfeit Goat Bills. His and Jigen's heist of what turns out to be counterfeit money from a casino and the attempted rescue of Clarisse sets him on the task again.
- Mythology Gag: See the Trope page for examples.
- No OSHA Compliance: All those giant exposed gears in the clock tower can't be safety standards compliant.
- Obviously Evil: Jodo does not look like a good guy. Neither does the Count.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: Clarisse's ring, a heirloom of her Cagliostroian royal family which was handed to her from her parents before they died.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Clarissa's wedding dress. The current Empress of Japan liked it so much that she had a real-world one made for her wedding dress.
- Pin-Pulling Teeth: Fujiko does this during an escape. Her other hand is busy wielding an automatic pistol.
- Pop the Tires: In the opening chase scene, Jigen attempts to shoot out the tires of the henchmen's vehicle. The first time, it's subverted; he hits the tires, but they are a special kind that are impervious to regular bullets. Jigen upgrades his ammo and tries again, this time hitting them and causing the car to immediately spin out and crash into the side of the mountain.
- Portrait Painting Peephole: Fujiko uses these to spy on the Count in his quarters.
- The Prophecy: The words inscribed on Clarisse's ring by her ancestor, Gotoh, is a key part of the plot: "Light will rejoin shadow and live again."
- Ramen Slurp: The cheap ramen eaten by Zenigata and his police force are contrasted with the fancy meals enjoyed by Count Cagliostro. Lupin and Jigen are shown eating spaghetti the same way, earlier (as well as eating ramen themselves as Zenigata pulls up to the castle – you can see the instant ramen bowls in the back of their car along with the other supplies in the early driving scenes).
- Real Men Wear Pink: Jigen wears Clarisse's tiara during the climax.
- Red Index, Blue Index: The two family rings are contrasted in red and blue. Interestingly, the female side wears the blue ring while the male counterpart wears the red ring.
- Regent for Life: The Count wants to become this by marrying Clarisse.
- Relationship Revolving Door: Lupin and Fujiko lead an on-again-off-again relationship, as she explains to Clarisse:
- Rescue Romance: Doesn't develop beyond a Rescue Crush. Clarisse falls in love with Lupin after the first time he saves her, but even by the end of the movie, he can't be tied down and leaves.
- Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Hayao Miyazaki continued to tone down Lupin III from the raunchier, more manic version depicted in the manga, making him much Lighter and Softer. As a result, the film flopped in Japan when it was first released – the people who liked Lupin III for what it was were turned off, and the people who didn't like Lupin III didn't have any reason to watch the movie. It was only in later years, when Miyazaki gained recognition for his original works and more people watched the movie without any prior Lupin experience, that it belatedly gained a reputation as a classic.
- Rock-Paper-Scissors: Lupin and Jigen throw down over who has to change the flat tire on their car. (Jigen's version of "scissors" involves using his thumb and forefinger, like he's miming a pistol.)
- Roof Hopping: The Elite Mooks come and assault Lupin and Jigen via the city's rooftops. Our heroes then use the same way to escape.
- Runaway Bride: Clarisse starts off as a Runaway Fiancé, but then turns into a proper Runaway Bride during the wedding ceremony when Lupin snatches her away.
- Runaway Fiancé: Clarissa bailed when the guards left her room to allow her to change into her wedding dress (presumably to rehearse the ceremony). But in spite of Lupin's efforts, she is recaptured, and this time imprisoned in a tall tower.
- Ruritania: The Duchy of Cagliostro has a population of 3,500 and is the smallest independent member nation of the United Nations.
- Screen Shake: The screen jitters at least twice, once when Lupin disjoints the gears in the Clock Tower and again when the whole tower explodes and sinks into the sea.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The Count has numerous connections with Interpol and several governments.
- Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Lupin is dropped down an oubliette into a dungeon filled with bones that date across centuries.
- Short Cuts Make Long Delays: The Groundskeeper ( probably actually Lupin) offers to show the Archbishop an alternate route to the castle. The Archbishop never arrives.
- Lupin's iconic yellow Fiat 500 (the car driven in real life by chief animator Yasuo Ohtsuka, as Clarissa's Citroën CV was Miyazaki's) has appeared in movies and shows ranging from Cowboy Bebop to the Pixar film series Cars. Thanks to this film's influence, if you see a Fiat in an animated work, there's a good chance it's going to be yellow.
- Another one is the title itself: the original Arsène Lupin books had an encounter with La Dame de Cagliostro. But that means that Clarisse and Lupin are cousins.
- Miyazaki's confessed admiration for the French animated classic ''The King and the Mockingbird'' can be seen in the humongous trap-filled castle to the elaborate elevators.
- And in fact Cagliostro contains a number of "shout-outs" to Miyazaki's own previous work in the first TV series with Isao Takahata. The plot structure of the movie borrows heavily from one of the TV episodes, and there are a number of callbacks to other episodes as well – anyone who had seen the first series would have had ample reason for nostalgia.
- Ironically, given its original poor performance at the box office, Cagliostro has become one of the most shouted-out-to properties in subsequent Lupin specials and movies, as people who grew up on Cagliostro themselves get the chance to work on Lupin.
- If you see a car chase in an animated piece, and it takes place on a mountain road, expect it to basically be a remake of this scene.
- A number of Western animated works shout out to this film in more ways than just the car. The Great Mouse Detective and an episode of Batman: The Animated Series borrowed/homaged the clock tower fight. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm included a shot-for-shot remake of part of the aqueduct sequence. The creative team behind Atlantis The Lost Empire has admitted that part of the finale of that movie was inspired by the revelation of the "treasure" in the finale of Cagliostro.
- Shown Their Work: Every vehicle or gun seen in this movie, even those shown for only split seconds that you have to freeze-frame to see, were either exact replications of real-world or based on real-world designs.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Lupin is normally planted pretty firmly on the cynical side, but Miyazaki slid him back to the side of idealism. This can be jarring to viewers who are introduced to Lupin here, then watch his usual Jerk Ass antics in any of his other movies or series — even though the film goes out of its way to show Lupin has a reason for being better behaved than usual.
- Slippery Swimsuit: Lupin dives underwater after one of the Count's aqua-suited goons. As he swims in pursuit through a tunnel, his boxers start to slip. At the end of the chase, he drags the unfortunate goon back into the tunnel... then reaches out to snatch his boxers before they can float away.
- Smug Snake: Count Cagliostro is one of the most perfect examples of the trope in all of fiction.
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Combined with Wedding Smashers. Lupin, via recording, interrupts the Archbishop (Who is actually Lupin in disguise) right after he says the trope name.
- Spring Loaded Corpse: Invoked with an apparently slumbering Lupin and Zenigata turning out to be skeletons clad in their suits that jump up and surprise some would-be assassins. However, rather than being reanimated, these corpses are merely on wires.
- Soft Water: The castle is built in the middle of a lake, with lots of high towers; there's no bonus points for guessing what happens later in the film.
- The Stoic: Goemon as usual. In one scene Jigen huddles under a blanket, complaining about the cold. Goemon just stands there, completely unbothered.
- Storming the Castle: The castle is stormed by an army of Interpol cops led by Zenigata during the final act, at the same time that Lupin puts his plan to beat the Count into action.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Inspector Zenigata is in fine form here, and he's heavy on the "sympathetic" this time, to the point where he becomes a Fire Forged Friend to Lupin when both are trapped in the castle's dungeon.
- Take the Wheel:
- Right after the car chase is over Lupin notices that Clarissa fainted. He has Jigen take the Fiat's wheel so that he can cross over to Clarissa's car and take control.
- Lupin pulls the same stunt with Zenigata on the autogyro when he tells the inspector to take over, though the latter doesn't even know how to fly. But he manages.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: While Jigen cannot be faulted for wanting to upgrade his weaponry after his Magnum revolver failed to put down one of the Count's armored assassins with a point-blank shot to the face, one cannot help but think that maybe immediately escalating to the use of an anti-tank rifle against personal targets at close range was slightly excessive. (Even if Jigen somehow managed to use it to blast away armor without ever actually being seen to kill anyone.)
- This Is Gonna Suck: Jodo, when he notices how Lupin's calling card begins in the Streamline dub. This naturally results in a Curse Cut Short before the Count urges Jodo to continue.
You son of a bitch: I hate to spoil your wedding plans, but I'm going to steal your bride. It would be a waste of your time to try to stop me.
- Took a Level in Kindness: This movie has Lupin and Fujiko behave in a far kinder manner than usual.
- Toon Physics:
- Lupin and Jigen's car drives sideways up a vertical cliff during the car chase, both characters can jump as if they're using Wire Fu, Lupin tries to swim upstream in a waterfall and downward in mid-air (after he ran straight down a tower wall!)…
- Lupin shows off unthinkable long-jump skills on the roofs of the castle. Sure, he had a lot of momentum going, but it's still silly.
- Trap Door: The titular castle is rife with secret passages, Portrait Painting Peepholes and of course trap doors. The trap doors all dump their victims into the same vast cistern — after several centuries of use, it's not a fun place to be.
- When Lupin pays Clarisse a visit, the Count's men subtly herd him to the room's trap door and drop him like a bad habit.
- One that's an actual trap in the main entrance hall: It's even hooked up to a fake bust that spits out pictures, Polaroid style, of whomever it drops into the dungeon - Poor Zenigata gets to be the film's demonstration. Lupin, thus informed, manages to turn it on Jodo and Gustav. The Count is merely amused when he sees the picture of them nearly falling in and commends Jodo for confirming that the trap works.
- When the Goat Bills are burned in the basement, the trap doors become chimneys, and the smoke pours from random bits of the entire castle.
- Troperiffic: As this page well demonstrates.
- Two-Faced Aside: After being cornered on the roof by the Count and his men, Clarisse offers to surrender her ring to him on the condition they let Lupin and Fujiko go. Cagliostro pretends to agree to these terms. Yet when his right hand man, Gordo, asks, he promply replies low enough so only Gordo can hear him: "When she moves away, shoot 'em".
- Two Halves Make A Plot: The two rings, each having been inscribed in "Capran". Princess Clarisse and her uncle, Count Cagliostro, both have one. The rings have been passed down for generations, the "Light" and "Shadow" sides of the family. When held together, the rings combine to form a new inscription, but wearing the rings means that Lupin can't read it. "When light and shadow are joined, face the Goat on high who faces the sun and tells time, and place me in his eyes." The inscription tells Lupin how to use the two rings to reveal the secret of the Castle of Cagliostro.
- Two-Keyed Lock: The unlocking of the treasure required the two royal rings to be inserted into the goat figure's eye sockets.
- Universal Driver's License: Lupin has one of these while Zenigata doesn't. (Lupin's is obviously forged.)
- Underwater Ruins: These turn out to be the treasure of the Cagliostro country.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Lupin uses a map to explain to his partners how to invade the castle. Of course, this means it won't go as planned.
- Vehicular Assault: The thugs try to stop Clarisse's escape by ramming into her car.
- Villain with Good Publicity: The count has connections and gets the press to show him as the hero of the wedding day, saving Clarisse from the claws of Lupin, instead of being charged for the counterfeiting.
- Wall Crawl: Lupin exercises this skill when climbing the top of the North Tower to free Clarisse.
- We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: The world-wide broadcast of the Count's wedding goes off-air, courtesy of some of his Elite Mooks, after Lupin starts disrupting things. Unlike most such examples, the broadcast is soon restored because the newscaster so happens to be Fujiko, who is quite capable of defeating them.
- What a Piece of Junk: Lupin's Fiat 500, especially after it somehow survives having a grenade explode right on top of it. Judging from the lever Lupin pulls before the first chase sequence, it's very heavily modified.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The real Archbishop is never mentioned again after the groundskeeper offers to show him an alternate route to the castle. One can only assume Lupin knocked the poor fellow unconscious and left him either locked or tied up somewhere in nothing but his underclothes, instructing the groundskeeper to let him go after everything was taken care of.
- What Is This, X?: The Streamline dub gives us the following when Jodo's assassins open up the door to Lupin and Jigen's rented cabin:
Lupin: Hey, what is this, a tour group from hell?
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Lupin and Jigen hide their identity when crossing the border into Cagliostro by wearing wigs, hats, shades and face masks.
- Woman in White: Runaway Bride Clarisse.
- Worthless Treasure Twist: The big "Treasure of Cagliostro" that the Count was after turns out to be some sunken ruins at the bottom of a man-made lake, which prompts Lupin to remark, "This is a treasure for all mankind. Too big for my pocket, anyway."
- The X of Y: Castle, Cagliostro.
- You Are Already Checked In: Lupin disguises himself as Zenigata, and insists that Gustav (Cagliostro's Captain of the Guard) was foolish for not recognizing the previous Inspector Zenigata as Lupin in disguise.
- You're Insane!: The stock phrase is used in the Streamline dub...
Lupin: We have to go back now and pick up the princess.
Zennigata: WHAT?! Are you out of your mind??
Lupin: I thought you knew that!