Lupin III: Green Vs. Red is an OVA made in 2008 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Long Running Lupin III franchise. This adaptation is a lot more self-referential than all the others that came before, because it not only provides a huge amount of homages, references and nods to almost every previous incarnation of the gentleman thief (including the original manga), but also uses them to reflect on what Lupin has become during the years and if he's still relevant in this day and age. Possibly.
The story starts with the mysterious disappearance of the real Arséne Lupin III, and with many people all around the world claiming to be him, by dressing as him and committing various grand-scale thefts and crimes. One of the impostors, however, is arrested in Tokyo for shoplifting: since he has tarnished the image of Lupin as a master thief, all of the Lupin imitators go to the rescue. Some of the copycats, however, are better. Among them are some that might be considered the "real" Lupin.
Will the Green-Jacket Yasuo replace the Red-Jacket imitator? Is the Red-Jacket an imitator or the original? Will Zenigata finally capture Lupin? Where did that Giant Mecha come from?
The film provides examples of:
- Ambiguous Clone Ending: The "new Lupin" at the end could be either Arséne Lupin or Yasuo, or perhaps another one entirely. The evidence supports all three theories.
- Art Shift: The final duel between Green and Red is in primarily black and white, and animated to resemble the style of Monkey Punch's original manga pages.
- Author Filibuster: The Ice Cube being a source of nuclear power is used to condemn the proliferation of nuclear weapons, which seems out of place in a Lupin film until one remembers that Hayao Miyazaki has a similar anti-war, anti-nuclear stance.
- Battle in the Rain: The first time Green and Red meet.
- Continuity Cavalcade: The film balances between this and telling a new Lupin story.
- Godzilla Threshold: Zenigata pulls his 1911 pistol on Lupin (well, Yasuo / Green Jacket Lupin) for perhaps the first time in franchise history after it's revealed that the Ice Cube (being held in its containment vessel in Yasuo's hand) is weapons-grade plutonium; Zenigata would never actively use lethal force on Lupin, but in this instance, the stakes were way too high. This is even more significant given cultural context, as while police officers in Japan are issued firearms (oftentimes a revolver), even pulling it out of the holster can land one in serious hot water in basically all but the most critical situations.
- Humongous Mecha: One appears near the end, but it bears absolutely no relevance to the plot.
- Legacy Character: This movie implies that "Lupin III" might no longer be the name of a person (if it ever was) so much as a title held by the person who most strongly embodies the idea of Lupin.
- Lost in Translation: When one of the Lupin-impersonator spray-paints "Rupan" on a wall, and another is asking, "Isn't that wrong?" This is a reference to the Market-Based Title "Rupan" that AnimEigo used on its English-language Lupin III releases. That makes this an inverted Lost in Translation, given that relatively few Japanese viewers would catch the reference.
- Actually, the point of that scene in Japanese was the fact that the double wrote "The Third" using an obsolete kanji for 3 instead of the traditional one.
- MacGuffin: The Ice Cube has no real purpose other than getting stolen and being used for the Author Filibuster above.
- Meaningful Name: Yasuo is named after Yasuo Yamada, Lupin's most important seiyuu, and Yasuo Ohtsuka, animation director for the animated series. Similarly, Yukiko is named after Fujiko's original voice actress.
- Mind Screw: What is really going on in this film? What is the order of events? Who was the winner of the duel?
- Mythology Gag: Almost everything that happens in Green vs. Red is a reference to earlier aspects of the franchise. Because the Creators aren't giving us a line-by-line confirmation, we're providing an explanation for each one.
- The car chases in this film are directly lifted from The Castle of Cagliostro and The Fuma Conspiracy.
- Even one of the covers is an example, since it shows Lupin in a green jacket and with bandages on his face, just like the one for Castle of Cagliostro, only this time the bandages cover all of his face.
- Some Lupin copycats meet and one of them writes "RUPAN" on the wall, and another one questions if he spelt the name wrong. "Rupan" is the typical romanization of the katakana used for "ルパン", and was used to avoid paying the rights to the LeBlanc estate. Nowadays, the name is usually back-translated correctly because the original Arsene is now a Public Domain Character.
- The Ambiguous Clone Ending is a reference to The Mystery of Mamo, where it is uncertain if the real Lupin survived to the ending. The character we follow claims not to care at the beginning of the film. The self-obsessed Mamo tried to Mind Screw Lupin as to whether or not he was the real Lupin, too. The end of the film has the Lupin we've been following tell Zenigata he is a clone, and therefore not at fault for the crimes the original committed. Zenigata doesn't care; he must arrest Lupin!
- Nonstandard Character Design: The Lupin impersonators at the beginning are drawn to resemble all possible incarnations of the character and then some, including the Pink Jacket Lupin, a fat Lupin and Nabeshin.
- Product Placement:
- A famous food corporation is featured prominently in four scenes, when the real (?) Lupin and then one of his impersonators are eating some burgers. Hint: it's not WcDonalds.
- The real (?) Lupin is seen driving the 2007 version of the ''Fiat 500'', the car he drives throughout the series.
- At the beginning of the film, Yasuo has an iPod Classic in his truck.
- In one scene the Taito logo appears, but it's not product placement because Taito made the very first videogame adaptation of Lupin III in 1980. Yes, this film makes nods to everything.
- Recursive Canon: A movie poster for The Castle of Cagliostro is one of the many in one of the Lupin's rooms.
- As "Fire Treasure" plays during the opening credits, for a moment we're shown that it's playing on an iPod (complete with the Cagliostro soundrtrack's cover on the display).
- Those Wacky Nazis: One of the Lupin imitators wears a Nazi uniform while attempting to gun down the others with an assault chopper.
- Zerg Rush: When hundreds of fake Lupins storm Tokyo to save their fellow copycat from the police.