Lupin III: Missed by a Dollar (released in Japan as $1 Money Wars) is the 12th entry in the Lupin III Yearly Specials, first airing in Japan on July 28, 2000. It was directed by Hideki Tonokatsu, who would go on to direct next year's Alcatraz Connection. Incidentally, this is also the final Lupin special to be animated traditionally, with paint-on-cels; the series switched to digital production starting with Alcatraz.
This special is also the last one, chronologically, to be released in the West by Funimation.note It wouldn't be until 2018 that another special would be dubbed, and even then, Funimation has nothing to do with it.
Lupin has disguised himself and is bidding on a ring up for auction in New York City. The ring holds the secret location of a legendary broach; the broach is said to bring good fortune to whoever wears it and has been in the possession of Napoleon, Lenin, and Hitler. When a bidder outbids him by one dollar, he decides to take the more traditional route and steal it. However, a heavily armed group of men relieve him of his prize. They work for Cynthia, the head of Bank of the World.
Lupin gathers the troops to try to steal the ring back from the heavily protected headquarters. He succeeds in stealing it once again but appears to be fatally shot as they make their getaway. If Lupin is dead, who will stop Cynthia from obtaining the broach!?
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: Goemon's Zantetetsu cuts through a fortified steal bank ceiling that is thicker than the sword's length.
- Been There, Shaped History: The Broach. It is rumored to give anyone who owns it the power to rule the world as it has been owned by many of the most powerful rulers and dictators in history.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Zenigata is hit with this hard when he believes Lupin was killed. Instantly resigning from the ICPO. When he sees Lupin is still alive he is overjoyed and immediately tries to arrest him again.
- Bait-and-Switch: Minor example near the start. During the shootout in the garage, Lupin dives towards what looks to be his iconic yellow Mercedes SSK, only for him to peel out in a Subaru 360 minicar instead.
- Big Bad: Cynthia
- Big Damn Heroes: Lupin disguised as a priest pulls this off to save the gang after they were ambushed.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Cynthia's mercenary has the gang trapped in a warehouse and puts them in a Morton's Fork, rather than just shoot them when he could have. In fact he even kills his own man rather than Jigen when he had a clear shot because of a You Have Failed Me moment.
- The movie starts off with Lupin losing the auction for the ring he wanted by the Big Bad due to being out-bid by $1. Lupin at the end of the film pulls this off twice. First he beats her on a bet where her one dollar coin causes the water to overflow in the glass and then when he flick said dollar at just the right time to stop the hammer from hitting the bullet she was about to fire at Lupin.
- Also a young singer named Sandie that Lupin promised the ring too at the beginning of the movie. At first it seems like she was simply a Girl of the Week Lupin was chasing. But she appears several times later in the film shown to have been working her way up in her career. By the end she is a national sensation with her image all over the city. Lupin even gives her the broach as a congratulation present. He admits that even though the broach is supposed to grant power to its owner, she didn't need it due to her talent.
- Complexity Addiction: Played with. When Lupin was trying to crack the code he got from the ring, he is looking through every form of code breaking he can think of. At last he gets fed up with it and just tries a simple replace program on his computer. He is shocked that it worked.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Cynthia who doesn't hesitate to use mercenaries or start wars to get what she wants. Also her Vice-President.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: One of the few instances in the entire Lupin franchise where Fujiko isn't one. Though this maybe because Bank of the World scammed her out of all her money.
- Church of Happyology: The group (or just a single woman, as that is all we see of this church) that Goemon is working with at the beginning of the film. By the end the woman steals Goemon's share of the take and runs off.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Sundie, the singer Lupin keeps running into.
- Double Standard: The main villain being a woman seems to get a lot more sympathy on her end and even a Freudian Excuse as to why she did all she did. Where as the male villains they go after doing something similar are usually just treated as power hungry maniacs.
- Faking the Dead: Lupin pulls this off halfway through the film.
- Evil, Inc.: Bank of the World. Ready to scam millions of people out of a project and cause wars just to get more.
- Evil Is Sexy: Invoked by Lupin.Lupin: And the boss is a babe!
- Foe Yay: Invoked very hard by Cynthia. She seems to have a very clear feelings for Lupin throughout the film after he kissed her on the lips as she repeatedly rubs her lips after the incident when deep in thought. Fujiko even tells Lupin its pretty clear she feels this way.
- Genre Blindness: Cynthia seems to think it's a good idea to buy a oil company owned by Lupin, a known Con Man. Though this could be due to a mix of her plan almost being complete and her clear attraction to Lupin that caused this. She does realize she has suffered this but by that time it's too late.
- Good Old Ways: Lupin makes this comment when Jigen asks why he is using simple smoke grenades. Lupin then gets made fun of by Jigen when he then uses high-tech night vision goggles.
- Green Eyed Red Head: Cynthia.
- Hypocrite: The woman from the Church of Happyology states that the only way to be cleansed is to get rid of all their "dirty money". How does she do this, by asking them to give it to her. Played straight at the end where Goemon gives her the money from his take for donations, which she immediately takes and runs off.
- MacGuffin: The ring and the broach. Heck, by the time Lupin gets the broach, he all but loses interest in it and gives it away.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's never proven for a fact if the broach everyone is after actually brings luck or not. True, it did apparently pass in and out of the hands of various world leaders, including Napoleon, Lenin, and Hitler, before their deaths. However, the cases of success that take place during the film prove that the broach isn't actually needed for that. The greatest example is revealed at the end of the film. Sundie, Lupin's love interest for the film, ends up as a successful singer at the end, and Lupin has given her the broach. But, as Lupin points out, she didn't need the broach in order to reach the top. Pieces of the film detail her rise to stardom, in fact, as she moves from singing in bars, to clubs, and a small scene sees Lupin running into a man who is revealed to be a talent scout who has come to see her perform. Then again, Lupin makes an impossible coin toss, leading to his coin causing Cynthia's gun to misfire, towards the end of the film when he has the broach...
- Modesty Bedsheet: It is quite clear that Cynthia sleeps in the nude.
- Morton's Fork: Cynthia's mercenary puts Goemon, Jigen, and Fujiko in one. When they break into a warehouse he takes their weapons and sets motion activated blast charges around them that will kill them if they move. He then leaves telling them that the whole warehouse is going to blow up in a few minutes anyway. Lupin saves the gang by cutting the power supply to the motion sensors, then driving through the place in a getaway vehicle.