Lupin III: The Columbus Files, released in Japan in 1999 as Ai no da capo ~Fujiko's Unlucky Days~ note , is the eleventh entry in the Made-for-TV Movie series of Lupin III Yearly Specials. The director of is none other than Shinichi Watanabe, who later went on to direct Excel Saga. Funimation released it with an English language dub in 2005 as the ninth of the ten Lupin films/TV movies they acquired for distribution, and it was also included in the 2006 "Final Haul" boxset.
Fujiko is unveiling her latest scheme to Lupin over a romantic dinner: she has found and memorized the "Columbus Files", a set of documents that reveal the location of a mysterious lost treasure, the Columbus Egg. Before she can tell him more, their evening is interrupted by the rascally Nazarov, sent to retrieve the information Fujiko has. As she and Lupin flee, however, they end up falling over a cliff. Lupin loses his grip, and Fujiko slips away...
Later, treasure hunter Rosaria returns to her home to find a frightened young woman hiding there; it turns out to be Fujiko, stricken with amnesia from her fall and traumatized by flashes of the attack. Even when Fujiko eventually reunites with Lupin and the gang, she can remember nothing. To make things worse, Nazarov and his boss wants the information from the Columbus Files locked away in Fujiko's missing memory. It's up to her friends and Rosaria, also tied into the mysterious documents somehow, to keep Fujiko out of the hands of the enemy, restore her to her normal self, and find out what the secret of the Columbus Egg really is.
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: Buildings, boats, and so on and so forth. Typical day for Zantetsuken.
- Action Girl: Rozaria's a deepsea diver and salvages relics. She's not bad with a knife either, except Nazarov always gets the better of her, 'cuz she keeps being distracted.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Orgone energy was at one point studied as legitimate by some scientists; eventually, it was exposed as quackery and became forgotten. One of its theoretical uses was controlling the weather.
- Ammunition Backpack: Jigen takes one on the final assault on the temple.
- Amnesiacs are Innocent: Fujiko is timid and frightens easily during her bout of amnesia, which is such a stark contrast to her typical seductive cat-burglar persona that Lupin could hardly believe it was really her. Which is how finally realized that she wasn't faking it.
- Author Avatar: Nazarov is Lupin with an Afro, which mirrors director Nabeshin's own distinctive look.
- Bound and Gagged: Fujiko, while she's being held hostage by Nazarov.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Lupin, as always. However, after he realizes how severe Fujiko's amnesia is, he backs way off on the "pervert" part.
- Crazy-Prepared: Lupin as always.
- He had a fake ID for sneaking into Barton's research facility and his jacket was reversible, becoming a labcoat. When Rozaria remarks about how he seems prepared, he pulls out a second labcoat from his briefcase, since he knew she'd follow him!
- Lupin also came prepared with nightvision goggles, for when Jigen and Goemon cut the underwater power conduits. Plus, rocket powered shoes for fake surrendering!
- Damsel in Distress: Fujiko fills this slot for most of the film. Having lost her memory, she finds herself terrified of situations she's usually accustomed to. She even surprised herself when she instinctively dodged a shot, grabbed Lupin's gun, and returned fire from pure muscle memory.
- Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: As long as you don't touch it, you can even fly an airplane past it!
- Easy Amnesia: Fujiko has a textbook example for the entire film.
- Fanservice: More subtle than most Lupin films, but it's there with all the Foot Focus (see below) and the Les Yay subtext between Rozaria and Fujiko. And for the ladies, there's random Goemon in a Fundoshi.
- Foot Focus: Fujiko is barefoot for nearly half the film; particularly during the scenes where she's Bound and Gagged.
- Gag Dub: A brilliant running gag for those familiar with both Funimation and Geneon's concurrently running dubs, where Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon constantly bicker about the correct pronunciations of their names with each other, much as fans of each dub did back when they were originally released.
- Heterochromia: Rozaria has one blue eye and a brown one.
- Homoerotic Subtext:
- The beach scene with Jigen and Goemon. And yes, while the mouth-to-mouth is explained, why Goemon had to take most of his clothes off to do it is not.
- Rosaria has plenty with the amnesiac Fujiko. She says it's because she wants the secrets of the Columbus File, but her concern for Fujiko and the lengths she goes to, to protect her, suggests that may not be her only reason. At one point, she even jokingly asks Lupin if they can "share" Fujiko.
- Hulking Out: Barton, after exposing himself to the energy from the Columbus Egg. See the Super Strength example below.
- Identity Amnesia: Fujiko has such a severe case that she loses her normal Femme Fatale personality and becomes a Damsel in Distress.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Goemon proves why he's the reigning champion of the trope at several points:
- First, by calmly deflecting six shots from Jigen (of all people!) at point-blank range... with his eyes closed!
- Second, by slicing an entire building in half, while leaving Lupin and Fujiko unharmed, even though the cut was made parallel their location inside the building. Which causes Fujiko to pass out from the fright of nearly being cut in two, while Lupin has a word with Goemon.
- Third, he saves the day by cutting through a friggin' tornado, causing it to dissipate. All in a day's work for Goemon Ishikawa.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Fujiko gets to display hers in the opening. While she and Lupin are making a getaway on Lupin's motorcycle, she draws Lupin's Walther pistol from his underpants, turns around on the rear seat, and opens fire at an opposing attack helicopter. The shot nails the pilot dead in the head through the windshield. The 9 mm round making its way through a probably bullet-resistant windshield can be dismissed as Lupin having loaded his gun with special bullets, but being able to make a shot like that from a motorcycle moving over rough ground into a moving airborne target is no mean feat.
- Interrupted Intimacy: By way of Macross Missile Massacre! Just as Lupin and Fujiko were about to get it on, Nazarov's men launch a surprise attack to steal the Columbus File.
- I Shall Taunt You: Nazarov never misses an opportunity to call Rozaria an amateur, each time she allows herself to be distracted during their fights.
- Kiss of Life: Goemon on Jigen. To be specific, Goemon on Jigen twenty-seven times. Jigen is not happy at all.
- Malicious Misnaming: In the English Dub, Lupin almost constantly refers to Nazarov as "Nasal Cough".
- Mythology Gag: The movie has Nasarov wearing a green jacket, versus Lupin, who's wearing a red one. Get it?
- Percussive Maintenance: Goemon's other specialty.
- First, during the boat chase scene when the outboard motor dies on the gang, Lupin berates and kicks at it to no effect. He begs Goemon to work his magic; a solid karate chop from Goemon gets the motor working even better than before!
- Second, in the concluding credits, the gang has crash-landed in the water with a biplane. The engine is dead, but Goemon chops it back to life, and the gang make a getaway on the plane—now improvised as a boat.
- Right-Hand Cat: Barton has one. It ends up betraying him.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Nazarov's name has also been spelled as, Nazalov, and Nazalhov.
- Split-Personality Makeover: Fujiko sort of gets a very subtle one: As soon as she has lost her memories, she loses the color on her lips. It reappears when she's back to normal.
- Super Strength: Bestowed on Barton once he harnesses the power of the Columbus Egg. Unfortunately, it also comes with the side effect of Unstoppable Rage.
- Take My Hand: Lupin to Fujiko. However, she slips out of his grasp.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Though it's assumed that Fujiko lost her memories through a concussion caused by the fall, she is often haunted by the image of an ominous-looking hand trying to grab her. At the film's climax, when she finally manages to take Lupin's hand, she breaks through her trauma, causing her to regain her memories.
- Villainous Crush: Nazarov becomes increasingly infatuated with Fujiko as the film progresses, to the point of fighting Lupin over her in the midst of a waterspout!
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Quoted word for word by Fujiko when they come across a snake pit.