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Lupin III: The First (2019) is the first CG animated Lupin III theatrical release (though not the first CG production, that would be the short bundled with the Lupin: Master File 40th Anniversary box set). The film was directed by Takashi Yamazaki.

It follows master thief Lupin III as he goes after "The Bresson Diary", the only thing that his grandfather ever failed to steal, which supposedly leads to a hidden treasure.

As he tries to steal the diary, he runs into Laetitia, a young woman who's also after the diary at the behest of her grandfather. Together, they work to unlock the secret of Bresson's Diary and the mysterious treasure.

Along the way, they get caught up with Nazis and Interpol and discover a secret that could change the world.

Released in Japan in December 2019, Lupin III: The First, was the first Lupin III theatrical production to be announced after creator Kazuhiko Katō's passing. GKIDS picked up the film for release in North America in autumn 2020.


  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Zantetsuken, of course, at one point slicing a police van diagonally in half without hurting anyone inside. And later the right wing of Ahnenerbe's plane.
  • Abusive Parents: Lambert is this to Laetitia, fueled by his resentment of her being academically more talented than him. However it's mixed with genuine affection towards her, as he remembers just before dying.
  • Academy of Evil: This is what Ahnenerbe is.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Surprisingly for the Lupin III franchise, it happens when Lupin tells Laetitia that her real grandfather is Professor Bresson.
  • Action Girl: Fujiko, of course.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Laetitia is an embryonic one. The film also suggests Lupin isn't that far off from one himself.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Ahnenerbe's cargo plane is able to launch a smaller floatplane, namely a Fairey Swordfish, out its back. Fujiko uses that floatplane to escape the cargo plane.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: The first full-length one for the franchise.
  • Always Second Best: Lambert's Fatal Flaw. He always sees himself second to Bresson in his field, and by a pretty big distance. Something Gerard constantly reminds him. The fact that Bresson's granddaughter also shows that same level of skill only ticks him off more.
  • Anachronism Stew: The Product Placement of Nissin Cup Noodles can be seen as an example of this trope, as the movie is set in the early 1960s, and Cup Noodles wouldn't come out until around a decade later.
  • Apocalypse Hitler: Ahnenerbe has been desperately trying to locate Hitler after acquiring a photo of him still alive in South America. Later when Gerard acquires the Eclipse, he gets a message from the Ahnenerbe that they have found Hitler, and they have him ready to start the Third Reich anew. The overjoyed Gerard delivers the Eclipse to Hitler himself, and shows him how to operate it. So, Hitler is back... and he has personal control of the greatest weapon of mass destruction in existence. The world is completely screwed right? Nope! "Hitler" rips off his mask and reveals that he was Lupin in disguise the whole time, taunting Gerard that the photo was faked by Interpol to draw out Nazi sympathizers, and his precious Führer killed himself in 1945.
    Lupin: Didn't you learn that in school?
  • Apologetic Attacker: Laetitia, when she knocks out a guard at the beginning of the film. Serves to establish that she's not really a thief like Lupin and Fujiko and is simply working at the behest of her grandfather. She does this again when she's forced to betray Lupin.
  • Argentina Is Nazi Land: The Ahnenerbe have a major base off the coast of Brazil, where Hitler is hiding out. Until it turns out that the escaped Hitler is a fraud made up by Interpol to attract escaped Nazis, and the real Hitler died in Berlin during the war just like everyone thought.
  • Artificial Gravity: Whoever created "Eclipse," the treasure alluded to in Bresson's Diary, were masters of this.
  • Bad Boss: When Professor Lambert realizes that the ruins they're exploring may be booby-trapped, he decides to send one of their underlings, Hans, first. Not surprisingly, Hans is killed off. Even worse, once Eclipse is secured, Lambert and Gerard abandon their goons altogether. The lack of gunners on the plane comes back to bite them hard.
  • Badass Driver: Jigen is this during the car chase scene. He's able to drive backwards and shoot at the same time.
  • Being Good Sucks: Joked with. When Lupin playfully states he has ways of getting the information out of Laetitia, she knows and says to his face that he wouldn't use any of those ways as he isn't that type of guy. Lupin, whose bluff has just been called, puts on a dejected look and sulks off.
  • Big Damn Movie: The franchise has had its fair share of theatrical movies, but this is the first one to be done in CGI and 3D.
  • Birds of a Feather: Lupin and Laetitia later realize that they inherited their passions by blood. For Lupin, his passion for thievery comes from his grandfather, and for Laetitia, her passion for archaeology comes from Bresson, her actual grandfather.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Great idea, Gerard and Lambert, just fly away with the Eclipse without ordering your underlings to get back to the plane. It's not like Lupin and his friends can slip their ropes and stop you or anything...
  • Booby Trap:
  • Bound and Gagged: All of the main characters at least once, albeit without the gags. Happens to Lupin, Laetitia, and Zenigata twice.
  • Caper Crew: Lupin's gang, obviously. Laetitia informally joins the crew in a support role.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Natural for a Lupin III movie.
  • Catch a Falling Star: When Lupin and Laetitia are plummeting to their deaths, they're saved by grabbing onto the wings of Fujiko's stolen floatplane.
  • The Centerpiece Spectacular: The laser tunnel scene. Full stop.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: The movie ends with Zenigata and the ICPO chasing Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon into the sunset as Laetitia looks on.
  • Chekhov's Exhibit: The first scene post-prologue establishes that the Bresson Diary is part of a brand-new museum exhibit. Guess what happens not five minutes later?
  • Chekhov's Gun: The anti-gravity orb Lupin gets in the cave, which he uses in lieu of a parachute after the Eclipse self-destructs.
  • Choke Holds:
    • Jigen does this to Lupin, in a shout out to the scene from The Castle of Cagliostro where he does the same thing.
    • Happens to Lupin again when Gerard starts to choke him during the climax.
  • Comic-Book Time: Interestingly averted. While the Lupin series has had a sliding timescale for the entirety of its existence, with every entry happening contemporary to the time it was made, The First is explicitly set in the 1960's.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The Second Trial requires a meteorite to disarm. Like the one Goemon's sword was forged from. How lucky for the gang that they had that on them when they didn't even know what the trial was until moments before reaching it.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: A Mook is killed by The First Trial. The failure to get through results in the guy being crushed by two Artificial Gravity devices embedded in the corridor, basically flattening him into nothing.
    • Gerard's death when he plummets into the black hole Lupin generated to destroy the Eclipse. We don't see anything, but Lupin's face says it all.
  • Crush the Keepsake: After obtaining control of the Eclipse, Lambert burns Bresson's diary.
  • Damsel in Distress: As is almost expected for a Lupin movie. Laetitia becomes one in the end, after Lambert and Gerard get their hands on the Eclipse.
  • Dead All Along: Lupin reveals to Gerard that not only did Hitler die in 1945, but the "evidence" proving his survival was faked by Interpol to stir activity.
  • Death by Secret Identity: A variant, being said secret identity is Lambert's blackmail over Laetitia, which he threatens to ruin her life with by publicly revealing that she stole items for the Nazis if she doesn't remain loyal. He dies in the end and presumably no physical evidence of Laetitia's other thefts are present.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Lupin not getting Fujiko is par for the course, but he also didn't get anything more than a friendly hug from Laetitia before having to flee from Zenigata yet again. He does hint that he may visit her a few years down the line, though.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Lupin didn't actually have a plan when he dove out of the Nazi-crewed cargo plane after Laetitia, admitting outright that he acted without thinking.
  • Disney Death: Lupin, who's assumed to have died in the black hole that destroyed the Eclipse, but survived thanks to the anti-gravity orb he kept.
  • Disney Villain Death: Gerard falls into the micro black hole. His demise isn't really shown, but Lupin's expression tells you just how horrific such a death would be.
  • Double Caper: Played with. Laetitia attempts to steal the diary (and its treasure by extension) for Lambert and the Nazis, but upon discovering their true nature, defects to Lupin's gang to get the treasure first.
  • Dress Hits Floor: Fujiko, as she changes from the evening gown she wore to the museum to a flight suit.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Lupin and Jigen do this near the film's climax. It doesn't take Jigen much effort to impersonate someone in a suit, as he's already wearing a similar suit. As for Lupin, well, that's a different story altogether.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: In the end, Zenigata gets the credit for arresting a bunch of Nazi war criminals, Fujiko gets a boatload of Nazi Gold, Laetitia gets an acceptance letter to the college she wanted to attend and the last surviving piece of the Eclipse to study, but Lupin gets nothing except the experience and knowing that all's well with the world.
  • Enemy Mine: Zenigata teams up with the Lupin gang to take down the Nazis, and goes right back to chasing them again the moment the case is closed. As usual for a Lupin movie.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite how harsh Lambert is to Laetitia, he does show from time to time to actually care for her but his pride and jealousy of her skills doesn't let him show it. He clearly tries to stop Gerard from throwing her out of the plane by claiming she could still be useful and later takes a bullet for her.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Lambert's last words are him wondering why he took the bullet for his rival's granddaughter.
  • Evil Laugh: Gerard gets a moment when he finds out that Hitler is definitely, really alive, complete with tears of joy.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Once Lambert obtains control over the Eclipse, he declares himself ruler of the world and turns against Gerard. Seeing as how Lambert is a frail old man while Gerard is still in his physical prime, Gerard makes short work of Lambert and kills him.
  • Face Doodling: Zenigata does this to Lupin after he arrests him. Later Lupin does this back to Zenigata.
  • The Fagin: Lambert, though it's unclear whether this was his plan from the start or if he had the idea later on.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • When the police are unlocking the case of the Bresson Diary, you can see the officer behind them way too happy about this. Sure enough, he turns out to be Lupin in disguise.
    • After Hitler orders Laetitia to be taken away, the guard restraining her is clearly Jigen with sunglasses.
  • Gentleman Thief: Lupin is a semi-example, but he's too much of a goof to pull off the debonair part.
  • Glory Hound: Lambert wants nothing more than to be recognized as the world's greatest archaeologist and the fame and glory that comes with it, even though nearly everyone points out that he's hardly qualified for it.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: During the attack on the Third Reich's island base, Zenigata throws a pair of handcuffs attached to a rope to catch a Mook's wrists. Then tugging on the rope, he pulls the Mook forward to crash into the rest of the attacking party.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way:
    • When Fujiko yanks a Lewis Gun off its ring mount, she's holding the exposed barrel and gas tube like a rifle's handguard. The gun's pan magazine is also not rotating while she's firing upon mooks, which should tick off quite a few firearms experts.
    • Gerard's C96 does not have a single-action/double-action trigger, meaning that it shouldn't do useless hammer clicking just from pulling the trigger if the magazine and chamber were emptied.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After spending most of the film being antagonistic to his adoptive granddaughter, Lambert does this, taking a bullet meant for her.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Zenigata's reaction when Laetitia asks his help: a shade of bright red comes up covering his skin like a human thermometer.
  • Homage: While there's enough unique stuff to prevent it from going full on Whole-Plot Reference, fans of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade will find a lot of similarities between that film and this one.
  • Honor Among Thieves:
    • Fujiko is known for the double-cross, but she still comes through to save Lupin's tail more often than not.
    • Jigen and Goemon are loyal to Lupin even when his schemes end up with them in mortal peril.
    • Even before he knows her name, Lupin saves Laetitia from falling to her death and allows himself to be captured to ensure that she escapes the police in France.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Early on, Lupin tells Jigen and Goemon that he won't share the treasure of Bresson's diary since they refuse to help him. When they meet again, Jigen puts Lupin in a headlock for wanting to keep all the treasure to himself. Not only did Lupin tell him that's what he was going to do in the first place for them refusing to help him, but points out they only saved him because they want the treasure, too.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Gerard's Fatal Flaw. He presents himself as a Smug Snake keeping Lambert in line, but its gradually revealed he's nowhere near as competent or clever as he thinks. His refusal to believe or accept that Hitler is dead directly results in him walking into a trap and dying to his own stolen weaponry.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Gerard orders Lambert to throw Laetitia out of the plane after she finds out they are Nazis. Lambert isn't heartless enough to do it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Jigen showcases this, of course, most notably unscrewing nuts with bullets fired from a moving car he was driving backwards.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Lupin pulls this on everyone else in the cast repeatedly. He steals a magazine out of a Hi-Power, whose magazine safety actually disables the trigger when the magazine isn't in the grip.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Notably averted. Laetitia is aiding her grandfather's scheme in the hopes of him backing her college application, but instead of going for an Ivy League school or the Japanese standard of Todai, she's trying to get into Boston University. Lambert has no intention of letting her become an accredited archeologist in her own right while he's around to take credit for her work, but Lupin steals her admission thesis and submits it for her, and hands her the acceptance letter her efforts earned her shortly before they part ways.
  • Jiggle Physics: The move to 3D has been of significant benefit to Fujiko.
  • Karmic Death: Gerard dies with the weapon he intends to use to revive the Third Reich.
  • Laser Hallway: One of The Three Trials involves a laser tunnel.
  • Latex Perfection: It wouldn't be a Lupin III movie without it! This time, Lupin impersonates Adolf Hitler!
  • Lighter and Softer: The theatrical Lupin movie that was released before this was Fujiko Mine's Lie which was Hotter and Sexier and Darker and Edgier compared to The First.
  • Lost Technology: The Eclipse is a power generator left behind by a highly advanced lost civilization hidden in the ruins of Teotihuacan. Whoever built it also mastered gravity and created an ancient Laser Hallway.
  • Macguffin Delivery Service:
    • After Lupin reveals his key to Bresson's diary, Laetita is ordered to bring Lupin to it so he can unlock it for the Nazis. However, the ensuing scuffle ends with him stealing both keys and the diary.
    • Lupin's clearing the trials to get to the Eclipse allows Gerard and Lambert to follow in their wake, overpower the gang, and take the Eclipse for themselves.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The Bresson Diary, which was created by Professor Bresson and Arsene Lupin I. The medallions that Laetitia and Lupin III have are also this since they contain the keys to open the diary.
  • My Greatest Failure: Lupin is after the Bresson Diary because it's the first thing anyone in the Lupin family ever failed to steal. Then it turns out that the reason why Lupin I failed to steal the diary is because he never tried - he built the lockbox the diary was stored in to keep other people from stealing it.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Nazi Gold: Fujiko helps herself to some from the Ahnenerbe base on her way out.
  • Nice Girl: Laetitia. She's a sweet girl who dreams of being an archaeologist like her idol Bresson, and whatever questionable things Lambert pushes her to do weighs on her conscience heavily.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Lupin and the gang's takeover of the Ahnenerbe base. We only get a short glimpse of it during a flashback.
  • Omniglot: Laetitia shows signs of this after she's shown reading several ancient languages with much ease.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Laetitia has one of the keys required to open the diary. The photo of her mother also counts.
  • Piggybacking on Hitler: While Gerard is a true-believer in restoring the Third Reich to its former glory, Lambert ends up renouncing his ties to Ahnenerbe (possibly due to Gerard's constant condescension toward him prompting a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal) and megalomaniacally seeking to use the Eclipse weapon to take over the world for himself single-handedly. He then dies Taking the Bullet for his adopted (grand)daughter Laetitia when Gerard attempts to eliminate her.
  • Product Placement: In the Japanese version, Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon are seen eating Nissin Cup Noodles at one point.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Happens to Lambert after shielding Laetitia from Gerard.
  • Replaced with Replica: Lupin swaps out the Bresson Diary with a journal that only contains drawings of his face.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Gerard becomes really determined to exterminate Lupin once the Eclipse is set to consume itself.
    Lupin: You're gonna get us killed, you know!
    Gerard: The priority is your death. Surviving can wait!
  • Rival Turned Evil: Implied with Lambert, who has a French name yet was part of a Nazi research institute.
  • Roofhopping: Lupin manages an impressive leap on the France rooftops.
  • Running Gag: If Lupin touches, looks at, or so much as acknowledges another character's gun, the next time they attempt to use it they'll discover that he's stolen all of their bullets. Especially notable when "Hitler" takes an interest in Gerard's Mauser and gets to hold it offscreen for a few seconds...
  • Safecracking: But of course. Lupin manages to crack a safe with approximately 15 locks in about five seconds flat.
  • Save the Villain: Lupin attempts to do this with Gerard. He fails.
  • "Save the World" Climax: The movie starts with Lupin wanting to steal the Bresson Diary to saving the world from the Nazis who want to use the Bresson Diary's treasure to revive the Third Reich.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • C'mon, Zenigata. Did you really think Lupin was really going to call you from the middle of nowhere because he finally decided to turn himself in?
    • Yes, Gerard, Hitler really has been conveniently proven alive right after you gain sole access to the Eclipse device, and he absolutely wants to meet you in an isolated location. This is definitely not a trick.
  • Sherlock Scan: Laetitia was able to tell the officer was Lupin in disguise because, despite claiming to have run all the way to them, he wasn't out of breath or sweating. Lupin actually compliments her on Spotting the Thread.
  • Ship Tease: Laetitia finds herself drawn to Lupin, especially towards the end. It's Lupin who turns her down, thinking it wouldn't be good for her to be with a group of thieves, but tells her he'll see her again in five years.
  • Slipped the Ropes: Lupin does this twice. The first one was him trying to get the handcuffs off him (about half a dozen of them) after he gets arrested, the second time was him slipping the ropes after Lambert and Gerard has held him and the others hostage.
  • The Starscream: After getting the Eclipse, Lambert betrays Gerard by burning Bresson's diary and announcing his intention of using the superweapon to first destroy Ahnenerbe and then take over the world. It doesn't end well for him.
  • Stealing the Credit: Lambert's recent academic achievements consist of plagiarizing his granddaughter's works. Gerard calls him out as a fraud.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Lupin's main opposition this time around are remnants of Ahnenerbe, the real-life Nazi think-tank that used scientific and archeological claims to justify the Third Reich's actions.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: While Zenigata is reluctant at first (it takes Laetitia pulling Puppy-Dog Eyes on him to get him to agree), once he does decide to help the gang, he goes all in. Apparently stopping Nazis is even more important for Interpol than catching Lupin.
  • Take Over the World: Ahnenerbe's plan.
  • The Three Trials: The Lupin Gang, Zenigata, and Laetitia go through three trials to uncover the Eclipse.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Hitler gets up out of his wheelchair while examining the Eclipse. Turns out he's Lupin in a mask.
  • Thunderbolt Iron: Goemon's Zantetsuken is made of meteoric iron, which allows it to be used to pass the Second Trial.
  • Toon Physics: PLENTY! This is a Lupin film!
    • When Goemon pulls his signature move on a police van, it stays intact until after he sheathes Zantetsuken. Then the van splits in half, both halves teetering about, then crashing and exploding after Lupin escapes.
    • Lupin "sky-swimming" to grab onto an airplane.
    • Lupin survives falling from an airplane and crashing into the ground face-first. Admittedly, he didn't crash from a great height.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: Subverted. The medallions Lupin and Laetitia have serve as keys to the Bresson Diary, but they are both half of one key. Though there is a second locking mechanism - the combined keys form the dial for a combination lock. The combination is L-A-E-T-I-T-I-A.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: What the Eclipse makes.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Laetitia had no idea that stealing the Bresson Diary for her grandfather really meant helping a bunch of Nazis gain access to a WMD. She's reasonably horrified when she learns the truth.
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: After Gerard throws Laetitia out of the plane, Lupin dives out after her and is able to catch up to her mid-air.note 
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gerard snaps when Lupin reveals the rumors of Hitler's survival are completely fabricated. The mere idea leads him to throw himself towards his own death, just to kill Lupin in the process.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: What "Eclipse" turns out to be. Specifically, it's a micro black hole generator.
  • We Have Ways of Making You Talk: Lupin threatens Laetitia this way when she insists on withholding information from him. He tries to make a move on her, but when she points out that he's the world's greatest thief, he grumpily relents.
  • Word Salad Title: It's pronounced "Lupin The Third The First".
  • Would Hit a Girl: Lambert and Gerard, in case you forgot they're villains. Lambert shoves, throttles, and pushes Laetitia to the ground when she makes him angry, and Gerard attempts to shoot her and throws her out of a plane.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Laetitia discovers the truth about Lambert's alliances and intentions, Gerard drugs her and tosses her body out of the plane to keep her from ruining their plans.
  • Youthful Freckles: Laetitia, symbolizing her youth and innocence, compared to the rest of the cast.


Lupin III The First

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