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Anime / Lupin III: The Italian Adventure

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"Great artists are like great thieves, they both know how to steal people’s souls."
Arsène Lupin III (Second Half)

Released in 2015, Lupin III - L'avventura Italiana (Lupin III - The Italian Adventure) is the first series to star Lupin III in over 30 years (though the Spin-Off / Prequel Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine did air three years prior). It is preceded by 1984's Lupin III: Part III and followed by 2018's Lupin III: Part 5. The show is also notable for airing in Italy before its Japanese debut largely as a thank you to the country for their support of the franchise. TMS Entertainment again handles animation duties along with Telecom Animation Film.

Set in the Present Day, Arsène Lupin III and his gang are hanging out in Italy and San Marino, planning heist after heist. Lupin has picked up a new Love Interest by the name of Rebecca Rossellini, an adrenaline junkie who just started to pick up Phantom Thief habits for the stimulation. The first episode has Rebecca marry Lupin, and immediately out-thief him for the San Marino crown, leaving him skydiving without a parachute to spend the honeymoon by herself. What more shenanigans can this crew accomplish with their newest member?

It aired in Italy for 26 episodes on the Italia 1 channel between August 30, 2015 and November 30, 2015, while in Japan it aired for 24 episodes (two episodes broadcast exclusively in Italy, and only getting released in Japan as part of the home release) on NTV between October 1, 2015 and March 17, 2016. Crunchyroll streamed the Japanese audio version under the title Lupin the Third Part 4, and Discotek Media put out the series on home video in 2017, albeit with the Japanese and English-dubbed versions being released as two separate Blu-Ray sets (due in part to the dubbed version being based on the extended Italian airing). The English dub premiered on [adult swim]/Toonami on June 17, 2017, and is also available for streaming on Funimation, two weeks behind the Toonami broadcast you can also find it on TMS Entertainment's Youtube channel.

Lupin III: The Troping Adventure:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Nyx chases Lupin through one of these in the third episode.
  • Action-Hogging Opening: The Japanese version of the series gains one.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In-Universe Example; In "Non-Stop Rendevous" a movie based on Rebecca's real life has more Hollywood-looking people playing Robson (and much younger in his case), Zenigata and the stalker who abducted her.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: The show introduces a new character in Rebecca Rossellini, a former model/actress turned thief. She acts as an additional foil for Lupin.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Leonardo da Vinci receives this treatment from both Lupin and Nyx, the latter who gives him a proper burial.
  • Animation Bump: Anytime Nyx hits Super Mode, expect the animation department to have fun with fight choreography. This is best shown in "The Italian Dream, Part 1" and "Dragons Sleep Soundly", the former being compared to Studio 4°C's work on "Kid's Story" from The Animatrix.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The science behind mid-series MacGuffin The Italian Dream is theoretically possible via powers of suggestion and subliminal messages, but in execution, it might as well be magic.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Lupin and Jigen both note that Nyx is a very cool name, and that it is most likely a codename. Sure enough, they're right.
  • Battle Butler: Rebecca's butler Robson, who also occasionally acts as Mission Control for her heists.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: The crux of Leonardo da Vinci's plan at the climax is to challenge everyone in Italy to prove that they are better than him at something. A sword duel with Goemon, a gun duel with Jigen, cardplaying/trickery with Fujiko and thievery against Lupin.
  • The Bet: As part of Greco's open challenge to Lupin, the criminal underground of Italy places bets on who will win between the two. Lupin is able to make back his money he lost in "The End of Lupin III" by betting against the house offscreen.
  • Breather Episode: Following two episodes of action and suspense, "To Hear You Sing Again" acts as a slow and quiet episode that is literally centered around a leisurely drive.
  • Book Ends: Both the first and final episodes involve important scenes with Lupin and Rebecca on the roof of San Marino's Cesta tower.
  • Calling Card: In the first episode, the authorities receive a calling card from "Lupin," stating he is going to steal the crown jewels. In reality, it was sent by Rebecca ("Mrs. Lupin") to create a distraction so that she could snatch them herself.
  • Carnival of Killers: One episode is all about this. An Italian politician hires a bunch of assassins (including Goemon and his protegee, a young Italian girl) to kill an African dictator who in turn hired a world-famous sniper for his protection. The dictator is killed, but when the hired assassins start to die one by one, Goemon suspects the sniper and wants to protect himself and the girl. The truth, however, is very different.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In the very first episode, Rebecca mentions that she designed an experimental aircraft for her honeymoon with Lupin. At the end of the episode, the aircraft swoops in and catches her after she jumps off a building to evade Lupin.
    • During the Mona Lisa heist episode, the real thing is replaced with a copy painted by a street painter. The fact that said copy is almost indistinguishable from the original is a clue to the fact that the street painter actually is Leonardo Da Vinci.
    • Lupin's marriage to Rebecca, specifically her wedding ring turns out to be his key to unlocking her memories and stopping Da Vinci's attempt at Grand Theft Me on the latter.
    • In Hand Me a Gun, the Chekhov's Gun is a literal gun... Jigen's gun, specifically. The fact that he has to turn it over when he goes into a clinic becomes very important later in the episode.
  • Clock Punk: Almost inevitable in a series featuring Leonardo da Vinci; the Santa Maria delle Grazie is the best example of this.
  • Composite Character: The MI6's agent Nyx is basically James Bond with Daredevil's echolocation power. And he claims in Episode 3 that we haven't even seen the full extent of his abilities yet.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The events of "Zapping Operation" are kicked off when Lupin and Jigen steal a car that just happens to have one of Nyx's daughters Bound and Gagged in the trunk.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: When Jigen is captured by MI6, they tie him to a cross to interrogate him, for some reason.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Jigen gets one in Hand Me a Gun, so much so that Lupin doesn't even show up until about the last minute of the episode.
    • The Left Hand of the Magician focuses on Fujiko.
    • Requiem for Assassins is all about Goemon.
    • Until the Full Moon Wanes focuses on Zenigata.
  • Dead All Along: Carla, the little girl that Lupin meets in a castle in Episode 9. Turns out that she is the ghost that protects her family treasure, and she thanks Lupin for freeing her.
  • Dead Man's Chest: The twist of "Lovestruck Pig" is that all the barrels of wine are the supposedly rare aphrodisiac wine The Lovesick Pig, except for one. That one barrel contains the corpse of Mimi Cesario.
  • Depth Deception: In The End of Lupin III, Lupin draws a distorted portrait of himself on the floor of his jail cell that looks like a normal sleeping figure when viewed from a slit in the door, the only possible vantage point for someone outside. It convinces Zenigata that Lupin's dead, so he opens the door to remove the corpse, only for Lupin to immediately slip out.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Jigen does this in the fourth episode. It's more awesome that the enemies, around him, shoot themselves.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Percival Gibbons may be the head of MI6's Italian Dream operation, but for the first half of the series, Nyx is front and center as the primary antagonist. Even after Nyx becomes a simple foil, Percival gets the shaft again thanks to Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Driven to Suicide: Belladonna, via a bomb implanted in her heart that she personally activates because she firmly believed These Hands Have Killed and that she has nothing left to live for. Goemon believes otherwise, and disarms the bomb non-lethally, saving her life as part of The Promise to protect her.
  • Fairy Tale Wedding Dress: Worn by Rebecca in the first episode. Not surprisingly considering she is both royalty and a media darling.
  • Faking the Dead: Lupin pulls it off twice.
    • While locked in a custom-built prison, Lupin convinces Zenigata that he's died from starvation. This means Zenigata must open the cell door to remove the body, giving Lupin a chance to slip away.
    • Lupin's implanted psyche pulls this off to get Da Vinci's implanted psyche off his back so he can get close enough to Rebecca's psyche.
  • False Innocence Trick: This is how Fujiko rescues Lupin while he's being transported by Zenigata: she dresses as Zenigata and then ties up and gags herself, making it seem like she's the real Zenigata and has been the victim of a Mugged for Disguise ruse.
  • Foreign Re-Score: While the Japanese version featured music by longtime Lupin composer Yuji Ohno, the international release's music was written by Nerio Poggi and performed by his band Papik.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: It's noted that Lupin and Rebecca were in an awful hurry to get married. This is because they were both secretly planning on stealing the San Marino crown jewels.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The teachers Lupin has to confront to reclaim an invaluable jewel are utter morons who got themselves in trouble with a biker gang (one of them, Mr. Mario, bumped into the gang's leader by accident in a bar, knocking out his tooth) and are pressured to obtain a lot of money or else they will be killed. They all are so stupid - besides the fact one of them is way more stupid and oblivious - that they violate so many logical approaches to their problems (like calling the police to help or pawning the flawless diamond they randomly found to raise the money they needed in the first place instead of making a bomb that somehow absolutely needed a diamond to work). The less we know about how they actually intended to defend themselves from Lupin, the better.
  • Great Detective: The series makes it a point to show that Zenigata has excellent deductive skills. In the fourth episode of the series, he deducts exactly how Jigen wiped out Non-Lethal Eric's gang just by analyzing the evidence on the crime scene. His long experience with Lupin is showcased, as he often has a solid grasp on what the thief's trying to pull on a given heist.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: At the end, when the Big Bad's plan has been foiled, it ends up getting blamed on Lupin even though he was the one that prevented it. Of course, given that Lupin is a wanted criminal anyway, it doesn't really matter much.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Greco's strategy to drive Lupin into a state of hypnosis includes an aerosol drug and a series of cameras. These exact objects are what drive him into hypnosis at the hand of Lupin, since he doesn't bother to protect himself from the drug.
    • Percival Gibbons gets a two for one deal when human weapon Nyx shows up to kill him in "Dragons Sleep Soundly". This after Percival woke the Dragon and threatened Nyx's family. Surviving this, he then gets to confront Leonardo da Vinci with nothing more than a pistol. The gun backfires due to Leonardo's sabotage of the gun, killing Percival instantly.
  • Internal Homage: The episode "The End of Lupin III" is a long homage to "One Chance to Breakout" from Lupin III: Part 1, with many references to the source material (i.e. Lupin's extended prison sentence, a priest disguise, the Lupin gang choosing not to help their boss escape, the exploration of Lupin and Zenigata's relationship, and a Long Game escape plan).
  • "Last Supper" Steal: Made into a plot point in one episode when all the main characters suddenly find portraits of themselves painted on random walls around Italy. It eventually leads them to a building where they're offered dinner right below the painting of the real The Last Supper. It's a ploy by Leonardo Di Vinci to see if they can figure out that he is the one who summoned them.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: An unusual example for this one; Josephine the Dachshund turns out to like hot human women a little too much that she likes hiding in the bushes to see Playboy magazines.
  • Little Miss Badass: Belladonna, the young assassin from Goemon's debut episode. She can not only Dodge the Bullet from one of the best snipers in the world and carry a sniper rifle almost as big as herself rather casually, but demonstrated herself to be respectable enough despite her young age to be among the twelve top assassins in an assassination job years prior when she was likely fourteen or so at the time. Being a Child Soldier raised from near-death on the streets by the biggest politician in Italy who gave them the mission helped, but it was also likely that she was there to figure out how to kill the rest of the assassins afterwards.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Goemon is very upset when he discovers that Lupin is planning to get married and retire from his life of crime. When Jigen later tells him that the wedding was just a cover for a heist, Goemon is even more pissed off. It turns out that the guys couldn't tell Goemon because he's a notoriously Bad Liar, and they needed his reaction to the wedding to seem genuine.
  • Long Game:
    • Leopoldo Flago's plan to secure his rise to political power after killing Samuel Decale, while also killing the remaining assassins, required at least ten years of planning.
    • Lupin's escape plan from an Italian prison required a year in waiting and experiencing near death by starvation and atrophy.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Percival Gibbons has his finger on Nyx (most of the time), and can give the order to have him stand down.
  • Meaningful Name: While not as capable as his namesakes, Detective Akechi Holmes combines the two fictional detectives of Ranpo Edogawa and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, respectively.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Zenigata bursts into the chapel and demands that Lupin's wedding to Rebecca be called off, Rebecca asks if he's Lupin's jealous boyfriend.
  • Mister Muffykins: Played with — Josephine the Dachshund seemed to act the type, but in reality she turns out to hate her overly doting owner and literally abandons ship to get away from her.
  • Mugged for Disguise:
    • In the first episode, Zenigata suspects that Mr. Lionello, one of the bosses with access to the Crown of Liberty, is Lupin in disguise. This is disproved when the real Lupin shows up. In a subversion, it turns out that "Mr. Lionello" is actually Fujiko in disguise, while the real Mr. Lionello is hidden Bound and Gagged somewhere.
    • Lupin's habit of doing this backfires when he's arrested, as it's used to apply the 41-bis prison regime on him.
    • Zig-zagged to all hell in "From Japan With Love". Zenigata comes to pick up Lupin from Akechi in prison, Akechi believes this is Fujiko is disguise and tries to prove it, can't prove it, and lets the two go in a converted tank for prisoner transport. Only to find Zenigata tied up in the prison's bathroom. Akechi and his Zenigata tail Lupin and his Zenigata and stop the tank. Akechi goes after Lupin's Zenigata, only to find he is the real one, and Fujiko tied herself up disguised as the second Zenigata in order to get to Lupin.
  • Multi-Melee Master: While the franchise has made it a point to show Jigen as a capable shot with any gun, Goemon rarely shows any sword skills without using Zantetsuken. However, in "World Dissection, Part 1", he engages in a duel with Leonardo Da Vinci using a rapier against a falchion and still wins despite the handicap.
  • Mythology Gag: Quite a few given the franchise's history.
    • The opening sequence features Lupin's gang in poses taken from their animated show/film debuts: Fujiko in the shower from the Red Jacket series, Goemon in the forest from the Green Jacket series and Lupin and Jigen in a Fiat from the Cagliostro film.
    • Once again, a Lupin III series has its first episode start with one of the main characters getting married.
    • Episode 3 makes reference to a fragment of Marie Antoinette's necklace being stolen and hidden by one Count Cagliostro, a reference to The Castle of Cagliostro.
    • It should be noted that the series specifically references the historical Alessandro Cagliostro (the likely model for the film's eponymous antagonist), an 18th-century conman who did really get tried and imprisoned for having contributed to the so-called 'Affair of the Diamond Necklace', a fraud case involving Marie-Antoinette. The whole story is wonderfully crazy and convoluted, and wouldn't feel out of place as a Lupin episode.
    • Another Call-Back occurs in episode 13, wherein Fujiko and Goemon express perplexity at Lupin talking in his sleep and Jigen outright saying Lupin doesn't dream, which serves as a reference to The Mystery of Mamo, wherein the titular antagonist discovered that Lupin's subconscious was a void and that he did not appear to dream at all.
    • During an Eye Catch between commercial breaks, Lupin disguises himself as Kyosuke Mamo, a recurring villain from the earlier series.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Rebecca. She comes off as a childish party girl, but in reality, she's a successful businesswoman that can do practically anything and a very skilled thief.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Nyx snaps after Rebecca admits that she kidnapped his daughter to "keep her mouth shut." He takes this as an indication that Rebecca murdered the girl when in reality, she meant that she had her sent away on an expensive shopping trip in order to bribe her into keeping silent about what she had witnessed. If Lupin hadn't cleared things up, judging from Nyx's reaction, he would have killed Rebecca.
  • Pop the Tires:
    • In the first episode, Jigen takes out the front tire of Fujiko's motorcycle with a sniper shot so Lupin can catch up to her.
    • During a car chase, Jigen attempts to shoot their pursuers in the head, but the windows are made of plexiglass. He settles for shooting out their tires instead.
  • Psycho Rangers: Akechi and his two comrades, Obayashi and Mayu, could be seen as a heroic version of Lupin's gang.
  • Racing the Train: Lupin's first meeting with Rebecca involved him trying to rescue her on a runaway train caused by a rabid fanboy who wanted to marry her, or else he would blow up the train or let it fly off the rails if Rebecca stalled for time too much. Lupin has no trouble catching up to it, but the problem is Zenigata decided to capture Lupin by surprise and handcuff him to his wrist. Hilarity Ensues as both come to a truce and they waste time trying to get the cuffs off while catching up with the train.
  • Red Herring: When Akechi captures Lupin, the audience knows that Fujiko is going to try to free him. It's presented as though Fujiko could be Zenigata, the unnamed underling helping with the transportation, or even the Japanese policewoman helping Akechi. In the end, she turns out to be the "real" Zenigata who claimed to have been replaced by Fujiko in the first place.
  • Removing the Rival: In order to pose as a substitute teacher, Lupin kidnaps the real teacher and claims that the man has gone off to search for the lost continent Mu.
  • Renaissance Man: The series' main antagonist is the OG Renaissance Man, Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Revival: The first show to star Lupin in three decades.
  • "Save the World" Climax: The series starts with Lupin arranging a Sham Marriage to steal a crown and ends with Lupin saving all of Italy, and likely the rest of the world, from an Assimilation Plot involving a clone of Leonardo Da Vinci created from dreams. Definitely a bit of an escalation, there.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: A quite literal one in one episode. Lupin manages to find a dog for a wealthy woman and arranges to meet up with the cruise liner she's on to deliver it. After running into one complication after another, including running out of gas and being chased by Zenigata and just barely making it onto the ship as it's sailing away from the harbor. The dog turns out to not particularly like her owner and jumps ship as soon as she's returned to the woman. Meaning all the crap the gang went through is for nothing.
  • Shown Their Work: The series has some pretty accurate depictions of Italy and San Marino.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Akechi Holmes Kousuke is named after the famous fictional detectives Sherlock Holmes, Kosuke Kindaichi and Kogoro Akechi. His Kid Sidekick is named Yoshio Watson Obayashi, a reference to Holmes' partner John Watson and Akechi's own Kid Sidekick Koybayashi.
    • The Mamma family in the eighth episode appear to be an homage to the Fratellis in The Goonies.
  • Safety Gear Is Cowardly: Fujiko doesn't wear a helmet or proper riding gear while on her motorcycle. To make things worse, when she does crash in the first episode, she has no visible injuries.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Zenigata tries to interrupt Lupin's wedding, but not for the usual reason—he suspects the marriage is a ruse of some kind, part of one of Lupin's schemes. (He's right, of course.)
  • Spotting the Thread: Lupin deduces that Rebecca is the true mastermind behind the crown heist after realizing that she smells exactly like the expensive wine they drank together earlier.
  • Super-Senses: Nyx's hearing is so good, he uses echolocation to track Lupin's movements.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Lupin's arrest provides two cases:
    • Zenigata is unable to bring him to Japan using his ICPO authority to extradite criminals to trial, as Italian law forbids extradition when the criminal may be executed and Lupin has a death sentence waiting for him there. The prison warden himself informs Zenigata of this.
    • When in jail, Lupin is kept in solitary confinement without contact with the outside. This is a variant of Italy's 41-bis prison regime, originally devised for terrorists and mafia bosses but applied on a case-by-case on dangerous criminals guilty of anything on a particular list of crimes note . They also do this for anyone kidnapping for ransom or robbery... and Lupin just happens to have committed the latter multiple times on Italian soil, mainly when he needed to replace someone for more than a couple hours (even if they're fine and he just took their clothes, it's still kidnapping). This also means that Jigen, Goemon and Fujiko can be subjected to the same if they were ever arrested.
  • Title of the Dead: One episode, as well as the film it is ultimately about, is titled "Venice Of The Dead".
  • Toon Physics: A franchise staple, with "From Japan With Love" being the one episode where it gets exaggerated.
  • Two-Timer Date: "The Lovesick Pig" has Lupin darting between Rebecca and Fujiko at a wine auction. They both figure it out pretty quickly.
  • Underestimating Badassery: In "From Japan With Love", once Akechi has Lupin, he brushes off Fujiko as a small fry who can't fight without Lupin to help her. If the Lupin III franchise has taught us anything, underestimating Fujiko Mine is the one thing you don't want to do; the whole episode past that point is her proving this with a vengeance.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Lampshaded by Lupin in The Reveal in "The Murdering Marionette". The only reason Lupin and gang beat Greco at his own game is the fact they knew exactly what was going to happen for twenty minutes of isolation in the church labyrinth using only facial expressions.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Fujiko hides a knife between her breasts in "The Murdering Marionette" to fake her murder at the hands of Lupin.
  • Wham Line: Although previous episodes already laid the Foreshadowing on thick about a mysterious man awakening from MI6's clutches, episode 15 caps off with the reveal of him being the one to create an genuine Isleworth Mona Lisa, proclaiming it'd be better than the original that everyone was searching for all episode, and him looking at one of the silver coins Fujiko gave him; particularly, a recreation of the legendary human Renaissance artwork "Vetruvian Man" on the back of it.
    Leonardo Da Vinci: Why is this sketch I made on the back of this coin?
  • Wine Is Classy: The only appropriate beverage for the wedding night of a world-famous celebrity and fabulously wealthy CEO is a unique bottle of vintage wine. White wine, specifically.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Lupin III as a franchise is known for using this trope to great effect, but the episode "From Japan with Love" might as well be parody. In short, Fujiko, the Japanese Police Force and their leader Akechi Holmes, and Zenigata all have plans to nab Lupin, and each has several plans and fallbacks to get the desired result. See the Awesome tab for the rest of the story.

Alternative Title(s): Lupin III Blue Jacket