Lupin III Vs Detective Conan is not counted in the Made-for-TV Movie Lupin anime specials by the Japanese. It is included on the Lupin III Yearly Specials index for completeness. It debuted on March 27, 2009, and is licensed by Discotek Media for English release in 2015.
Queen Sakura, sovereign of the European kingdom of Vespania, is killed while the royal court (her brother Prince Gerard and son prince Gill) are out hunting. All indications suggest that she was accidentally shot by Gill, who immediately commits suicide, overcome by guilt. This news is reported around the world, with a reminder to the audience that Vespania was already recently in the news, because of the strange new minerals found only there.
With the death of the queen and prince, the young but bratty Princess Mira is next in line. However, Vespania citizens are rallying to say the princess is too young and unfit to govern. To increase the princess' popularity, a trip to Japan is organized by the Vespanian Chancellor, Count Keith. A festival is held at the Grand Hotel West City Tama. Despite her protests, Mira attends the opening, though Keith does all the talking for her. Kogoro Mouri, Sonoko Suzuki, and Conan Edogawa attend; Ran Mouri is supposed to go too, but she running late. At the party, Conan exposes an attempt to assassinate the princess. Mira herself wants nothing more than to escape from her condition, so in the confusion that follows, she sneaks away; Conan notices this, and follows her. Mira runs into Ran, who looks identical to her. They trade places, Ran returning to the hotel while Mira gets picked up by Fujiko. Conan notices the two splitting up, and Conan pursues Fujiko on skateboard...
Lupin's team is already involved in some plan by the time Conan arrives in Vespania. Can the two team up to keep the princess on the throne, or will she fall victim to assassination or suicide? Was the late Queen's death an accident, or has Conan stumbled upon another murder? No matter what crime, no matter who is involved, no matter how complicated the deduction, with a keen eye for details, only one truth prevails!
The sequel is Lupin III vs. Detective Conan: The Movie.
Lupin III vs. Detective Conan contains examples of:
- An Aesop:Conan: (To Lupin) Stealing is bad, mister.
- Animation Bump
- Anti-Hero: Lupin and the gang are heroes this time, well, except for Fujiko. Lupin's attempt to steal the crown jewels are actually part of a promise he made to the recently deceased queen. She wanted to escape her gilded cage, just as Mira does, and Lupin said he would return to steal the crown when she had made her kingdom great. That promise gave her confidence, and helped Mira's confidence as well.
- Body Double: Ran becomes one to Princess Mira.
- The Caper: Lupin's motivation at the start of the movie.
- Canon Welding: Alluded to when Kogorou notes he thought Lupin III was just a manga character. He's assured that he's very real, and, well, for the purpose of the special and its sequel...
- Cherry Blossoms: The movie involves a blossoming cherry tree as a major plot point related to the murder that takes place during the opening act.
- Cool Old Guy: The story's requirements and timing means that Zenigata doesn't get any of his usual Butt-Monkey moments, and is instead the unstoppable globe-trotting hardass he would necessarily have to be to keep up with Lupin.
- Crossover: Between Lupin III and Detective Conan, and it takes pains to showcase both storytelling styles so as to not alienate either audience.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Slyly played with. Jigen's cover for being in Vespania is as a special consultant to the local defense forces; dialogue indicates that he's being paid well to open some under-trained grunt eyes to better tactics. It backfires spectacularly when those same forces turn out to have followed his every word... and he apparently used their latest heist as a lecture example.
- Same goes with Fujiko - she successfully protects and delivers her client (Princess Mira), and is handsomely remunerated for her efforts... but steals the Queen Crown anyway.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: It's OK for Fujiko to "examine" Conan to find "the secret to rejuvenation." Yes, the scene of a fully grown woman apparently (we only got the audio) touching a little boy is treated comedically.
- Emergency Impersonation: Lupin disguises himself again but this time, as Detective Mouri!
- Enemy Mine: Lupin and his gang helps Conan catch the criminals and return to Japan.
- Evil Chancellor: He's the Big Bad, because he murdered his sister and Queen and the Crown Prince of his land, and attempts to murder the Sole Survivor of the royal family, the Broken Bird Princess. In this case, he was never regent, merely next in line to the throne, and upset his advice wasn't being followed by the Queen.
- Friendly Enemy: Lupin and Conan, despite initial animosity, clearly respect each other by the time the movie's over.
- Identical Stranger: Ran and Princess Mira. Prince Gill (Mira's brother and one of the victims) and Shinichi, except for differing hair color and style. (This one's actually never alluded to, which is probably for the best given the opportunity for awkward Incest Subtext.)
- Immune to Drugs: That sleep-dart watch Conan always uses on Kogoro? He misses and hits Zenigata this time. Since he's going to be out for a while, Conan starts solving the case in Zenigata's voi- Nope, Zenigata wakes up after ten seconds to Conan's shock, because that anesthetic is supposed to knock an elephant out for a half-hour!
- Intercontinuity Crossover
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When asked how a professional detective like him is unaware of the existence of the world's most famous thief, Kogoro says he always thought Lupin was just a comic book character.
- At one point, Lupin looks at the camera and thanks the viewers for their patience.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to both Lupin III and Detective Conan, the film has only two murders and both are offscreen. There's a considerable amount of humor and comedy throughout, mostly with the Lupin side of the cast - to the point that it approaches parody in the best sense - and it doesn't always mesh well with the Conan-style murder.
- At the same time, it's still a little Darker and Edgier than your average Conan movie; with how heavily politics play a role in the plot, the situation is clearly more in the realm of the global threats that the Lupin crew have to take on once a year, rather than the typical Conan multiple murder mystery... There's even a scene where Lupin and Jigen discuss the possibilities of Vespania's new super-stealth mineral being a game-changer in warfare, complete with an Imagine Spot of the White House being attacked by a missile.
- Out-of-Character Alert: Zenigata sees through Lupin's disguise as Kogoro Mouri because he called him "Tocchan", a variant of Lupin's nickname for him, while Ran noticed there was something different about him. There's also one for the audience only, when he dodged Conan's dart shot from behind, something Kogoro wouldn't be able to do.
- Prince and Pauper: Princess Mira meets Ran Mouri and gets the idea of switching places for a bit. This ends up working out, since Keith planned to let Mira escape for a bit with Fujiko so that she could enjoy herself instead of feeling trapped. But Ran and family weren't in on the plan to begin with, which means Conan and Kogoro follow her to Vespania.
- Princess for a Day: When Princess Mira offers a Prince and Pauper switch with Ran Mouri, Ran gets to find out what it feels like to be treated as a princess. She even daydreams that Shinichi will come a propose to her like a prince.
- Proper Lady: Queen Sakura.
- Secret Keeper: Lupin and his gang easily deduce that Conan is actually Shinichi, but promise at the end of the film that they won't be revealing it to anyone. In return, Conan promises to arrest them.
- Seen It All: Absolutely nothing surprises Zenigata this time around, and he has the good sense to just stand around and wait for Lupin to reveal himself. Twice!
- Self-Made Orphan: Queen Sakura of Vespania is believed to have been accidentally shot to death by her son and heir Prince Gill, who then shot himself in regret. In reality, both of them were murdered.
- Shout-Out: The part involving Ran and Princess Mira is one to all the Prince and Pauper stories.
- The setting seems to be based on Cagliostro, or rather what it might look like now.
- Switching P.O.V.: Lots of cutting between Conan's group and Lupin's group.