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Anime / The Castle of Cagliostro

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1979's The Castle of Cagliostro, the first full-length feature film directed and largely written by Green Jacket-era co-director Hayao Miyazaki (pre-Ghibli), is a stand-alone entry in the long-running Lupin III franchise.

Lupin and Jigen successfully rob the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Fleeing in their car, they're up to their necks in cash… which Lupin soon realizes is counterfeit. These legendary "Gothic Bills" – counterfeit bills that can pass for real to all but the most trained eye – inspire the duo to visit the tiny European Grand Duchy of Cagliostro, often rumored to be the bills' source, for their next heist.

Once Lupin and Jigen cross the border, they end up rescuing a girl in a wedding dress from a group of armed mooks trying to capture her. The girl is Clarisse, the daughter of Cagliostro's late ruling Grand Duke and the betrothed fiancée of the regent and Count of Cagliostro (whose side of the Cagliostro family line oversees and perpetuates the nation's dirty business). A legend says a reunification of the two families will unlock the secret of Cagliostro's lost treasure, which the Count desperately wants. Jigen figures something else is up when he notices Lupin's familiarity with Cagliostro's landmarks, Clarisse, and her mysterious ring.


Certain things are, of course, inevitable: Lupin tries to steal the girl, the treasure, the source of the Gothic Bills, and whatever else he thinks he can get away with; Fujiko is in the castle trying to steal at least one of Lupin's targets; the Count is a formidable villain; and Inspector Zenigata is still trying to hunt Lupin down (though he gets more than he bargained for).

Castle of Cagliostro is famous for being Miyazaki's first film (as well as one of his only two non-Ghibli films, the other being Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, both of which predated the studio's founding), but a couple of its scenes achieved their own fame. The car chase at the beginning of the film was allegedly praised by Steven Spielberg as one of the greatest car chases ever set to film, and he's alleged to have called Cagliostro one of the greatest adventure movies of all time.note  The other famous scene is the climactic battle-and-chase in Cagliostro's clock tower; at least two groups of American animators have paid direct homage to it.


In the West, this film has passed through more than a few hands. Game developer Stern used footage of Cagliostro and The Mystery of Mamo to make a laserdisc game Cliff Hanger. Then Asmik got to make another game based entirely on the film for the PlayStation. Cagliostro was then licensed in the early '90s by Streamline Pictures; their DVD release of the film was one of the very first anime released in the format (and one of Streamline's last releases ever). Manga Entertainment picked up the license in 2000 and gave the film a new dub by the Animaze studio (better known for their dubs of Cowboy Bebop and the Ghost in the Shell franchise), then re-released it in 2006 with a boatload of extra content (but an altered opening at TMS's insistence). Discotek Media acquired the license to Cagliostro in 2014 and released both a DVD and Blu-ray (the latter for the first time in the US) in 2015; their release includes both the Streamline and Animaze dubs, re-translated subtitles for the film, and a re-creation of the original subtitles used in TMS's 1980 theatrical release of the film in the United States. A "family-friendly" version of the Manga dub was also created specifically for this release. A few months later, Disney released the Streamline dub as part of their Miyazaki box set, with Discotek's permission.

All tropes not specific to this film are listed on the franchise's main page. All characters not specific to this film are listed on the franchise's Characters page.

Complete spoilers lie below, so don't read further if you don't want to know how this caper turns out!

The Castle of Cagliostro contains the following tropes:

  • 20 Minutes into the Past: A newspaper clipping Lupin is seen reading after his escape from the castle sets the year at 1968. Curiously, the original manga was already one year into serialization in Real Life.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The castle's sewers are spacious enough for Lupin and Jigen to pass through.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The many quiet scenes of Cagliostro comes from Hayao Miyazaki's desire for "breathing" in a film. They are present to contrast against the tense action scenes, and allow the audience to relax, or fall in love. One special scene in this film is Lupin wandering around a burnt out castle in a contemplative mood (because Lupin is remembering his past) with Jigen wondering what is preoccupying him before demanding an explanation (by strangling him). Another special scene is when Lupin has broken into Clarisse's room and is trying to give her hope that he can help her escape (giving her hope and letting the audience fall in love with her innocence).
  • Action Girl: Fujiko, once she drops her cover, is more than ready to let loose with machine guns and grenades to make her escape.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: The Count finds it pretty funny that Lupin tricked Jodo into falling in one of the castle's traps.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: While Fujiko's design is inconsistent across her various incarnations, this is one of only three times that Fujiko is blonde. (the others are Twilight Gemini and the ultimately unreleased Lupin VIII series) note 
  • Adaptational Heroism: Lupin and Fujiko (especially Fujiko) are more heroic in this movie than in any other depictions.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Minor, but still there: in the Japanese audio Lupin is able to recognize that the bills stolen from the casino in the prologue are Goat Bills and also has some knowledge of the country of Cagliostro (including the "urban legend" thieves have that it's a place from which no criminal has come back from) while in the English and Spanish audio Lupin doesn't seem to know anything about either, removing a pretty hefty piece of Foreshadowing.
  • Affably Evil: Count Cagliostro straddles the bar between this and Faux Affably Evil. On the one hand, he's a Benevolent Boss to his most loyal followers, never punishing them for any of their failures, states that he's willing to compromise with the heroes, and considers Lupin a Worthy Opponent. On the other hand, when he's alone with Clarisse, he makes zero attempts to hide his true motivations for marrying her, even hitting her on several occasions, and becomes more and more nasty over the course of the film.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The film ends with Inspector Zenigata revealing that Lupin III, Gentleman Thief that he is, has stolen the heroine's heart.
  • All Myths Are True: The counterfeit activities in Cagliostro. Lampshaded by Zenigata who mentions that he heard rumors about the counterfeit activities but couldn't have imagined it to be run by an independent nation.
  • Alternate DVD Commentary: A fan-made commentary track was produced for Caglisotro back in 2004 (and revamped in 2017), and another one is packaged with the 2014 Discotek Media DVD (and 2015 Blu-Ray).
  • Always Save the Girl: This is lampshaded in the car chase.
    Jigen: Which one are we helping?
    Lupin: The girl.
    Jigen: Typical.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Inspector Zenigata is noticeably more brown than his police companions, despite still being clearly Japanese. Amusing when Lupin disguises himself as Zenigata, because he can apparently create the square jaw and ruddy-face without a Latex Perfection mask. Similar tones are used for Gustav, also without any real explanation.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Cagliostro family counterfeiting ring has been screwing with international affairs for at least 400 years - i.e. pretty much since money could be counterfeited.
    Lupin: "Since the upheavals in Medieval Europe, the mysterious counterfeit currency has been lurking in the shadows. It ruined the Bourbon Dynasty and was the source of Napoleon's funds. It also triggered the worldwide panic of 1927. The Goat Money – the Black Hole – the star on the backstage of history. All those that tried to eliminate the heart of the problem were never heard from again."
    (reading Apocalyptic Log) "Here, Gennosuke Kawakami, Spy for the Japanese Army, met his end. Avenge me. 1904-3-14."
    • The "ancient conspiracy" angle is Zig-Zagged. Lupin's intent is easily Lost in Translation.
      • In the Streamline dub, he implies they are a global power responsible for many of history's woes.
      • In the Animaze dub, he makes it clear that Cagliostro wasn't actually pulling strings so much as it was serving as a mercenary counterfeiter, making its top-quality forgeries available to anyone willing to pay it enough real money – thus staying too useful to everyone for anyone to want to invade and shut it down.
      • Either way, it's carrying on these activities even into the present-day, as Zenigata discovers when he tries to get Interpol to take action but instead provokes a squabble among various nations' representatives over which other countries are paying for the Cagliostro counterfeits that are flooding their respective countries.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: The Count basically strong-arms Clarisse into marrying him so he can inherit her family's fortune.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Zenigata and his men are hot on Lupin's heels as everyone leaves the Grand Duchy of Cagliostro, and Fujiko escapes with the Gothic Bills' master plates. "The End", but life goes on.
  • Anti-Hero: While Lupin's place is hard to pin down on the best of days, in Cagliostro, he falls firmly into the Mr. Vice Guy role. While he's as gleefully enthusiastic about the caper as usual, he shows more interest in protecting Clarisse (choosing to save her even before he recognizes her) and even lets the girl go for her own good.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Lupin kisses Clarisse on her forehead in the movie's finale.
  • Arc Symbol: The goat as Clarisse and the Count's family coats-of-arms, appearing on rings and buildings all over the place.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Dirty Count Cagliostro fits the bill.
  • Armor Is Useless: Partially averted. The Count's assassin squad wear plate armor underneath their cloth ninja costumes capable of standing up to a .357 magnum fired at point blank range... Which, as expected, proves no match for the anti-tank rifle Jigen brings to deal with them, nor for Goemon's blade.
  • Arranged Marriage: Between Clarisse and the Count. Although the Count is far more interested in Clarisse's family treasure than Clarisse herself.
  • Artistic Licence - Geography: In at least one dub, Cagliostro is described as the world's smallest country, but many scenery shots make it clear that Cagliostro (even without counting the two massive lakes) is at least twice the size of the world's actual smallest country, Vatican City (the whole of which could snugly fit into Cagliostro Castle and its adjacent town).
  • Asleep for Days: Lupin sleeps for three days after being severely wounded in a fight with the Big Bad. He's distressed to discover how long his nap has been – since it means he might be too late to save the day – and demands large amounts of food in order to recover his strength.
  • As You Know: Inspector Zenigata drops an Info Dump to the audience when mentioning to the Count that his wedding is in five days. The waitress who brought Lupin and Jigen their spaghetti dropped another one (though it was rather more blatant in the Animaze dub).
  • Author Appeal: Obscure aircraft, precipitous heights, gorging on food, Ghibli Hills, Short(-ish) haired heroine voiced by Sumi Shimamoto.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Count is quite a match for Lupin during their climatic sword fight inside the Clock Tower.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Zenigata's "we went in for Lupin and look what we found!" on-camera act falls under this. It does not escape the notice of his Interpol superiors.
    U.S. Interpol Leader: Good Lord, he's a bad actor.
  • Badass Boast: Goemon manages to make a pretty good one when facing the Count's men with his Absurdly Sharp Blade.
    Goemon: I'd better warn you that my blade is thirsty tonight…
  • Bandaged Face: Lupin wears a face bandage after the failed attempt to free Clarisse.
  • Batman Cold Open: The opening scene cuts right into the final moments of a heist Lupin and Jigen pull at the Monte Carlo casino, establishing our heroes to be skilful thieves.
  • Battle Butler: Jodo, who controls the Count's Elite Mooks.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: The count watches Clarisse sleep in her tower chamber. He then notices that her ring is missing.
  • Benevolent Boss: The Count is this to his loyal subjects, so long as they remain loyal. For example, he tells the chief of his counterfeiting operation that he doesn't mind delays in the delivery of his funny money, only that they look as authentic as possible. Also, he shows a remarkable amount of patience towards his close retainer Jodo, expressing mere amusement instead of anger upon seeing photos of Lupin humiliating him and Gustav with one of his own traps and relenting on chewing him out over his failure to stop the fiery sabotage of his counterfeiting operation upon being reminded over the phone that Lupin and Zenigata were about to take Clarisse.
  • BFG: Jigen's massive PTRS-41 anti-tank rifle.
  • Big Bad: The Count of Cagliostro, who plans to marry Clarisse in order to get his hands on the secret Cagliostro treasure. He's also been printing counterfeit money from several countries in order to cheat his way into power.
  • Big Fancy Castle: The titular castle.
  • Biker Babe: Action Girl Fujiko drives away in her motorcycle with the Gothic Bill plates in her bags.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The unusual case of a bilingual bonus based on English in a foreign film. Miyazaki evidently used gohto (Gothic) as an adjective for the counterfeit bills and the lettering on Clarice's ring in conjunction with the ram as an Arc Symbol relating to the Cagliostro royal family as a stealth pun on "goat" – an English word that sounds absolutely nothing like the Japanese word for goat, "yagi". Since puns don't translate well, this led to "Gothic" getting Lost in Translation as early translations of the movie called them "Goat bills" and "Goat lettering".
    • invoked A related Genius Bonus (and almost a Woolseyism had translators not misinterpreted what Miyazaki was going for) from the Animaze dub if you know Latin. "Goat lettering" was adapted into "Capran", as goats belong to the genus Capra.
  • Blade Brake: The Count uses his sword to stab the rocks, saving his butt after falling off the clock tower's hands.
  • Blatant Lies: Invoked by Zenigata, in the Streamline dub, when he exposes the Count's counterfeiting ring on live television. First by leading Fujiko down into the cellar, where he puts on a show of "accidentally" finding his printing presses.
    Zenigata: (with armload of counterfeit bills) "What a break! I found this PURELY by accident! My investigation of the Count was closed, and I was after Wolf!" (blinks innocently) "Can you believe it?"
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:invoked The Streamline Pictures dub mixes Blind-Idiot with Macekre and Writing Around Trademarks (the LeBlanc estate was still affecting translations). One example is for Zenigata introducing himself to the Count as Inspector Keibu Zenigata. For the record, his actual given name is Kouichi, and keibu is just the Japanese word for "Inspector". But his full name wasn't included in the script – it rarely is – so making "Keibu" his name was a choice minimizing the amount of invention.
    • All previous translations predating those done by Discotek Media feature a notable bit of Blind Idiot Translation. To break things down:
      • In the Japanese version, the counterfeits that form the basis of the plot are called "gohto-satsu", with "gohto" also being used to refer to the writing on the wedding rings, as well as the lineage of the Cagliostro family.
      • The Streamline Pictures dub, based loosely on an old 1980 subtitle script, erroneously attributes "Gohto" to be the name of the originator of the counterfeits and the writer of the message on the rings.
      • The Manga UK dub, meanwhile, translates "gohto" phonetically as the English word "goat", which results in the counterfeits being labelled "goat bills", and some frankly amusing dialogue about how the rings have "Capran" written on them (taken from "capra", the genus of goats; literally goat language), and the Count now proclaims to Clarisse that they share "the blood of the ram".
      • In reality, "gohto" is meant to be the Japanese word for the Goths, a real Germanic people with their own, now extinct, language and writing system. Discotek therefore renders "gohto-satsu" correctly as "Gothic bills", the writing on the rings is now corrected to the Gothic language, and the Cagliostro family is now descended from the Goths. Combined with the blatantly Gothic imagery that pervades throughout the famous wedding scene, it's pretty clear that Discotek's translation is, in all likelihood, the most accurate.
  • Blowing Smoke Rings: Lupin does this at least twice during the film.
  • Bookcase Passage: Fujiko uses one to enter a Secret Underground Passage that would lead her to a fireplace and after that to an observation room behind the Count's office, equipped with a Portrait Painting Peephole.
  • Bowdlerization: The Discotek Media rerelease includes a "Family Friendly" version of the Animaze dub that removes and replaces as much of the profanity as possible. According to Reed Nelson, a Lupin superfan involved in the localization of many of Discotek's Lupin titles, this censored dub was created specifically for this release in order to bring the movie closer in tone to both the original Japanese script and Miyazaki's Disney-released Ghibli movies. The uncensored Animaze dub is still included.
  • Bridal Carry: Lupin carries Clarisse this way towards the end of the movie.
  • Calling Card: Lupin leaves two, a literal one on Jodo's back and later his Zenigata hat on the statue that takes pictures.
  • Car Chase Shoot Out: Lupin and Jigen have a running gun battle with a car full of Mooks at the start of the movie. Lupin drives while Jigen shoots. The Mooks have the advantage of a car with bulletproof wheels, but Jigen has special ammo that takes care of that once he's aware.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Lupin "dives" after Clarisse who is pushed down the Clock Tower by the Count. Lupin catches her midair and, thanks to Soft Water, they don't receive any injuries when hitting the water surface head-first (though Lupin still protects Clarisse's head).
  • Ceiling Cling: Lupin clings to the ceiling in order to avoid one of the trap doors. Inspector Zenigata after him doesn't.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: The movie ends with Lupin III and his gang fleeing in their Fiat away from the police into the sunset.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several.
  • The fake ring. Right before Lupin and Jigen are attacked in their room by the Count's assassins, you see Lupin fiddling around with some sort of forgery kit. What's he doing, you ask? Making the fake ring he gives to the Count about halfway through the film.
  • The Chessmaster: Lupin is firmly in this category, with himself and everyone else (including Femme Fatale Fujiko and Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist Inspector Zenigata) involved in a small-scale Gambit Pileup aimed at stopping the Count.
  • Chiaroscuro:
    • Thematically, chiaroscuro is also a major element of the plot, with Clarisse's ruling branch of the family representing the light, and the Count's doing-the-dirty-work branch representing the shadow. The hidden treasure is revealed when (the rings of) light and shadow unite.
    • The wedding scene when the "resurrected" Lupin confronts the Count begins with heavy shading; between the bright candles and Clarisse's dress, versus the helmeted Count and his hooded minions. Colour is used to highlight aspects of the scene that would've been hard in pure greyscale, such as the inside of the Count's cloak, and Clarisse's dull eyes.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Averted. This movie is one of the rare times Fujiko doesn't betray Lupin… depending on how you interpret her running off with the plates while Zenigata is too distracted chasing Lupin to notice the Femme Fatale speeding away with the means to fake a fortune.
  • Churchgoing Villain: Jodo is moved to cross himself when he sees the Bishop arriving.
  • Clock Tower: The castle has a prominent clock tower between it and the reservoir lake. The film's climax takes place with a long chase through it.
  • Clockworks Area: During the Climbing Climax, when the Count and his men pursue Lupin and Clarisse up the castle's clock tower. It leads to a fight amongst the clock-tower's gears which may be one of the most iconic in cinematic history.
  • Combat Commentator: Fujiko, now a journalist, is enthusiastically commenting the wedding events.
  • Coming in Hot: The aircraft Zenigata used to fly Lupin out of danger has caught fire and apparently the only way to land it is to crash it into a huge tree.
  • Cool Car: Lupin and Jigen drive a Fiat 500 "Bambino" that's been majorly souped-up. And Clarisse tried making her escape in a Citroën 2CV. Both models were originally considered low-end in their times, but have become beloved classics since. (Hayao Miyazaki himself owns a 2CV.)
  • Cool Plane: The Count flies an autogyro! (Yes, Lupin steals the plane) Hayao Miyazaki uses this trope as a Creator Thumbprint.
  • Corrupt Politician: Pretty much every politician present in the film is aware of Cagliostro's counterfeiting operations and tries to cover it up.
  • Could Have Been Messy:
    • Goemon slices and dices with his metal-cutting katana and Jigen blasts away with an anti-tank rifle, yet neither one of them is ever actually seen to kill anyone with said weapons. Even when Jigen shoots out a car's tire with his Magnum, we see thugs go flying but not actually any dying.
    • Averted with Lupin's wounds and the deaths of the Count and his thug in the clock tower.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: Royal guard Gustav demonstrates the castle's laser defense system by holding out a cigarette to be zapped, then placing it in Zenigata's mouth. Not to be confused with the reason for Lupin's long-jumping exhibition in the middle of the movie — he couldn't find a good lighter.
  • Counterfeit Cash: The Gothic Bills are counterfeit bills which can fool all but the most trained eyes.
  • Cowboy Cop: Knowing that he can't take Cagliostro down through any legal means, seeing how he has the government in his pocket, Zenigata agrees to handle the situation Lupin's way; by killing him.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The eponymous castle of the "Shadow" branch of the Cagliostro family is chock full of any and every possible anti-intruder deterrent. Some more modern ones – the lasers and radar – were likely installed by the current Count. However, the presence of multiple trapdoors, 19th-century cannons in the background near the fountain, and of course the oubliette itself housing centuries' worth of bodies, show that these Counts have a long history of being Properly Paranoid.
  • Damsel in Distress: Clarisse is pursued by the Count and one of Lupin's priorities in this story is protecting/rescuing her. However...
  • Damsel out of Distress: Clarisse managed to escape from a castle surrounded by lasers, participated in a car chase, saved Lupin's life several times (by way of shoving him out of the way of gunfire and throwing her body on a gun and knocking it aside), said she was "not really" afraid when they were being peppered with gunfire, and shoved the Count off the clock tower when she saw her chance – and she was willing to become a thief to boot. A lone woman facing down a Nebulous Evil Organisation run by a Manipulative Bastard with an army of Elite Mooks (which took Lupin's team and an entire army of Interpol agents to bring down)? As Lupin said, she was a brave girl.
  • Dangerous Clifftop Road: The first car chase takes place on a curvy road along cliff edges.
  • Darkest Hour: In the final third of the film, the disastrous initial attempt to rescue Clarisse has left Lupin wounded, bedridden, and hiding with Jigen and Goemon; Zenigata is taken off the counterfeiting case with the Interpol council refusing to accept his evidence; Clarisse is drugged and is about to be put into a forced marriage by the villainous Count, who is sure he's won it all.
  • Deadfoot Leadfoot: Clarisse faints in the driver seat of her car, calling for a Big Damn Hero moment by Lupin to save her from crashing down the cliff. Leads to a Literal Cliffhanger moment.
  • Death Trap: The Count is a big, big fan. His security fetish is one of the first things which alerts Zenigata to the fishy goings-on in the castle.
  • Defiant to the End: In the Streamline dub, Lupin's response to the Count pointing out that the thief is surrounded by his forces and likely about to die, "The game ain't over, Count. In fact, it's just beginning!" The Count contradicts that and drops him to his supposed death in the dungeons, but true to Lupin's word, he is just getting started interfering with the villain's plans.
  • Diagonal Cut: The wedding ceremony is interrupted by Goemon slashing the altar diagonally in half, making the huge cross fall over.
  • Dirty Old Man: Lupin accuses Count Cagliostro of being one due to being at least twice Clarisse's age (she's stated to be 18), though it's questionable if the Count had any feelings for Clarisse at all.
  • Don't Look Down:
  • The Dragon: Jodo is not only the Count's second-in-command but also seems commands his squad of Elite Mooks
  • Dramatic Unmask: There is a sound effect when the Archbishop unmasks himself to reveal Lupin.
  • Dressed in Layers: Lupin wears a Zenigata disguise over his regular suit and a diving suit over both of those.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Lupin incapacitates one of the Elite Mook marines and uses his swimsuit to get past Jodo.
  • Driving Up a Wall: While in a high-speed chase with a bunch of Mooks after a woman in a wedding dress, Lupin drives along the steep rock face along the wall to pull ahead of the thugs and their grenades.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Inspector Zenigata does this at home after he has been taken off the case against his will.
  • Dub Name Change: Since Monkey Punch never gained permission from the estate of Maurice Leblanc to use the name Lupin, this created a copyright problem. Public Domain laws differ by country, so the name was able to be used in Japan freely, but not in America or Europe. As a result, the 1992 Streamline dub has everyone refer to Lupin as "The Wolf". By the time Manga Entertainment redubbed the anime in 2000, Leblanc's works were undeniably Public Domain in the USA and TMS knew it, so they simply used "Lupin".
    • The 1983 arcade release, Cliff Hanger. In addition to obviously changing Lupin's name to "Cliff" (likely for similar reasons as above), Goemon is renamed "Samurai" (just like Toho's dub of Mystery of Mamo), Jigen is renamed "Jeff", Clarisse is renamed "Clarissa", and the Count is now called "Count Draco" (or Dreyco or Dragoe, depending on what literature you read)
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Lampshaded in the same breath as Always Save the Girl.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: As Lupin and Jigen drive away from the Casino with their loot, sharp-eyed viewers can spot the top of Goemon's head and the end of his sword in the back seat of the car amidst the cash. Do all those cars suddenly falling to bits earlier make sense now?
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Not in the context of Lupin itself, but of Hayao Miyazaki's film career. Putting aside the elephant in the room of its attachment to a preexisting franchise, those used to Miyazaki's later works will be surprised that this is a more standard adventure story with clear cut heroes and villains and a male-dominated cast. Later Miyazaki films by comparison would rely heavily on Grey-and-Gray Morality, move increasingly away from the adventure format in favor of introspective magic realist affairs, and feature more overtly mixed-gender casts and female leads.
  • Elite Mooks: The Count employs assassins with masks, metal claw gauntlets, and armor Jigen can't shoot through without an anti-tank gun.
  • Enemy Mine: Lupin and Zenigata call a truce so they can both get out of the castle dungeon alive and Zenigata can go after the Count for making the Gothic Bills. Given how often they work together in other Lupin titles, though, their teamwork here isn't quite as strange as the trope name implies. Lampshaded by Zenigata who promises to arrest Lupin once they are out of danger.
  • Engineered Public Confession: The fake family ring, which the Count seized from Clarisse, has a hidden microphone, so Lupin can overhear the Count confessing his Evil Plan to Clarisse.
  • Ephebophile: In the Japanese version, Lupin accuses the Count of this in the wedding scene, using the Japanese word "lolicon," before he sets off the stock of fireworks hidden in his archbishop's robes. Considering that Clarisse is around 18, he's probably being facetious and just trying to get under the Count's skin. Though it's a June-December wedding in any case – what Westerners would, in similar style, call "robbing the cradle". It works.
  • Evil Chancellor: The story begins after the Count has taken power from the late Grand Duke who previously ruled. There's no suspicion raised In-Universe for why the Duke might have died in a huge blaze inside his Stone Castle, especially when the Count has a secret army, counterfeiting operations, and is called the "shadow" line of the family. The only member left of the "light" line of the family is Princess Clarisse, and the Count rules as regent in her place.
  • Evil Laugh: The Count sports an evil laughter during the chase scene in the Clock Tower.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Fujiko, via the Portrait Painting Peephole, overhears the Count talk about his counterfeiting activities and learns about Lupin's arrival.
  • Exact Words: The film's Darkest Hour ends when Fujiko telephones Inspector Zenigata about a critical fact— Lupin is planning to be at the Count's wedding... and although the cop is off the counterfeiting case, his standing orders to arrest the thief anywhere in the world are still in force.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Clarisse, being a princess, has one.
  • Fakin' MacGuffin: Lupin makes a copy of the ring with a microtransponder inside, so as to trick and then taunt the Count. He's seen making it shortly before the Count's assassins attack the room he rented.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The Count uses the ring to unlock the treasure, causing him to be crushed by the Clock Tower's hands. Also the mook squashed by cogs. Both scenes are handled discreetly.
  • Filling the Silence:
    • The Streamline dub adds expository dialogue into normally quiet scenes. Inverted at least once in the same dub when, at the point where Jigen's supposed to complain about him and Goemon not being able to do anything before the gang was forced to retreat, he says nothing.
    • The Manga/Animaze dub does this as well, but only a couple of times, such as when Lupin is reading aloud Japanese text that was accompanied by silence in the original, or a little extra bickering between Lupin and Jigen.
  • Free Wheel: In the Cold Open, the casino staff's cars fall apart as a result of Vehicular Sabotage. A wheel from one rolls away and hits the bumper of the one car that had remained intact thus far, causing it to collapse. Additionally, when the car carrying the thugs chasing Clarisse crashes, one of its wheels goes flying.
  • Friendly Enemy: A bit of a one-sided example between Lupin and Zenigata. Despite the latter's constant attempts of arresting him, Lupin treats Zenigata like an old friend and was the one to propose a truce between them. During the final moments of the film, the groundskeeper remarks that even though he doesn't say it, Zenigata is quite fond of Lupin.
  • Gentleman Thief: This is played straight with Lupin, which may come across as strange because he's… Lupin. He's acting this way because he's still grateful to Clarisse for saving his life many years ago, and still sees her as the little girl she used to be. Jigen calls Lupin out on his atypical behavior fairly early in the film.
    • This may be a case of Recursive Adaptation. Miyazaki took more direct inspiration from Maurice Leblanc's novels than he did the Lupin III manga and anime. The same novels that sort of inspired Monkey Punch in the first place.
  • Ghibli Hills: The Cagliostro countryside qualifies.
  • Girl in the Tower: Clarisse is locked away in the North Tower by the Count, so she could not escape again. Cue Lupin and his Wall Crawl skills. Little does he know that he is being Lured into a Trap by the Count.
  • Glass Slipper: When Clarisse rushes off, she accidentally leaves behind her family ring which Lupin uses to track her down.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Two deaths via clock – one of the Count's Mooks and the Count himself – are signified only by sound.
    • Before the final showdown with the Count's Elite Mooks, Goemon declares he found some worthy things to cut. The camera moves away before he starts killing them.
  • Go Through Me: Clarisse does this twice for Lupin at different points during the film.
    • The first happens near the midpoint, after Lupin's been shot and left critically wounded, by Jodo. Not only does she prevent him from falling to his death, she tells Cagliostro that if he intended to kill Lupin, he'd have to kill her too. Cagliostro responds by having Jodo open fire, with each shot narrowly missing by inches. Clarisse doesn't budge, despite fearing for both their lives.
    • At the film's climax, Cagliostro prepares to fire at Lupin as he hangs from a ledge of the castle's clock tower. Clarisse literally leaps to his rescue, by jumping from the tower and attempting to take Cagliostro with her, complete with a Big "NO!".
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Lupin in a quiet moment with Clarisse in her tower room, letting a rose magically appear in his hand, then unraveling the flags. She is totally sold on it.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Early on, Lupin uses this tool to save Clarisse from falling off the cliff, they end up in a Literal Cliffhanger.
  • Gratuitous German: In the Animaze dub, Gustav sometimes speaks with German words.
  • Green Around the Gills: Lupin falls sick and his face turns all green after he overstuffs himself on food to regain his stamina. Combined with Balloon Belly.
  • Handshake Refusal: Even after they have become Fire-Forged Friends, Inspector Zenigata refuses to shake hands with Lupin.
  • Hard-to-Light Fire: While on top of the main castle, Lupin III is trying to light a rocket but has a lot of difficulty with his lighter due to the wind. He eventually drops the rocket and has to long-jump over the towers manually.
  • Haunted House Historian: The groundskeeper, informing the heroes about the fire that killed Clarisse's parents and left the castle in ruins.
  • Historical In-Joke: A brief scene explains how Cagliostro's currency counterfeiting was responsible for the 1929 Stock Market Crash and World War II.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: The Cagliostro family's centuries-old counterfeiting operation caused the collapse of the Bourbon dynasty, financed Napoleon, and brought about the Wall Street Crash.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The count activates the emptying of the reservoir lake, and the process sets the Clock Tower to 12, crushing him between the hands.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Played with. While Lupin is severely wounded, and recovers after gorging himself to the point of being sick and then sleeping… his injuries are present for the rest of the movie. Even though it doesn't really slow him down any, his head is still bandaged, and he expresses pain when Clarisse hugs him.
  • I Owe You My Life: The main reason Lupin is deadset on saving Clarisse from being married to Cagliostro. Early in his career, Lupin was injured and nursed back to health thanks to a young Clarisse. He considers saving Clarisse to be paying back the favor.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • Averted at the rooftop when Jodo hits Lupin with a single bullet fired.
    • Played straight when the Count's men fail to hit Clarisse and Lupin at close range, while pursuing them in the Clock Tower.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Lupin infiltrates the titular castle by posing as Inspector Zenigata, claiming that the real one Gustav saw was an imposter. It works. Gustav falls for it and attacks Zenigata and his men, allowing Lupin to slip inside unnoticed.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Goemon falls under this trope largely because Katanas Are Just Better ("this is no ordinary sword", he says). When a wounded Lupin falls into the car from the autogyro, Goemon's sword swipe gets Lupin neatly out of his burning clothes without further scratching Lupin.
  • Improvised Weapon: Lupin uses several of these, but the most notable is the long-handled wrench†  he duels the Count with.
  • The Ingenue: Clarisse is rather innocent and also seems pretty sheltered. Justified since she was sent to live in a convent after her parents died, and she's only recently returned from there.
  • In Harm's Way: The discovery of the Gothic Bills brings Lupin and Jigen to Cagliostro.
  • In Name Only: The Castle of Cagliostro was very loosely based on a 1924 Maurice Leblanc book called La Comtesse de Cagliostro. Mostly only character names and maybe a few story concepts were carried over.
  • Instant Dogend: All of Jigen's smokes are battered and bent before he takes his first puff. Only some of Lupin's are.
    • This detail is a Call-Back to a story in the manga (partly adapted in the "Green Jacket" anime Miyazaki worked on) where Zenigata realizes Lupin is nearby because of a cigarette butt – Lupin smokes an expensive import brand no one else is known to use.
  • Instant Expert: Lupin tells Zenigata to to fly the autogyro, so he can jump onto the tower's roof and save Clarisse and Fujiko. Lampshaded by the inspector who says that he can't fly the thing. He does reasonably well… until it explodes.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: The fight amongst the Clock Tower's gears is one of the most iconic in cinematic history.
  • Interpol Special Agent: Inspector Zenigata actually has people to report to in this film, although they seem more preoccupied with politics than law enforcement, which puts Zenigata at odds with them.
  • I Warned You: The entirety of Zenigata's "accidental" discovery of the Gothic Press broadcast on live television which he hams up as a "up yours" to Interpol brushing him off earlier.
  • Karmic Death: The Count manages to unlock the treasure, but by doing so, the clock tower automatically moves to noon and the clock's hands crush him to death.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Jigen's bullets bounce off the Elite Mooks… but Goemon's sword doesn't. Fans of the series know Goemon's sword is a one-of-a-kind katana possessing a super-sharp edge.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Implied. Look at all those corpses in the oubliette. Most of them were killed either for political reasons or to keep the counterfeiting operation from being exposed.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Lupin, who cannot forget Clarisse.
  • Latex Perfection: Lupin and Jigen wear face masks to hide their identity when crossing the border into Cagliostro.
  • Leitmotif: A quick one - when Lupin rescues Clarisse the first time, the refrain from the 1977 theme (which is to the Lupin franchise what the Imperial March is to Star Wars) plays.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lupin is always wearing his green jacket when not in disguise. Exaggerated, as we see him wearing that same jacket ten years earlier as a youngster in his Flashback.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: Early on, when Lupin and Clarisse are hanging from a wire off a cliff.
  • Little Brother Is Watching: Possibly the reason why Lupin Did Not Get the Girl. At the end of the movie, Clarisse hugs Lupin tight and begs to become a thief and leave Cagliostro with him. Lupin visibly trembles before pushing her away gently. Did he not want her to move to the dark side? Or was she just his Girl of the Week? Or maybe he was in pain from her hugging his wounds again?
  • Lost in Translation: Early fansub translators and even seasoned translator Neil Nadelman managed to miss that gohto in the description of the forged bills and the language on the rings refers not to the English "Goat", but to Gothic – as in the ancient East Germanic language whose writing system was essentially a mishmash of Greek, Latin, and a couple of Runes. They were apparently confused by Miyazaki's use of goats as an Arc Symbol resulting in a bilingual Stealth Pun. Thus we got the famous "Goat-Bills" and "Goat Letters" ("Capran" in the Animaze dub, itself a pun on the scientific name for the genus goats belong to). It wasn't until 2014, when Discotek hired veteran pro Shoko Ōno to redo the translation, that the error was noticed and corrected. Translation liner notes were included on the disc explaining the whole thing.
  • Lost Wedding Ring: It's a Plot Coupon and Lupin holds it.
  • Lured into a Trap: The Count knows that Lupin is coming for Clarisse and captures him shortly after his arrival in her tower.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The titular Castle is full of booby traps (and a basement of skeletons to show for it).
  • Master Forger:
    • The MacGuffin that starts the plot and occasionally is referenced are the "Goat Bills", created in secret inside of the titular castle by the evil branch of the country's royal family with quite the Historical Rap Sheet (being allegedly one of the main reasons The Great Depression happened, among others). The operation has been going for so long that the Bills have achieved a legendary status as being virtually impossible to distinguish from the real deal (unless you are just that good at spotting them, like Lupin is).
    • Lupin forges a duplicate of Princess Clarisse's silver ring, incorporating a two-way radio, self-destruct, and confetti inside as well. Count Cagliostro doesn't even notice until Lupin makes use of the radio function to reassure the Princess that he wasn't killed.
  • McNinja: The Count's assassins have armor underneath their black catsuits that protect them from small arms fire.
  • Micro Monarchy: The Grand Duchy of Cagliostro is this. See also Ruritania.
  • Military Salute: Inspector Zenigata salutes Count Cagliostro when he reports in. Cagliostro doesn't even acknowledge it, being the asshole he is.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Clarisse has pupil-less eyes as a result of being drugged for her wedding so she would not speak up.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: When Lupin and Jigen discover the money they lifted in Monaco is funny money, it leads Lupin to the micronation of Cagliostro, which leads him to an Ancient Conspiracy and a greed-driven Evil Plan by Count Cagliostro.
  • Money to Throw Away: After the heist at the opening, Lupin and Jigen toss away the useless (to him) counterfeit Gothic Bills.
  • Mood Whiplash: The scene on the rooftop, when the party has almost escaped and Lupin tries to leap onto the Autogyro and gets shot by Jodo. Up to that point the movie was extremely light-hearted with the heroes displaying extreme Plot Armor. The minutes following are more on the dramatic side.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Gustav for the royal guard and Jodo for the elite mooks.
  • Mooks: The normal Cagliostro castle guard and the Interpol troopers fall under this.
  • Ms. Exposition: The waitress at the inn who connects the ring to Lady Clarisse, provides background to Clarisse (the convent) and informs them about the upcoming wedding.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Lupin does this to one of the marine mooks and later the Archbishop.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Lupin got his ass kicked 10 years earlier trying to infiltrate the castle and discover the source of the famous counterfeit Gothic Bills. His and Jigen's heist of what turns out to be counterfeit money from a casino and the attempted rescue of Clarisse sets him on the task again.
  • No OSHA Compliance: All those giant exposed gears in the clock tower can't be safety standards compliant.
  • Obviously Evil: Jodo does not look like a good guy. Neither does the Count.
  • Oddly Small Organization: Inverted. Given how small the grand duchy is (roughly 3,500 people), the Count's guard and ninja force appears to make up at least five percent of the total population.
  • Older and Wiser: It's heavily implied that the usual Lupin cast is getting on in years, via Lupin being less manic and lecherous, while preferring more practical tools like the Fiat or a cheap disposable lighter over his usual, more extravagant cars and gadgets. Word of God has said this is why he doesn't make a move on Clarisse, since he's so much older than her, and still sees her as the little girl from ten years prior. A piece of concept art for the film depicts a visibly-older Lupin, but was likely rejected early on, making the characters Older Than They Look instead.
  • One Last Job: Miyazaki stated in an interview that his concept for the movie was to depict Lupin's last big adventure.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Clarisse's ring, an heirloom of her Cagliostro royal family which was handed to her from her parents before they died.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Somewhat. In the catacombs Zenigata bids a Rest In Peace out of camaraderie to a Japanese spy that wrote his own epitaph. Zenigata is later seen leading the charge into the Count's printing press with a jitte, a traditional Japanese bludgeon.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Clarisse's wedding dress. As noted above, the daughter of Japan's Emperor-Emeritus liked it so much that she had a real-world one made for her own wedding.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Fujiko does this during an escape. Her other hand is busy wielding an automatic pistol.
  • Pop the Tires: In the opening chase scene, Jigen attempts to shoot out the tires of the henchmen's vehicle. The first time, it's subverted; he hits the tires, but they are a special kind that are impervious to regular bullets. Jigen upgrades his ammo and tries again, this time hitting them and causing the car to immediately spin out and crash into the side of the mountain.
  • Portrait Painting Peephole: Fujiko uses these to spy on the Count in his quarters.
  • The Prophecy: The words inscribed on Clarisse's ring by her ancestor, Gotoh, is a key part of the plot – "Light will rejoin shadow and live again."
  • Ramen Slurp: The cheap ramen eaten by Zenigata and his police force are contrasted with the fancy meals enjoyed by Count Cagliostro. Lupin and Jigen are shown eating spaghetti the same way earlier (as well as eating cup-noodles themselves as Zenigata pulls up to the castle – you can see the instant udon bowls in the back of their car along with the other supplies in the early driving scenes, and Jigen catches one that falls out of their gear as they're loading up the car to chase after the burning autogyro).
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Jigen wears Clarisse's tiara during the climax.
  • Red Index, Blue Index: The two family rings are contrasted in red and blue. Interestingly, the female side wears the blue ring while the male counterpart wears the red ring.
  • Regent for Life: The Count wants to become this by marrying Clarisse.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: Lupin and Fujiko lead an on-again-off-again relationship, as she explains to Clarisse:
    Fujiko: "We've been allies, and enemies, too. On occasion, we've even been lovers."
  • Rescue Romance: Doesn't develop beyond a Rescue Crush. Clarisse falls in love with Lupin after the first time he saves her, but even by the end of the movie, he can't be tied down and leaves.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Hayao Miyazaki continued to tone down Lupin III from the raunchier, more manic version depicted in the manga, making him much Lighter and Softer. As a result, the film flopped in Japan when it was first released – the people who liked Lupin III for what it was were turned off, and the people who didn't like Lupin III didn't have any reason to watch the movie. It was only in later years, when Miyazaki gained recognition for his original works and more people watched the movie without any prior Lupin experience, that it belatedly gained a reputation as a classic.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: Lupin and Jigen throw down over who has to change the flat tire on their car (Jigen's version of "scissors" involves using his thumb and forefinger, like he's miming a pistol). Jigen loses.
  • Roof Hopping: The Elite Mooks come and assault Lupin and Jigen via the city's rooftops. Our heroes then use the same way to escape.
  • Runaway Bride: Clarisse starts off as a runaway fiancée, but then turns into a proper runaway bride during the wedding ceremony when Lupin snatches her away.
  • Runaway Fiancé: See above. Clarisse bailed when the guards left her room to allow her to change into her wedding dress (presumably to rehearse the ceremony). But in spite of Lupin's efforts, she is recaptured, and this time imprisoned in a tall tower.
  • Ruritania: The Grand Duchy of Cagliostro has a population of 3,500 and is the smallest independent member nation of the United Nations.
  • Screen Shake: The screen jitters at least twice, once when Lupin disjoints the gears in the Clock Tower and again when the whole tower explodes and sinks into the sea.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The Count has numerous connections with Interpol and several governments. This is one of the reasons Zenigata is taken off the counterfeiting case.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Lupin is dropped down an oubliette into a dungeon filled with bones that date across centuries.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: The Groundskeeper (probably actually Lupin) offers to show the Archbishop an alternate route to the castle. The Archbishop never arrives.
  • Shout-Out: As a bona-fide animation classic, it works both ways.
    • Shout-outs the movie makes to other things:
      • The title itself: the original Arsène Lupin books had an encounter with La Dame de Cagliostro. But that means that Clarisse and Lupin are third-cousins.
      • Miyazaki's confessed admiration for the French animated classic The King and the Mockingbird can be seen from the humongous trap-filled castle to the elaborate elevators.
      • The film contains a number of "shout-outs" to Miyazaki's own previous work in the first TV series with Isao Takahata. The plot structure of the movie borrows heavily from its tenth episode – which also involved counterfeiting and a clock tower – and there are a number of callbacks to other episodes as well; anyone who had seen the first series would have had ample reason for nostalgia.
      • Lupin's iconic yellow Fiat 500 was the car driven in real life by chief animator Yasuo Ohtsuka. Clarisse's Citroën CV was Miyazaki's car during that time.
    • Later works have paid homage to several elements of this movie over the years. Given its original poor performance at the box office, it is a bit ironic that Cagliostro has become one of the most shouted-out-to properties in subsequent Lupin specials and movies as people who grew up on Cagliostro themselves get the chance to work on Lupin.
      • Lupin's yellow Fiat has appeared in movies and shows ranging from Cowboy Bebop to Pixar's Cars series. Thanks to this film's influence, if you see a Fiat in an animated work, there's a good chance it's going to be yellow.
      • If you see a car chase in an animated piece, and it takes place on a mountain road, expect it to basically be a remake of this movie's sequence. Especially if it's a Lupin special. Teen Titans is one such example.
      • Episode 24 of Super Dimension Fortress Macross (and thus Robotech) features a brief clip of a video arcade driving game that seems to be based on the Clarisse chase sequence—being played by someone in a suspiciously Lupin-like blue jacket and sideburns. This could be construed as a reference both to Castle of Cagliostro and to the Cliff Hanger laserdisc arcade game based on it – though Cliff Hanger used a joystick and buttons, not a steering wheel.
      • A number of Western animated works paid homage to other parts of this film, too — The Great Mouse Detective and an episode of Batman: The Animated Series homages the clock tower fight. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm included a shot-for-shot remake of part of the aqueduct sequence, and the creative team behind Atlantis: The Lost Empire admitted that part of that film's finalé was inspired by the revelation of the "treasure" in the finale of Cagliostro.
  • Shown Their Work: Every vehicle or gun seen in this movie, even those shown for only split seconds that you have to freeze-frame to see, were either exact replications of real-world or based on real-world designs. This was actually on the orders of producer Yasuo Ohtsuka (and has been followed since he oversaw "Green Jacket"), though Miyazaki prefers grounding things in realism just as much.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Lupin is normally planted pretty firmly on the cynical side, but Miyazaki slid him to the side of idealism. This can be jarring to viewers who are introduced to Lupin here, then watch his usual jerkass antics in any of his other movies or series (to say nothing of the extremely raunchy and cynical manga) – even though the film goes out of its way to show Lupin has a reason for being better behaved than usual.
  • Slippery Swimsuit: Lupin dives underwater after one of the Count's aqua-suited goons. As he swims in pursuit through a tunnel, his boxers start to slip. At the end of the chase, he drags the unfortunate goon back into the tunnel… then reaches out to snatch his boxers before they can float away.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The old groundskeeper only appears in a few scenes, but he helps explain Lupin's connection to the Princess and helps Lupin recover from his injuries and infiltrate the castle during the climax.
  • Smug Snake: Count Cagliostro is one of the most perfect examples of the trope in all of fiction.
  • Soft Water: The castle is built in the middle of a lake, with lots of high towers; there's no bonus points for guessing what happens later in the film.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Combined with Wedding Smashers. Lupin, via recording or radio ventriloquism, interrupts the Archbishop (who is actually Lupin in disguise) right after he says the trope name.
  • Spring-Loaded Corpse: Invoked with an apparently slumbering Lupin and Zenigata turning out to be skeletons clad in their suits that jump up and surprise some would-be assassins. However, rather than being reanimated, these corpses are merely on wires.
  • Spy Cam: Fujiko's brooch works as a Spy Cam, which she uses to take photographs at the Count's vault.
  • Stock Clock Hand Hang: During the climax, Big Bad Count Cagliostro catches up to the heroes and captures Princess Clarisse, forcing Lupin to give up the family's royal rings in exchange for her life. But when he doesn't honor his end of the bargain and attempts to off Lupin, Clarisse tries to jump off the tower and take him down with her. However, the Count stops their fall by jabbing his sword into the tower's stone wall, just above the giant clock hand. While hanging, he kicks off Clarisse before climbing back onto the tower to solve the riddle behind his family's long-lost treasure.
  • The Stoic: Goemon as usual. In one scene Jigen huddles under a blanket, complaining about the cold. Goemon just stands there, completely unbothered.
  • Storming the Castle: The castle is stormed by an army of Interpol cops led by Zenigata during the final act, at the same time that Lupin puts his plan to beat the Count into action.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Even the Cagliostro palace guard's strength in numbers is no match for a well-trained army of Japanese police officers, who twice form a phalanx to defend against the palace guard and both times prove numerical superiority won't help you when you're up against a Japanese police force.
    • Lupin has Zenigata Take the Wheel of the autogyro during the rescue attempt, but Zenigata, who tries to warn Lupin that he doesn't really know how to fly it, is unable to maneuver well enough to pick everyone up properly afterwards, and the rescue fails.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Inspector Zenigata is in fine form here, and he's heavy on the "sympathetic" this time, to the point where he becomes a Fire-Forged Friend to Lupin when both are trapped in the castle's dungeon.
  • Taken Off the Case: Inspector Zenigata is taken off the counterfeiting case with the Interpol council refusing to accept his evidence.
  • Take the Wheel:
    • Right after the car chase is over Lupin notices that Clarisse fainted. He has Jigen take the Fiat's wheel so that he can cross over to Clarisse's car and take control.
    • Lupin pulls the same stunt with Zenigata on the autogyro when he tells the inspector to take over, though the latter doesn't even know how to fly. But he manages.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: While Jigen cannot be faulted for wanting to upgrade his weaponry after his Magnum revolver failed to put down one of the Count's armored assassins with a point-blank shot to the face, one cannot help but think that maybe immediately escalating to the use of an anti-tank rifle against personal targets at close range was slightly excessive. Even if Jigen somehow managed to use it to blast away armor without ever actually being seen to kill anyone.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Jodo, when he notices how Lupin's calling card begins in the Streamline dub. This naturally results in a Curse Cut Short before the Count urges Jodo to continue.
    You son of a bitch: I hate to spoil your wedding plans, but I'm going to steal your bride. It would be a waste of your time to try to stop me.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: This movie has Lupin and Fujiko behave in a far kinder manner than usual.
  • Toon Physics:
    • Lupin and Jigen's car drives sideways up a vertical cliff during the car chase, both characters can jump as if they're using Wire Fu, Lupin tries (and almost succeeds) to swim upstream in a waterfall and downward in mid-air (after he ran straight down a tower wall!)…
    • Lupin shows off unthinkable long-jump skills on the roofs of the castle. Sure, he had a lot of momentum going, but it's still silly.
  • Trap Door: The titular castle is rife with secret passages, Portrait Painting Peepholes, and of course trap doors. The trap doors all dump their victims into the same vast cistern; after several centuries of use, it's not a fun place to be.
    • When Lupin pays Clarisse a visit, the Count's men subtly herd him to the room's trap door and drop him like a bad habit.
    • The castle has one that's an actual trap in the main entrance hall. It's even hooked up to a fake bust that spits out pictures, Polaroid style, of whoever it drops into the dungeon (poor Zenigata gets to be the film's demonstration). Lupin, thus informed, manages to turn it on Jodo and Gustav. The Count is merely amused when he sees the picture of them nearly falling in and commends Jodo for confirming that the trap works.
    • When the Gothic Bills are burned in the basement, the trap doors become chimneys, and the smoke pours from random bits of the entire castle.
  • Troperiffic: This is a Lupin movie, after all.
  • Two-Faced Aside: After being cornered on the roof by the Count and his men, Clarisse offers to surrender her ring to him on the condition they let Lupin and Fujiko go. Cagliostro pretends to agree to these terms. Yet when the Count's right hand man Jodo raises concern, the Count replies low enough so only Jodo can hear him, "When she moves away, shoot 'em".
  • Two Halves Make a Plot: Central to the plot are two rings owned respectively by Princess Clarisse and her uncle, Count Cagliostro. Their faces are identical save their color - Clarisse's is blue, the Count's is red. Each bears a goat's head and an inscription in a dead language called "Capran"; "When light and shadow are joined once again, it shall be restored. AD 1517." The rings have been passed down for generations on both the "Light" and "Shadow" sides of the family, and the Count believes that means him marrying the Princess. However, Lupin manages to steal the rings at the same time as he steals/rescues Clarisse, and makes the much more obvious conclusion of simply pressing the faces of the rings together, revealing another inscription etched around their joined edges; "When light and shadow are joined, face the Goat on high who faces the sun and tells time, and place me in his eyes." The inscription tells Lupin how to use the two rings to reveal the secret of the Castle of Cagliostro.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: After all the hullabaloo, the secret of the treasure is simply a goat figure at the top of the clock tower, each of its eyes a keyhole meant for one of the royal rings.
  • Underwater Ruins: This turns out to be the treasure of Cagliostro.
  • Underwear Swimsuit: Lupin and Zenigata are forced into swimming in their underwear to escape from the dungeons of the castle. Lupin actually loses his boxers while chasing a fleeing minion underwater.
  • Universal Driver's License: Lupin has one of these while Zenigata doesn't. Lupin's is obviously forged.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Lupin uses a map to explain to his partners how to invade the castle. Of course, this means it won't go as planned.
  • Vehicular Assault: The thugs try to stop Clarisse's escape by ramming into her car. The impact knocks her unconscious.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The Count has connections and gets the press to show him as the hero of the wedding day, saving Clarisse from the claws of Lupin, instead of being charged for the counterfeiting.
  • Waiting Skeleton: When Lupin and Zenigata are dropped into the oubliette, they discover hundreds of skeletons who were trapped inside. One was a Japanese spy that been waiting for decades, leaving behind a uniformed skeleton.
  • Wall Crawl: Lupin exercises this skill when climbing the top of the North Tower to free Clarisse.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: The worldwide broadcast of the Count's wedding goes off-air, courtesy of some of his Elite Mooks, after Lupin starts disrupting things. Unlike most such examples, the broadcast is soon restored because the newscaster happens to be Fujiko, who is quite capable of defeating them.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Lupin's Fiat 500, especially after it somehow survives having a grenade explode right on top of it. Judging from the lever Lupin pulls before the first chase sequence, it's very heavily modified.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The real Archbishop is never mentioned again after the groundskeeper offers to show him an alternate route to the castle. One can only assume Lupin knocked the poor fellow unconscious and left him either locked or tied up somewhere in nothing but his underclothes, instructing the groundskeeper to let him go after everything was taken care of.
  • What Is This, X?: The Streamline dub has Lupin ask Jodo's assassins if they're a "tour group from Hell" when they break into the room he and Jigen are renting. Ironically, the phrase Lupin uses in Japanese is an announcement traditionally used by hotel staff to greet an arriving a party of guests.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Lupin and Jigen hide their identity when crossing the border into Cagliostro by wearing wigs, hats, shades and face masks.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist:
    • Lupin and Jigen's Casino de Monte-Carlo heist ends up with them financially empty-handed after it turns out the money they stole was counterfeit.
    • The big "Treasure of Cagliostro" that the Count was after turns out to be a beautiful ancient Roman city, well-preserved at the bottom of a man-made lake; Clarisse's ancestors flooded it to prevent barbarians from sacking it. It's obviously something of incalculable value to Clarisse's country and will be cherished by archaeologists and historians, but it's just as obviously not something a Gentleman Thief can swipe. Lupin promptly lampshades it; "This is a treasure for all mankind. Too big for my pocket, anyway."
    • On the other hand, Lupin's happy because he got to rescue a princess, but one might ask why Fujiko was running around the deathtrap castle under the nose of an ancient counterfeiting ring. It was so she could steal the plates from Cagliostro's printing presses - y'know, the ones for counterfeiting money even first-world governments can't tell from the real thing. So she rides off into the sunset with a king's ransom while Lupin continues his Stern Chase from Zenigata.
  • The X of Y: The Castle of Cagliostro.
  • You Are Already Checked In: Lupin disguises himself as Zenigata, and insists that Gustav (Cagliostro's Captain of the Guard) was foolish for not recognizing the previous Inspector Zenigata as Lupin in disguise.
  • You're Insane!: The stock phrase is used in the Streamline dub…
    Lupin: We have to go back now and pick up the princess.
    Zenigata: WHAT?! Are you out of your mind??
    Lupin: I thought you knew that!

Alternative Title(s): Lupin III The Castle Of Cagliostro