"Where is the Cinderella Stamp?"note , released in English as "The Little Princess of Darkness". The first episode of the second season, it aired on April 10, 1978 still just one week after the last episode. In America, it was released on DVD in 2004 by Geneon on Volume 5: Mission Irresistible.
The "Cinderella Shadow" Stamp: they were handmade, there are are only twelve in the whole world, and every owner of the stamp is said to have gone on to become a princess, upon which the silhouette of the glass slipper disappears. And as she gazes over it in a museum, little Alice Henderson wants it, badly. So badly, in fact, that when a frightening shadow on the ceiling near the case scares all of the adults away, Alice persists in remaining in the room. She is quite surprised when she turns back to find the case cut open and the stamp floating away in the air; she gives pursuit.
The cause of said stamp floating is Lupin at the window of the room with a well-placed vacuum cleaner. He returns to Jigen on the rooftop, having acquired the stamp and hidden it in a locket. Unfortunately, he has also acquired Alice, who knows he has the stamp and refuses to leave the master thief alone. Shortly after, Fujiko joins the three of them in the helicopter perched there, but Goemon is cornered by the guards. The gang is forced to leave the samurai behind and take the persistent Alice with them.
Abandoning the helicopter, the group takes off in Lupin's car. Lupin tries to dissuade Alice from the stamp by telling her that he stole it first, so that makes it his. Alice turns his logic, noting if she manages to take it from him, then it will belong to her. The debate is interrupted by a roadblock that happens to be looking for the gang and their wayward waif. When the car is stopped, Alice mentions that her "mommy" saw the men who escaped with the stamp driving away. The police ask an annoyed but powerless Fujiko to come with them to ask her some questions. As the rest of them drive off after Fujiko is taken away, Alice gloats she's the only possible target for the stamp's princess powers now that the only other girl in the group is gone.
Lupin and Jigen make an attempt to ditch Alice, but are thwarted when she steals their car keys. After an attempt at homesickness fails, Lupin offers to "pay" Alice for the stamp to make it up to her. When she agrees, Lupin and Jigen rob a bank to get the needed money to pay the little brat off, even getting involved in a police chase. After the two give her the cash, Alice promptly offers them the money back, telling the thieves she now has enough to buy the stamp from them! When Lupin refuses, she chases him around, while Jigen notes that she may be a child, but she is still a female one!
Meanwhile, Zenigata has gotten hold of a picture Alice took at the robbery. Noting Lupin and Jigen are involved, but wondering about their motives, he advises the local police on how to trap them. At a local diner, Lupin and Jigen spot the article on the "kidnapping" and are annoyed. They go to a phone booth and tell Alice to call her parents and let them know she's okay; she ask them to promise they won't leave. When she goes in the booth to make her call, Lupin and Jigen make another run for it. When they try to drive off, they find she has tied the bumper of Lupin's car to an unoccupied truck, which jerks forward and crushes the back of the car. Plus, since her parents were out of town, Alice called the next best thing: the police.
The three flee into a nearby park, which is quickly surrounded by Zenigata and the police. As each person leaves, Zenigata and the police take a close look at them. The last ones are a homeless man and his son, actually the disguised Lupin and Alice. Zenigata has them stopped and tries to get the "son" to admit that he is actually Alice in disguise, promising he won't let anyone hurt him. Alice persists in telling him she is a boy, and furthermore cons Zenigata into forcing Lupin to give her the pendant containing the stamp! Alice takes off, thanking Lupin by name. Lupin takes off after her to retrieve the stamp, and Zenigata takes off after Lupin for obvious reasons.
Girl, thief, and detective end up at a theme park, where they chase each other among the rides as Alice's dreams of being a princess take things over. Eventually, however, Lupin catches up with her and tells her it's time for the fantasy to end. Alice is in tears, though, because while the chase was going on, she dropped the pendant somewhere in the park. Frustrated, Lupin is forced to give up when Zenigata catches up with him, decoys the detective via hot-air balloon and flees.
That night, the entire gang returns to search the park grounds for the lost pendant. Suddenly, Lupin spots a nearby mailbox, and laughs. He did steal a stamp, after all!
A couple of days later, Alice, returned safely home, receives a letter in the mail. Sure enough, the Cinderella Shadow Stamp is on the front. On the back, however, is a note from Lupin. He notes she has earned the stamp, but when she becomes a princess and no longer needs it, he will be back for it. Giggling, Alice runs back into the house to wait for her dreams to come true.
This episode features examples of:
- Abridged Series: The last episode of the late, lamented Lupin III: The Abridged Series.
- Accidental Kidnapping: Alice pretty much invites herself along for the ride. Lampshaded in one scene:Lupin: This is bad for our reputation. I mean, if anything, she kidnapped us!Jigen: Well if you ask me, I'm not sure that's much better for our reputation.
- Art Shift: The background goes into crayon-scribbled pastels and simple line drawings during Alice's dream sequence.
- Crossdresser: Alice mistakes Goemon for one in the English dub:Alice: Thank you, dress-wearing man!Lupin: *groans*
- Defeat by Modesty: How Goemon takes care of the museum guards.
- Deliberately Cute Child: Alice. She's far more manipulative than she looks.
- Disney Acid Sequence: As Alice, Lupin, and Zenigata's race through the theme park.
- Don't Call Me "Sir": Lupin, Jigen, and Fujiko all tell Alice this because it makes them feel old. She pointedly ignores them.
- Genius Bonus: From the original Japanese tile — the term "Cinderella Stamp" is used in Real Life philately, to denote a stamp that while looking generally like postage, is made up in the name of a fictitious "nation" and done with no fraudulent purpose.
- Girlish Pigtails: Alice, though hers are more of the braided variety.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Goemon manages to block bullets with his blade.
- Little Miss Con Artist: Alice, who manages to play Lupin like a fiddle right until the end.
- Pity the Kidnapper: Really, Lupin's gang didn't even want Alice in the first place!
- Princess Phase: Alice would appear to be going through one.
- Replaced the Theme Tune: This episode debuted a new opening animation, and a new version of Lupin '78 with lyrics.
- Spider-Sense: The Zantetsuken's "shadow of death" gets a mention, signaling to Goemon that his friends are (physically) okay.