Tuesday, June 3, 2014

L-C Crisis

『ルパン三世VS名探偵コナン The Movie』

"In this world, there's no mystery that can be solved, and not a treasure that can't be stolen"
"Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Conan The Movie"

It will be a while before I'll see this year's Detective Conan movie (Dimensional Sniper), so today a review of another Detective Conan related movie to pass the time!

Conan, the great detective turned into a kid and Lupin III, grandson of Arsene Lupin and the greatest thief in the world, first crossed paths in 2009's Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Conan, a somewhat disappointing TV special which should only be remembered for the absolutely magnificent performance of voice actor Kamiya Akira. But the crossover between these two series turned out to be rather succesful, because a sequel was released in December 2013, in the form of Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Conan The Movie. Lupin III and his gang are back in Japan and they are planning to steal a jewel called the Cherry Sapphire which is held at a bank near Conan's home. At the same time, Conan discovers that crackshot Jigen Daisuke, Lupin's right hand, is working as a bodyguard for the popular Italian idol singer Emilio, who will be performing in Japan soon. How are these two jobs related and what is Lupin III really after?

What once started as a funny crossover cameo in Detective Conan - Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure, made possible because both Lupin III and Detective Conan are animated at TMS, has now become a little franchise series and I have to say, I enjoyed Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Conan The Movie much better than the original 2009 TV special. Which was just weird with fake foreign countries and lookalike princesses and stuff. Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Conan The Movie on the other hand is a normal heist movie, which we see from those sides: we follow both Lupin III and the gang slowly setting things up for their heist, as well as Conan (and other characters from the series) doing detectivey stuff. It's what you'd expect from a crossover between a series starring a detective, and a series starring a thief, and it works mostly.

Mostly, I say, because the story itself is actually not very good. The plot surrounding Emilio is quite ridiculous if you stop and think about it and whenever the movie enters Story Exposition Time, you just hope it is over soon. Also a fair warning, it's preferable if you watch the 2009 Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Conan TV special before the movie: there are no strong links, but references to the TV special do fall out of the sky near the end of the movie, and if you haven't seen the special, it would just be distracting and confusing.

But what is there to enjoy if the story is bad? Two things: action scenes and character interactions. I already noticed that the action scenes in Detective Conan movies have become more spectacular with each movie the last few years (incredible skateboard scene in 2010's Lost Ship in the Sky, incredible snowboard scene in 2011's Quarter of Silence, another incredible skateboard scene in 2012's The Eleventh Striker and... incredible fight and soccer scenes in 2013's Private Eye in the Distant Sea), but because this is a crossover with Lupin III, which is more of a comedic/slapstick action series, you can expect even more over-the-top action (heck, it starts right away with incredible waterboard/skateboard action..). I wouldn't say that Detective Conan is realistic, but sometimes the action does feel a bit too out of there for Conan. But they're definitely fun scenes and whenever several characters of either series are together, you can expect something fun to happen, be it of the action variety, or just character interaction.

Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Conan The Movie is really just something for the fans (duh, it's a crossover), who of course want to see how characters from different series react to each other and this movie delivers in that category, and in a way much better than was done in the original TV special. The stars of the movie are definitely cocky kid Conan and marksman Jigen, who spend some amazing time together as a bickering father-son duo. It's absolutely beautiful (second place goes to the duo Fujiko and Haibara). But a meeting between hardboiled ICPO inspector Zenigata and the somewhat bumbling police detective Takagi works wonderfully well too.

But I guess that's the main objective of a crossover like Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Conan The Movie. Pander to the fans. I know both series quite well, so I enjoyed seeing the two series blend together in this movie (in a manner done much better than the 2009 TV special), but I wouldn't recommend the movie if you have never seen Detective Conan or Lupin III. But then again, I can't imagine anyone would want to see this movie if not already familiar with at least one side of the crossover...

Original Japanese title(s): モンキー・パンチ (原:『ルパン三世』)、青山剛昌(原:『名探偵コナン』) 『ルパン三世VS名探偵コナン』

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