Lupine III vs. detective Conan is Mystery Fans’ ideal gateway anime

The following article provides a brief discussion of suicide and self-harm.

Audiences always love to see their favorite characters from different franchises clash or work together in a crossover, and some combinations just seem made for each other. For example, pitting master criminal Arsène Lupine from Lupine the 3rd against the greatest detective of anime, Conan Edogawa from Detective Conan, seems like an obvious choice. Fortunately, this crossover happened and a fantastic TV special came out of it. And because Discotek Media has released a new Blu-ray version of the movie, it’s easier than ever to dive into the action.


Lupine the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan is a TV special first released in 2009. Created to celebrate NTV’s 55th anniversary and Yomiuri TV’s 50th anniversary, this special was directed by Hajime Kamegaki, who previously appeared on several Detective Conan and Lupine III projects and has an in-depth knowledge of both franchises. The prolific studio TMS Entertainment was a natural choice to provide the animation, as it has a lot of experience with both Lupine the 3rd and Detective Conan.

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The Story of Lupine the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan

Lupine the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan begins by introducing viewers to the fictional European kingdom of Vespania. This kingdom prospered until Queen Sakura was accidentally killed by her son during a hunting trip. The son commits suicide out of guilt, sending the region into chaos as the line of succession becomes exceptionally confused.

Princess Mira should be next in line, but doesn’t want the part, and a growing segment of the population believes she’s unfit to rule and threatens to overthrow the monarchy. To protect the princess, the man who trained Vespania’s army is called in as her bodyguard: Lupine’s old friend Daisuke Jigen. Lupine hopes to use this moment and Daisuke’s history to steal the kingdom’s crown jewels.


This won’t be as easy as first thought, though, as the princess’s advisers have arranged a tour of Japan to boost her popularity. This tour includes a party at the Grand Hotel West City Tama where someone tries to poison the princess. Fortunately, two partygoers – Kogoro Mouri and Conan Edogawa – soon begin to figure out who is to blame.

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Why Lupine the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan is a fitting tribute to both franchises

One of the best things about this special is the sheer amount of content that fits into its 104 minute runtime. Not just all the core characters of both Lupine III and Detective Conan get to do some of their signature maneuvers, but the case itself is also very complex, with lots of fun twists that will leave viewers guessing until the very end. Combine this with some beautifully animated set pieces that perfectly capture the aesthetics of both shows – without ever clashing or looking odd when placed side by side – and you can see why fans loved this special.


The only downside is that the title is a bit of a white lie as Conan and Lupine don’t actually fight each other. But that also benefits the TV special, because letting them do their own thing gave the writers more room to come up with intriguing scenarios.

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Lupine the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan was quite popular in Japan and sold well when it was released on home media. A few years later, it even spawned a theatrical movie called Lupine the 3rd vs. Detective Conan: The Movie. The special was first brought to America in 2015 when Discotek Media released a DVD version, although the new Blu-ray offers a higher definition version, allowing American fans to enjoy the special in all its glory.


For fans of both Detective Conan or Lupine the 3rd — or mystery series in general — Lupine the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan TV Special is an ideal watch. It’s a fitting tribute to both franchises showing why they became so famous in the first place, and is full of callbacks and tributes while telling a fun standalone story that uses all the characters to their fullest potential. This new Blu-ray release lets viewers enjoy the special and fully appreciate how faithful to the original series the animation is, making it a must-see for mystery fans.

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