Koichi Zenigata

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"Zenigata" redirects here. For the original hero named "Zenigata", see Zenigata Heiji.
Koichi Zenigata
Lupin III character
Zenigata.jpg
Zenigata, as seen in Episode 0: First Contact
First appearance Lupin III chapter 1: "Dashing Appearance of Lupin III"
Created by Monkey Punch
Voiced by Norio Ōtsuka/Shinsuke Chikaishi (1969)
Gorō Naya (1971-1985; 1989-2010)
Seizō Katō (1987)
Kōichi Yamadera (2011-present)
English:
Greg Starr (Toho/Frontier)
David Povall (Streamline)
Marc Matney (AnimEigo)
Seán Barrett (Manga UK)
Kevin Seymour (Animaze/Manga)
Phillip Wilburn (FUNimation)
Dan Martin (Phuuz/Pioneer/Geneon)
Richard Epcar (FUNimation)
Portrayed by Shirō Itō (1974)
Tadanobu Asano (2014)
Profile
Nickname(s) Old Man, Pops
Aliases Detective Ed Scott (Toho dub of Mystery of Mamo)
Title Inspector
Nationality Japanese
Affiliations Interpol, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department

Koichi Zenigata (銭形 幸一 Zenigata Kōichi?), usually called Inspector Zenigata (銭形警部 Zenigata-keibu?), is a fictional character created by Monkey Punch for his manga series Lupin III, which debuted in Weekly Manga Action on August 10, 1967. He is named after a famous fictional Japanese detective, Zenigata Heiji, whose descendant he is implied to be.

Personality[edit]

Inspector Zenigata hails from Japan, city of origin unknown. According to Episode 0: First Contact, his original title was Tokyo Police Inspector whose original interest was the capture of Fujiko Mine and her then partner. His pursuit took him to New York where he met Arsene Lupin III for the first time. He left the Japanese Police Force in favor of enlisting in ICPO (called Interpol in TV series English dub) for the sake of specifically bringing Lupin to justice.

Zenigata has made it his life's mission to arrest Lupin. The other members of Lupin's gang are targeted for apprehension as well, but Zenigata usually ignores them when Lupin himself is present. Lupin and Zenigata appear to be the worst of enemies, but in the anime they are, in a manner of speaking, friends; something Lupin shows openly (often by greeting Zenigata with mock affection), but it is an idea Zenigata is extremely reluctant to entertain. Similarly, he is often awed by Lupin's genius. Zenigata has an attachment to Lupin with the belief that no one should kill him or worse, capture him, besides Zenigata himself.[1] Once, when he believe Lupin was dead, he gave up his profession and became a monk (in The Plot of the Fuma Clan). Lupin's opinion of Zenigata is a little less caring, but still filled with respect. He often seems amazed that Zenigata can keep up with him. At times he's overwhelmed by how much thought Zenigata has put into his traps for Lupin. Once, when Lupin thought Zenigata was dead, he sought to take down his supposed murderer.

While he has some interest in capturing Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko, he is really after only Lupin. Jigen seems to have a genuine fear of being caught by Zenigata, as he's left Lupin behind on at least one occasion to avoid Zenigata.

In The Mystery of Mamo (originally titled simply Lupin III), it is mentioned that Zenigata has a daughter named Toshiko, but this isn't developed any further. In the Red Jacket Series, Zenigata is asked if he has any sons, and states no. He is asked if he has any daughters, and states no. He is asked if he has a wife, and to that he also says no (or "not yet").[2] He's unable to settle down because of his eternal pursuit, and although he sometimes longs for female company (such as a reporter Maria in Crisis in Tokyo., who compares him to her father) he has no luck with women - in no small part due to his inability to commit himself to anything but chasing Lupin. In the 2012 series, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Fujiko is seen performing sexual favors for Zenigata in order to avoid jail time.

The anime version of Zenigata is a quite sensitive person and often cries in emotional situations, particularly when he thinks Lupin has done something out of consideration for him, or when finding out Lupin is OK after worrying about him. In Seven Days Rhapsody, Zenigata leaps from a helicopter to catch Lupin and hug him as a form of capture while grinning the whole time. He states that they were destined to be together. In the post credits scene, Lupin is standing out in the rain and Zenigata approaches him with eyes wide and kind and says that Lupin will catch cold outside and they should go eat some katsudon together in a warm interrogation room.

On occasions when Lupin appears to be dead, he mourns him more expressively than anyone else; partly from genuine grief, partly because he no longer has a goal in life. In the 1987 OVA The Fuma Conspiracy, Zenigata actually retires from police work when he believes Lupin has died and becomes a monk, believing that if he prays enough Lupin will be a law-abiding citizen in his next life. Because of this singular ambition, he is never particularly displeased when Lupin manages to escape his custody, since that means the hunt will go on. On one occasion when Zenigata is able to successfully capture Lupin and place him in prison he becomes frustrated that Lupin hasn't yet escaped after a year has passed and wishes for him to escape or be rescued by Jigen.[3]

Zenigata even goes so far as to cryogenically freeze himself so that he can continue to chase Lupin in the future, though both his and Lupin's cryopods malfunction and they are stuck in the present.

The origin of Zenigata's and Lupin's mutual regard was based early in the series when Lupin had the chance to shoot the Inspector, but instead wished him well and escaped. Since then, an unwritten understanding between the pair has always been neither will attempt to cause the death of the other. Further, the two are best referred as unacknowledged friends; several occasions have occurred where Lupin and gang aided Zenigata out of a life-threatening situation; when a woman the Inspector loved was killed by a criminal gang, Lupin participated in avenging her murder. On another occasion when an old enemy of Lupin's shot Zenigata point blank, Lupin began a wild motorcycle chase to apprehend the killer, partly to conclude affairs with the adversary, and partly to avenge the (supposed) death of the Inspector.

Capability[edit]

While sometimes portrayed as a bumbling fool (especially in the anime series), Zenigata is a very clever and crafty adversary to Lupin. For instance in 1979's Castle of Cagliostro, Zenigata is apparently the only official to realize the heavily guarded castle has an access by way of an ignored aqueduct; converging on the area, the inspector was moments away from capturing Lupin before being called away at the worst possible time. Although perpetually unable to permanently detain Lupin, Zenigata has proven over and over again that he is extremely capable. In Lupin III: Dead or Alive, a group of soldiers confront him while he is eating. He doesn't even get up from the table but still manages to incapacitate all the soldiers (then proceeded to leave money on the counter, stating that the soldiers will probably need some coffee when they come to). In Another Page, he quickly takes down two hit men. In Angel Tactics, he manages to fend off a hoard of Bloody Angels minions with Lupin, surprising even Lupin. He also defeats several at once using his hand cuffs throwing technique combined with hand to hand combat.

Zenigata can almost always see through Lupin's disguises. However, by the time he does, Lupin is well on his way to escaping. Zenigata himself can actually pull a trick on Lupin, incarcerating the criminal at last. In most cases, Lupin regroups and escapes, often turning the detective's own trick against him. In other cases, Lupin deliberately gets himself captured, and Zenigata is inadvertently aiding him in his plans. While he has rarely been successful in capturing Lupin, this is more because of Lupin's resourcefulness than Zenigata's incompetence. Also, Zenigata is usually alone, while Lupin has a group of competent partners. Another problem Zenigata encounters is that the majority of Lupin's targets believe their security cannot be breached and simply do not want Zenigata's help.

The inspector's excellent detective work always manages to lead him to Lupin's current location, anywhere in the world it may be. While his presence and intervention sometimes foils Lupin's thievery, he still comes up short on the capturing of his nemesis.

Still, Zenigata has a remarkable success rate in other police endeavors; he's brought numerous dangerous criminals to justice, particularly after Lupin has defeated them. This degree of success enables him to still lead the Lupin investigation, even after so many failed attempts. A highly decorated and respected professional, Lupin is the only stain on his otherwise perfect record. According to 1989's Goodbye Lady Liberty, he has "tried and failed to arrest Lupin 738 times".

His greatest weakness is his single-mindedness; he is so intent upon catching Lupin, that he usually ignores (or fails to discover) any obstacles - even insurmountable ones - inevitably resulting in Lupin getting away. He is, however, extremely skilled - few people stand a chance when Zenigata goes after them, so his obsession with Lupin may stem from the fact that he's the only one who presents a challenge for Zenigata's talents. His personality has two extremes. The first being the series, competent police officer. The second being the goofy, overzealous Lupin chaser. Unfortunately, the second often interferes with the first.

Lupin is genuinely impressed with Zenigata's doggedness and skills, and has implied that he thinks it a shame he has to be a cop - under different circumstances they might have been great partners. Partly out of respect, partly out of the excitement each brings to the other, the Inspector and Lupin share an unwritten rule... neither will deliberately attempt to kill the other in their cat-and-mouse chase. Further if the Inspector is in need of help that only Lupin and gang can provide, the bunch leaps to his help without hesitation.

Zenigata is also aware that while Lupin may be a scoundrel, there are worse evils in the world, and he's willing to team up with Lupin's gang to bring down a more dangerous threat (which has happened in numerous specials and several episodes). However, this is always with the mutual understanding that he intends to arrest Lupin upon neutralization of the common foe with his loud proclamation "Lupin! You're Under Arrest!".

Physical skills[edit]

Zenigata appears to be in good physical shape, and has shown proficiency in Judo and Karate, able to dispatch multiple attackers with minimal effort. He's also capable with a jitte, the traditional Japanese police weapon designed to counterattacks with a sword. He is also quite the accurate shot with his gun, a Colt .45 pistol (although nowhere near Daisuke Jigen's skill level), and an almost inhuman skill with handcuffs, which he throws in a bola-like manner at his prey.

Zenigata's subconscious, however, appears to be in full control of his body. During chases he can perform superhuman physical feats without thinking, simply because of his preoccupation with Lupin. For example, in 1997's In Memory of the Walther P-38, the mere mention of Lupin's name is enough to wake him from a critical coma, even as he is about to succumb to a near-fatal bullet wound. When accidentally knocked out by the stun-gun wristwatch used by Conan Edogawa in 2009's Lupin the 3rd vs Detective Conan, he was only out for a few seconds when according to Conan, it would render an elephant unconscious for 30 minutes.[4] Zenigata's obsession when he gets upset or close to Lupin seems to give him superhuman abilities. In The Hemingway Papers he is trapped in an underground cell, but manages to break the door down when he gets angry enough.

Lupin often comments that "Pops" needs to calm down and shouldn't get so excited or worked up for a man his age. This could simply be taunting, or genuine concern that Zenigata gets so physically involved in the chases.

Subordinates[edit]

Zenigata occasionally has a squad of policemen under his command (no matter where he is, since he is from Interpol), and they respect and admire him greatly, almost to the point of fanaticism. They are willing to place themselves in considerable harm's way to help him, and they are even willing to disobey orders from higher ups to support his hunches. However, Zenigata is frequently confronting Lupin alone, simply because he has outrun his backup or is the only one able to catch up with the thief. Zenigata and his backup tend to be humiliated as a group and then eluded. Despite this, the higher ups usually see him as merely a nuisance, so much as to try and give the Lupin case to someone else on several occasions.

It appears Zenigata also has many connections to various police forces around the world. In the Lupin III/Detective Conan crossover special, he was said to be an associate of Inspector Megure. During the time of the special, Kogoro Mori was temporary made Zenigata's assistant because Kogoro required his help to get into a country Ran had been forcibly taken to.

Melon Cop[edit]

In the second manga series, Shin Lupin III (known in English as Lupin III – World's Most Wanted), Zenigata has a deadly assistant (named Mellon Kiichi in the American version) whom he usually refers to as "Melon Cop". While generally inferior in experience and ability to Zenigata himself, Melon Cop has certain key differences and talents. These include better aim, the unheard of ability to defeat Zenigata in handcuff-tossing, and a better grip of technology than Zenigata. Also, unlike Zenigata, Melon seems to prefer using assassination methods to stop Lupin and his gang. However, by the end of the second series, he had largely been reduced to secondary character status. From then on, he appears only rarely, and simply to help Zenigata fight Lupin. Melon also seems to be capable of facing Lupin without Zenigata's help, fully defeating him on several occasions, only to have Lupin escape with the help of Jigen or Fujiko. On one notable occasion, Fujiko was captured by Melon with the help of a civilian inventor, and only Lupin and Fujiko working together were able to stop Melon.

Lupin seems to have met Melon before he met Zenigata. This is evidenced by Zenigata having no memory of at least one incident involving the two; Melon shot a boy Lupin had been teaching at the time. Zenigata should remember this if it occurred any time after he was assigned to apprehend the thief.

In the Red Jacket Series anime, Zenigata goes to France to capture Lupin where he is assigned a partner, Melon, a female detective and the granddaughter of Inspector Garimard, rival of the original Arsène Lupin. Her outfit bears a slight resemblance to the manga Melon Cop's look.[5]

Oscar[edit]

In the TV series, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Zenigata has a main assistant in Oscar, a young officer who is fiercely loyal to Zenigata. Oscar, in fact, is in love with Zenigata, and will do anything to prove his worth to Zenigata. This love ends up allowing Oscar to be manipulated by the series antagonist, Count Luis Yew Armied.

Emily[edit]

In Angel Tactics, Zenigata works with a clumsy, overzealous girl name Emily. When she betrays him, he states to Lupin that he had started to think of her as his daughter and genuinely wanted to help her become a better cop.

Nicknames[edit]

Lupin often refers to Zenigata as tottsan (とっつぁん), a form of address that is usually translated as "Old Man" or "Pops" (with "Pops" used most frequently in the English dub). He is named after a famous fictional Japanese detective, Zenigata Heiji. Zenigata's ability to handcuff criminals at a distance also comes from Zenigata Heiji, who threw coins with great force and accuracy and used them as weapons to disable criminals. In Japanese, the title of inspector is keibu (警部), although an early dub of Castle of Cagliostro erroneously stated Keibu as Zenigata's first name.

In the Italian version he's often nicknamed Zazà or Papà Zenigata (Daddy Zenigata) by Lupin. The German version often calls him Zazza. The French version calls him Inspecteur Gaston Lacogne. In the Philippine dub, he is often called "Defective" Zenigata (mostly as a taunt because of his constant inability to capture Lupin). In the new Spanish dub, Lupin often calls him "Papaíto" ("daddy").

Reception[edit]

Zenigata was voted the eighth best supporting character in anime by Mania.com.[6] Mania.com also put Zenigata as the 9th greatest anime detective.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Happy Betrayals to You" (in Japanese). Lupin III. Episode 38. June 26, 1978. Event occurs at 15:00.
  2. ^ "The Famous Painting Theft Ultra Operation" (in Japanese). Lupin III. Episode 100. September 10, 1979. Event occurs at 12:51.
  3. ^ "One Chance for a Prison Break" (in Japanese). Lupin III. Episode 4. November 14, 1971. Event occurs at 13:15.
  4. ^ Lupin III vs Detective Conan
  5. ^ "Revenge of Le Nerd" (in English). Lupin III. Episode 27. April 17, 1978. Event occurs at 0:00.
  6. ^ Thomas, Mark. "10 Best Supporting Characters in Anime". Mania.com. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  7. ^ 10 Greatest Anime Detectives from Mania.com