First English-language volume of Lupin III released by Tokyopop.
|Genre||Adventure, Comedy-drama, Crime, Kaitō|
|Written by||Monkey Punch|
|Published by||Futabasha, Chuokoron-Shinsha|
|Magazine||Weekly Manga Action|
|Original run||August 10, 1967 – May 22, 1969|
|Lupin III – World's Most Wanted|
|Written by||Monkey Punch|
|Magazine||Weekly Manga Action|
|Original run||June 23, 1977 – May 28, 1981|
|Anime television series|
|Lupin III Part I|
|Directed by||Masaaki Ōsumi
|Written by||Sōji Yoshikawa|
|Music by||Takeo Yamashita|
|Network||YTV, NNS, Animax|
|Original run||October 24, 1971 – March 26, 1972|
|Anime television series|
|Lupin III Part II|
|Directed by||Hideo Nishimaki
|Music by||Yuji Ohno|
|Network||NTV, NNS, Animax|
|Original run||October 3, 1977 – October 6, 1980|
|Anime television series|
|Lupin III Part III|
|Directed by||Yuzo Aoki
|Produced by||Tadahito Matsumoto|
|Written by||Jiku Omiya
|Music by||Yuji Ohno|
|Network||YTV, NNS, Animax|
|Original run||March 3, 1984 – December 25, 1985|
|Anime television series|
|Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine|
|Directed by||Sayo Yamamoto|
|Produced by||Naoki Iwasa
|Written by||Mari Okada|
|Music by||Naruyoshi Kikuchi|
|Original run||April 4, 2012 – June 27, 2012|
|Original video animations|
Lupin III (ルパン三世 Rupan Sansei ), also written as Lupin the Third or Lupin the 3rd, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Monkey Punch. It follows the escapades of master thief Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief of Maurice Leblanc's series of novels.
The Lupin III manga, which first appeared in Weekly Manga Action on August 10, 1967, spawned a media franchise that includes numerous manga, four anime television series, five animated feature films, a live-action film, three OVAs, yearly television specials since 1989, music CDs, video games, and a musical. Many different companies have owned the English-language distribution rights to various Lupin III properties at various times, with just the first two movies having been released by over 10 companies alone. Tokyopop acquired the license to the original manga in 2002, and later the second series in 2004. Funimation Entertainment purchased the rights to several of the television specials and films in 2002, and the fourth television series in 2012. Geneon licensed and dubbed 79 episodes of the second television series, 26 of which were broadcast on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim during 2003. Discotek Media licensed the entire first television series and the live-action film, they also own the rights to several other Lupin titles, including some previously released by other companies.
Over forty years after its creation, Lupin III remains popular, with several different manga series currently being published, yearly television specials and a fourth anime series airing in 2012. For several years, issues relating to the copyright of Maurice Leblanc's intellectual property meant that the Lupin name was removed from its releases outside of Japan, usually changed to "Rupan" or "Wolf". However, the copyright has since expired, allowing foreign releases to use the Lupin name.
Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of the fictional gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin, is considered the world's greatest thief, known for announcing his intentions to steal valuable objects by sending a calling card to the owners of his desired items. His right-hand man and closest ally is Daisuke Jigen, an expert marksman who can accurately shoot a target in 0.3 seconds. Although Lupin and Jigen frequently work as a two-man team, they are often joined by Goemon Ishikawa XIII, a master swordsman whose sword can cut anything, or Fujiko Mine, a femme fatale and Lupin's love interest. Although Fujiko usually works together with the others, she occasionally exploits Lupin's interest in her to steal the treasure for herself. Lupin and his gang are constantly chased by Inspector Koichi Zenigata of the ICPO, who has made it his life's work to arrest them, chasing Lupin across the globe.
Monkey Punch's inspiration for the series was the fictional French gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, created by Maurice Leblanc. Monkey Punch did not ask permission to use the character's name, at the time Japan did not enforce trade copyrights, however, this led to copyright issues with the Leblanc estate once Lupin's popularity spread to North America and Europe. Several foreign releases of Lupin III media were forced to drop the Lupin name, with the character himself renamed to "Rupan" or "Wolf", or "Edgar de la Cambriole" (Edgar of Burglary) in the French version. In 2012, Leblanc's original Arsène Lupin entered the public domain in France.
When Monkey Punch began Lupin III, he was already working on another series, Pinky Punky. Monkey Punch enjoys writing outlaw characters, and both Lupin III and Pinky Punky made use of outlaws as central characters. According to him, this made it easy for him to write two series without much pressure. Monkey Punch enjoys puzzles and mysteries such as Columbo and Agatha Christie novels, and was also inspired by The Three Musketeers. He believes the characters of Lupin and Fujiko are similar to the characters of D'Artagnan and Milady de Winter, and describes them as "Not necessarily lovers, not necessarily husband and wife, but more just having fun as man and woman with each other". Another influence on the manga was Mad magazine. The appeal of drawing Lupin comes from being able to go anywhere without obstacles and being able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. However, this is contrasted by the appeal of Zenigata's strict personality. Originally the series was only expected to last three months, but due to its popularity, Monkey Punch continued to draw it. However, despite his happiness at its success, he has expressed confusion over its popularity.
The original manga series was written and illustrated by Monkey Punch. It was serialized by Futabasha in Weekly Manga Action in 94 chapters from August 10, 1967 to May 22, 1969. In 1971, Monkey Punch continued the series, referred to as Lupin III: The New Adventures, until April 27, 1972. The original 94 chapters were later combined with the 36 New Adventure ones and published into 14 tankōbon volumes. Tokyopop licensed the series for North America, and released all 14 volumes between January 1, 2003 and July 6, 2004. In Europe, the series was licensed by Star Comics in Italy and Ediciones Mangaline in Spain.
Monkey Punch began publishing the second Lupin manga, Shin Lupin III, also known as Lupin III – World's Most Wanted, on June 23, 1977. This series ran for 188 chapters and was collected into 16 tankōbon volumes. Tokyopop licensed the second series, and released the first 9 volumes between September 7, 2004 and July 10, 2007, Tokyopop later chose not to relicense the series due to low sales.
A third manga series, Lupin III S, began in January 1997. The story was written by Satosumi Takaguchi and illustrated by Shusay, under the supervision of Monkey Punch. Five stories were published in Weekly Manga Action and 2 Action, then collected by Futabasha in a single volume.
The fourth manga series, Lupin III Y, was written by Monkey Punch and illustrated by Masatsuki Yamakami. The series was serialized in Weekly Manga Action from 1998 to 2003, and the chapters were collected into 20 volumes published between May 27, 1999 and August 28, 2004. This series was resumed in the summer 2009 issue of Lupin III Official Magazine, referred to as Shin Lupin III Y. While not available in English, online manga distributor JManga's Japanese mirror has five raw volume of Lupin III Y available for purchase.
The fifth manga series is Lupin III M, with story by Monkey Punch and art by Yukio Miyama, began in 2004. The manga is currently serialized in the Lupin III Official Magazine, a quarterly magazine published by Futabasha, which also contains Lupin news, information on Lupin products and merchandise, and fan art. The chapters were collected into 8 volumes. Lupin III M Neo began in 2009, and is currently serialized in the Lupin III Official Magazine.
A sixth work titled Lupin III H began in the summer 2009 issue of Lupin III Official Magazine. It is written by Monkey Punch and illustrated by Naoya Hayakawa.
Following the success of the manga series, TMS Entertainment and Toho produced a 12-minute Lupin III anime film adaptation featuring Lupin wearing a red jacket outfit. Masaaki Ōsumi directed the movie, which was made in two different versions: a CinemaScope version intended for theatrical release and a 4:3 television version. The animation for the two versions was mainly the same, but the voice cast was different, with only Kiyoshi Kobayashi and Eiko Masuyama, voicing Daisuke Jigen and Fujiko Mine respectively, in both versions. By the time the pilot was completed in 1969, because of budget concerns and a disagreement between Toho and TMS, the film was never released. Masaaki Ōsumi then moved on to direct several episodes of the first Lupin III television series. The two versions of this pilot film were later released in 1989 as a part of the Lupin III Secret Files (シークレットファイル Rupan Sansei — Shīkuretto Fairu ) collection. Discotek Media included both versions in their 2012 release of the first TV series.
On October 24, 1971, YTV began airing the first Lupin III television series. The series, which featured Lupin wearing a green jacket, was broadcast for 23 episodes, with the last one airing on March 26, 1972. The first seven episodes of the series, along with episodes nine and twelve, were directed by Masaaki Ōsumi, while the remaining episodes were directed jointly by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. The music was composed by Takeo Yamashita with many songs performed by Charlie Kosei. Discotek Media licensed and released the first series on DVD in North America on June 26, 2012.
The second Lupin III television series began airing on NTV on October 3, 1977. This series, in which Lupin wears a red jacket, was broadcast for 155 episodes, with the last one airing on October 6, 1980. Episodes 145 and 155 were directed by Hayao Miyazaki under the pseudonym Teruki Tsutomu, and they marked his final involvement with the Lupin franchise. The music for the series was composed by Yuji Ohno. On September 3, 1979, Episode 99 was the first ever anime television episode to be broadcast in stereo. Geneon Entertainment, which was at the time was called Pioneer Entertainment, began distributing the second television series in North America in 2003. Streamline released episodes 145 and 155 of the second television series to VHS as "Lupin III's Greatest Capers". Geneon hired Phuuz Entertainment Inc. to adapt and translate the series. The first 79 episodes were released on 15 DVDs and the first 26 episodes aired numerous times on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
In 1982, an animated television series called Lupin VIII was planned as a French-Japanese co-production, featuring the descendants of Lupin, Goemon, Jigen, and Zenigata, but was never completed. Created by DiC Animation, with Rintaro directing, and character designs by Shingo Araki (who previously worked on the third Lupin TV series); two scripts were written, and one episode was fully animated with a music and sound effects track, but the voice-overs were never recorded. It has been suggested that the project was stopped due to Leblanc's estate wanting a large amount of money for use of the Lupin name. The single episode was later included in the 2012 Lupin III Master File box set.
The third Lupin III television series, called Lupin III Part III, began airing on YTV on March 3, 1984. This series, in which Lupin wore a pink jacket, was broadcast for 50 episodes and ended on December 24, 1985. In 2009, the Southern California based United Television Broadcasting network began airing subtitled episodes from all three series on their UTBHollywood channel. It appears to be the only broadcast of the first and third show in America.
The fourth series, titled Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, aired on NTV between April 4, 2012 and June 27, 2012. The 13 episode series depicts Fujiko meeting the rest of the Lupin III cast for the first time, and was created to capture the "sensuality" present in Monkey Punch's original manga. Funimation Entertainment simulcast the series on their website and Nico Nico, with English subtitles, before releasing it in Blu-ray and Blu-ray/DVD sets on August 20, 2013, including an English-language dub. Manga Entertainment released a similar set in the United Kingdom on September 16, while Hanabee will release a two-part combo set in Australasia, the first on October 16 and the second on November 20.
During the broadcast run of the second television series, an animated feature film was also produced titled simply Lupin III (later known as Lupin III: Lupin vs. the Clone), which was released in Japanese theaters on December 16, 1978. The movie received four different English language dubs. The first dub, created in 1978, received experimental screenings in the United States by TMS, while the next two dubs were created for home releases and were retitled The Mystery of Mamo and Secret of Mamo. The fourth was released on DVD by Geneon in North America on July 29, 2003, under the title The Secret of Mamo. Manga Entertainment released the movie in the United Kingdom on August 4, 2008. Discotek Media released the film on DVD on February 26, 2013 and includes all four English dubs.
Hayao Miyazaki directed the next feature film, The Castle of Cagliostro, which was released in Japanese theaters on December 15, 1979. This movie was loosely based on Maurice Leblanc's Arsène Lupin novel La Comtesse de Cagliostro ("The Countess of Cagliostro"). The third film, Legend of the Gold of Babylon, was released in Japanese theaters in 1985. AnimEigo released the film in North America in 1994 under the "Rupan III" name. In 2005, Discotek Media acquired it for a DVD release, however, it was later cancelled due to NA's declining anime industry. Ten years after Babylon was released, Die! Nostradamus entered Japanese theaters in April 1995.
The fifth anime feature film, Dead or Alive, was directed by the creator of the series, Monkey Punch, and released in Japanese theaters on April 20, 1996. Although he was credited as chief director for the production, Monkey Punch said that he left most of the work to his assistant directors and only directed the opening and ending sequences while acting as consultant for everything else. Following the production of the movie, he stated that the process was so exhausting he would not like to direct another anime again.
In April 2013, an announcement in Weekly Shōnen Sunday magazine revealed that a Lupin the 3rd vs. Detective Conan: The Movie was in production, four years after the two series had a crossover TV special together. It will open on December 7, 2013, making it the first Lupin III theatrical feature in 17 years.
Original video animations
The first Lupin III original video animation (OVA) was The Plot of the Fuma Clan, released in Japan 1987. Because of budget problems, TMS decided not to employ the regular voice cast from the television series and theatrical movies; instead, they hired a different cast to save money. Yasuo Yamada, the voice actor for Lupin, had always taken pride in his role as the title character and after the voice cast replacement, he mistakenly thought that Monkey Punch had lobbied the producers for a new voice actor. After the release, Monkey Punch tried to reassure Yamada that he had nothing to do with the producers' decision to use a new cast, and the regulars were reinstated for the first television special, Bye-Bye Liberty Crisis. Despite this, relations between Yamada and Monkey Punch were permanently strained by the affair. AnimEigo owned the North American distribution rights to the OVA until 2006, when it was taken over by Discotek.
The second OVA, Return of the Magician, was released on April 3, 2002, created as a part of the 30-year anniversary of the first television series and features the return of one of the original villains of the series, the magician Pycal. A third OVA, Green Vs. Red, was released on April 2, 2008 as part of the 40th anniversary of the manga. Discotek released Green VS. Red on May 21, 2013 in North America.
The Lupin III Master File box set released in 2012 included a new short animation titled "Lupin Family Lineup" (ルパン一家勢揃い Rupan Ikka Seizoroi ) where the veteran cast of Kanichi Kurita as Lupin, Kiyoshi Kobayashi as Jigen, Makio Inoue as Goemon, Eiko Masuyama as Fujiko, and Goro Naya as Zenigata reunited for the last time, after the later three were replaced for the previous year's TV special. A parody flash anime titled Lupin Shanshei (ルパンしゃんしぇい Rupan Shanshei ) was produced by animator Frogman and his studio DLE Inc. in collaboration with TMS. The ten shorts were released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on December 19, 2012.
On April 4, 1989, an animated television special titled Bye-Bye Liberty Crisis aired on NTV, starting a yearly tradition of Lupin III television specials. Manga Entertainment released this first special in the UK as Goodbye Lady Liberty in 1996. Funimation Entertainment licensed the fifth, Orders to Assassinate Lupin (1993), up through to the twelfth, Da Capo of Love: Fujiko's Unlucky Days (1999), and released them with English dubs in North America, renaming nearly all of them. Episode 0: First Contact was broadcast on July 26, 2002, and released by Discotek in North America in 2010.
2007's Elusiveness of the Fog was broadcast on July 27 as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the original manga, featuring the return of a villain from the original television series, Kyousuke Mamo. A crossover special titled Lupin III vs. Detective Conan, featuring characters from both Lupin III and Detective Conan, aired on March 27, 2009, attracting a record audience share of 19.5. On February 12, 2010, the 20th television special The Last Job aired in Japan. The 2011 special Blood Seal - Eternal Mermaid brought new voice actors for Fujiko, Zenigata and Goemon, the first change in 16 years. 2013's upcoming special, Princess of the Breeze - The Hidden City in the Sky, will feature Yui Ishikawa as its heroine Yutika.
Because the pilot anime film was never released in theaters, the first Lupin III theatrical feature was a live-action movie produced in 1974 during the hiatus between the first and second television series. Lupin III Strange Psychokinetic Strategy (ルパン三世 念力珍作戦) included all of the main cast members with the exception of Goemon Ishikawa XIII. In contrast to the dark theme of the first television series, the live-action feature was very heavy on slapstick humor and physics-defying stunts. A DVD was released in North America in 2006 by Discotek.
WhiteLight Entertainment, a production company owned by Gerald R. Molen, purchased the live-action theatrical rights to Lupin III in 2003. A live-action Filipino TV drama based on Lupin III, titled simply Lupin, aired on GMA Network from April 9 to August 17, 2007. A modern live-action Lupin III film with Shun Oguri as the titlular thief, Meisa Kuroki as Fujiko, Sho Sakurai playing Jigen and Satoshi Tsumabuki as Goemon will premiere in the summer of 2014.
Several Lupin III video games have been created. The first was released to arcades in Japan by Taito in 1980 as Lupin III. A Laserdisc video game entitled Cliff Hanger was released to arcades in North America in 1983 by Stern. While it uses footage from Mystery of Mamo and The Castle of Cagliostro to provide a gaming experience similar to Dragon's Lair, it changes the characters' names and has an original plot. Epoch Co. released a second game called Lupin III for the Epoch Cassette Vision in Japan in 1984. Also in 1984, Lupin III: Legacy of Pandora was released for the Family Computer. This game featured Clarisse from Castle of Cagliostro. Two games were released for the MSX platform, both based on anime movies: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro in 1987, and Lupin III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon in 1988. Lupin the 3rd: Hunt for the Treasure of Legend! was released for the Super Famicom on December 27, 1994. Sega released two games developed by WOW Entertainment for the Sega Naomi arcade system: Lupin III The Shooting, a light gun game, in 2001, and Lupin III The Typing, a typing game, in 2002. Bandai released Lupin the 3rd: Treasure of the Sorcerer King in Japan for the PlayStation 2 on November 8, 2002. This stealth game was later released in North America in February 2004. Lupin is Dead, Zenigata is in Love, a stealth game developed by Banpresto for the PlayStation 2, was released in Japan on February 22, 2007. In 2010, Lupin III: Shijō Saidai no Zunōsen was released for the Nintendo DS.
Columbia Music Entertainment and VAP have both released numerous Lupin III music CDs in Japan. These include over 48 soundtrack albums by Takeo Yamashita and Yuji Ohno for the TV series, movies, and specials, as well as 15 collections of jazz arrangements by the Yuji Ohno trio, the Lupintic Five, and the Lupintic Sixteen.
Geneon Entertainment has released two of the music CDs in the United States. Lupin the 3rd: Sideburn Club Mix is a collection of thirteen remixed themes from the first television series, which was released in conjunction with the first DVD volume on January 28, 2003. Lupin the 3rd Original Soundtrack, released on April 8, 2003, is a collection of fifteen themes from the second television series performed by Yuji Ohno with his jazz group You & the Explosion Band.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the series, a live concert was held on September 8, 2007 performed by Yuji Ohno and the Lupintic Sixteen; a concert DVD was released in Japan on December 21, 2007. Play the Lupin clips x parts, a compilation of Lupin animation clips set to music from the series, as well as the opening and ending credits from a number of Lupin III productions, was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in Japan on May 22, 2009.
The Lupin III franchise still remains popular in Japan; the manga was listed in 38th place on Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs's list of the top 50 manga series. The Castle of Cagliostro was in 5th place on the Agency's list of best anime, while the original television series was in 50th place on the same list. The original television series also placed 38th on TV Asahi's list of Japan's 100 favorite animated television series. In 2001, the Japanese magazine Animage elected Lupin III TV series the ninth best anime production of all time. Many of the first volumes of the English edition of the Lupin III manga released by Tokyopop made it onto ICv2's list of top 50 graphic novels, as well as later volumes from the series. In 2012, 38.7% of people polled by Tokyo Polytechnic University named Lupin III as part of Cool Japan.
In Manga: The Complete Guide, Jason Thompson referred to Monkey Punch's original manga as "a crazy, groovy 1960s world of dynamite and backstabbing, hippies and gangsters", and considered it "a fascinating homage to Mad magazine and a four star example of comics as pure comedy." He rated the series four out of four stars. Allen Divers of Anime News Network (ANN) praised the strong writing and action; however, he felt that the art was too primitive. Otaku USA's Daryl Surat was also put off by the art, saying he couldn't tell most character apart and had a hard time figuring out what he was looking at.
Both Chris Beveridge of Mania.com and Mike Crandol of ANN disliked the dub of the second television series because Pioneer Entertainment used many modern references and updated dialogue for a series that was released in the late 1970s, although the series itself received a positive overall review from both reviewers. John Wallis of DVD Talk compared the series to Cowboy Bebop, while Rob Lineberger of DVD Verdict wrote, "Lupin the Third is James Bond meets Charlie's Angels with Scooby-Doo sensibilities."
Both of Manga Entertainment's releases of The Castle of Cagliostro received DVD Talk Collector Series recommendation status, the highest status given by the review website DVD Talk. Chris Beveridge of Mania.com gave the film a grade of "A+", although he disliked Manga Entertainment's use of PG-13 level language in the English dub. While the film was not initially a box-office success, it gained popularity through numerous re-releases and was even voted as "the best anime in history" by the readers of Animage. The film was the best-selling anime DVD in May 2001, and the third best selling in June. Some fans maintain that it is not a "true" Lupin title, due to Miyazaki's altering of the titular character into a family-friendly hero, rather than his original ruthless criminal self. While they both admitted that Cagliostro is the most well-known, ANN's Mike Crandol and Daryl Surat of Otaku USA both cited The Plot of the Fuma Clan as the best Lupin animation. Mania.com gave 2002's Episode 0: First Contact an A+ and hailed it as the best TV special made to date.
The Lupin III television specials and theatrical films released by Funimation have received reviews varying from positive to mixed. The most well-received seems to be Island of Assassins, with Chris Beveridge of Mania.com describing it as "the best non-TV Lupin experience ... since The Castle of Cagliostro", and Todd Douglass Jr. of DVD Talk giving it a rating of four and a half out of five stars. Missed by a Dollar received an eight out of ten rating by IGN's Jeremy Mullin, who stated it starts off as seemingly a simple heist film, but turns out to have plenty of twists. The least well-received of Funimation's releases is Secret of the Twilight Gemini, which received mixed reviews due to the animation and its B movie-style plot.
Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo director Shinichirō Watanabe revealed during an interview with Newtype Japan that he was heavily influenced by the work of director Masaaki Ōsumi on the first Lupin television series. In 2008, the Lupin III-themed attraction "Lupin III: Labyrinth Trap", which has visitors track down treasure in a maze-like layout, opened at the Tokyo Dome City Attractions amusement park.
In 2009, Japanese-Canadian rock band Monkey Majik created an animated music video in which its members meet the Lupin III cast. The video, that is set to the band's version of the anime's theme song, promoted the Lupin the Third Dance & Drive official covers & remixes CD. A campaign titled "Lupin Steal Japan" was launched that same year by NTV, TMS Entertainment, Namco Bandai Games, and Heiwa — a manufacturer of pachinko machines. The project's website took suggestions on real-life objects for Lupin to steal. One such example is the Moai statue in Shibuya, which was taken elsewhere for cleaning on December 7, but was replaced by the calling card of the master thief that read "Thanks for the Moai".
In celebration of the anime's 40th anniversary, the "This is the World of Lupin III" event was held at the Matsuya store in Ginza. From August 10 to August 22, 2011, over 300 items related to Lupin III were exhibited, including original manuscripts by Monkey Punch and animation cels from the feature films. The following year a similar exhibit was held at the Kitakyushu museum from November 3 to December 28, and another at the Kawasaki City Museum from October until November 10, 2013.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lupin III.|
- Lupin the Third Network (Japanese) requires Adobe Flash plugin
- Official 40th Anniversary site (Japanese)
- Official Studio Ghibli Museum's Lupin site (Japanese)
- TMS's Official Lupin III site (Japanese)
- VAP's Official Lupin the Third site (Japanese)
- Geneon Lupin III site (archive)
- Lupin III (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Lupin III (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia