Koichi Zenigata

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"Zenigata" redirects here. For the original hero named "Zenigata", see Zenigata Heiji.
Koichi Zenigata
Lupin III character
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 Shinsuke Chikaishi/Chikao Ōtsuka (1969)
Gorō Naya (1971-1985; 1989-2010)
Seizō Katō (1987)
Kōichi Yamadera (2011-present)
Greg Starr (Toho/Frontier)
David Povall (Streamline)
Marc Matney (AnimEigo)
Seán Barrett (Manga UK)
Kevin Seymour (Animaze/Manga)
Phillip Wilburn (FUNimation)
Dan Lorge (Phuuz/Pioneer/Geneon)
Richard Epcar (FUNimation, Bang Zoom!/Discotek)
Portrayed by Shirō Itō (1974)
Tadanobu Asano (2014)
Nickname(s) Old Man, Pops
Aliases Heiji Zenigata VII (early manga and anime iterations)
Detective Ed Scott (Toho/Frontier dub of The Mystery of Mamo)
Detective Ed Cott (TMS subtitled print of The Castle of Cagliostro)
Detective Zenigata (some English-language anime dubs)
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.


Inspector Zenigata was conceived as Lupin's arch rival to create a "human Tom and Jerry".[1]

Monkey Punch has said that he believes the Lupin III story can never end but that if he had to, both Zenigata and Lupin would have to end as equals. They would either both fail, both win or both get very old.[2]


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. For a brief period of time in between the first and second TV series, Zenigata was demoted to a beat cop in an unknown location of Japan.

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.[3] 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 to date this has never been mentioned since the movie. 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").[4] 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 Pioneer dub of the second anime series inserted Zenigata comically making continuous references to his mother.

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.[5]

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.

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.[6] 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.


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.


Zenigata was voted the eighth best supporting character in anime by Mania.com.[7] Mania.com also put Zenigata as the 9th greatest anime detective.[8]


  1. ^ Lupin the Third Dead or Alive – Interview with Monkey Punch (DVD). Funimation. 
  2. ^ Yadao, Jason S. The Rough Guide to Manga. Rough Guides. pp. 154–155. ISBN 978-1-85828-561-0. 
  3. ^ "Happy Betrayals to You". Lupin III. Episode 38 (in Japanese). June 26, 1978. Event occurs at 15:00. 
  4. ^ "The Famous Painting Theft Ultra Operation". Lupin III. Episode 100 (in Japanese). September 10, 1979. Event occurs at 12:51. 
  5. ^ "One Chance for a Prison Break". Lupin III. Episode 4 (in Japanese). November 14, 1971. Event occurs at 13:15. 
  6. ^ Lupin III vs Detective Conan
  7. ^ Thomas, Mark. "10 Best Supporting Characters in Anime". Mania.com. Archived from the original on January 28, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  8. ^ Joseph Dexter (March 23, 2010). "10 Greatest Anime Detectives". Mania.com. Archived from the original on February 14, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.