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Lupin III (a.k.a. Lupin the 3rd)
Lupin Manga 1.jpg
Cover of the first manga volume released by Tokyopop
ルパン三世
(Lupin the 3rd)
Genre Adventure, Comedy-drama, Crime
Manga
Author Kazuhiko Kato
Publisher Japan Futabasha, Chuokoron-Shinsha
English publisher Canada United States Tokyopop
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Weekly Manga Action
Original run August 10, 1967April 27, 1972
Volumes 14
Manga
Lupin III — World's Most Wanted
Author Monkey Punch
Publisher Japan Futabasha
English publisher Canada United States Tokyopop
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Weekly Manga Action
Original run June 23, 1977May 28, 1981
Volumes 17
TV anime
Lupin III Part I
Director Sōji Yoshikawa
Studio TMS
Network Japan NTV, Animax
Original run October 24, 1971March 26, 1972
Episodes 23
TV anime
Lupin III Part II
Director Hideo Nishimaki
Hideo Takayashiki
Ichinori Tanahashi
Kyosuke Mikuriya
Noburo Ishiguro
Shigetsugu Yoshida
Yagi Ishikura
Yasumi Mikamoto
Hayao Miyazaki
Studio TMS
Licensor United States Canada Geneon
Network Japan NTV, Animax
Original run 3 October 19776 October 1980
Episodes 155
TV anime
Lupin III Part III
Director Seijun Suzuki
Studio TMS
Network Japan NTV, Animax
Original run March 3, 1984December 25, 1985
Episodes 50
Original video animations
Theatrical films
Television specials
  • Bye-Bye Liberty Crisis
  • Mystery of the Hemingway Papers
  • Steal Napoleon's Dictionary!
  • From Russia With Love
  • Voyage to Danger
  • Dragon of Doom
  • The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure
  • The Secret of Twilight Gemini
  • Island of Assassins
  • Crisis in Tokyo
  • The Columbus Files
  • Missed by a Dollar
  • Alcatraz Connection
  • Episode 0: First Contact
  • Operation: Return the Treasure
  • Stolen Lupin
  • Angel's Tactics — Fragments of a Dream Are the Scent of Murder
  • Seven Days Rhapsody
  • Elusiveness of the Fog
  • Sweet Lost Night: Magic Lamp's Nightmare Premonition
  • Lupin III vs Detective Conan
Anime and Manga Portal

Lupin III (ルパン三世 Rupan Sansei ?), also known as Lupin the 3rd, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kazuhiko Kato under the pen name of Monkey Punch. The story follows the adventures of a gang of thieves led by Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief of Maurice Leblanc's series of novels. Lupin and his gang travel throughout the world to steal treasures and escape from the law.

The first Lupin III manga, which first appeared in Weekly Manga Action beginning on August 10, 1967, spawned a media franchise that includes numerous manga, various animated television series, feature films, direct-to-video releases, yearly television specials, music CDs, video games, and a musical. Several different companies own the English language distribution rights to various Lupin III properties, including Geneon, licensor of the second television series, which was broadcast in 26 episodes on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim during 2003, and Tokyopop, licensor of the original manga. WhiteLight Entertainment, purchased the live-action theatrical rights to Lupin III in 2003.

The series remains popular and the anime adaptions have attracted the attention of directors such as Shinichirō Watanabe and Steven Spielberg. Although the series is popular with critics, some elements of the English adaptions have been criticized for language and the use of contemporary references that were not present in the original. For several years, issues relating to the copyright of Maurice Leblanc's intellectual property meant that the Lupin name was removed from releases outside of Japan. However the copyright has now expired, allowing foreign releases to use the Lupin name.

Contents

Plot

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 a 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. On the rare occasions he catches Lupin, Zenigata secretly hopes Lupin will escape so he can continue to chase him. Regardless of whether Lupin and his followers succeed or fail, they are always looking for the next heist.

Production

Monkey Punch's inspiration for the series was the fictional French gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, created by Maurice Leblanc. However Monkey Punch did not ask permission to use the character's name, leading to eventual copyright issues with the Leblanc estate.[1]

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 also describes them as "Not necessarily lovers, not necessarily husband and wife, but more just having fun as man and woman with each other".[2] Another influence on the manga was MAD Magazine.[3] 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.[2]

Media

Manga

The original manga series was written and illustrated by Monkey Punch. It was serialized by Futabasha in Weekly Manga Action in 190 chapters from August 1967 to April 1972.[1] Serial chapters were collected in 14 tankōbon volumes.[4] Tokyopop licensed the series for North America, and released all 14 volumes between December 2, 2002 and July 6, 2004.[1] In Europe, the series was licensed by Kappa Edizioni in Italy,[5] and Ediciones Mangaline in Spain.[6]

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 184 chapters and was collected in 13 tankōbon volumes.[1][4] Tokyopop licensed the second series, and released the first 9 volumes between September 2004 and July 2007,[7] Tokyopop later chose not to relicense the series due to low sales.[8]

A third manga series, Lupin III S, began in January 1997. The story was written by Satozumi 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.[9][10]

The fourth manga series, Lupin III Y, was written by Monkey Punch and illustrated by Manatsuki Yamakami. The series began serialization in Weekly Manga Action in 1998,[11] and serial chapters were collected in 20 volumes published between May 27, 1999 and August 28, 2004.[12]

The fifth manga series is Lupin III M, with story by Monkey Punch and art by Miyama Yukio. The manga is currently being 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.[13]

Anime

Pilot film

Following the success of the manga series, TMS Entertainment and Toho produced a 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. Kobayashi also voiced Jigen in every other incarnation of Lupin III, with the exception of Fuma Conspiracy (see below). By the time the pilot was completed in 1969, because of budget concerns and other problems between Toho and TMS, the film to never reach theaters. Masaaki Ōsumi then moved on to direct several episodes of the first Lupin III television series.[14][15] The two versions of this pilot film were later released in 1989 as a part of the Lupin III Secret Files (シイクレットファイルファイル Rupan Sansei — Shiikuretto Fairu ?) OVA.[16]

Television 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.[17]

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.[18] Episodes 145 and 155 were directed by Hayao Miyazaki under the pseudonym Teruki Tsutomu, and they marked his final involvement in making television animation before exclusively working on feature films.[19][20][21] The music for the series was composed by Yuji Ohno.[18] On September 3, 1979, Episode 99 was the first ever anime television episode to be broadcast in stereo.[22] Geneon Entertainment, which was at the time was called Pioneer Entertainment, began distributing the second television series in the United States in 2003.[23] Streamline released episodes 145 and 155 of the second television series to VHS as "Lupin III's Greatest Capers".[24] Geneon hired Phuuz Entertainment Inc. to adapt and translate the series.[25] The first 79 episodes were released on 15 DVDs under the title Lupin III Part II, and the first 26 episodes aired numerous times on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.[26] In 2009, the Southern California based "United Television Broadcasting" network began airing subtitled episodes from the first two series.[27]

The third Lupin III television series, called Lupin III Part III, began airing on NTV on March 3, 1984. This series, in which Lupin wore a pink jacket, was broadcast for 50 episodes and ended on December 24, 1985.[28]

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. Two scripts were written, and one episode, entitled "The Man From the Past", was fully animated with a music and sound effects track, but the voice-overs were never recorded.[29]

Films

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. Strange Psychokinetic Strategy included all of the main cast members with the exception of Goemon Ishikawa XIII. Lupin wore neither red nor green jacket in the movie, but rather a white jacket with an ascot.[30] 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 Disckotek.[31]

During the broadcast run of the second television series, an anime feature film was also produced titled simply Lupin III, which was released in Japanese theaters on December 16, 1978.[14] The movie received four different English language dubs. The first dub, created in 1978, was shown on transatlantic flights, while other three dubs were created for various home releases.[32] When released on DVD by Geneon in North America on July 29, 2003, this movie was given the title The Secret of Mamo.[33] Manga Entertainment released the movie in the United Kingdom on August 4, 2008.[34]

Hayao Miyazaki directed the next anime feature film, The Castle of Cagliostro, which was released in Japanese theaters on December 15, 1979. This movie was loosely based on the Maurice Leblanc novel La Comtesse de Cagliostro (The Countess of Cagliostro).[35] The third anime feature film, Legend of the Gold of Babylon, was released in Japanese theaters in 1985.[36] The North American license for this movie is owned by Discotek media.[37] Ten years later, To Hell with Nostradamus was released in Japanese theaters in April 1995.[38]

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.[39] Although he was credited as chief director for the production, Monkey Punch said that he left most of the work for his assistant directors and only directed the opening and ending sequences while acting as consultant for everything else.[3][14] Following the production of the movie, Monkey Punch stated that the process was so exhausting he would not like to direct another anime again.[2]

WhiteLight Entertainment, a production company owned by Gerald R. Molen, purchased the live-action theatrical rights to Lupin III in 2003.[40]

Original animation videos

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, but instead 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, due to a misunderstanding, he 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.[14] AnimEigo owned the North American distribution rights to the OVA until 2006, when it was taken over by Discotek.[37]

A second OVA, Return of the Magician, was released on April 3, 2002. The OVA was created as a part of the 30-year anniversary of the first television series, and thus it featured the return of one of the original villains of the series, the magician Pycal (hence the title).[41]

A third OVA, Lupin III: Green vs Red, was released on April 2, 2008 as part of the 40th anniversary of the manga.[42]

Television specials

On April 4, 1989, the first anime television special, Bye Bye Liberty Crisis, aired on NTV,[43] starting a yearly tradition of Lupin III television specials.[44] The next television special was Mystery of the Hemingway Papers, broadcast July 20, 1990.[45] Steal Napoleon's Dictionary! was broadcast on August 9, 1991.[46] From Russia With Love was broadcast on July 24, 1992.[47] Voyage to Danger was broadcast on July 23, 1993.[48] Dragon of Doom was broadcast on July 29, 1994.[49] The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure was broadcast on August 4, 1995.[50] The Secret of Twilight Gemini was broadcast on August 2, 1996.[51] Island of Assassins was broadcast on August 1, 1997.[52] Crisis in Tokyo was broadcast on July 24, 1998.[53] The Columbus Files was broadcast on July 30, 1999.[54] Missed by a Dollar was broadcast on July 28, 2000.[55] Alcatraz Connection was broadcast on August 3, 2001.[56] Episode 0: First Contact was broadcast on July 26, 2002.[57] Operation: Return the Treasure was broadcast on August 1, 2003.[58] Stolen Lupin was broadcast on July 30, 2004.[59] Angel Tactics was broadcast on July 22, 2005.[60] Seven Days Rhapsody was broadcast on September 8, 2006.[61] Elusiveness of the Fog was broadcast on July 27, 2007 as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the original manga, featuring the return of a villain from the original television series, Kyousuke Mamo.[62][63] It was followed by Sweet Lost Night: Magic Lamp's Nightmare Premonition, broadcast on July 25, 2008.[64] A crossover special titled Lupin III vs Detective Conan, featuring both Lupin and Conan Edogawa from the series Detective Conan, aired on NTV on March 27, 2009, attracting a record audience share of 19.5.[65][66] On February 12, 2010, the 20th television special "Lupin III : The Last Job" will air in Japan. [67]

In 2002, Funimation Entertainment purchased the rights to eight of the anime television specials.[68]

Video games

Several Lupin III video games have been created. The first was released to arcades in Japan by Taito in 1980 as Lupin III.[69] A Laserdisc video game entitled Cliff Hanger was released to arcades in North America in 1983 by Stern. This game used footage from Secret of Mamo and The Castle of Cagliostro to provide a gaming experience similar to Dragon's Lair.[70] Epoch Co. released a second game called Lupin III for the Epoch Cassette Vision in Japan in 1984.[71] Also in 1984, Lupin III: Legacy of Pandora was released for the Nintendo Famicom. This game featured Clarisse from Castle of Cagliostro.[72] Two games were released for the MSX platform, both based on anime movies: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro in 1987,[73] and Lupin III: Legend of the Gold of Babylon in 1988.[74] Lupin the 3rd: Hunt for the Treasure of Legend! was released for the Super Famicom on December 27, 1994.[75] Sega released two games developed by WOW Entertainment for the Sega Naomi arcade system: Lupin III The Shooting, a light gun game, in 2001,[76] and Lupin III The Typing, a typing game, in 2002.[77] Bandai released Lupin the 3rd: Treasure of the Sorcerer King in Japan for the PlayStation 2 on November 8, 2002. This stealth game, similar to Metal Gear Solid, was later released in the United States in February 2004.[78] 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.[79]

Soundtracks

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.[80][81][82]

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.[83] 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.[84]

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.[85] 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.[86]

Reception

When creating the series, Monkey Punch did not seek permission to use the intellectual property of Maurice Leblanc's estate, and at that time Japan did not enforce trade copyrights. This led to copyright issues once Lupin's popularity spread to North America and Europe, however the name was still permitted in Japan. Several foreign releases of Lupin III media were forced to drop the Lupin name, and Lupin himself was renamed "Rupan" or "Wolf", or in the French version "Edgar de la Cambriole" (Edgar of Burglary). Leblanc's copyright has now expired, allowing the use of the Lupin name outside Japan.[1]

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.[87] 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.[88] The original television series also placed 38th on TV Asahi's list of Japan's 100 favorite animated television series.[89] The director of Cowboy Bebop, Shinichirō Watanabe, revealed during an interview with Newtype Japan that he was heavily influenced by the work of director Masaaki Ōsumi on the first television series.[90] 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.[91][92][93]

In Manga: The Complete Guide, John Thompson referred to the original manga as "a crazy, groovy 1960's 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.[94] Allen Divers of Anime News Network praised the strong writing and action, however he felt that the art was too primitive.[95]

Both Chris Beveridge of AnimeOnDVD.com and Mike Crandol of Anime News Network disliked the dub of the second television series because the company 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.[96][97] John Wallis of DVD Talk compared the series to Cowboy Bebop,[98] while Rob Lineberger of DVD Verdict wrote, "Lupin the Third is James Bond meets Charlie's Angels with Scooby-Doo sensibilities."[99]

The Lupin III television specials and theatrical features released by Funimation have received reviews varying from positive to mixed. The most well-received is Island of Assassins, with Chris Beveridge of AnimeOnDVD.com describing it as "the best non-TV Lupin experience ... since the Castle of Cagliostro",[100] and Todd Douglass Jr. of DVD Talk giving it a rating of four and a half out of five stars.[101] The least well-received of Funimation's releases is the first, Secret of the Twilight Gemini, which received mixed reviews due to its extensive nudity and its b movie-style plot.[102][103]

Both of Manga Entertainment's releases of the The Castle of Cagliostro received DVD Talk Collector Series recommendation status, the highest status given by the review website DVD Talk.[104][105] Chris Beveridge of AnimeOnDVD.com gave the film a grade of "A+", although he disliked Manga Entertainment's use of PG-13 level language in the English dub.[106] 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.[14][35][107] The film was the best-selling anime DVD in May 2001, and the third best selling in June.[108][109] Steven Spielberg has called the film "One of the Greatest Adventure Movies of All Time".[110] Alex Navvaro of CNET Networks praised Lupin the 3rd: Treasure of the Sorcerer King for its voice acting, soundtrack, and level of faithfulness to the source material, but criticized for its poor graphics and weak enemy AI.[111]

References

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