Anime: Lupin III
aka: Lupin The Third
Lupin III Anime. Also includes anime-specific tropes in the Franchise.
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Made For TV Movies
Animated Lupin short films
- Lupin III: Secret Files: A collection of short Lupin videos: Trailers for the first four Lupin films: "Lupin vs. the Clone", "Castle of Cagliostro", "Legend of the Gold of Babylon", "The Fuma Conspiracy", and two cuts/dubs of the Lupin III Pilot Film.
- Lupin VIII: A 1982 French-Japanese pilot for a Lupin series following the descendents of Lupin and his gang in the future. Cancelled due to copyright issues with Maurice LeBlanc's estate. Officially released on the Japanese collection Master Files.
- Mankatsu,note whilst technically not part of the franchise, has the main cast of the series appearing in every episode's opening and closing shorts and making cameos in some of the show's vignettes.
- Lupin Family All-Stars: A ten-minute short produced in 2012 for the Master Files 40th anniversary release. This short reunites the original vocal cast for the last time and marks the final time Masuyama, Inoue, and Naya would play their characters (and was Naya's final acting role; he died not long after).
Tropes specific to the Lupin the Third anime:
- Abridged Series: KaiserNeko's brilliant but sadly short-lived one, which tackled eight episodes from Shin Lupin III (the "Red Jacket" series that aired on [adult swim]), including the infamous Nazi one. Episodes can be found scattered around YouTube and Dailymotion.
- Action-Hogging Opening: The opening sequences for the television series tend to have Lupin and friends being chased all over the world by Zenigata. This chase sequence serves as a visual and action-packed shorthand for the characters' roles. In the actual show, the crew's conflicts with Zenigata tend to feature fewer chase sequences and more clever trickery and disguises.
- The Alibi:
- Lupin III (Green Jacket), in the pilot episode, had Lupin racing in a Formula 1 car, with Inspector Zenigata chasing behind him. While he's just out of sight, he switches places with Jigen, who is driving an identical car. When the nearby hotel explodes and Zenigata attempts to blame Lupin, Lupin points out that Zenigata is his alibi: proof that Lupin couldn't be responsible for the crime.
- Lupin III (Red Jacket) second episode, "Guns, Bun, and Fun in the Sun", has Lupin (along with Jigen and Goemon) arrested for drunk driving. They set up a projector to show the three still in jail as they escape and pull off the episode's heist. It would've worked, except Inspector Zenigata was too suspicious and checked out their cell personally.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: One episode of Lupin III shows Lupin in a race driving a six-wheeled car. At the time of production, the Tyrrell P34 was competing in F1, using the four small wheels up front to maintain traction while having better aerodynamics than a pair of taller wheels.
- Ambiguous Clone Ending:
- The first movie, The Mystery of Mamo seems to be heading for this until the climax, in which Mamo reveals that the Lupin that died at the beginning was the clone. When Inspector Zenigata shows up afterwards to arrest Lupin, he tries to invoke this trope with Zenigata, but the inspector doesn't care.
- Referenced in the later Lupin movie Green vs. Red, where it isn't clear if the Lupin at the end is the real one, Yasuo dressed as Lupin, or another impersonator entirely. No one seems to care.
- Animation Bump:
- Several episodes of series 2 (72, 77, 82, 84, 99, 105, 143, 145, 151, 153, 155)note , three movies (The Mystery of Mamo, The Castle of Cagliostro and Farewell to Nostradamus), The Fuma Conspiracy, and three specials (Elusiveness Of The Fog, Play The Lupin (a batch of music videos that were released on DVD and Blu-ray) and Lupin III: Blood Seal ~Eternal Mermaid~) were done by Telecom Animation Film.
- Telecom also worked on The Legend Of The Gold Of Babylon (Backgrounds, Key, In-Between and Finish Animation), Seven Days Rhapsody (Key Animation by Toshihiko Masuda) and Sweet Lost Night (Backgrounds) as well.
- The Oh Production episodes of the 2nd series that (pre Telecom) Kazuhide Tomonaga did Key Animation on (which are episodes 4, 8, 14, 20, 25, 31 and 63, he was also stationed at Oh! Production for The Mystery of Mamo as well) and Hayao Miyazaki's stuff (manly series 2 episodes 145 and 155 and The Castle of Cagliostro, he also worked on the first series as well).
- Secret of Twilight Gemini has noticeably smooth animation as well.
- The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure may have the smoothest animation in the series, to date.
- Art Shift:
- Lupin III: Island of Assassins features flashbacks by Lupin, which are shown as photo-negatives.
- In the OAV Green vs. Red, the final showdown between the Red Jacket and Green Jacket Lupins is animated in the style of Monkey Punch's original manga, just one of many Mythology Gags to Lupin's four decade history scattered through the film.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: genitalia are usually completely avoided whatsoever, but specifically averted in The Mystery of Mamo and Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, where the male and female gender symbols are used to portray sex.
- Camera Spoofing:
- "Guns, Bun, and Fun in the Sun" has Lupin and his allies arrested for drunken driving as part of the set-up for a heist. They smuggled in a projector with reels and used bedsheets to make a screen, showing a loop of themselves in bed to the security camera. Interestingly, the guards didn't spot anything — the plan worked until a suspicious Zenigata checked on the cell itself.
- Once again, Zenigata's suspicious nature reveals a flaw in Lupin's attempt in the movie, Lupin III: Operation: Return the Treasure. Lupin’s gang takes advantage of the power blink to run footage of an untampered safe while Lupin works on the real one. Zenigata eventually finds an error, but naturally it’s too late.
- Car Skiing: Lupin III pulls this stunt often.
- In the second Lupin III (Green Jacket) episode with Goemon, Lupin proceeds to car ski on a single log bridge to run over the samurai. Goemon naturally avoids it, and slices the car in half. At which point, Lupin continues to car ski with half a car still trying to run Goemon over.
- In The Mystery of Mamo, Lupin is car skiing on top of a falling barrier.
- Chased Off into the Sunset: A number of movies and episodes end with Zenigata chasing Lupin off to the next adventure.
- Completely Different Title: Due to copyright issues with the original Arsène Lupin stories outside of Japan, American licensors in the 90's were forced to use several workarounds: AnimEigo using Rupan the Third, or Streamline Pictures just calling him "The Wolf" in the dub and promotional materials. The issue was resolved when Arsène Lupin lapsed into the Public Domain. This is why everything Lupin related that came out in North America after the 90's uses the correct name.note
- It's still an issue in France to this day. There, Lupin is called Edgar.
- Driven to Suicide: The Honor Before Reason Goemon would sometimes attempt suicide because his sword was stolen and he felt he was nothing without it.
- Dropped After the Pilot: The Lupin III Pilot Film (released in the west with the Green Jacket series, but in Japan with the Secret Files) has Detective Kogoro Akechi (the same character as Edogawa Rampo's detective), an established character in the manga series, as a partner for Inspector Zenigata who never appears again in the anime portion of the franchise.
- Evil Chancellor:
- The Castle of Cagliostro begins the story after the Count has taken power from the dead Duke who ruled. There's no suspicion raised In-Universe for why the Duke might've died in a huge blaze inside his Stone Castle, especially when the Count has a secret army, counterfeiting operations, and is called the "shadow" line of the family. The only member of the "light" line of the family is Princess Clarisse, and the Count rules as regent in her place.
- There's another in the Lupin III vs. Detective Conan special. He's the Big Bad, because he murdered his Queen and the Prince Crown of his land, and attempts to murder the Sole Survivor of the royal family, the Broken Bird Princess. In this case he was never regent, merely next in line to the throne, and upset his advice wasn't being followed by the Queen.
- Mind Screw: The anime sometimes drifts into this territory.
- Many fans have been confused about what order of events or who the winner was in Green vs. Red.
- The Mystery of Mamo had the Mamo character who enjoys messing with Lupin's head.
- Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine used a number of Mind Screw elements, especially where the series was preparing to reveal why Fujiko acted the way she did. "Because she's Fujiko" is basically the answer fans were given, the entire story arc leading up to the reveal getting turned into a Take That, Audience! for getting invested on her tortured history as a little girl.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Considering this series runs on zero continuity, any and all "origin stories" of the main cast should be taken with a grain of salt.
- Mythology Gag:
- Green vs. Red was packed with these, from the Lupin impostors drawn in the style of previous character designs at the beginning, to the final battle done in the style of the original manga. During a gathering of Lupin impersonators, one spray-paints "Rupan" on a wall and another says, "Isn't that wrong?" This is a reference to the Market-Based Title "Rupan" that AnimEigo used for its English-language Lupin III releases, and a rare example of inverted Lost in Translation — probably relatively few Japanese viewers would catch the reference.
- A similar "different styles of Lupin" Mythology Gag occurs in The Fuma Conspiracy — when under the influence of a psychedelic gas, a group of mooks see Lupin's face morph into many of the different art styles used during the TV series and films, before morphing into a demon's face.
- Almost every Lupin TV special or movie since the early '90s has involved some sort of homage or reference to Castle of Cagliostro or, in rarer cases, the Miyazaki Lupin III TV episodes—featuring similar situations or plot elements, derivative chase sequences, re-uses of title music, or recycled vehicle designs. Green vs. Red is a particularly egregious example—given that its entire raison d'être is to be referential to every single incarnation of Lupin that came before, spotting the references is practically a Drinking Game.
- Named Weapon: Goemon has a legendary sword named Zantetsuken, which translates to "iron-cutting sword". It does Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Normally, Japanese Manga that are adapted into Animé keep the same name, so the first series was named Lupin III. The sequel series was named Shin Lupin III (New Lupin III), and the third was named Lupin III: Part III. When the fourth was made, the refocus on Fujiko Mine gave the Creators the excuse to give another completely different title, Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. For consistency, fans have referenced the first three series by the colour of the jacket that Lupin wears.
- Off Model: Occurs every now and then throughout the franchise's history. Particularly in the Lupin III (Red Jacket) and Lupin III (Pink Jacket) series. In the former's case, it was due to several directors having episodes in production, a requirement since the show debuted a new episode every week for three years. There are some episodes ranging from all-over excellent animation (including two directed by a pre-Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki) to some where the characters are constantly off-model and the animation is sketchy at best.
- Stock Ninja Weaponry: There's one Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode where our heroes are challenged by a group of four ninjas and a kunoichi (actually a guy pretending to be a female ninja) who take great pride in using old-school weapons, including swords, daggers and kusarigama. They also add axes and bows to the lot.
- Submarine Pirates: In "Telepathy is Love's Signal'', Lupin and Jigen battle a sub full of female pirates for possession of a sunken pirate ship full of Spanish gold beneath the Bermuda Triangle.
- Summon to Hand: Goemon has return the Zantetsuken to his hand using a string tied to the sheath.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: In the years leading up to 2011, Zenigata's appearances became much more limited due to the Real Life illness of Gorō Naya. After his retirement and having Zenigata recast with Koichi Yamadera in the role, the good inspector gets to be much more active again.
- Slipped the Ropes: Lupin can only be handcuffed if he lets you handcuff him. At one point, in Lupin III (Red Jacket), Fujiko uses this trait to convince Zenigata he's possessed: there's blood on the cuffs, which means he had to fight his way out of them... something the normal Lupin wouldn't have to do.
- Theme Tune Cameo: Several examples exist for Lupin's "ya-tah-ta-taa" theme song appearing during the story itself.
- Vocal Evolution: The anime side of the Lupin III franchise managed the impressive feat of keeping almost all of the original Japanese voice actors from 1969 to 2011, except for Yasuo Yamada, who passed away in 1995.
- Fans started to notice in the 2000's-era TV specials (especially the ones in the second half of the decade) that age was starting to take its toll on the Japanese voice actors, causing the characters to sound older than they looked, and threatening fans' Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The most pronounced example was sadly Gorō Naya, who played Inspector Zenigata; he was diagnosed with throat cancer, making it much harder for him to carry on his role. Writers compensated by reducing Zenigata's part in his later specials.
- In mid-2011, TMS announced that Naya, Eiko Masuyama (Fujiko), and Makio Inoue (Goemon) would be replaced with younger actors in future Lupin projects, including 2012's Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine TV series. Fittingly, the final special with the original (surviving) cast was titled Lupin III: The Last Job.
- Kiyoshi Kobayashi (Jigen since 1969) has not yet been replaced; his voice in the series sounds noticeably older than every other character.