Anime: Lupin III Green Jacket
Left to right:Fujiko, Goemon, Jigen and Lupin.Lupin III
("Green Jacket") - 1971
The first television series in the franchise was named simply, Lupin III
. It began airing on October 24, 1971, on Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation. The original series, known among fans as the Green Jacket series
, was produced by TMS Entertainment
, with several of the episodes directed by future Studio Ghibli
co-founders Isao Takahata
and Hayao Miyazaki
. This series is infamous among fans for its Troubled Production
– premiering to low ratings, the original director (Masaaki Ohsumi
) was fired after the second episode aired, replaced by Takahata and Miyazaki (working under the label "A-Production"), which caused a rather massive
shift in tone halfway through the series. The retool wasn't enough, and the series was cancelled after a single season, although it gained popularity upon re-airing throughout the mid-1970's
After decades of being officially available only in Japan and Italy
, Discotek Media
released the series on DVD in North America in June 2012. It is also available for streaming on Hulu.
Voice actors for the main characters were Yasuo Yamada
as Lupin, Kiyoshi Kobayashi
as Jigen, Yukiko Nikaido
as Fujiko, Chikao Ohtsuka
as Goemon, and Goro Naya
as Inspector Zenigata.Spoilers below!
Don't read below if you don't want to know how this caper turns out!
This TV series features examples of:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Goemon wields a katana called the Zantetsuken ("Iron-Cutting Sword"), which was forged from the three famous swords of Japanese past (Kotetsu, Yoshikane, and Masamune), and it is their spirit that makes it so powerful. From the translations, it's unclear if three swords were used, or three techniques were used to forge Zantetsuken. With the Broad Strokes continuity, it's unlikely the writers have cared.
- Goemon's second appearance introduces some history between his family and Lupin's, because Lupin the Second had a dagger that was made the same way as Zantetsuken. Lupin considers it a point of family pride to retrieve the dagger and scrolls.
- Bath Kick: Fujiko Mine does one in the sixth episode.
- Car Skiing: In the second 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.
- Crying Wolf: Exploited by Lupin in ''One Chance To Breakout'', where Lupin intentionally causes this effect. While he's in prison, he keeps claiming that he isn't really Lupin, until everyone gets sick of it and stops listening. On the day of his execution, he switches places with a guard, who gets dragged off protesting that he isn't Lupin – and, of course, no one believes him.
- Darker and Edgier: Lupin III experiences a lot of Tone Shift, especially when the directors change.
- Compared to the manga, this series had cut out most of the Gorn, but it remains on the darker end of the scale, until the Retool, when "A-Productions" took over. One of Miyazaki's primary influences was to give Lupin secondary heroic goals, to balance out his selfish goals.
- Gas Chamber: 'One Chance to Breakout' has Lupin in jail, awaiting his execution. A guard said Lupin would be heading to the Gas Chamber. Inspector Zenigata knows that the method of execution at this particular joint is the electric chair and any guard would've known that. He has just enough time to figure out the guard is actually Lupin in disguise before Lupin uses this knowledge against him and he sets off to rescue the guard Lupin sent to be electrocuted in his place.
- Groin Attack: In episode 10, when Flinch aims a second kick at Lupin, he catches it and kicks Flinch in the crotch.
- Heel-Face Turn: Goemon, who provides one of the most downright efficient and drama-free turns ever. When first introduced, Goemon is an all-business samurai who has declared that he alone is worthy of killing Lupin. They duel a couple of times, each time ending in a stalemate. Their final confrontation ends with Lupin chasing Goemon in half a car. Realizing the absurdity of the entire situation, the two of them begin laughing and hugging like a couple of old drinking buddies. The episode ends there, and from the next episode on, Goemon is a dedicated member of Lupin's gang.
- Immune to Bullets: Pycal the Magician, from "The Man They Called A Magician", is completely immune to any kind of projectile fired at him. Lupin, Jigen, and Fujiko try pistols, machine guns, and even a bazooka on him, but it has no effect on his body.
- Indy Ploy: In 'The First Move Wins Computer Operation!', the Tokyo police department gets a supercomputer that is programmed to predict Lupin's every move. It does so extremely successfully, until Lupin realizes the way to beat it, is to throw out all his plans and act completely on whim.
- Infernal Retaliation: One of the story elements consistent across the franchise is Lupin's encounter with Goemon. The Green Jacket series plays out almost identically to the manga, using "special rocket fuel" to trick Goemon into lighting himself on fire. Lupin figures the XII Ith son of Goemon will be vulnerable to fire. Then Goemon uses the rope to burn Lupin in return. As it's Lupin, they recover.
- Little Brother Is Watching: In 'Rescue the Tomboy', the story is about Lupin kidnapping a young woman from her uncle! Her father was in Lupin the Second's gang, and asked Lupin the Third to bring her back because her "uncle", the third man of their gang, is trying to blackmail him by threatening her life. Lupin is much better behaved in this story, with almost no trace of his Handsome Lech or other Jerk Ass behaviors.
- Medium Awareness: One of the episodes has Lupin stepping off of a plane and calling "Title!", to summon the episode's name.
- Origins Episode: This series gives us the origins of Goemon. The other four are considered well-established at the start of the first episode. Although Zenigata does give a monologue about the "eternal rivalry" between the criminal and cop in the race car.
- Play-Along Prisoner: Lupin's method of playing along is to insist that other people are actually Lupin, and he's really a guard that's been disguised as Lupin by Lupin, while Lupin escapes. If you thought that was confusing, imagine how they felt after a year of it going on!
- Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: "A-Production" was in charge of making the Lupin III character Lighter and Softer than the raunchier, more manic version depicted in the manga. Somewhat successful, this still didn't save the flailing series, and it was still cancelled. Hayao Miyazaki continued the lighter tone when he made The Castle of Cagliostro.
- Spoiler Opening: The second opening introduces Goemon as a member of Lupin's gang, before he even appears, spoiling his Heel-Face Turn.