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Anime: Lupin III Pilot Film
Title Screen

Attempts to make Lupin III an anime began as early as when the first few issues appeared in Manga Action. Together, TMS and Toho teamed up to produce a pilot film for the new anime. Despite completing by 1969, the project consumed a great deal of time and money. TMS and Toho could not come to terms about budget for the film; this (and several other problems) meant the pilot film was cancelled. Risking another failure, TMS sought a chance to sell Lupin III, despite the adult-oriented themes. In October 1971, TMS managed to sell the idea to Yomiuri TV (YTV); they would air the series on television, which gave birth to Lupin III (Green Jacket).

The (roughly) 12-minute film was made in both a CinemaScope version, and a TV 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. The primary point of the film was getting the Audience introduced to the six characters. Yes, six. Lupin, Jigen, and Fujiko were supposed to be allies, while Goemon and Inspectors Zenigata and Akechi were supposed to be antagonists.

The two versions of this pilot film were later released in 1989 as a part of the Lupin III Secret Filesnote  collection. Discotek Media included both versions in their 2012 release of the first TV series. Overall, the animation style and most of the voice acting is unique to this pilot film.


  • Aspect Ratio:
    • CinemaScope is 2.39:1, designed for Theatrical Release.
    • TV is 4:3, designed to be released on Broadcast channels after the film's theatrical release.
  • Bandage Mummy: After the police assail Lupin's hideout, one man, wearing bandages over everything except his police cap, reports back to Inspector Zenigata that they've been unable to capture Lupin.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: The pilot film zig-zags the effectiveness of the idea that things that grant concealment being interchangeable with things that grant protection from attacks. Lupin's knife cutting through a tapestry to strike at Fujiko (averting), only to be stopped by a playing card (exaggerated), during a montage, a man is killed by shooting through a door (averting), but the policemen avoid Jigen's shots by hiding behind a table (straight).
  • Dropped After the Pilot: Detective Kogoro Akechi (the same character as Edogawa Rampo's detective), an established character in the manga series, is established as a partner for Inspector Zenigata, but never appears again in the anime portion of the franchise.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Jigen shoots down the chandelier to knock out the policemen hiding behind a table.
  • Flipping the Table: Downplayed in this film, but when Lupin "beats" Inspector Zenigata in Shogi, the detective knocks everything off his desk.
  • Master of Disguise:
    • Lupin and his "dress for any occasion" montage demonstrate his ability to make himself appear at home in any situation that may appear, as well as disguising himself as Akechi for the climax.
    • Fujiko also has a "any occasion" montage.
    • Akechi has master of disguise by name, in an Informed Ability sense. Most likely because he's supposed to be well known already.
  • Montage: Each of the villain protagonists is introduced with a splash screen and montage depicting their skills.
  • Pilot: The short film was intended to be the pilot film (at ~12 minutes, it is not a Pilot Movie) for a series of films created by TMS Entertainment and Toho. While that goal was dropped, TMS managed to sell the idea of a TV series to a television broadcast station (Yomiuri TV) which became Lupin III (Green Jacket).
  • Smart People Play Chess: While establishing Lupin's character, he and Inspector Zenigata play Shogi over the phone. Naturally, Lupin wins by having one of his pieces disguised as one of Zenigata's.


    Recap/Lupin IIILupin III (Green Jacket)
Himitsu no Akko-chanAnime of the 1960sSazae-san
Lupin III Yearly SpecialsAnime/Lupin IIILupin Family All Stars

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