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Franchise: Lupin III
aka: Lupin The Third
Gold: Lupin, Red: Fujiko, Purple: Goemon, Green: Zenigata, Blue: Jigen
Lupin III (Japanese: ルパン三世) is a direct descendant of the titular Gentleman Thief of Arsène Lupin, Villain Protagonist of a series of French novels by Maurice LeBlanc. Like his famous grandfather, he's a cunning, dame-crazy master thief who's never been caught.

He is also the titular character of a Long Runner franchise from Japan. Kazuhiko Katō was offered a three-month Manga contract, with the goal of telling stories to an adult male audience, by the editor of Playboy School. The "catch" was that Katō would use the pen name of Monkey Punch. The series, Lupin III, made its debut on August 10, 1967 in the magazine Weekly Manga Action. It went on to become an extremely popular and successful media franchise, spawning pretty much every medium we cover here on TV Tropes. note 

Has nothing to do with Remus Lupin, but read ReferencedBy.Lupin III to see what Lupin characters are related to this franchise.

Lupin the 3rd is frequently accompanied by ex-rivals Daisuke Jigen (The Gunslinger) and Goemon Ishikawa XIII (Ronin). The trio form a Caper Crew, pulling off thefts or acting as a team of Adventurer Archaeologists. Fujiko Mine (Femme Fatale) sometimes works for the group, and sometimes against them. The four are chased by Inspector Koichi Zenigata (Interpol Special Agent). Read more about the characters at Characters.Lupin III or read about their exploits on one of the following pages:

Works starring the cast of Lupin the Third:

Tropes common to all forms of Lupin the Third:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Goemon wields a katana called the Zantetsuken ("Iron-Cutting Sword") in the Anime, and Nagareboshi ("Falling Star") in the Manga. Exactly why the sword has such incredible cutting power varies, due to Broad Strokes continuity. If the sword is unable to cut something, it becomes a plot point.
    • Lupin III Episode 0 First Contact and Lupin III Dragon Of Doom both explain that the Zantetsuken is made out of a mysterious alloy.
    • Lupin III (Green Jacket) explains that the three famous swords of Japanese past (Kotetsu, Yoshikane, and Masamune) were reforged into this one sword, 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.
    • In the manga, it's said to be made of a rare steel alloy produced from meteoric iron that is almost indestructible, though apparently the metal can cut itself.
    • The recap section has accidentally created a game of listing every time Goemon draws his sword.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Arsène Lupin, obviously. The characters are often used to parody other stories, such as Mission: Impossible, The Pink Panther, and even Superman.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Unlikely to ever end in any other way.
    • A lot of Lupin III stuff ends like this. The very final chapter of the original manga ends with Lupin destroying his hideout and mentioning that he's hard at work on his next adventure.
    • The Castle of Cagliostro: the movie ends with Lupin driving off into the sunset, chased by Zenigata, showing that their ending is to continue doing this this.
    • TabletopGame.Lupin III: explicitly states that the players are recreating a heist by Lupin; one of the many he has attempted.
  • Animated Adaptation: Lupin III began as a manga series, with stories that rarely lasted more than a single chapter. Within two years of the initial serials, a pilot episode was made, garnering interest for an anime adaptation. Some of the chapters have enjoyed a fairly direct transition from Manga to Anime format.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Lupin the Third and Inspector Zenigata have Joker Immunity, but situations where one has a funeral or execution happens at least once every series.
    • Zenigata's obsessive pursuit of Lupin tends to make him very unsettled whenever Lupin is actually caught, although this is always temporary. He becomes convinced that Lupin wanted to get caught and was trying to Get Into Jail Free. (He's right, of course) One Chance to Breakout is an example from the Green Jacket series.
    • Similarly, Lupin is fond enough of Zenigata to mourn Zenigata's apparent death in the Made-for-TV Movie Lupin III The Last Job.
    • Invoked in real-life: Goro Naya (the voice of Zenigata) provided a short eulogy (in-character) at the funeral of Yasuo Yamada (the voice of Lupin): "Hey, Lupin, from now on, who should I keep chasing after?” His angry voice shook with tears.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Comes in two flavours.
    • An Origins Episode for Goemon or Jigen may have them playing assassin to Lupin, and eventually allowing Defeat Means Friendship.
    • The Rival is introduced for one or more of the characters. Either brand-new, or from their past. The rivals clash two or three times before the final confrontation calls for our protagonists to win.
  • Bag of Kidnapping:
    • This has happened to Fujiko Mine on a few occasions. Lupin once did it to her to prevent her from escaping with a rare diamond in a blizzard.
    • Lupin III (Red Jacket): Lupin and Zenigata are abducted by a training camp in Morocco. Zenigata catches on to the fact that Lupin is next to him and tries to arrest him through the sack.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The franchise goes back-and-forth with this trope.
    • Averted in Manga.Lupin III, where genitalia is instead drawn as the male and female gender symbols.
    • Played straight in the Lupin III (Red Jacket) series.
    • Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine averts this with nipples (the opening sequence even plainly shows them quite a lot) but still plays it straight with genitalia. Although it also borrows the gender symbols trick from the manga.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Lupin usually combines this with Latex Perfection to get the cops that were chasing him to go the wrong way.
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: Lupin and Jigen are commonly shown with the ability to do this. Usually with a bit of Quick Draw thrown in, and excellent examples in the TV specials.
  • Bleached Underpants: Lupin III plays with this trope.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: This trope is used due to the franchise's Semipermeable Fourth Wall nature. It is usually Lupin speaking directly to the audience, but any of the characters can do it for a Rule of Funny.
    • Some of the Manga stories have turned Monkey Punch and/or the audience into a main character for the story. One story was Lupin showing off his hideout, and explaining everything he had in it.
    • In the Lupin III Yearly Specials Lupin III Alcatraz Connection, one scene has Lupin explain to Fujiko, who is trapped in a submarine that's about to fail under the water pressure, that if she were to be crushed and die, millions of fans would be crying their hearts out.
    • In the Intercontinuity Crossover with Detective Conan, Lupin thinks he's about to get lucky with Fujiko. He turns to the camera and announces "To you 80 million adult viewers: thank you for your patience!" and pounces on her. The same movie mixes this with Leaning on the Fourth Wall regarding the crossover nature of the story. Detective Conan has previously established that Lupin III manga exists in their world. Zenigata thinks it's odd that Koguro (Moore in the English Translation), a professional detective, doesn't know about Lupin. Koguro says that he always just thought that Lupin was a comic book character.
  • The Caper
  • The Con
  • Caramelldansen Vid: Lupin, Jigen, Goemon, Fujiko (This one actually tells a little story!)
  • Catch Phrase: Zenigata and Goemon each have a catchphrase that they are known for speaking at least Once an Episode.
    • Zenigata's catchphrase: "Lupin, you're under arrest!" (even if he's arresting someone else)
    • Goemon's statement is "Once again, I have cut a worthless object.", after performing some incredible feat of swordsmanship.
  • Characterization Marches On: an enforced example of this trope.
  • Chronically Crashed Car: The Mercedes-Benz SSK seems to be a favored target for fire, bombs, bullets, missiles, and demonic curses. It always reappears in tip-top shape by the next episode; presumably, Lupin is repairing his original car, as the SSK is one of the rarest cars in the world. Interestingly, the much less expensive Fiat 500 seems far less prone to being damaged in this fashion.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Jigen inverts the idea. The cool gunman is only smoking when he's relaxed. (He's nearly always relaxed) Putting the cigarette out if the situation is getting tense/excited.
  • Comic Book Time:
    • Lupin the Third has been around since 1967, and none of the characters look any older. This is fine, since the franchise clearly runs on Negative Continuity, but Lupin's grandfather is still canonically Arsène Lupin. Who was born in 1874. This is just this side of possible (if we assume his grandfather and father were both well into middle age when they had children, and that Lupin himself is in his forties, and he certainly doesn't look it). And it gets a little less likely every year. Either... one of the Lupins stole the secret to the Fountain of Youth at some point... he should be Lupin IV or V by now... or Arsene Sr is a Refugee from Time.
    • Gets really complicated when they start referencing past events.
    • This was somewhat justified in Green vs. Red, by hinting that a "new" Lupin turns up every now and then and secretly beats the older one in a duel, becoming the new Lupin. How Goemon, Fujiko, Jigen and Zenigata fit into this is not addressed, and probably not worth thinking about.
  • Completely Different Title: This happened to the anime for mostly legal reasons related to copyright. See the entries on the Anime.Lupin III page.
  • Contract on the Hitman:
  • Conveniently Cellmates: IF it isn't just Lupin in the jail, the others are invariably either in the same cell, or adjacent cells.
  • Cool Guns: Except for Goemon, each character has their preference.
    • Revolvers: Jigen loves his "Magnum".
    • Handguns: Lupin carries the P-38.
    • Fujiko has the Browning M1910.
    • Handguns: Inspector Zenigata carries the Colt .45
  • Criminal Procedural: An action/comedy Franchise about a Gentleman Thief and his accomplices? Yes, most commonly pulling off a theft, but they've been shown as hardcore criminals and convicts as well.
  • Cross Over:
  • Crying Wolf: Exploited by Lupin in a manga chapter and the Lupin III (Green Jacket) episode (One Chance to Breakout) based on that chapter, in which 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.
  • Cryptid Episode: Fujiko's singing voice attracts the Loch Ness Monster, Lupin is tasked with collecting tears from a yeti, the entire gang goes after a mermaid's treasure... this sort of plot has happened a few times... In Anime.Lupin III, at least.
  • Damsel in Distress: Clarisse, Murasaki, Fujiko (sometimes)... The character trope was used back in the Manga, and is pretty much expected to occur. There's one in pretty much every Lupin movie or TV special, in fact.
  • Darker and Edgier: Lupin III experiences a lot of Tone Shift, especially when the directors change.
  • Delayed Causality: In Japan, that pause where nothing is happening between a cut/attack and the effect is called "Mu", something like "emptiness". It is used most famously (to the point of being parodied in countless other anime and manga) by Goemon Ishikawa XIII. The damage is usually shown after he returns the sword to its sheath with a modest click. Goemon even has a Catch Phrase that he says as whatever he has cut falls apart: "Once again, I have cut a worthless object."
  • Denser and Wackier: The art style of the Lupin III (Pink Jacket) series is this to the rest of the franchise. It says something when a character who is known for being just this side of possible evokes an "are they smoking something?" feel. While the plots are no weirder than in the past, the new 1980's style of drawing the characters makes a lot of fans give up before the character designs become more consistent later in the show.
  • Diagonal Cut: Goemon does this frequently. Things rarely fall apart until he has resheathed his sword, and at some point he will say, "Once again I have cut a worthless object."
  • Double Entendre: Often. Especially in the English dub of the 2nd TV series. Fujiko was going undercover and noticing the type of carpet in the room.
    Fujiko: I just love a good shag.
    • Fujiko Mine's name is an example: "The twin peaks of Mt. Fuji."
  • Downer Ending: Happens sometimes. We're not counting just when the gang fails to get anything from their heist; that happens often. Some stories have one character that the audience felt deeply about being killed off for the ending. Lupin III Island Of Assassins stands out as probably being the codifier for the fan opinion that if Lupin's wearing a black shirt under a Red Jacket, people are going to die.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Lupin is a Master of Disguise, so he engages in this often. His favorite disguise is apparently Zenigata.
    • There was one episode of the Lupin III (Red Jacket) series where Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon ALL dressed up as Zenigata.
    • Anyone in the cast might be expected to appear as a disguised version of someone else. Zenigata has even disguised himself as Lupin!
  • Due to the Dead: shows both ends of this trope.
    • Good: When Zenigata is declared dead, he is always treated to full police honors, as if he made a Heroic Sacrifice For Great Justice. Lupin and his gang attend at a respectful distance. (If seen, the police would have to arrest them)
    • Evil: three examples
      • Lupin himself is declared dead on occasion. Pops is either Genre Savvy or obsessed enough not to believe it. He will assault the corpse to prove it isn't really Lupin. The rest of the gang mourns him in their respective ways. The service is very small, no family in attendance.
      • Lighter and Softer stories where the villain die have a Gory Discretion Shot, dying painfully and ignored.
      • Darker and Edgier stories have no discretion, but the gang may choose to honor their enemy by watching them die, or turn their
  • Easy Come, Easy Go: The gang doesn't have to worry about Status Quo when it comes to their financial situation; they can be living in an expensive hotel one episode, and living in a trailer the next. But Lupin and his crew still have the uncanny tendency to lose every big score minutes after they get it, or have it turn out to be something they're better off not getting their hands on. As Lupin is a kleptomaniac of titanic proportions, all he does is shrug it off and seek the next heist.
  • Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: A common enough trope in the anime. Always used as a villain. See the character pages. Notable examples are below:
  • Enemy Mine: Inspector Zenigata will form a grudging alliance with Lupin III whenever it involves taking down a more clearly evil criminal (which is surprisingly often). Depending on the Writer, this is implied to be main reason why he hasn't been fired for failing to catch Lupin.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The titular Lupin may be a thief but he's a Gentleman Thief, and he reminds anyone who asks that the people from whom he steals are people who can take the loss, and that there are worse people than he in this world. He also shows a chivalrous streak that compels him to help those less fortunate than he is (especially attractive women). Furthermore, Lupin often takes it upon himself and his gang to stop criminals engaged in more violent crimes and leave them for the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist (Inspector Zenigata) to arrest.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: creator Monkey Punch wanted a more Japanese character for his ensemble. Enter Goemon Ishikawa XIII...
  • Fanservice:
    • Fujiko often has her tops or clothing ripped off.
    • And for the ladies, Goemon likes to wear a fundoshi and not much else when swimming. Lupin, Jigen, and Zenigata have Shirtless Scenes aplenty themselves.
    • At one point, Goemon, driving a truck, signalled Fujiko and Jigen (who were following in a helicopter) by taking off his red fundoshi and waving it out the window. This stunt managed to cause Fujiko to blush.
    • Lupin III: The Secret of Twilight Gemini is notorious for having the most fanservice of any Lupin III-related media... at least until, well, see the bullet point below this one.
    • The 2012 TV series has Fujiko naked at least once an episode (not counting the opening & ending, where she's also naked).
    • All of the above is nothing compared to the original manga, where Fujiko is regularly naked for at least a part of a story (as is pretty much every other young woman who shows up), including one chapter where Fujiko spends the entire time without clothes. Lupin also spends a fair amount of time naked, though that can veer into Fan Disservice.
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: The theme song actually has lyrics, but the version traditionally used is a Title Theme Tune. For a while [adult swim] aired a vintage opening that used the lyrics.
  • Franchise-Driven Retitling: In Japan, The Mystery of Mamo was originally titled Lupin III, but with two television series, a live-action film, and another movie on the way, they had to retitle it to distinguish what the movie was. It is now officially known as Lupin III: Lupin Vs the Clones.
  • Friendly Enemy: The titular Villain Protagonist treats Inspector Zenigata more as an affectionate rival than a threat. If a severe threat to world peace appears, they team up to take them down. Both are sad if the other appears to die, and Zenigata typically goes into a fit of grief. Also, any time he's taken off the Lupin case or when Lupin appears TRULY dead, one of his first reactions is usually to go visit the gang.
  • Friends with Benefits: This trope is possibly the best category for Lupin III and Fujiko. Lupin believes they're soulmates (not that it prevents him from hitting on other women), and Fujiko prefers "Fuck Buddies" (except without the sex). Which means they wind up here, somewhere in the middle.
    We've been allies, and enemies, too. On occasion, we've even been lovers. -Fujiko, The Castle of Cagliostro
  • Full Body Disguise: The cast, Lupin especially, uses these from time to time, often combining this with Latex Perfection. Characters will step out of complete body suits that made them completely identical to someone else
  • Get Into Jail Free: Lupin knows he can do this at any time, due to the obsessive nature of his archrival, Detective Zenigata. As a Gentleman Thief, Zenigata has been trying to arrest him for years. All he has to do to go to jail is walk up and announce he's Lupin, coming to surrender.
  • Groin Attack:
    • The manga volumes include a chapter where Lupin "teaches" a young woman to defend herself from attack by slapping her hands together on top of the... male sex symbol. (The manga's replacement for genitalia)
    • In episode 10 of Lupin III (Green Jacket) series, when Flinch aims a second kick at Lupin, he catches it and kicks Flinch in the crotch.
    • In the Lupin III (Red Jacket) series, he has used this tactic to escape from a large police officer who had him in a hold.
    • In Lupin III: Dead or Alive Orienda stabs a would-be rapist in the crotch with the heel of her shoe.
  • Gun Stripping: Lupin and Jigen are occasionally shown to do this. One scene that shows the personalities of the cast is where Lupin is flipping through random tv channels while slouching, Jigen is cleaning his gun, and Goemon is polishing his blade, while Fujiko walks in wearing a new dress.
  • Henohenomoheji: Lupin commonly leaves little face drawings on fake-Lupin dummies and dummies for the police and victims to find. Whether he uses the hiragana characters is irregular, but the style is always the same round/peanut face and little stick arms. He isn't trying to be as anonymous as this trope usually indicates, which may explain why.
  • Impersonating an Officer: This happens to be one of Lupin's favorite tactics, often by disguising himself as Inspector Zenigata; usually at Zenigata's expense.
    • In The Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin infiltrates the titular castle by posing as Zenigata, claiming that the real one Gustav saw was an imposter. It works. Gustav falls for it and attacks Zenigata and his men, allowing Lupin to slip inside unnoticed.
    • Lupin also pulls this twice in Lupin III: The Secret of Twilight Gemini:
      • The first happens, near the beginning, where he disguises himself as one of Zenigata's men in an attempt to slip past the inspector (which Zenigata doesn't fall for).
      • The other happens about halfway through the film, when he disguises himself as a police officer to infiltrate Morocco's police HQ to dig up information on Galoux. Which is leads to a run-in with Fujiko and a night of Sex With The Ex.
    • Lupin poses as Zenigata again, in the Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode Albatross: Wings of Death, where he uses the disguise to try to get Prof. Lumbach to tell him about his bomb manufacturing plant. Lumbach stalls by pretending to fall for it, to buy time for the real Zenigata to show up!
    • Lupin poses as the Inspector again in the Red Jacket series finale Aloha Lupin, to track down a group of imposters who were impersonating him and his gang.
  • Indy Ploy: The writers of Lupin use Unspoken Plan Guarantee so often that we, the audience, can't tell if Lupin's success is due to planning or luck.
    • In one of the episodes of the original 1972 Lupin III (Green Jacket) TV series, 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.
    • This plot was revisited in the Lupin III (Red Jacket) series, where an armchair detective (criminologist) programmed a computer to do the same thing. This time, Lupin's Indy Ploy was to rely on Zenigata's whim.
  • Infernal Retaliation: One of the story elements consistent across the franchise is Lupin's encounter with Goemon. The manga, the Green Jacket series and Episode 0 all feature Lupin throwing a special chemical onto the samurai that bursts into flames when it comes into contact with the air. Not content to let Lupin get away with this, Goemon tosses a rope at Lupin, which carries the flames over to light him on fire as well. As it's Lupin, they recover.
  • Inverse Law of Sharpness and Accuracy: zigzagged
  • Investigator Impersonation: Lupin III's favorite disguise is Inspector Zenigata. He goes up to his victim, explains that they're being targeted by Lupin, and asks them to allow him to increase the security. Everything that the real Zenigata would do, too. Pity for them it isn't, and they're about to lose their stuff.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: Jigen can usually be counted on to ignore the flirting women. But any of them might ignore Fujiko.
    • "Auntie Ballistic": The episode has Lupin working for Fujiko's Aunt. After being incentivized to work by getting fanservice from a hologram of Fujiko, he starts to tune her out. When the real Fujiko shows up, he completely ignores her.
    • Lupin III Episode 0 First Contact: Fujiko takes a shower in Jigen's apartment, comes out in just a towel, and tries to seduce him by leaning over to show her generous cleavage off, and then when he ignores that, starts to drop the towel. He uses the barrel of his magnum to hold it on her body while simultaneously threatening to shoot her if she tries that again. This is also a slightly defining moment for Jigen, as he is the only one consistently unaffected by Fujiko's appearance (even Goemon is affected; he just blushes and looks away when she's naked, though).
    • Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine: Jigen's Origins Episode has a similar scene where he at first pretends to be accepting her offer, then grabs the knife she was concealing and threatens her with it. He's also shown ignoring Ciccolina in his flashbacks.
  • Irregular Series: The Lupin III Yearly Specials are an irregularly scheduled series of anime made for TV movies, produced once a year.
  • It Must Be Mine: Lupin doesn't count for this trope. He never wants it for the rarity, and has often taken something just to make sure someone else doesn't have it. On the other hand, Fujiko is also the cause of many of their capers. To the point where Jigen will try to quit the job once he hears it was her idea.
  • Jesus Taboo: Lupin doesn't have a problem with naming aspects of any religion, although none of the cast are proselytizing members.
  • The Kingdom: The franchise occasionally uses this trope, but none qualify quite as well as Miyazaki's first feature film.
    • The Castle of Cagliostro was a dutchy; a small kingdom ruled by a Duke. The duke and his wife died in a large fire, while his daughter was at a religious convent. The Count was in a different castle, and now rules as regent. He plans on marrying Clarisse to become regent-for-life and discover the secret to the Cagliostro kingdom.
  • Latex Perfection: as a Master of Disguise, this trait has been included since the beginning, even by characters other than Lupin.
    Lupin: ""You gotta tug harder!""
    • In The Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin doesn't even need a mask for his face to match latex perfection to Zenigata. Makeup and mask played straight for other disguises.
  • Little Brother Is Watching: An indication of a Lighter and Softer storyline is the introduction of a child as main character.
    • Lupin III (Green Jacket) has "Rescue the Tomboy", a story where Lupin steals a person from her uncle! Her father was in Lupin II'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 known as a Handsome Lech, but for Clarisse's sake, he tries to be a Thief In A Stylin' Suit. When Lupin tells Jigen and Goemon about being "wild and crazy" in his past, their silence can suggest that Lupin may have been talking about last week. At the end of the movie, she hugs him tight and begs to become a thief and leave Cagliostro with him. Lupin visibly trembles before he pushes her away gently.
  • Long Runner: While it might be easy for Western Audiences to just look at the first Manga or 1970s series and just call this franchise "old", there's a lot more going on. In Japan, this series has effectively never ended. There are many people working in the anime industry that have never known a single day where Lupin wasn't around. Even if TMS were to stop making their Lupin products, the sheer number of people still referencing Lupin would keep the characters in Japanese Pop Culture for years.
  • Made of Indestructium: Goemon's sword was forged by a secret process and is essentially indestructible.
  • Magic from Technology: The villain Pycal, who was impervious to bullets and fire, could walk on air, and shoot fire from his fingertips. Lupin found a way to replicate these tricks: (he walked on air via carefully placed glass panes, shot fire from his fingertips with a small, hidden flamethrower and was impervious thanks to a hard liquid chemical that shielded his body when covered by the liquid.) It was never explicitly confirmed that Pycal really wasn't using magic in the manga version, though in the anime Lupin found Pycal's chemical formula. When the villain was revisited in the OVA Return Of The Magician, he received upgrades in power, and was seeking a collection of crystals that were able to use vibrations/sounds to do whatever he wanted. Naturally, Lupin also has his eyes on them, and the two fight over who gets to collect all of them.
  • McNinja: Several of Lupin's adversaries have employed ninja-esque Mooks, usually wearing full-body black catsuits, although some wore more "traditional" garb.
    • The Castle of Cagliostro had people with armor underneath their black catsuits that protected them form small arms fire. But not against a rifle or Zantetsugan.
    • Lupin III The Last Job inverted this trope. It declared the ninja clan Fuma (who had existed as antagonists to Lupin since the manga) came from Italy.
  • Meditating Under a Waterfall: Goemon Ishikawa XIII. He meditates in waterfalls, as well as cloudy mountain peaks, hot springs, and secluded canyons. Sometimes he does more than one at the same time!
  • Medium Awareness: This trope is used due to the franchise's Semipermeable Fourth Wall nature. It is usually Lupin interacting with whatever element of the work is on our side of the Fourth Wall, but any of the cast can do it for a Rule of Funny. (Monkey Punch has even turned part of a panel over to show how upset he was when Zenigata had a Leaning on the Fourth Wall line, claiming the current case was as simple as a comic book)
    • A Lupin III (Green Jacket) episode has Lupin stepping off of a plane and calling "Title!", to summon the episode's name.
    • The manga stories use many more Fourth Wall jokes than the anime stories do. In "Impression Impossible", Lupin has paid someone to roll a panel aside and declare that Lupin III is handsome.
  • Mercy Lead: Zenigata has done this several times throughout the history of the Lupin franchise. Usually tricked into it, as Zenigata has the choice between the world-class master thief, and the guy responsible for the recent plot.
  • Monumental Theft: Lupin occasionally steals more than what is actually possible to steal. Sometimes, if the items he's trying to steal alone aren't oddball, the method he uses to grab them are.
    • For the second Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode, (Guns, Bun, and Fun in the Sun) he steals cash by inserting it in the Christ the Redeemer statue just to remove the whole damn statue with a skycrane, bitch-slapping two helicopters with the statue in the process and fail because of a large crack on the bottom of the statue leaking said money.
    • He stole the Statue of Liberty. I kid you not.
    • Speaking of Lady Liberty, he's also removed the entire lower story of Tiffany's and used the entire stock to jazz up the statue for Christmas.
    • And a nuclear submarine,
    • And a Rocket
    • And a satellite full of money
    • The latter three he did in the same damn movie
    • One notable aversion was in The Castle of Cagliostro, the treasure of Cagliostro line is an almost perfectly preserved lost Roman city submerged in the lake the castle rests in Lupin admits that it's the greatest and most valuable thing he's ever come across, but it's simply too big for him to take.
  • Mood Whiplash: Lupin III experiences a lot of Tone Shift. Monkey Punch would intersperse an attempted rape scene Played for Laughs with a young women begging that same character for protection. A fan of Bathos.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Extremely common for the franchise, given how much Lupin loves disguises.
    • An episode has Fujiko and Lupin tying up and gagging a pilot and stewardess so they can steal their outfits and replace them on a flight.
    • Fujiko does this to a female army officer in another episode. She leaves her tied up and gagged in a locked room while strutting about in the woman's uniform.
    • Lupin does this to the Director of the New York police department in Lupin III Episode 0 First Contact.
    • Happens in the pilot episode of Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. Fujiko subdues a cultist and swaps clothes with him, leaving him bound and gagged in her dress. The poor thug ends up getting executed while Fujiko escapes in his uniform.
  • Named Weapon: Goemon has a legendary sword:
  • Negative Continuity: Only the essential elements of the story are ever kept... It's part of the reason why the series has worked for so long. The only lasting changes ever made to the story (the additions of Jigen and Goemon to the cast) occurred very early on in the franchise's history, during the original manga. Since then, the cast of characters has not moved forward an inch in over forty years.
  • Oddly Small Organization: In the Manga, there was implied to be a large number of additional people working for the Lupin family, and the film even says that they're an extremely large organization. Despite that, the "Lupin Empire" seems to contain only 3 or 4 people, depending upon Fujiko's interests, with the occasional hired help. The perpetual crew always outnumbers the "empire" characters, even when it would make sense to gather more help.
  • Origins Episode:
    • Lupin III (Green Jacket) was the first series adapted from the manga. It explains where the Zantetsuken comes from, as well as why Goemon joins the gang.
    • Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is the origin story for Fujiko Mine specifically, but also tells the story of how Lupin and Jigen meet. Inside the series is also an Origins Episode for Oscar, telling how Zenigata found him, and took care of him.
    • Lupin III Episode 0 First Contact is yet another Origins episode, telling the story of how Everyone meets everyone, and how Goemon finds the 'Zantetsuken''.
    • Strange Psychokinetic Strategy is the tale of Jigen finding Lupin III after Lupin II died, and Lupin discovering the beautiful Fujiko.
  • Parody Episode: Frequently. The original Manga stories simply used the Arsene Lupin Sansei character as a vehicle to drive a story, through whatever tale Monkey Punch wanted to tell.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: IF Lupin is caught, he treats the prison as this. Although sometimes the prison may show him it isn't that easy. This is even assuming he didn't plan this as a Get Into Jail Free gambit. Similar to his ancestor, Arsène Lupin, if Lupin the Third is in prison, it's because he wants to be.
  • Prequel: Due to the franchise's Negative Continuity, the only way to determine if a story is a Sequel or Prequel is if it is also an Origins Episode. A given episode or chapter cannot even promise if it happened before or after the last episode or chapter.
  • Psycho for Hire: Several villains employ these. Probably used for Asshole Victim, as this level of evil is usually not present in the Lighter and Softer stories. Many of them seem to have a past with Jigen, for some reason.
  • Rare Vehicles: Lupin III drives a Mercedes-Benz SSK throughout the series; less than forty were made, and most found nowadays are replicas using components from the original vehicles. Hilariously, it often becomes a Chronically Crashed Car, which might explain why the other car usually associated with Lupin is the far more common Fiat 500.
  • Rated M for Manly: Lupin wants you to believe he is the manliest guy you'd ever find. The Manga fits very well; it is full of Author Appeal for killing and seducing. Lighter and Softer stories still have an element of this in them, but with Defeat by Modesty or Bloodless Carnage. The Lupin III (Green Jacket) series and Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine series, however, comes closer to the mature tone of the manga.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: The "official couple" of Lupin and Fujiko, which is usually him chasing after her, but rare examples have Fujiko trying to get him to marry her, or the two of them actually united in purpose. Their on-again-off-again relationship is best summarized in The Castle of Cagliostro, as she explains to the Girl of the Week, "We've been allies, and enemies, too. On occasion, we've even been lovers."
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Jigen uses all manner of firearms during his career, but seems to prefer a revolver as his sidearm of choice. The others, except for Goemon, carry semiautomatics.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: Lupin the Third will never be captured by Inspector Zenigata. Well... at least not unless Lupin is trying to mess with Zenigata's mind. Zenigata admits that he wouldn't know what to do if Lupin was actually caught permanently.
  • Safecracking: Not used often, Lupin prefers Social Engineering to open the safe, but he has proven the ability to do so several times in the franchise. The board game just assumes that if a character enters the building with the loot, they can automatically open it. They're just that good.
  • Series Franchise: Lupin III was much more successful than initially expected, to the point that some of the titles have been retroactively renamed to differentiate between them. It began as a Manga, but is much better known as an anime, even in Japan. The Lupin-verse is held in place through a combination of Broad Strokes, Negative Continuity, and Mythology Gag.
  • Scenery Porn: Important for setting the tone of the work, and showing us how well-off Lupin is doing at this time. He's varied from abandoned warehouses to ritzy hotels.
  • Sliding Scale of Fourth Wall Hardness: Semipermeable Fourth Wall. Clear Breaking the Fourth Wall happens, but at other times, everything works as if the characters are not aware of being fictional; the breakages are basically implied not to be canon, even though they may happen in the middle of the normal action. The ''Lupin'' manga may have a Nonexistent Fourth Wall, depending on the story.
  • Slipped the Ropes: Lupin can only be handcuffed if he lets you handcuff him. During a Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode, Fujiko uses this trait to convince Zenigata Lupin is 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.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Fujiko is the only recurring female character in the franchise, and even she was originally only a series of several one-shot characters, as a Shout-Out to James Bond.
  • Spin-Offspring: The premise of Lupin III mixes this trope with Cross Over, featuring the titular character; the grandson of Arsène Lupin, Goemon XIII, and Inspector Zenigata of Zenigata Heiji Covers all of Edo.
  • Spotting the Thread: The franchise has Lupin saying "Tot-san" ("Pops" or "Old Man" in English dubs). In the Lupin IIIVS Detective Conan Made-for-TV Movie, Zenigata identifies the disguised Lupin when Lupin calls him by his nickname.
  • Steal the Surroundings:If Lupin the Third can't get the treasure itself, his elaborate scheme frequently becomes stealing what contains the treasure instead. In some variations, he will pretend to steal the container, and when the distracted target goes after him to get it back, it gives him time to double-back and break into the real thing.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: All of the characters get into the Stealth Hi part. Lupin is the most frequent user of the Stealth Bye part, unfortunately for Inspector Zenigata.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Inspector Zenigata is the former Trope Namer.
  • Title Theme Tune: Usually, the only words in the theme are the title (Lupin the Third), although there have been a couple of versions with lyrics added.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Lupin zig-zags this trope.
    • In the early comics, Lupin didn't have a problem killing. Even the early Anime has it happening in cruel or horrifying ways. Most adaptations, however, are Lighter and Softer, so Lupin and gang distance themselves from their enemies with this view.
    • This trope is especially noted towards Zenigata; both characters have mentioned that they have an understood "gentlemen's agreement" that neither will attempt to kill the other, and have saved each other's life (several times, in fact).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Zenigata is so obsessed with chasing Lupin, that while eating at a cafe, if he notices Lupin and the gang, he leaves his food behind to chase after them.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: A fairly often trope used when one of the main five characters are shot for real. Zenigata, as the "antagonist" to Lupin, is the frequent target. Usually wears off after his funeral.
    • Notably subverted in Lupin III vs. Detective Conan. Conan uses his watch-dart on Inspector Zenigata, who is so tough that it wears off in no time (though he still goes down quickly). Conan is pretty surprised when it wears off. Tots-san probably built up an immunity to it.
  • Trouser Space: Lupin likes to hide some of his back-up gadgets in his briefs. Sometimes, his briefs are the back-up gadget.
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast: Lupin and his crew (and you can add Zenigata, too) have found themselves facing pretty much anything that TMS Entertainment can come up with for them. From the 15th century to the 22nd century, they've found themselves in all sorts of situations.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Frequently. No matter how clever the bad guys are, Lupin always one-ups them at the last minute with a new gadget or a brilliant ruse - the audience knows he always has something up his sleeve, but we're almost never told what. The more thought and planning we see go into a caper, the less likely the gang will have any loot by the end.
    • This trope is subverted at the beginning of the Made-for-TV Movie Lupin III Seven Days Rhapsody. The special starts with, as with every special, a successful heist (this time, taking the money off the hands of some rich men during a horse race), but it turns out to be a flashforward as part of Lupin explaining the plan to Jigen one week before the heist will take place. The "Seven Days" the two of them are waiting for. Then, at the end of the special, a Double Subversion takes place, as Lupin gets to the tracks, but the horse race was cancelled due to weather conditions.
    • It was an Averted Trope once: One of Monkey Punch's only rules for Lupin III: Dead or Alive was that Lupin and the gang had to get the treasure in the end.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: A favorite trick of Lupin's when he's being pursued. He'll either sabotage them himself or have Goemon slice them to ribbons beforehand.
  • Way Past the Expiration Date: In one Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode, Lupin steals a two century old bottle of rare French wine that was laid down by Napoleon, and was to be given as a gift to the President of the United States, swapping it out with a cheap bottle of store bought wine. After a successful heist, Lupin watches the president drinking the cheap wine and calling it "remarkable" on TV. The gang then laugh to themselves, and try a glass of the real wine... but find that it hadn't been aged properly and turned to vinegar.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Lupin has a Fiat 500 in shows like The Castle of Cagliostro. It seems to be a wimpy little subcompact car, but it's actually a heavily modified vehicle that can go seriously fast, run up near-vertical cliff faces and survive grenade blasts.
  • White and Grey Morality: While the titular character and his gang are criminals, they wouldn't do anything really heinous, so even at their worst, the crew are Anti Villains. Their antagonist, Inspector Zenigata, is a Hero Antagonist, and their relationship can be described as an almost friendly rivalry, rather than confrontation between criminals and law-enforcement. Whenever a serious bad guy comes up, Lupin and Zenigata usually ally against him - though they always resume their antics when the alliance is no longer needed.
  • Will They or Won't They?: More than likely, they won't. Fujiko usually only uses Lupin's feelings for her to take advantage of him. Her feelings are clear, and she has occasionally confessed her love for him, but only when she thinks one or both of them are about to die, or she thinks he's already dead. However, she quickly hides those feelings again when she finds out otherwise.

OzCriminal ProceduralBlack Lagoon
TsukihimeMadmanEntertainment/Anime & MangaLupin III
LufiaFranchise IndexLyrical Nanoha
Lovely ComplexCreator/Discotek MediaLupin III (Green Jacket)
The Lucifer and Biscuit HammerSeinenLyrical Nanoha
Kotetsu JeegThe SeventiesMao Dante

alternative title(s): Lupin The Third; Lupin III
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