In 1967, Monkey Punch was tasked to create an adult-oriented Manga character. For inspiration, he drew from James Bond, MAD Magazine, and Arsène Lupin. It later became a multimedia franchise.Lupin III (Japanese: ルパン三世) was first printed as a serial Manga, published in the magazine "Weekly Manga Action" (which began in July), on August 10, 1967. It lasted for 94 issues, ending in May 22, 1969. Monkey Punch recontinued the story two years later,note for under a year; 1971-1972 with the title of "Lupin III: The New Adventures". Those two sets of stories were later collected together into the first 14 manga volume series. Later stories of Lupin are also released in Weekly Manga Action, until the fifth series, which was printed in the Lupin III Official Magazine. The Lupin III Official Magazine is a quarterly magazine that is published by the same people who make Weekly Manga Action, and it includes information on upcoming and recent Lupin III information and merchandise.
Lupin III ~ Licensed in America by Tokyo Pop, in January 1, 2003. 14 volumes.
Lupin III – World's Most Wanted ~ Also written by Monkey Punch, beginning in June 23, 1977. 16 volumes, but only nine were released in English.
Lupin III S ~ This story was written by Satosumi Takaguchi and illustrated by Shusay, note both were supervised by Monkey Punch in January 1997. 1 volume. No English release.
Lupin III Y ~ Written by Monkey Punch and illustrated by Masatsuki Yamakami, this serial began in 1998, and halted in 2003. It restarted in the Summer 2009 Lupin III Official Magazine release as Shin Lupin III; but those chapters were not collected into the Manga volumes. 20 volumes. No English release.
Lupin III M ~ The ongoing adventures of Lupin, written by Monkey Punch and illustrated by Yukio Miyama. It began in 2004, serialized by Lupin III Official Magazine. 8 volumes have been published. No English release.
Lupin III H ~ Also currently serialized by the official magazine, written by Monkey Punch and illustrated by Naoya Hayakawa. No volumes or English release, as of 2013.
In addition to the above, some of the Lupin Anime has been re-adapted back into color Manga.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Goemon wields a katana called 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. It is said to be made of a rare steel alloy produced from meteoric iron that is almost indestructible, though apparently the metal can cut itself.
And the Adventure Continues: 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.
Animesque: The Inverted Trope! The original manga was heavily influenced by MAD, and the art style definitely shows. The subsequent anime adaptations... not so much. They're not significantly more western-like than most other anime products, but still good!
Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted; genitalia is instead drawn as the male and female gender symbols.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: The manga, especially, has a Semipermeable Fourth Wall. Some of the Manga stories have turned Monkey Punch and/or the audience into a main character for the story. One chapter consisted of Lupin showing off his hideout, and explaining everything he had in it.
When the first Manga started, Fujiko Mine was an arbitrary name given to the Girl of the Week. She could be an Action Girl one week, and a Damsel in Distress the next. When Monkey Punch decided to make her a consistent character, the idea that she worked with Lupin one week, and against him the next, retroactively gave her Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. This trait has been kept across the franchise.
Contract on the Hitman: Lupin once paid a hitman to take a contract out on himself, literally. Turns out the hitman has split personality issues. One personality was hired to kill the other, and neither knew about each other.
Cross Over: Lupin and his gang appeared in Super Kochikame, a special manga volume for Kochi's 30th anniversary in 2006. The Lupin segment was co-authored by Osami Akimoto and Monkey Punch.
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.
Groin Attack: An early chapter has Lupin "teaching" 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)
Hoist by His Own Petard: We have a literal example of the phrase, as Lupin hires an assassin to kill a Yakuza boss ( who is a split personality of the assassin ) and the boss has set bombs all over his house.
Infernal Retaliation: One of the story elements consistent across the franchise is Lupin's encounter with Goemon. Lupin claims he knows of a weapon more powerful than the katana. Goemon, who believes that Katanas Are Just Better, brags that he will cut anything with his sword. Thats when Lupin throws special rocket fuel onto the samurai that bursts into flames when Goemon slashes it, because 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.
Long Runner: There's a lot of stop-and-go with the manga, but the Lupin III Official Magazine isn't going to stop any decade soon, even if it stops including new Lupin III serials.
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, however, the animated versions of the character are explicit about it.
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 gag.
In "Impression Impossible", Lupin has paid someone to roll a panel aside and declare that Lupin III is handsome.
Metallicar Syndrome: Despite being an internationally-wanted criminal, Lupin often drives the very rare Mercedes-Benz SSK. Probably a Justified Trope though, as his desire to show off is at least as powerful a motive as the money from his more spectacular capers.
Named Weapon: Goemon has a legendary sword named Nagareboshi, which translates to "falling star". The metal came from the heavens.
Nice Hat: Aside from Jigen's classic headgear, Lupin also wore a fedora once in the manga when not in disguise. Also, many of the covers for the original manga series featured him in one.
No Dialogue Episode: Chapter 89 of the original manga series went entirely without dialogue until the final page (possibly as a homage to cartoons like Tom and Jerry, which the author admits to being a fan of). The sequel series also did it, but in a much more serious way.
No Fourth Wall: One of the ways the manga differs from subsequent adaptations is the shameless lack of a fourth wall. From Lupin's quip in chapter 6 that "This manga is very thrilling!" to some stories involving the author as a character (one was just a chapter of Lupin criticizing and abusing the author, the other has Lupin giving the manga-ka a tour of his hideout), to a chapter starring the reader herself.
No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Late in the run of the original manga series, Lupin encounters a scientist whose secrets he intends to steal. So, he invites him to dinner to discuss it.
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.
Old Cop, Young Cop: Akechi Kogoro is the old cop to Zenigata Koichi's much younger cop. In some adaptations, Zenigata is paired with an older or younger counterpart to serve as a relationship character.
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.
Recruiting the Criminal: Lupin was hired by the Japanese government to rescue a captured spy and recover the intel said spy was after in return for amnesty for all his crimes up to that point. Here, the reason was simply that Lupin's Impossible Thief talents made him the perfect man for the job; if anyone could covertly steal a prisoner and information from under the nose of somebody who'd already caught a spy and was thus on alert, it would be him.