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Trivia / Lupin III

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  • Adaptation Displacement: The Adult Swim airing of Lupin III: Part II caused the franchise's fanbase in North America to grow. However, many people who came into the franchise via it aren't aware of the earlier "Green Jacket" series or the comic that spawned both – Tokyopop released the first manga series and half of the second before dropping it due to low sales.
  • Anime First: The color Manga volumes are all made from the anime versions of Lupin, in a Recursive Adaptation.
  • Channel Hop:
    • The first three TV series originally aired on Yomiuri TV. Beginning with Bye Bye, Liberty Crisis, all of the Lupin III specials and TV series have aired on Nippon Television.
    • The first six animated films were originally distributed by Toho. The next two films were distributed by TMS Entertainment themselves, with T-Joy as the co-distributor for the ninth one. Toho eventually returned to distribute the tenth film, The First.
  • Character Outlives Actor: Yasuo Yamada, the voice of Lupin the Third, died of a brain hemorrhage in 1995, a month before the release of Farewell to Nostradamus, the movie that would mark the franchise's return to the big screen after ten years. Fortunately, his will stated that, if he were to pass away, the baton should be passed to Kan'ichi Kurita (a popular comedian and impersonator), who voices Lupin from that movie onwards. In honor of Yamada, a message was placed at the end of the film's credits: "To Yasuo Yamada, Eternal Lupin the Third: Thank you!".
  • 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 
    • Until 2012 it was still an issue in France. There, Lupin was called Edgar. (The Woman Called Fujiko Mine appears to be the first French release to use the Lupin name. The 5th anime series, set in France, was marketed with the Lupin name there.)
    • In Italy, the various series would get different subtitles.
    • Some of the specials have completely different titles in Japanese and English. note 
  • Fan Nickname: Because of Recycled Title use early in the franchise, the first three TV series have earned fan nicknames based on the colour of Lupin's jacket.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Funimation lost all of their rights to the various Lupin III movies and specials they previously dubbed, with some of them now being distributed by Discotek Media.
    • The Fuma Conspiracy suffered a double whammy of this trope, with both the original AnimEigo release and the Discotek rerelease going out of print, with second-hand copies for both releases fetching high prices.
    • While large portions of the anime have been rescued, the same cannot be said for the manga, which has had no English release outside of the Tokyopop release, which has long since gone out of print due to the company going bankrupt and losing the license. To make matters worse, their release of the second manga series (known as Lupin III: World's Most Wanted) never even had a complete English release due to poor sales, leaving nearly half of the series completely inaccessible in the West through legal means.
    • Funimation's license to Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine expired in August of 2018, and it wouldn't be until September 2020 that Discotek Media rescued the license. Funi's release, however, is getting increasingly more expensive as time goes on.
  • Missing Episode: "Red Jacket" Episode 3, "Hitler's Legacy" (a.k.a "To Be Or Nazi Be"), was this for a while with the series' US release, as Adult Swim refused to air it for pretty obvious reasons – [as] was still pretty skittish at the time thanks to the oppressive post-9/11 media environment. Bizarrely, TV airings of the preceding episode still had the preview for this one. Less justifiably, Geneon withheld it from the Volume 1 DVD – a move widely seen as a primary reason for the show's failure – it was included in Volume 5, tacked onto the end of the first season. For what it's worth, Discotek Media put the episode in its original spot when making their rerelease.
  • No Export for You:
    • Very few of the Manga have left Japan, even in scanlation form.
    • For a very long time, the only place outside Japan to see the 1971 "Green Jacket" TV series was Italy. North America finally got it in 2012, albeit only in Japanese with subtitles.
    • The third TV series, "Pink Jacket" was, for a long time, not legally available outside of Japan (or Italy) until it was inexplicably put on American streaming sites in the 2010s (and later, Discotek announced a home video release). Before then, Legend of the Gold of Babylon got a subtitled VHS tape that quickly went out of print.
      • "Pink Jacket" appeared in Italy in 1987 under the name "L'incorreggibile Lupin", and had several re-runs on Mediaset channels for the next 15 years. However, even there it's the least-liked series.
    • Of the 25 Lupin III Yearly Specials produced to date, only 14 so far have made it to North America. note  Of those, only 9 have English dubs – the eight Funimation specials plus Bye-Bye Liberty Crisis, which got a British dub back in the 90's. Everything from 2003 onwards, save for the Lupin/Conan crossover, remain stuck in Japan (or Italy).
    • Thanks to Geneon dropping "Red Jacket" after Episode 79, only two episodes from the series's second half made it to North America†  until December 6th 2015, when episodes 80-155 were put up on Crunchyroll. A couple weeks later, Discotek confirmed they had the license and would release the series on DVD starting sometime in 2016. It has improved subtitles for the series's second half (as well as the dub for episodes 145 and 155).
  • The Other Darrin: With over forty years of animation and dubbing, it is inevitable that examples of replacements without In-Universe explanation occur.
    • The Japanese cast for Lupin is remarkable for its extreme consistency over many decades. However, even it has had its shakeups.
      • Lupin III Pilot Film, the original 1969 pilot film (shot and recorded twice), Darrin'ed itself by having two completely different voice casts. Strangely, Gorō Naya (Zenigata's long-time VA) played Goemon and Chikao Ohtsuka (Goemon in the first series) played Zenigata. The only other actors from these recordings retained for future Lupin projects were Eiko Masuyama as Fujiko and Kiyoshi Kobayashi as Jigen.
      • Lupin III: Part 1 replaced Lupin, Goemon, and Fujiko, with Yasuo Yamada, Chikao Ohtsuka, and Yukiko Nikaido, respectively. Masuyama still appears in this series as an incidental character.
      • Lupin III: Part II created and cemented the most famous cast arrangement – Yamada as Lupin, Kobayashi as Jigen, Masuyama as Fujiko, Makio Inoue as Goemon, and Naya as Zenigata. With one exception (see below), this lineup would not change again for the next eighteen years.
      • In 1987, The Fuma Conspiracy was produced on a tight budget, so TMS decided to replace the principal cast (at the time, the highest-paid voice actors in Japan) with cheaper actors from Aoni Production. Thus, Lupin is played here by Toshio Furukawa, Jigen by Banjou Ginga, Goemon by Kaneto Shiozawa, Fujiko by Mami Koyama, and Inspector Zenigata by Seizo Kato. Fan reaction was... less than positive, and TMS switched back to the original actors for the annual TV specials that started two years later. Contrary to rumors of the time, Monkey Punch had nothing to do with this one. note 
      • Lupin's longtime voice actor, Yasuo Yamada, was savvy enough to know that he wouldn't be sticking around forever, so he personally trained and handpicked a friend of his, comedian Kan'ichi Kurita, to succeed him as the voice of Lupin should anything happen to him. Prescient, as Yamada unexpectedly passed away shortly after this, in early 1995. Kurita has voiced Lupin in everything since. From here, the main cast stabilized again for another sixteen years.
      • In 2011, TMS retired Makio Inoue, Eiko Masuyama, and Goro Naya (Goemon, Fujiko, and Zenigata, respectively), replacing them with (much) younger actors from the 2011 special onwards – Daisuke Namikawa as Goemon, Miyuki Sawashiro as Fujiko, and Kōichi Yamadera as Zenigata.note  This leaves Jigen as the last character of the main cast whose voice actor Kiyoshi Kobayashi has remained consistent since the 1969 pilot short film (not counting The Fuma Conspiracy).
      • To celebrate his 52-year tenure as the voice of Jigen, Kiyoshi Kobayashi reprised the role for the final time in episode 0 of Part 6. Then, he finally stepped down from the role once and for all, with Akio Ōtsuka replacing him.
    • Lupin's English cast has never been consistent, with several media being dubbed and redubbed multiple times, due to several failed attempts to successfully market the franchise in the English-speaking world over the years. One movie (The Mystery of Mamo) had four dubs produced between 1979-2003. To date, at least seven different English Lupin casts are known to exist.note 
      • Richard Epcar has worked for both the Geneon/Phuuz and Funimation casts, playing Jigen and Zenigata, respectively.note 
      • Funimation dubbed eight Lupin TV specials and two movies in the early 2000's. When they got the license to Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine in 2013, their original actors for Fujiko and Zenigata, Meredith McCoy and Philip Wilburn, were no longer available. So they picked up talent from the "Red Jacket" dub, namely Michelle Ruff and Richard Epcar.
      • And muddying things even further, the three theatrical releases in the Woman Named Fujiko Mine continuity went with all new voice actors in English save for two characters: Epcar reprises his role as Zenigata from Fujiko Mine, and Lex Lang was brought back from the Geneon/Phuuz dub to voice Goemon.
  • Reality Subtext: When the original manga series went on hiatus in the late 60s for three years, the first post-hiatus chapter was about Lupin trying to escape prison, after having been arrested… three years prior.
    • Both the first chapter of the second manga, and first episode of the second anime series take place five years after the conclusion of the previous series...the same amount of time that had passed in real life as well.
  • Relationship Voice Actor:
  • Sequel First:
    • When Lupin III was allowed to air on Adult Swim. Pioneer, the company dubbing it, chose the second series rather then the first. The first series finally got released by Discotek Media, but with subtitles only.
    • For what it's worth, the master copies for "Green Jacket" have gone missing. Without the masters to separate out the music and effects tracks from the voice track, dubbing it would be extremely tricky without extensive and expensive restoration work, making a dub in any other language unlikely.
  • Throw It In:
    • The Funimation dubs of the Lupin III films and specials feature a lot of this.
      • Lupin III: Crisis in Tokyo isn't a particularly funny movie in the native Japanese, but the dub had a ton of ad-libbing done by the actors (though not to the point of it being a Gag Dub), particularly Christopher Sabat, who voiced Jigen. It worked; it's one of the funniest Lupin movies ever released in the States.
    • "Red Jacket". Oh dear lord, "Red Jacket". It often is counted as a Gag Dub due to its random asides and bad celebrity impersonations.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In 1982, TMS and DiC planned to create Lupin VIII, a spin-off series that took place in the distant future and was seemingly going to be targeted to younger audiences. The Leblanc estate, however, killed those plans before the first episode could be finished. Strangely, the first episode, which still lacks a vocal track, is quietly being circulated on VHS tapes. After Lupin VIII was scrapped, DiC had to come up with something to replace it (they had already committed considerable capital to the project). They ultimately created Inspector Gadget. TMS even helped animate the first season. The Lupin VIII pilot has been released on the as-of-now Japan-exclusive Lupin III: Master File collector's DVD, with subtitles derived from the pilot's original script.
      • Inspector Gadget bears a strong resemblance to Inspector Hanshichi from Lupin III part 2 episode 54. & both shows have theme songs that only say the protagonist's name.
    • Bob Bergen (Lupin's voice actor in the Streamline dubs) auditioned for Geneon's dub of "Red Jacket", but ultimately could not take the part as it turned out to be a non-union production.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: The whole reason the series exists; Monkey Punch wanted to create a manga, but he wasn't sure what. When the publishers asked what type of manga he wanted to make, he felt like he had to give them an answer right there and then, or he wouldn't get the job, so he answered that he wanted to make something like Arsène Lupin. The publishers ran with it, and Lupin III was greenlit.