Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Great Divide: Lupin the Third

I think I should be a bit ashamed to admit this, but I'm not one to keep secrets.  I had no idea who or what Lupin the Third was until it appeared on Adult Swim.  I had never heard of the series, the character or anything about the Japanese legacy.  My knowledge of the series came from a few short promos that Adult Swim did to pump up the premiere.  I was kind of interested in what I saw in the promos, but not blown away.  Boy am I glad I checked out the show anyway.

Lupin the Third quickly became one of my favorite characters of any any anime series.  Lupin may be a criminal, but he does have a bit of a heart.  No matter how hard he tries, he just can't keep that gruff exterior at all times.  A thief with a heart of gold is definitely an interesting character, but Lupin's charm also comes from his lack of sophistication.  While he's top-notch at pilfering, he's not exactly the smoothest guy in other respects.  He can't control his testosterone when a gorgeous woman is on the scene, and he's rather forward with some of his langauge.  All of that just makes him more lovable.

No matter how great Lupin is, he needs a supporting cast to back him up.  Lupin has a cast of characters that almost always travel with him, and they help to even out what Lupin doesn't have.  Jigen is a top-notch marksman that can handle the extra direct work.  Goemon shows a calm and collected nature through his samurai training.  He helps to keep Lupin in check.  Finally there's Fujiko, who loves to manipulate Lupin and is also around to show Lupin's trademark horniness.

Lupin the Third as a series is all about big heists and even bigger trouble.  Lupin and the gang are always out to grab some sort of treasure or big cash, and they'll have to go on a wacky adventure to pull it off.  The show doesn't shy away from all sorts of avenues for story telling, involving ghosts, zombies and other off-the-wall scenarios in the treasure hunts.  That's what makes the show so great.  One time Lupin could be entering a car race to steal some money, the next he could be fighting off a house full of women that are trying to hit him with old-age perfume.  You really never know where the show is going, but you know that with the cast of characters it'll always be fun.

It was through the Adult Swim airings that I found out just how popular Lupin is in Japan.  I had no idea he was one of the brightest anime/manga stars there is!  The love of the character shows no bounds, and support of Lupin has continued on for years and years.  The first TV series started off all the way back in 1971, and even that wasn't the beginning of the character!  It's quite obvious that the world of Lupin has really clicked with Japan.

That's why I'm so sad to see that the series gets almost no attention in the states.  Adult Swim took on a big risk when airing the localized version of Lupin, and it doesn't seem to have worked out for them.  The series just never caught on, and after shuffling it around the schedule for awhile, it just disappeared.  Why did Americans not take a liking to the series?  I honestly think it had something to do with the older art style.  There's definitely a gap in animation quality between Lupin and today's anime, which I'm sure was a turn-off for many people.  Just like that, a series was ignored in the states.

I'm sure you guys aren't guilty of that, though!  While Lupin may not be airing on TV here anymore, that doesn't mean we don't love him!  I actually wear a Lupin pendant on my necklace, which I've had on there for the better part of 6 years.  I just wish more people let Lupin get a bit closer to their heart!  The visuals fooled too many people into thinking that Lupin the Third was going to be low quality.  Little do they know what they missed out on.


  1. I, too, did not know what it was until Adult Swim.

    Also, I originally ignored it because I had no appreciation for old-style anime (or so I thought) and I didn't care.

    However one night I just watched it because it was there and I fell in love with it. It was on pretty late, from what I remember, but it was awesome. I definitely enjoyed it a lot.

    I also saw the movie (Castle of Cagliostro), which I think is on Netflix now too.

  2. Yeah, I saw some episodes in the past when I was younger and when I kind of wasn't into anime anymore, so I pretty much saw it and let it pass.

    Then I watched Castle of Cagilostro maybe 6 months back and really liked it. I'm not sure if Hulu or Netflix has the series available for streaming or not. I'd love to watch more.

  3. I saw it one night on Adult Swim and I got sick that night.

    Sooo it's like you eat food that makes you sick, and you don't like the food. That's how it is with this show...Brings back bad memories ._.

  4. I actually found out about Lupin while travelling in Europe years ago. Italians are big Lupin fans and I didn't have to look too far for Lupin shirts, DVDs, etc.

    I haven't been able to find the series but I love the movies/OVAs. Lupin is one of my favourite Anime characters!

  5. If you can find them, there are episodes of the show made by Miyazaki (who made Cagliostro) and they're fantastic! There's a cameo of the giant robot from Castle In The Sky in one too.