Many of the details of Lupin’s childhood remain a mystery, though it is widely believed that his mother passed sometime during or after his birth. With his father, Lupin the Second incarcerated for various crimes at the time, young Lupin was placed into an orphanage. His grandfather, getting word of these events, adopted the child and raised him in his secluded estate. As the young Lupin grew older, Lupin senior developed an apprentice type relationship with his grandson and taught him many tricks of the family trade. Unfortunately, sometime during his early teens, Lupin’s grandfather grew deathly ill and passed away. In his will he stipulated that his estate be divided equally between his grandson and the help through a lottery. The young Lupin received the family mansion and a book on thievery as his inheritance, a tool he used immediately to swindle the others out of the billions they received in the drawing. Sometime soon after these events, Lupin the Second escaped from prison and tracked his son down believing him to be an impostor. After a tension filled meeting and daring escape from the police, Lupin the Second accepted the young thief as his own flesh and blood. After a very abrupt parting with his father, Lupin went off on his own to build and establish his own thieving empire.
Lupin III first appeared as the titular character of his own feature in Futabasha’s Weekly Manga Action on August 10, 1967. He was created by the then budding manga artist and writer Kazuhiko Kato under the alias Monkey Punch, a title that has stuck with him to this day. Kato was inspired to create the character after reading many of Maurice Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin novels in his youth. After what started as an affectionate parody of Leblanc’s original series, Lupin III soon developed into a very distinct creation and as his popularity with the public soared, so did the mediums Lupin would soon find himself appearing in.
Lupin has had a very long running and successful history in film. It began in 1969 with an unreleased animated film by TMS and the Toho Company. After the budgeting disaster experienced from producing the first, Toho decided to shoot the next film in live-action. A few years later another animated film, Lupin Vs. The Clone was produced and successfully made it to the big screen. This seemed to be the push the series needed and as a result, Lupin films have slowly become a permanent staple in the Japanese film industry. Though theatrical releases have become far and in-between, the annual television specials which started airing in 1989 are still going strong and have never missed a release.
List of Lupin III films:
Strange Psychokinetic Strategy (1974)
Lupin Vs. The Clone (1978)
The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
Legend of the Gold of Babylon (1985)
The Plot of the Fuma Clan (1987)
Bye-Bye Liberty Crisis (1989)
Mystery of the Hemingway Papers (1990)
Steal Napoleon's Dictionary (1991)
From Russia With Love (1992)
Orders to Assassinate Lupin (1993)
Burn, Zantetsuken (1994)
Farewell! Nostradamus (1995)
The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure!! (1995)
Dead or Alive (1996)
The Secret of Twilight Gemini (1996)
In Memory of the Walther P38 (1997)
Memories of Flame: Tokyo Crisis (1998)
Da Capo of Love: Fujiko's Unlucky Days (1999)
$1 Money Wars (2000)
Alcatraz Connection (2001)
The Living Magician: Return of Pycal (2002)
Episode 0: First Contact (2002)
Operation: Return the Treasure!! (2003)
Stolen Lupin (2004)
An Angel's Tactics: Fragments of a Dream Are the Scent of Murder (2005)
Seven Days Rhapsody (2006)
Elusiveness of the Fog (2007)
Green Vs. Red (2008)
Sweet Lost Night: Magic Lamp's Nightmare Premonition (2008)
Lupin III Vs. Detective Conan (2009)
The Last Job (2010)
Blood Seal: Eternal Mermaid (2011)
Record of Observations of the East - Another Page (2012)
The first Lupin series began airing in 1972 and ran for a shaky twenty-three
episodes. It featured a very gritty and mature style matching the early issues of the comic it was based on. It was made very clear that Lupin was an anti-hero in this show and often depicted him casually murdering his foes if they were too much of a detriment to his plans. Lupin was only in the thieving game for himself and often saw his plans through to completion, no matter what obstacle lay in his path. This series is sometimes referred to as the Green Jacket series.
New Lupin III
The second Lupin series began airing in 1977 and ran for a very successful one hundred fifty-five episodes. Much more humorous and lighthearted in tone,
this series saw Lupin as more of a lovable scamp than an outright anti-hero. His heists were now more sensational and often saw him failing in comedic ways. Though this series obviously leaned away from the dark timbre of the first series and comics, its huge success continues to inspire the standard and tone for most of the Lupin stories today. This series is sometimes referred to as the Red Jacket series.
The third Lupin series began airing in 1984 and ran for a mediocre fifty episodes. Coming fresh off the heels of the highly popular second series, this incarnation of Lupin saw little success. While it featured plenty of humor none of the writing seemed to have the same flare as the previous outing and soon humorously absurd heists simply felt absurd. This in combination with the wildly different character designs left Lupin feeling like a shadow of his former self. This series is sometimes referred to as the Pink Jacket series.
A live-action series from the Philippines that began airing in 2007 and ran for ninety-five episodes. It took inspiration from both Lupin III and the original Leblanc stories. This unique take on the main character featured André Lupin, a career thief who is looking to get out of the thieving game and marry the love of his life. His father and mentor, not liking the idea of losing his golden goose, sets up an assassination plot against Lupin’s fiancé on their wedding day. The plan goes off without a hitch and a grief stricken Lupin vows to find his brides killer and get revenge, no matter the cost.
Lupin VIII (also known as Arsène and Company) was to be a collaborative effort between Japanese and French animators to introduce Lupin to western audiences. As cartoons are mainly geared towards children in the west, certain changes had to be made in order to make it appropriate for younger European and American viewers; the largest being Lupin's switch in profession from thief to detective. Although this series focusing on Lupin the Third's ancestor made it far into production, continuous copyright issues ground work on it to a halt and eventually the project fell to ruins. All that remains today are a few animation cells, design sheets and a nearly completed episode containing all but a voice track.
Lupin III: A Woman Called Fujiko Mine
The fourth animated series began airing on April 4th, 2012 and is currently planned to run for thirteen episodes.
SD Lupin III
A puzzle game released for the Game Boy in 1990. In this title players guided Lupin through a series of stages filled with enemies and traps in an
effort to reach the safe hidden within. It featured multiple levels based around some of the series most notable foes including; Inspector Zenigata, Mamo, The Count of Cagliostro, Ramuda & Shiguma and Pycal. To counter these enemies and their henchmen Lupin could make use of a radio to call in Jigen or Goemon to dispatch any enemies they came across.
Treasure of the Sorcerer King
Released for the PS2 in 2002 (and 2004 in the US). This action adventure game puts you in the role of Lupin in the midst of a daring heist in Germany to steal King
Randolph the Second's treasure. The first half of the game focuses heavily on puzzle solving and stealth based gameplay while the later half is purely action. In the early segments you will have a variety of disguises at your disposal to fool enemies into letting you by. You may also find creative places to hide or an assortment of usually non-lethal weapons to be more appropriate tools in certain instances. Jigen and Goemon are also playable at certain times within the story.