Lupin III is a series that has slipped under the radar of the anime audience outside Japan.
The series is decades old but is still capable of making you laugh with its absurd and over-the-top humor.
The story is basically about a gang of thieves who inherited a peculiar enterprise of stealing. Even though the story has a basic premise of stealing precious objects, it never becomes repetitive. Lupin III has a variety of villains and bizarre twists that makes each episode fulfilling.
The tone of the anime keeps changing with every part, making the show very engaging.
Unlike most anime, Lupin III is episodic in nature, and each story gets resolved in one episode. It is similar to a sit-com where the only thing that connects all the events of the series is the main cast.
The animation gets progressively better, and the soundtrack is fast-paced and energetic.
Do give Lupin III a chance, and you might fall in love with this classic series!
1. Release Order
I. TV Series
- Lupin III: Part I (1971)
- Lupin III: Part II (1977)
- Lupin III: Part III (1984)
- The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (2012)
- Lupin III: Part IV: The Italian Adventure (2015)
- Lupin III: Part V (2018)
- Lupin the IIIrd: Chikemuri no Ishikawa Goemon
- Lupin III: Pilot Film (1969)
- Lupin III: The Secret of Mamo (1978)
- Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
- Lupin III: Babylon no Ougon Densetsu (1985)
- Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy (1987)
- Lupin III: Dead or Alive (1996)
- Lupin III: Farewell to Nostradamus (1995)
- Lupin III vs. Detective Conan: The Movie (2013)
- Lupin III: Jigen’s Gravestone (2014)
- Lupin the IIIrd: Chikemuri no Ishikawa (2017)
- Lupin the IIIrd: Mine Fujiko no Uso (2019)
- Lupin III: The First (2019)
- Lupin III: Ikiteita Majutsushi (2002)
- Lupin III: Green vs. Red (2008)
- Lupin the Third: Is Lupin Still Burning? (2018)
- Lupin III: Goodbye Lady Liberty (1989)
- Lupin III: Hemingway Paper no Nazo (1990)
- Lupin III: Napoleon (1991)
- Lupin III: Bank of Liberty (1992)
- Lupin III: Voyage to Danger (1993)
- Lupin III: Dragon of Doom (1994)
- Lupin III: Harimao no Zaihou wo Oe!! (1995)
- Lupin III: Twilight Gemini no Himitsu (1996)
- Lupin III: Island of Assassins (1997)
- Lupin III: Crisis in Tokyo (1998)
- Lupin III: The Columbus Files (1999)
- Lupin III: Missed by a Dollar (2000)
- Lupin III: Alcatraz Connection (2001)
- Lupin III Episode 0: The First Contact (2002)
- Lupin III: Operation Return the Treasure (2003)
- Lupin III: Nusumareta Lupin (2004)
- Lupin III: Tenshi no Tactics – Yume no Kakera wa Koroshi no Kaori (2005)
- Lupin III: Seven Days Rhapsody (2006)
- Lupin III: Elusiveness of the Fog (2007)
- Lupin III: Sweet Lost Night – Mahou no Lamp wa Akumu no Yokan (2008)
- Lupin III vs. Detective Conan (2009)
- Lupin III: The Last Job (2010)
- Lupin III: Chi no Kokuin – Eien no Mermaid (2011)
- Lupin III: Touhou Kenbunroku – Another Page (2012)
- Lupin VIII (2012)
- Lupin III: Lupin Ikka Seizoroi (2012)
- Lupin III 3DCG (2012)
- Lupin III: Princess of the Breeze – Kakusareta Kuuchuu Toshi (2013)
- Lupin III: Italian Game (2015)
- Lupin III: Goodbye Partner (2019)
- Lupin III: Prison of the Past (2019)
3. Where to start?
Lupin is not a series that follows any particular order. Each episode is self-contained and standalone in nature. Due to this flexible narrative, there is more than one way to get into Lupin.
- Lupin III: Part I (1971) is the chronological approach to beginning, although the animation may seem a little outdated. Nonetheless, it is the series that defines the franchise,
- If you want to decide whether Lupin is for you or not, watch the movie, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979). The film is the directorial debut of Hayao Miyazaki, the man behind Studio Ghibli. So, it’s a great place to begin.
- If you want a more modern version of Lupin, start with Lupin Part V (2018). It has incredible animation, and the storyline is more relevant for modern viewers, all while sticking to its older roots.
An exciting aspect of Lupin is that you can get an idea of the tone of an episode just by noting the color of the main character, Lupin’s jacket!
Green jacket from Part I represents a simpler and more carefree Lupin. The red jacket in Part II signifying the funny and absurd nature of the part. Pink jacket in Part III shows a goofier and cartoonish side of the show, and the blue jacket in modern Lupin symbolizes a more serious tone of the show.
Regardless of where you begin, if you like Lupin, there is an abundance of content you can dive into.
There is no specific chronology of the show, so it doesn’t matter where you start from because you won’t miss out on anything. That being said, you will miss out on the call-backs to the older series if you start from Part V, but they aren’t plot-related, so you just won’t notice them.
Movies, OVAs, and Specials are standalone so, watch them anytime!
5. About Lupin III
Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of the fictional gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin, is considered the world’s greatest thief, known for announcing his intentions to steal valuable objects by sending a calling card to their owners.
His right-hand man and closest ally is Daisuke Jigen, an expert marksman who can accurately shoot a target in 0.3 seconds. Although Lupin and Jigen frequently work as a two-man team. They are often joined by Goemon Ishikawa XIII, a master swordsman whose sword can cut anything.
Or Fujiko Mine, a femme fatale and Lupin’s love interest. Although Fujiko usually works together with the others, she occasionally exploits Lupin’s interest in her to steal the treasure for herself. Lupin and his gang are always chased by Inspector Koichi Zenigata of Interpol.