Rupan Sansei

Title:Rupan Sansei
Lupin III
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: KOBAYASHI Kiyoshi
Original Concept - Monkey Punch
R1 License - Discotek

This is the original TV series based off of the Lupin III manga. Here we are introduced to the world famous thief Lupin III, his right-hand man Jigen, his rival and sometime love interest Fujiko, and the kendo master Goemon. Also, Inspector Zenigata is there from the start to make capture Lupin.

[23 TV episodes based off of the manga of the same title by Monkey Punch. The series is now licensed by Discotek.

Release Date: 10/24/1971
End Date: 03/26/1972

Note: Miyazaki-sensei directed episodes 8, 10, 11, & 13-23. This is known as the "Green Jacket Series." See sequel TV series Rupan Sansei: Shin Shiri-zu and Rupan Sansei: Part III. There are many movies and TV specials as well as a couple of OAV titles.
[edit] The ↗Lupin III franchise:
Episode Details 
1, 3, 4, 99
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 6 4 6 7 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:481#1552]
This is where things began for the famous Lupin III franchise starting from here all the way to the franchise's most recent adaptation, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, over the span of 40 years. It also has some notoriety to it with the differences in series direction, story setup and presentation thanks to the very concept of the series. Lupin III was one of the very first TV anime titles geared for an older audience, which is most certainly shown with the title's focus on a criminal in the form of international thief Lupin, scenes of violence that showed characters killed onscreen, sexual innuendo and content compliments of Lupin's perversion and Fujiko's seductive charm and a gritty look into the criminal underworld that Lupin and his group are regularly involved with. The show's concept was ahead for its time, but was also a bit controversial as many anime titles of the early 1970s were still rather wholesome in content, traditionally focused on the "good guys" as protagonists and geared for younger audiences. This backlash, combined with low TV ratings at the time of the show's airing in earlier episodes, led to a change in directors which led future iconic directors Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki to take the reigns of directing the series to make the series more comical, tone down the violence and sexual content of earlier episodes and make Lupin and his crew more sympathetic. Even with the changes, the show still suffered from low ratings and was cancelled after 23 episodes. It wasn't until airing reruns of the series later in the decade that led to the show finally gaining popularity and having later TV show, movie, OVA and TV special adaptations to come along with it.

Taking all this in mind, you will certainly see some clear differences in how the two halves of this first Lupin III TV anime series perceive itself. Much of the first half to the anime is following the manga adaptation's setup rather faithfully with Lupin and his crew being willing to kill off those in the way of their capers and Fujiko not afraid to use her body to dupe Lupin and others into getting what she wants. When the second half of the series comes along under Takahata and Miyazaki's direction, you will notice how it takes after the elements that many Western fans would be familiar with from Lupin in Castle of Cagliostro as Lupin's gang only steal from those who can take the loss and very likely a part of the criminal underworld, they don't kill anyone in their capers except as a last resort, will take the time to dispatch criminals who commit worst crimes than they have, Fujiko doesn't resort to her seductive charm to rob others and Lupin isn't as perverted in his womanizing.

The show's storylines are mostly episodic as they mostly consist of Lupin and his gang planning out and executing some sort of theft and/or crossing paths with Zenigata and/or whichever criminal/ wealthy person they cross paths with. There are some relevant plot details that this series takes to exploring during Lupin's capers such as how Goemon meets with and joins Lupin's gang, the unique relationship between Fujiko and Lupin and Lupin's family roots. While many episodes are self-contained with their plot and follow a standard formula in how their plots are laid out, there is enough diversity in the types of capers that Lupin's gang are involved with which keeps this first TV anime from getting stale. While the series is known for possessing quite a bit of slapstick and "toon forcing" at points with its comedy being prevalent, it was still quite entertaining and engaging to see the chemistry between members of Lupin's gang, Zenigata and whichever criminals are found within an episode and many episodes are still grounded in following the capers of Lupin. This doesn't necessarily mean all the plots to Lupin were perfect as some resorted to a sci-fi or fantasy element (time traveler, girl whose life force was connected to flowers) that were a bit too out there compared to other episodes in the series.

Being a 40-plus year old anime series, don't expect much in the visual department for Lupin III as the animation style is quite outdated, simple in its details and there are quite a bit of animation shortcuts and errors to notice. The music mostly consists of carefree and energetic musical pieces and songs from the early 70s that do well enough to get you latched on the antics and actions of the characters in this series.

If you are a Lupin III that has seen later parts of the franchise, this first series is a definite recommendation to allow one to know how things got started in the 40-plus year anime saga of the titular thief's long-running and popular franchise.

Last updated Saturday, December 01 2012. Created Saturday, December 01 2012.
Rent 10 10 10 10 Violet D [series:481#1393]
At first when it came on Adult Swim I thought I really don't think I will watch it. Then this summer I started to. I like to give all anime the benefit of the doubt. Some of the characters are drawn a little funny. I don't know like Full metal alchemist, Full Metal Panic, Rave master just to name a few are more appealing to the eye. Of course I can't forget Inuyasha and the priest Who travels with them. But Lupin isn't that bad in a James Bond sort of way.

Last updated Wednesday, July 13 2005. Created Wednesday, July 13 2005.
Buy 9 10 10 10 10 10 Youkai Battousai [series:481#874]
I don't know that I understand other people. If you don't appreciate Lupin, you haven't gotten in touch with the great anime. Although old, Lupin rocks. You can count on every episode to bring action, and Lupin drooling over some chick sitting around, if not Fujiko. Jigen happens to be my favorite character. He's got that great theft look and he's clever, though I'll have to give Lupin credit there too. Goemon is a great character but he seems out of place, there are a few episodes concerning him mainly, one including his turn on Lupin. I must say I hate Rat Boy. Sometimes Lupins over-obsession with women can get on my nerves, but I still watch. Jigen seems the one with the most common sense. Goemon just quotes his ancestors as most samurai's do.
'Either I'm really loaded or the ceilings coming closer'-Jigen

Last updated Friday, July 25 2003. Created Friday, July 25 2003.
Watch 5 5 5 6 .hack//Phil [series:481#656]
Interesting anime, I wouldn't say it was especially good, but not bad. This is the kind of anime I would like if it was late Friday night with nothing on TV. This isn't an anime you should pay to watch, but if you have the means of viewing the show on telivision, then give it a shot.

Last updated Wednesday, June 25 2003. Created Saturday, April 26 2003.
Rent 5 5 6 5 6 AstroNerdBoy [series:481#436]
It is VERY hard to find these episodes considering their age and lack of fansub material. This is NOT the series being shown on Cartoon Network. That's Return of Lupin III.

As of this writing, I've only seen the first four fansubbed episodes. What I can tell you is that the animation in this series gives me flashes of "Superfriends" -- brrrrrr!

Story-wise, this is NOT the Lupin of "Castle of Cagliostro". Lupin and company are ruthless and all out for the score. In fact, at least one of these episodes was an adaptation of a manga story. So in many ways, it is surprising to see them in this "odd" way. However, these are the characters from the manga and at this point in time are true to their manga counterparts.

Last updated Sunday, April 27 2003. Created Saturday, January 11 2003.

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