While his creator passed away only this April, “Lupin III” has already come a very long way as a multimedia icon of Japanese pop culture. Ever since the late Kazuhiko “Monkey Punch” Kato introduced the character in 1967, Arsene Lupin III has stolen the hearts of fans, particularly of the multiple anime series, films and other media like videogames that have come out over the decades. One of these movies is even considered an all-time best anime film ever made. It even got a live-action big-screen adaptation in 2014. But there has never been a 3D-animated “Lupin III” movie ever made, until one announced recently.
Comicbook.com has it that a new “Lupin III” movie, the 13th in franchise history, was announced last week. “Lupin III: The First” is aptly titled due to being the first film featuring the master thief of manga and anime to be computer-animated in 3D. Perhaps even better news than that is the effort of the animation team to maintain the 2D characteristics of the main cast designs even while turning them into three-dimensional art, something fans of the iconic manga and anime will certainly appreciate.
One more thing the “Lupin III” connoisseur might enjoy is the “period” wherein this movie might take place. As longtime viewers might know, the different TV series featuring Lupin and the gang can be classified according to what color jacket the rogue protagonist wears. Here Lupin is in his red jacket, which he wore in the second series which aired 1979. This marks the transition of the character from the amoral take in the first series (“green jacket,” 1971) to a slightly more wholesome and potentially heroic shift for Lupin, despite still being a thief.
Minimal hints of a story can be seen in the trailer. It appears Lupin III has to help a new female character, even as he and his gang plot to do another epic heist. The touchstones identifying each principal cast are all intact during the teaser, from Jigen’s pistol marksmanship, to Goemon slicing stuff up with his Zantetsuken, to Fujiko overcoming opponents with sex appeal and grit, to Inspector Zenigata still hell-bent on catching them all. Action sequences feature an aerial dogfight with antiquated aircraft, and Lupin apparently navigating a tunnel line with rapid-firing lasers.
“Lupin III: The First,” produced by Toho, will premiere in Japan on December 6. There have been no announcements yet on an English dub (possible since the fifth TV series from 2018 is airing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim), or a limited US theater release.
Image from Manila Bulletin Entertainment