Lupin is the main character in this series which takes place in Italy and San Marino.
Reflecting its setting, the anime debuted in Italy before it aired in Japan. Lupin III fans will note that the titular thief now dons a blue coat, following his earlier appearances in green (first series and some OVAs), red (the second series as well as most films and television specials) and pink (third series).
Honestly I have never seen any of the previous Lupin the thirds, but I can tell you this anime is absolutely stunning. Something I looked forward to every week, when it was airing.
The anime jumps from its one episode driven story to its overarching italian dream story. I enjoyed every single solo episode, thrilling, exciting, and overall masterpieces for style and the audacity Lupin brings to the table. When Lupin wasn't present, the characters still shined with their own unique personalities. Each episode had a small storyline or mystery to solve, and Lupin pretty much owned the stage every episode he was in. The
dream story was rather confusing, and takes away from the other episodes, but it still allowed Lupin to shine through with his character so it only brought the score down to a 9.
The women's hair, oh my god, the colors are amazing. The animation was smooth. Every character had their own distinct art and distinct identity with the art.
Everything was on point. The soundtrack was classy and reminiscent of Italy. This 4th blue jacket nailed it.
Although sometimes the characters were bound to a certain emotion. Jigen with fear/nervousness, Goemon for his honor, etc... Those emotions were done spectacularly and when they had episodes centered around them. And Lupin himself brought the whole show together, his entire aura was great for the series as a whole.
You will be laughing or thinking deeply every moment. I loved probably every second of the anime, and sometimes the clever plot twists made you smile at the end of the day.
Even if you have not watched the previous 100+ Lupin episodes, this Italian arc is a masterpiece on its own.
Lupin is like a goldmine of potential when you’re fanatic of adventure. Taking place in the country of Italy with a diverse cultural background, the series invites anyone who is interested in a journey filled with daring risks. I’d like to see this series not just as a revisit of the franchise but also a show that recreates adventure as a whole. Lupin III (also known as Lupin the Third) is a series that is easily recommendable for anyone but those who is interested in adventure will be in for a big treat.
It’s truly like a miracle. The show takes place in the refreshing country
of Italy and San Marino. Behind the beautiful mountainous landscapes lies a deeply cultured world ready to be explored. The main protagonist is the titular character, Lupin. Anyone who is familiar with the franchise will recognize him easily although Lupin now has a blue coat to make him look him even more fabulous. Known for his mischievous and lascivious personality, viewers will easily be able to see some of his intentions throughout the show. Of course, there are others that joins him on his adventures such Jigen, Goemon, Fujiko, and the new girl Rebecca. While some of these characters will be like a walk down memory lane, Rebecca is a new character that is a tricky pony to get used to.
The first episode establishes a bizarre relationship as Lupin and Rebecca is bounded by marriage. This may come as a bit peculiar as we hardly know anything about Rebecca. Until of course, we learn some of her true intentions. From there, we can dive into Lupin III like an episodic adventure. The structure of the show chronicles Lupin’s life style as he attempts to make daring getaways with his usual thieving habits, attempts to woo Fujiko, or otherwise occasionally helping out others. The show also establishes Lupin as a very crafty individual. What makes him fun to watch is that even though he is a mastermind of innovative stealth tactics, he sometimes lets his own personal agendas and weakness (such as women) get in the way of his goals. This often translates into a twisty scenario that gets much more complicated than it should be. But hey, that’s just the nature of Lupin and what makes him such a fun character to watch.
Despite Lupin’s thieving habits, he is a humble person and does not tolerate injustice. During his adventures, we see that he seeks to punish violent criminals or individuals who truly wishes to inflict harm to society. This makes him somewhat more of a hero but most people in the world sees him as the reputable #1 thief. His relationship with others has a wide range of diversity. The most complicated may be Fujiko as Lupin often finds himself trying to woo her yet she puts him into undesirable circumstances. On the other hand, we got Daisuke Jigen, a man who is loyal to Lupin. Unlike Fujiko, he helps Lupin and often times when he needs it the most. The two shares a bonding relationship while on the road and his skills of driving is invaluable to their missions. Goemen is also an interesting character with his silent presence yet packs a deadly arsenal of techniques with his sword.
Obviously, a show about a thief also has people hunting for them. The most significant character is Zenigata. His obsession to capture Lupin is very entertaining as the two are sometimes locked in a cat-and-mouse game. Think of it like Tom and Jerry but with a lot of more twists. The adventurous structure of the show sometimes pits them together in unlikely circumstances as well that really shows their relationship. I have to admit though, Rebecca is a character that I find hard to adapt with at first. Most people are probably more familiar with Fujiko so introducing Rebecca is somewhat of a risk. Plus, she has a spoiled personality and often hard to please. As time went on, I find more appreciation for Rebecca especially in the later episodes when we see a deeper side of her character. In a way, she is also like Fujiko with her crafty mind and ability to manipulate events in her favor.
A frequent question for fans is whether you can watch this show without any experience of the predecessors. It’s sort of a two-way sort of scenario. On one hand, you can watch it to enjoy this series as a standalone with the Italian adventures. Most episodes are standalone and easy to understand even with some of the background storytelling. On the other hand, you’ll probably get a better experience if you understand the characters better from the previous series. Honestly though, this show can sometimes be so entertaining that you’ll often forget about the story. It’s just that damn fun.
In terms of technical visuals, the show may seem lackluster at first. Don’t let it fool you. The show isn’t designed to look like a Makoto Shinkai-level type of blockbuster. Rather, it retains the classic feel and that’s what Lupin is about. It’s stylistic and very well done. Plus, the characters are designed in ways that feels nostalgic. They still retain what fans may be used to such as Fujiko’s seductive fashion, Goemon’s trademark samurai clothes, or Zenigata’s professionalism. The background and design of Italy is also filled with culture that really gives the adventurous feel. It’s spellbinding just seeing some of the architectural designs that almost makes you feel like you’re there yourself. Add that with the neat action and this show really is something to take home.
Did I mention classic already in this review? Let me mention it again then. The soundtrack is classic. No, not the type of classic like it’s remixed. Rather, it’s refreshing with how this show is done. From the theme songs to the jazz-beat music, this show can easily be put on repeat every episode with the music. Character voice mannerism is also stellar that matches with their performances. I’d often find myself laughing at the humor just because of Lupin’s role and his voice matches perfectly as a thief. That same goes for Fujiko, a woman that defines what manipulation is all about.
The waiting is definitely worth it. Even though the original series debuted many years ago, Lupin III still reminds us why adventure can be so much fun. From the thrilling action to the marvelous character performances, it’s a show that anyone can easily dive into. Rebecca can be a character that some may find irritating at first. However, I’d give it more time as she does get a decent amount of characterization later. While on the way, you’ll see just how bizarre Lupin’s adventure can really get in a world like no other.
It looks like I'm one of the first to get a review out of the finished series, which I am very pleased about. I want people to be able to read about the wonderful experience I had with this show first.
If you're already a fan of the Lupin series, then this should be nothing new for you. Jumping back in to the fun and colourful world of Lupin and his gang, along with the new additions, is easy. For first time Lupin viewers, I would recommend you start with a couple of Lupin specials and movies before you go into this, just to get a
sense of the characters. I recommend Castle of Cagliostro as a good starting point. However, if you don't want to bother, you should be fine, as its relatively easy to figure out what the main characters "deals" are within a few episodes.
The story itself is fairly typical for a Lupin show, what few episodes there is of it. I count about 8 episodes out of the 24 (if you watched in Japanese) that directly relate to the overarching story about MI6, the Dream of Italy and the main antagonist, who I won't spoil the identity of because it's fairly surprising. With the exception of the main anatagonist and finding out what his big plan was, there aren't too many moments in the story that I can say really surprised me. No big twists or turns, which is alright. What really carries the show is not the story itself, but the narrative, the way in which its told. Between the 8 episodes of story are the typical Lupin shenanigans, which I for one enjoyed just as much as the plot-centred episodes. In a show with an episodic nature such as this, the main concern is that not all episodes are going to be of the same high standard that the show opens with in its excellent first episode. This show does not have that problem. Every episode is equally enjoyable, perhaps with the lone exception of episode 22, which I found to be a little slow. Like most other Lupin material, it tries to keep its wacky story grounded in reality, and its "pseudo-scientific" explanations of... questionable events never became too annoying or obnoxios, or get in the way of my viewing experience. The story doesn't take itself too seriously, and even though some episodes are darker than others, it manages to keep a nice, consistent tone that is a great balance of the gritty, hardboiled Lupin from 'The Woman Called Fujiko Mine' (my favourite Lupin show), and the wacky Lupin from basically everything post-Miyazaki.
I will never get tired of the Monkey Punch art style. It's always so refreshing to see again after a long period of time away. I have no beef with normal, generic art styles, and I don't let it impact how much I enjoy the show, but from a technical and personal standpoint, I always prefer to see creative art styles. What I WILL let get in the way of my enjoyment is the actual qualtity of animation. Thankfully I can say that Lupin III has consistently great animation throughout, with no obvious drops in quality. There is ONE moment in some episode, I can't remember exactly which, where there is a moment of some very jarring rotoscoped animation, and it just... It messed with my head. It wasnt... Terrible, but it took me right out of the experience, and I did not like it.
The soundtrack by Yuji Ohno, who has been doing the Lupin OST for many years, is impeccable, which it damn well should be, and I would be very disappointed if it wasn't. TMS and Ohno have had almost 50 years to nail this aspect of the show, and if they hadn't got it by now I would be worried. There's always room to experiment with story and setting and new characters, but Lupin shows and films always have always had a particular style of music to them, and I was pleased that this show acknowledged that. Of particular note to me is the opening song, which I will always love. The 2015 remix is dope. The Japanese voice acting is particularly well done too, which is hardly surprising considering this crew of actors have been working on Lupin for a very long time, and it shows. Every actor perfectly captures the essence of their character in their performance. Kanichi Kurita excellently jumps back and forth from a lighthearted and goofy to a serious and mature Lupin, Kiyoshi Kobayashi nails the "American gangster" vibe of Jigen, Sawashiro Miyuki perfectly embodies the cunning nature of the seductress Fujiko Mine, Daisuke Namikawa performs the part of the stoic samurai brilliantly, and Koichi Yamadera gives a brilliant performance of Zenigata that doesn't leave behind his goofy, fun side, but also portrays him as a competent, intelligent detective.
The excellent characterisation is really what carries this show. It's not the story that kept me coming back each week, it was the great dialogue, comedy, and characters. Even if you remove the plot, I would still watch this show each week just to spend more time watching Lupin and co. just have shenanigans. Watching Lupin and his pals pull off crazy heists with "Pops" in pursuit is just fun to watch, and never ceased to entertain me. These are fun characters to ride along with. But we already know how great the main 5 are. If you're watching the show, there's a 90% chance it's because you're already familiar with how great they are. Let's talk about the new characters. Rebecca Rosselini was not a favourite of mine. To her credit, she does feel like her own unique character, but that character did not appeal to me. She was brash and immature, which I understand was done to provide a contrast to Fujiko, however, I will always be Team Fujiko, so new girl didn't really do it for me. I found her kind of annoying at times. Nyx, the MI6 agent, was not a favourite of mine either. His unique abilities do not intrinsically make him a unique character, and to be honest I found they made him even more generic. He just seemed to me like a typical "maverick spy, doesn't like to play by the rules" type character. Like an easily irritable James Bond. His abilities did make him stand out, but I didn't like what was being shown off. Finally, the main villain, whom I will not name. I liked him. His motivations were not the strongest I've seen in a villain, BUT they were clear, and they made sense. I found him to be a realistic villain character.
I don't know what more I can say. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this show, and eagerly awaited the new episode each week. I will say, my personal favourite episode was episode 20. And that final scene of episode 24 gave me goose pimples, it was pretty cool. Long time Lupin fans are going to like this show, and newbies, this is a good place to start. From here, you can basically go anywhere in all of Lupin III. I highly recommend going back to Castle of Cagliostro if you enjoyed the goofy aspect, but if you're looking for something really fresh, and dark and gritty, go watch The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. That is still my favourite Lupin III material. Anyway, that's all I have to say. It was a great show. If you've watched it already, good on you, if you haven't, what are you waiting for? I hope you found my review helpful :)
TL;DR – As good as any entry point into the sprawling Lupin franchise, the fourth TV series should appeal to old fans & new audiences alike. It's not without flaws, but is a lot of fun.
Few characters from what some consider the golden period of children's TV anime (1960s – 1980s) have maintained a presence in pop-culture like Lupin III. Despite this being the first full TV series in over thirty years, a steady stream of films, specials, crossovers & marketing tie-ins have helped keep the world's greatest master thief in the popular conscience.
But while many may know of Lupin & his gang, this latest
season likely represents the first opportunity for many, including this reviewer, to see them in action. Seemingly aware of this, this forth series sets out to juggle the potentially conflicting objectives of appealing to a new generation of potential Lupin fans, while giving older fans a reason to watch. Fortunately, it for the most part pulls it off.
The first episode opens to the surprise of many, including Lupins companions Fujiko, Jigen & Goeman, with Lupin's sudden marriage to Rebecca Rossellini, a beautiful but bratty heiress & socialite in San Marino. Of course, the wedding is not what it seems, but the episode is a great (re)introduction to Lupin III, with a fun jewel heist & culminating with detective Zenigata pursuing Lupin over rooftops with all the kinetic, gravity defying energy one could hope for.
It also begins the main story of the series, as Lupin et al find themselves caught up in the mystery surrounding the “Dream of Italy.” The new characters introduced for this series, Rebecca & MI:6 agent Nix, seem fine additions alongside Lupin III's regular characters. Nix is certainly the weaker character, underutilised as well as seemingly being gifted with new, unexplained powers whenever the plot needs it. Rebecca is clearly the newcomer that the writers were most interested in. A spoilt brat who manages not to be as annoying as that character type often is, she soon reveals herself to be a thrill seeker for whom Lupin represents the ultimate prize. For a man who loves all women too much to be tied to just one, that represents a challenge. Their relationship seems to have been seized on as a chance to explore a dynamic that couldn't be done between Lupin & his old flame Fujiko.
As to the “Dream of Italy” itself, in truth it's a bit of a mess. The idea behind it seems to be to take Lupin's quote comparing great thieves to great artists & have him face off against the world's greatest artist in a battle of wits. It certainly has some creative ideas, with a couple of surreal dream episodes, & Lupin & Rebecca make for a fun duo. But by the time Lupin et al are trying to save the world from the clone of a certain historical figure made by MI:6 after they stole the dream research of oh no I've gone cross-eyed.
Luckily, the “Dream of Italy” is easier to watch than to understand the point of & anyway only makes up about half of the episodes of the series. The rest are standalone stories that either focus in more detail on a couple of the characters, or heists that wouldn't fit the tone of the main story. These are arguably the best part of the series, particularly those that focus on or have cameos by older characters. Old Lupin III fans may get the most out of them, but new viewers should enjoy the chance to get to know the characters better & see them in more varied situations. All of the main VA's have voiced their characters previously, so none sound uncomfortable or unsuited to their roles, though for various reasons Kiyoshi Kobayashi (Jigen) is the only one to have been in the last TV series.
It's a little disappointing that the production of this latest series is as uneven as it is. The character designs are nice, though none of the new characters have quite the immediate recognisability of Monkey Punch's original creations. Still, at least they mostly kept the look of the older art style. That might seem like something obvious, but after the horrible mix of bishoenen & beak nosed men in the recent Young Black Jack anime, I wouldn't be surprised if someone on the production committee suggested “modernising” the look of Lupin. The background art is the stand out part of the production, with outdoor scenes in particular looking gorgeous.
The animation quality, though, is mixed. The first episode is great & there are plenty of sequences peppered throughout that look good & are fun to watch. Of particular note is that, while CGI cars are present, the many chases between Lupin & Zenigata all look hand drawn, & much better for it. But on the other hand, especially in the mid-season, quality takes a notable downgrade, though it picks up for the final few episodes. The first episode is, perhaps unfortunately, also the one that best combines Lupin III's characters, setting & style into one package.
Like the art, it's also nice that they kept the music in the style of the old series'. Indeed unlike, for example, the frankly unpleasant version of the Cutie Honey theme song in 2004's Re: Cutie Honey, this series take on the Lupin III theme song stands up well. The OST also has a jazzy vibe that reminds one of classic heist & crime films. For the end credits, rather than just shoving in any old pop song that's looking for a chart boost, or have one of the female VA's do a character song, they went for a sultry jazz number by long time enka singer Sayuri Ishihawa. It all adds up to make each episode that bit more fun to watch.
Sadly, it seems that despite the name recognition, the forth series of Lupin III has been mostly passed over by anime fans. While I can't speak for existing Lupin fans, who may well not find anything that they haven't got from Lupin's many previous appearances, as a newcomer this newest series seemed as easily accessible & enjoyable entry point as one could hope for. Just as the series began with Lupin's gang coming together, the final episode ends with them fading off screen, one at a time, as they once again part ways till their next heist. I'll be looking forward to it.
What is it that makes some women better characters than others of their gender? Looking past the highly sexualised culture and industry of fanservice that is anime, this writer examines a sample of female characters who made a lasting impression on them.