This is the first time Monkey Punch's original, classic series has been published in the U.S. International man of mystery and master thief extraordinaire, Lupin III comes from a long line of high stakes bandits, all committed to stealing from the rich and giving to themselves. Fortunately, Lupin tends to avoid robbing society's virtuous and, instead, targets some pretty shady characters.
Of course, he partners with some pretty shady characters as well: Daisuke Jigen is an ex-mafia hit man who carries himself with a somber demeanor, his trademark black fedora tilted forward to hide his eyes. Goemon Ishikawa is a cipher-like swordsman with samurai-ish overtones who mysteriously fades in and out of Lupin's exploits. Fujiko Mine is the object of Lupin's affections, but, since she is a thief herself, the duo's romance more than occasionally clashes with their competition for big scores.
The global police force, Interpol, and in particular the tenacious Inspector Zenigata, long to capture Lupin and his gang. Zenigata's relationship with the eponymous master thief is a complicated one, characterized by mutual respect laced with utter disdain. The two have even worked together when it's served both their interests, but they understand that when the crisis ends, they must resume their former wariness and animosity toward each other.
Story: This series is difficult to review, because it has it's ups and downs, especially since it is heavily episodic (through there are a few story arcs they don't connect). Some stories are brilliant and inventive while a few can feel sloppy and rushed.
Art: The same goes for the art. Monkey Punch's style is very lively and energetic, but once in a while when he is rushing to make the deadline, he will skip out on detailed backgrounds. Like many manga artists, the artwork improves with time so the latter volumes tend to have better art.
Character: Lupin is far better developed in the manga. This past and family members is explored more and he is a much more interesting character. I especially like the relation between him and his grandfather.
The thing with this series, and Monkey Punch series in general, is you can't treat the relationship between the characters like you do any other manga. You have to have an open mind and be willing to except ideas you wouldn't ordinarily except, because that's just what the world Monkey Punch has created is like. A world of ruffians and backstabbing, where a bullet to the face is the equivalent of a friend pat on the back.
Enjoyment: There is a bit of ecchi in this series, through it is not shown in the fanserice-y sort of way. The sexual stuff, like everything else in the series is classy and somewhat tongue in cheek.
Overall: In a world where sex and death go hand in hand and make for an abundance of slapstick comedic possibilities. Once you get use to that, you'll enjoy this series just fine. The resolutions are brilliant, witty and hilarious and the characters unique and stylish. Get ready to enter the world of Monkey Punch! read more
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