Today, prolific manga artist Monkey Punch has passed away. While I’m far from an expert on the man’s life, his creations have had a lot of major impact on my own life. It’s difficult, really, to put how much Lupin III means to me into words, but I’ll try. And if you stick around, I’ve included a list of some personal favorite series, movies, and specials for you to enjoy at the bottom. Thanks.
To me, Lupin III has always meant new experiences.
The Castle of Cagliostro was one of the very first anime films I saw in theaters, back in 2007, and I’ll never forget how magical it felt seeing something I’d only seen on a tiny picture tube up on the silver screen. It was also one of the first movies I watched with my partner of almost seven years, along with a bevy of other Lupin content. At any point in time from 2006 onward, it’s something that’s been truly evergreen throughout my life. Overstating how impactful Miyazaki’s masterpiece has been on me would be, well… impossible.
Lupin III has also meant inspiration.
It means looking at the cast of colorful characters and feeling like I can do anything because of them. Whether it’s achieving that delicate balance of cool and zany that defines Lupin, the rugged caution of Jigen, the deliberate silence of Goemon, or the playful zeal of Fujiko, there’s something in each of these characters that speaks to me. On any given day, I can look to any of them for some sort of wisdom. They’re such wonderful representations of the broad gamut of human experience and emotion, distilled into four archetypes that are constantly pushed, stretched, challenged, and ultimately reinforced by their experience. Even Zenigata, that dogged Interpol officer, has something to say about mankind’s unflinching determination against seemingly impossible odds.
Lupin III can also mean solace.
When I felt too insecure to be myself, I found a comfort in cosplaying Lupin before I began my transition. When my relationship with my parents was at an all-time low in high school, I tore through old Lupin movies and specials, finding comfort in their whimsical nonsense. When I felt truly isolated from my peers, and anxious about all my future at seventeen and eighteen, I would drown them out by listening to Yuji Ohno’s scores on repeat – finding a consistent comfort in their relaxed soundscapes, especially in vocal tracks like “Love Squall,” “Lovin’ You,” “Fire Treasure,” and “Love Is Everything.” Some of the most effective self-care I’ve practiced involve this series and all the media that surrounds it. From the sights to the sounds to, yes, even that so-so PS2 game, Lupin and gang have always managed to whisk me away when I needed it most.
Honestly, though? It’s impossible to list everything that Lupin III means to me.
It’s impossible because no matter where I am, who I am, who I’m with, what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, this series has always been woven into the tapestry of my being. From good times to bad, from highs to lows, from complete loneliness to great company, Lupin and his dysfunctional family of thieves has always been there. Conversations with a middle-aged Jigen cosplayer behind a hotel at two in the morning, a quick kinship with a sweet and kindhearted Zenigata cosplayer at a con, some of the earliest anime I watched with my mom, the first expensive anime figure I ever bought with my own money, the reason I learned how to pirate anime because I really needed to see that Detective Conan crossover… it’s always been there, in too many ways to count, and I hope it always will be.
At the end of The Castle of Cagliostro, Inspector Zenigata informs the Princess of Cagliostro that Lupin and his gang have made off with the greatest treasure of all – her heart.
In a way, the same could be said for me.
Some Good Lupin Anime
- The Castle of Cagliostro (movie)
- Lupin III: Part V (26 episodes)
- Lupin III: The Woman Named Fujiko Mine (13 episodes)
- The Fuma Conspiracy (movie)
- The Mystery of Mamo (special)
- Episode 0: First Contact (special)
- The Last Job (special)
- Crisis In Tokyo (special)
- Voyage to Danger (special)
- Blood Seal, Eternal Mermaid (special)
- Touhou Kenbunroku – Another Page (special)