Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Anime Picks Week: Lupin the 3rd

Hello folks and greetings for Day 3 of Anime Picks Week. Scatterbrained me almost did an extensive blog on the ins and outs of City Hunter forgetting... I have already done that. Thankfully my brilliant and lovely girlfriend pointed that out along with me and I decided the best course of action is to find an anime that combines humor with a fair degree of action, heist and police evasion. I speak none other than the thief extraordinaire, the convincing conman, the rascally rogue. This is Lupin the 3rd.

Damn, that girl on the elliptical is really going to it.

Based on the Manga of Kazuhiko Kato (a.k.a. Monkey Punch) this series follows the insane heists and general shenanigans of one master thief Arsene Lupin the third, grandson of fictional character Arsene Lupin the gentleman thief and detective of the Maurice Leblanc novels. That character was sort of a doppelganger of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's own Sherlock Holmes. Complicated, ain't it?

With that in mind, let us discuss the man of the hour and his gang of misfit professionals. With his announcements to rub it in the authorities via calling card to the owners of said gorgeous treasures Lupin knows when to ask for the aid of his trusted accomplices. His closest partner and fellow schemer, Daisuke Jigen, an marksman of unparalleled standing, normally these two pull a fair amount of jobs as a two-man crew but every so often then find need for a few more boots on the ground. Enter Goemon Ishikawa the 13th, a swords-master whose blade can literally cut through anything and his precision is second to none and last but certainly not least, the full-figured femme fatale Fujiko Mine, whose eagerness to help, coupled by her stunning looks tends to blind Lupin as she may scoop up the score for herself.

Femme Fatale?  Moi?

With his patented red jacket, white slacks, black shirt and yellow tie, Lupin strikes a pose of a carefree fellow looking to make his next pinch through his own unique planning and execution. Imagine crossing the Saint with James Bond and adding a level of Peter Cooke for humor and you get the general idea. Guess that would make Fujiko the Bond Girl. Hmm.

Aside from their fun and games of plundering, destruction of private property and mass insanity, one man is assigned to bring our curious quartet in, Inspector Zenigata of INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) who time and time again has been bluffed, thwarted, bamboozled and more or less baffled at the crime in progress let alone how Lupin plans to escape his capture. Seriously though, Zenigata must have a huge ulcer or acid reflux from all the paperwork and stress Lupin creates. He eats food on the go, constantly screaming at fellow authority figures and overall has a bit of an attitude problem towards his superiors.

And now a few facts of the existence of this series. Back in 1967, the Lupin III manga was created in Weekly Manga Action creating a franchise that scored four different anime TV series, at least two live-action movies, CD soundtracks, multiple video games and even a musical. Suck it, Spiderman!

That being said, our franchise bounced from over 10 different companies arguing over the rights to both the original Japanese release and the English dubbed series. Tokyopop acquired the rights to the original Manga and later a second series as well. Funimation Entertainment bought up the rights for several of the TV specials and the films while yet another company Geneon got their mitts on the dubbed 79 episodes and worked a broadcast contract with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. And last of all, Discotek Media fully licensed the entire first TV series and the first live-action movie giving them access to several of the other Lupin titles including some previously released for VHS, DVD and now Blu-Ray. Bet Kazuhiko Kato never saw this playing out the way it did.

Still more popular than Pokemon! BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!