Hello all, my name is Mike Lepore, or as you could potentially know me on the internet as, Gozar or SSJGozar (Depending on what website(s) you frequent). Starting today I will be contributing articles to Lupin Central varying from reviews to in-universe discussion to just general thoughts on the franchise. But before I begin the topic at hand, I figure I’ll give you all a quick history of my Lupin fandom.
I was first introduced to Lupin III in 2003, at the age of 13 via Geneon’s Dub of the second TV Series during its initial broadcast on [adult swim]. I immediately fell in love with the series silly humor and quirky character designs. By 2005 I was moving beyond just Geneon’s productions and watching the TV Specials and Movies that FUNimation was releasing. At this time I was beginning to learn about the different variants and interpretations within the franchise. Over the next 3 years, I began immersing myself within all things Lupin. I bought whatever forms of the franchise were available in the United States. From the Manga released by TokyoPop to Manga Entertainment’s release of “Castle of Cagliostro.” Additionally, I began watching as many Fansubs of un-localized material as I could get my hands on. This became my first introduction to the original Japanese version as I had really only watched the Dubs on the DVDs that I purchased.
It was in 2008 that I really became fully immersed in not only the series, but the fandom as well. In August of that year, I was approached by my now friend, Ryan Gilbert, to appear in an Episode of an upcoming Lupin III Podcast that he was starting. The episode went so well that he decided to make me his permanent Co-host. Although I have tried a few (now-defunct) Lupin III projects of my own, such as Lupin’s Evolution and Lupin Network, the Podcast has always stuck as my major contribution to the fandom as it is now up to 80 Episodes and still running today. That is why I am looking forward to beginning blogging on this website. It is another way for me to contribute to the Lupin community without having to manage my own website (Which I apparently suck at).
OK then, now that you know who I am, the topic may begin!
Why is Lupin III so great? What draws its fans to it and makes them stay even through some of the duller years of the franchise? This is a topic that Ryan and I have touched upon in passing during the various episodes of the Podcast. But at the heart of it, I feel that it truly goes beyond the mere charm of the timeless characters that it has produced. It even goes beyond the eternal 70’s vibe of bright colors and Yuji Ohno’s Jazz music that sticks with the franchise despite the fact that characters now whip out iPhones and what-not. What I think it truly comes down to is that Lupin III can be anything you want it to be.
The characters respective personalities and the premise of the series both work in conjunction as a perfect base imagery on a canvas for each individual Director to put his own signature on. Take a look at two of the most beloved iterations of Lupin: The Second TV Series and the Film, “Castle of Cagliostro.” Most Anime fans, whether actually fans of Lupin III or not will immediately have their mind go to one of the two aforementioned versions whenever the franchise is mentioned.
Looking at these two well-known entries, it’s clear that they are very different from each other. The 2nd TV Series features zany stunts and silly, yet charming plots with the occasional lewd scene thrown in. Meanwhile, “Cagliostro” is well…almost everything you’d expect from a Miyazaki masterpiece. Strong background visuals, a fairytale air about it, and interpretations of the characters that bring out their most pure elements. It’s this difference that makes the franchise appealing as there’s something for almost everyone.
But it’s more than just the Directors and Producers that put their thoughts into the franchise. The fans do this by themselves every day. The differing entries through the years cause numerous contradictions and plot-holes if you try to run everything together as one coherent story. This allows fans to make their own head-canon and determine for themselves exactly who the characters are. It also allows fans to create their own timelines and character development arcs using the material presented to them. The best part of this is that no one is right or wrong. Most fans realize this and use outlets like Forums to discuss and compare their own visions of the franchise with others. Sometimes they learn or consider something they never even thought of. It creates an air of more than just mere entertainment, but rather a unique level of creativity.
I can’t speak for every fan, but I know that’s one of the reasons that I love Lupin III and I believe that’s what draws many others to this nearly 50 year old franchise.Back