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Lupin III Deserves the AAA Treatment!


So the console launches came and went, and we're left with a bunch of forgettable ruggedly-handsome white guys again (and a robot made of toblerone). We also got some shiny new rubble to stare at while we shoot things and maybe some orange and blue here and there.

In my opinion, AAA games need an injection of personality. They need a franchise that'll mix things up a bit, and if any franchise deserves the AAA treatment, it's Lupin III.

For those who are unfamiliar with Lupin III, here's a brief rundown of the character's history:

Lupin III, like most anime characters, started out in a manga. It was written by a guy going by the name of "Monkey Punch" (seriously) and began serialization in 1967. The last run of Lupin III manga ended in 2008.

Monkey punch did the art for the first run of the manga, and stayed on as the writer for later runs. Monkey Punch's was unique for a manga, inspired by expressive MAD magazine artwork, although it wasn't technically amazing compared to other manga, it had a lot of personality.

It introduced most of the popular characters for the franchise, like the quiet samurai Goemon and Lupin's nemesis Inspector Zenigata.


As for Lupin III himself, he was pretty despicable early on. He was a huge pervert and had no second thoughts about cheating or murdering anyone. This changes in later adaptations to give him more mainstream appeal.

Lupin got his big break with three anime series that first aired in the 1970s. The first started in 1971, with Hayao Miyazaki directing some of the episodes. The second series started in 1977, and switched his jacket color from green to red. Thus these series became known as the "green jacket series" and the "red jacket series." 

The red jacket series became the essential Lupin III show, with the red jacket becoming his iconic look. The series later aired in America on Adult Swim in 2003. There were difficulties with localisations earlier on because of associations with Maurice LeBlanc's Arsene Lupin stories (the rights eventually expired, putting Arsene Lupin in the public domain).

A third series, known as the "pink jacket series," aired in 1984, and has yet to be brought west.

The guy with the beard is Jigen. He's a total badass.

1978 and 1979 were great years for Lupin, as they saw the release of two of his best film's: Secret of Mamo and, probably the most famous part of the Lupin III franchise, the Hayao Miyazai-directed "The Castle of Cagliostro."

Cagliostro was known for it's fantastic storytelling, gorgeous visual style, and a very mainstream-friendly portrayal of Lupin and his friends.

After he third series, the franchise was relegated to OVAs and a few more theatrical films. My favorite OVA are Episode 0: First Contact (a prequel to the first series) and Green vs Red, which takes place in a universe where there are hundreds of different Lupins of all shapes and sizes.

It also has this:

In 2012 Lupin finally got a fourth franchise. It was titled The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, and centered around Lupin's primary love interest and only true equal.

The series was incredibly well received, with fantastic and smart storytelling and absolutely bonkers visual that looked hand-drawn.

It's a great watch if you don't mind some cartoon boobies.

The series was also unique in adding some horror elements

Next on the table is a live action film (the second one, actually. We don't talk about the first). That's great and all, but what we really need is a quality AAA video game.

There have been some Lupin III games in the past. Most were Japan-exclusive platformers for early Nintendo consoles.

The only Lupin III game to make it to North America was The Treasure of the Sorcerer King, which was a janky Metal Gear Solid-like PS2 game with some third-person shooter elements. I bought it, of course, because it's Lupin. But it wasn't a particularly fun experience.

Dem PS2 visuals!

It's a real shame too, because Lupin III seems perfect for a great AAA game. 

The franchise has everything: globetrotting adventures, explosions, romance, and great personality.

It has also been through so many adaptations with so many different tones and themes that you could do practically anything.

Open-world shooter? Definitely. Telltale Games-like episodic adventure? Oh yes! Classic point-and-click adventure? Cool. Rhythm-based music game? Sure, I could even see that.

The possibilities are endless. As a huge Lupin III fan, I feel like there's so much potential in the character for a great video game. It saddens me that we won't be seeing one in the foreseeable future.

Thanks for reading!

See you, space cowboy...
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About Benny Discoone of us since 9:53 AM on 03.24.2013

My name is Benny. I work full time in a freak show eating live chickens, and I work part time as Brendan Fraser's scrotum cleanser.

I play video games sometimes, but most of the time I'm too poor and don't have enough free time. I still like talking about them though.