Lupin the Third is a character who refuses to be tied down. Like Tom Servo, he’s like the wind, baby. His various earlier anime series and films have set him up as a consummate flirt and womanizer, and his adventures have spanned the globe. Lupin the Third Part IV upends that status quo immediately in both respects. In the second, Lupin’s adventures in this series are generally limited to Italy. In the first case, the series opens with Lupin getting married, and not to Fujiko Mine.
The series takes a narrative structure similar to Cowboy Bebop, mixing episodic hijinx with a serialized storyline. Further, fitting with the tone of some of the more recent Lupin series, the show starts fairly grounded, and holds off on superspy shenanigans and mad scientists until the end of he series.
The geographic scope could make the show feel very limited, but that never really comes across in the course of the show. The range of Lupin’s travels and the variety of his thefts and never give the impression that he’s limited in what he can do. Further, they are executed in such a way where it also keeps from portraying Zenegata as being so incompetent that he’s not a threat to Lupin.
Lupin’s new flame and his spouse, Rebecca Rossellini, is also a very interesting character. She’s a very competent thief who can move with the same level as skill as Lupin, and she has resources at her disposal to provide the same level of gadgets as Lupin. However, she has a level of innocence – but not naivety – that Lupin’s crew lacks. This, in turn, gives a reason why Lupin and Rossellini will never really stay together.
All of that said, the main new introduction to this series is the use of the hybrid episodic/serialized format. Lupin the Third: A Woman Called Fujiko Mine used the format, but it’s also not exactly a traditional Lupin series either. In this context, it allows for a degree of character development and exploration for Lupin and his crew that they’ve never really gotten before. They’ve all been about escalating the stakes with bigger and more inventive heists, but never really about the people carrying them out.
This really makes Lupin The Third: Part IV probably the best gateway for Lupin the Third – more so even than Castle of Cagliostro.
Lupin The Third: Part IV is currently available for streaming through Funimation and Crunchyroll. The series is also available for purchase on Blu-Ray, with the Dub and Sub being released on different sets as per the demands of TMS.
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