You’ve probably heard of Lupin III, it’s a giant anime franchise that is popular in many countries around the world (most notably outside of Japan, Italy). The series has been touched by masters of animation such as Hayao Miyazaki, has six different main series manga and, has around 49 different anime adaptations. But did you know that the Lupin we know today is not the Lupin from the original manga?
Back in 1967 the first chapter of the underground manga series Lupin Sansei was released. It featured incredibly risque, scummy characters and an incredibly, let us say, rapey version of Arsene Lupin III. Throughout this series, Lupin forced himself constantly onto different women (weirdly all named Fujiko). Goemon was a rough and tumble depressed man, Zenigata was a man who had not morals and enjoyed seeing Lupin experience extreme pain, and Goemon was just a total dick.
Once the series had gained enough steam it gained a 23 episode anime adaptation in 1971. In first few episodes and the pilot film, the characters were very much so as they were in the manga. But the production company (Tokyo Movie Shinsha) had problems with the fact that the characters were such awful people. Because of this, they asked the original director (Isao Takahata) to make severe alterations to the characters in the series, making them more family friendly. After Isao Takahata refused he left the series, causing Hayao Miyazaki and Masaaki Oosumi to take over as head directors.
After this change, Hayao made the change he wanted to, making the character of Lupin into more of a heroic, gentleman thief. Instead of a sleazy rapist/thief combo. This change didn’t just encompass Arsene Lupin III though, it also included Jigen and really every other character in the show. Jigen became downright happy, Goemon became a friend of Lupin and Zenigata gained morality. Hopefully this gave you a bit more knowledge and incite into my favourite anime franchise of all time. I’ll see you in the next one.