Why ‘Lupin III: The First’ is the Perfect Gateway to the Franchise

Keep an eye out for those for gentleman thieves, they'll steel you heart.
Lupin Iii The First

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that explores 2019’s “Lupin III: The First” and why it’s an exemplary entry in modern 3D animation.

At the risk of showing my whole ass here, I was a late convert to the Lupin III franchise.

Lupin III: Castle Of Cagliostro was one of my few blindspots in Hayao Miyazaki‘s filmography. I assumed that I wouldn’t “get it” because it was pre-existing IP … and I assumed incorrectly. I can only imagine what audiences thought when the film premiered in 1979. My heart goes out to all the movie theater employees who had to mop blown minds off the screening floor every night.

It’s hard to overstate Lupin III‘s popularity within the franchise’s native Japan. Originally created in the mid-1960s by manga artist Monkey Punch (no, really), Lupin is canonically the grandson of Arsène Lupin, a fictional gentleman thief created by Maurice Leblanc in 1905.

Lupin didn’t just inherit his grandfather’s nimble fingers and reckless charm. Over the years, Lupin has graduated to the ranks of folk hero, mutating accordingly over the years as he jumped from page to screen and small screen to big. And in 2019, the Lupin franchise pivoted once more, this time to 3D feature animation.

While 3D anime films are divisive, to say the least, Lupin III: The First was cut from a different cloth. The video essay below digs deeper into what makes the film work both as a Lupin film and as an entry point for newbies.

Watch “Lupin III: The Best Looking 3D Anime Ever”

Who made this?

This video essay on why Lupin III: The First rules is by Accented Cinema, a Canadian-based YouTube video essay series with a focus on foreign cinema. You can subscribe to Accented Cinema for bi-weekly uploads here. You can follow them on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields: Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.