Top picks: Lupin III "Part IV"
Getting into a series for the first time can be daunting - especially when it spans over fifty years of content.
Lupin III has had many different interpretations over the years. Various art styles, themes, tones, spin-offs and single shot storylines have been part of the show since its animated beginnings in 1971. It is thanks to this that personally, I feel that it is relatively easy to just jump in anywhere you see fit and see how you get on.
With that said - a recent entry to the franchise from 2015, Lupin III: Part IV deserves your attention. With gorgeous animation and featuring everything that has made the Lupin gang so endearing over the years, it provides a perfect place to start. The show is relatively accessible as it is available for streaming over on Crunchyroll, and blu-ray versions can be purchased in the US and Europe.
While the show does have a recurring story line, one-off episodes still feature throughout the show. Below is a short list of noteworthy episodes in Part IV for new starts - we have tried to limit this list to five episodes, but if you find you enjoy any of these, then it might be worth committing to the series and checking out everything it has to offer!
Episode 1: The Wedding of Lupin III
Where better to start than… the start?
The first episode of Part IV not only sets up the new series perfectly by introducing viewers to new additions to the cast, but it also serves as a great Lupin escapade. The story involves disguises, double-crosses, chases and thievery. Yuji Ohno’s sound track really shines from the get-go, and all the main five cast members feature prominently.
Episode 8: Welcome to the Haunted Hotel!
Lupin and Jigen explore a “haunted” hotel - with hilarious and heart-felt results!
Episode eight serves as great interaction between Lupin and Jigen, with Jigen’s voice actor Kiyoshi Kobayashi absolutely knocking it out of the park. References to the 1979 film The Castle of Cagliostro are often a bit overdone in the Lupin series, but this is one episode that does reference it in a fantastic way. A fun adventure episode with a nice twist.
Episode 9: Requiem for the Assassins
Assassins in the desert join Goemon in this one-off side story!
The plot of this one is executed perfectly considering the run-time, and serves as a fantastic side story centred around our samurai friend. Part IV manages to hit an ideal balance of the lighter and darker sides of Lupin. This episode is geared more toward the latter, without stepping too far. As one-shot story episodes go, this is one of my personal favourites.
Episode 13: The End of Lupin III
Lupin is finally under arrest in this Monkey Punch / Green Jacket inspired classic.
Zenigata’s interactions with Lupin in Part IV are always superb, but in this one-off side story they stand out from the rest. Similar to the much darker fourth episode of the Green Jacket series (and even darker chapter of the original manga), Zenigata has Lupin under lock and key. While the cop internally struggles to come to terms with the situation, Lupin appears to be starving himself in an escape attempt you will never forget.
Episode 21: From Japan with Love
The gang are back in Japan where a new foe awaits!
If you love the sillier, goofier side of Lupin, this episode is a must-see. The new detective characters are great, and hilarity ensues with some great disguise switcheroo’s and mocking of Inspector Zenigata. The animation is stunning, and it serves as one of the series highlights, with amazing music, visuals and fun character interactions!