Arsène Lupin III (ルパン三世 Rupan Sansei?) is a fictional character introduced by Monkey Punch in Weekly Manga Action on August 10, 1967. According to its creator, Lupin is the grandson of Maurice Leblanc's Arsène Lupin. He is also known as Wolf or Rupan III in English dub.
Lupin is the world's number one thief. Often in his adventures, he will take it upon himself and his gang to foil other criminals engaged in more violent crimes. He often appears incompetent, but this is mostly a charade to throw his opponents off-guard. While he has been arrested and thrown in jail on a number of occasions, he has always managed to escape. He has a fondness for fancy gadgets from time to time. His infatuation with Fujiko Mine is perhaps his most significant weakness, as it lands him in undesirable situations most of the time.
Lupin's ethnic origins haven't been specified; he admits to being French, but apparantly lives in Japan. It's hinted his father, Lupin II, was French and his mother possibly Japanese. Inspector Zenigata often calls him Japanese and Lupin himself once called himself "half-Japanese, half-French" (2nd series, episode 118).
As in most manga/anime, the character is drawn with European features, leaving his nationality a mystery. Physically, Lupin is a man of average strength, but can throw a surprisingly good punch. He is incredibly flexible and fast, however, and his manual dexterity is cat-like in precision and quickness, honed from years of stealth and subterfuge. He also possesses incredible skill in the art of disguise, able to impersonate nearly anyone, even women. His skinny body enables him to easily impersonate heavier subjects by padding disguises, usually filling them with gadgets and surprises in the process. He can even perfectly imitate voices. His favorite disguise has always been Inspector Zenigata, which incenses Zenigata to no end. Another of Lupin's abilities is his encyclopedic knowledge of various topics, like history (both general and the hidden history of crime), the different sciences, languages (he is fluent in virtually every major language), etc. He also shows amazing intuition and awareness of his surroundings. Lupin favors the Walther P-38. He is shown to be an excellent marksman (although not as good of a shot as Daisuke Jigen).
When not seeking fortune from his adventures, Lupin unwinds by a variety of pasttimes. His most-witnessed hobbies are fishing, nightclubbing, gambling, and dating beautiful women. Lupin is a celebrated race car driver, competing in several international events when time allows. He's also a skilled slight of hand artist who loves to befuddle his opponents with various gimmicks: i.e., a cigarette which explodes into confetti, a gun with a spring-loaded boxing glove that clobbers the shooter, and bubble gum that becomes plastique after a few second of chewing.
Lupin is a talented stunt driver, stunt motorcyclist and flight pilot. His favorite automobiles seem to be the 1928 Mercedes-Benz SSK (apparantly he has many, since several SSK's end up destroyed during his adventures) and a souped up 1957 Fiat Neuvo 500, seen in The Castle of Cagliostro.
Lupin is a formidable escape artist, capable of cracking any safe or freeing himself from shackles in moments.
Dispite his remarkable sense of composure when commiting a crime, Lupin becomes panicky when his life is on the line. When facing eminent death by an opponent, he tends to squeal and plead for mercy in ways most comical, stretching and disfiguring his face much like a Tex Avery cartoon character.
Although there is a certain ambiguity of the relationship he has with his other team mates, with Fujiko willing to betray, while Goemon promising to kill him when the time is right, Lupin will still drop everything to come to their aide in a helpless moment.
In all, Lupin can best be defined as an insane grown-up with a child's demeanor, laughing and quipping in the face of opposition with a trick always at the ready in order to gain the upper hand.
While Lupin is a scoundrel, he's a scoundrel with a heart, and and will go to great lengths to right injustice. While he sees nothing wrong with his chosen profession, he reminds anyone who asks that the people from whom he steals are people who can take the loss, and that there are worse people than he in this world. He also shows a chivalrous streak that compels him to help those less fortunate than he (especially attractive women). Furthermore, Lupin often takes it upon himself and his gang to stop criminals engaged in more violent crimes and leave them for Zenigata to arrest. He fancies himself a ladies' man, although his actual success with women is erratic. In Monkey Punch's original manga, Lupin is very much the ladies' man, though Fujiko is frequently beyond his grasp. His abilities with the opposite sex tend to fluctuate with the writer.
His preferred cigarette are Gitanes.
- Nachi Nozawa (1969)
- Taichirō Hirokawa (1969)
- Yasuo Yamada (1971-1985; 1989-1994)
- Toshio Furukawa (1987)
- Kanichi Kurita (1995-present)
- Liam Neeson (1970-present)
- Peter Fernandez (Toho 1979-1980)
- Bob Bergen (Streamline 1992-1995)
- Robin Robertson (AnimEigo 1994-1995)
- William Dufris (Manga UK 1996)
- Sarah Strange (Viz 1996-1997)
- Richard Ian Cox (Viz 1997-2002)
- David Hayter (Manga 2000)
- Sonny Strait (FUNimation 2002-2006)
- Tony Oliver (Geneon 2003-2007)