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Jigen is Lupin's marksman. He can perform a 0.2-second quick-draw and is amazingly accurate. He prefers to conceal his eyes using his hat, as it gives him a more enigmatic appearance; when one or both of his eyes are seen, it is occasionally used to demonstate surprise. In the second anime series, it is revealed that he uses a notch of the hat to aim. However, due to the nature of the series, no single episode could be considered canon; Jigen has been seen shooting excellently without his hat, even in the very series this is mentioned in, he is seen making shots from angles where his hat's notch would be useless and even during times he is not wearing his hat at all. He is also proficient in many different firearms, such as machine guns, sniper rifles, and even a PTRS Anti-Tank Rifle. He also feels quite naked without a gun: during an enemy attack in The Fuma Conspiracy, Jigen didn't have his Magnum on him and still instinctively reached for it, humorously shooting nothing into the air before realizing it was missing.
Despite having a Japanese name, Jigen's nationality and origin are uncertain. In some adaptations, he was a Chicago mobster who eventually escaped to Japan and changed his name. The 2002 television special "First Contact" describes Jigen as a mobster in New York who joined Lupin after failing his mission to assassinate the thief. His weapon of choice, the M19, is popular with the South Australian police, and he was seen by himself in Australia in an early episode of Shin Lupin before reuniting with the others. Other traits, such as his crossing himself in Catholic fashion during Shinto/Buddhist prayer and his favor for American foods and products, imply he's from some other country (and perhaps a different ethnicity) than his Japanese cohorts.
In the film The Mystery of Mamo, he says both he and Goemon follow Lupin around because they've both vowed to kill him. As Monkey Punch never really gave any of the characters a backstory, different film makers have their own take on it. In the manga volumes, Jigen is first portrayed rather abruptly in the first volume, appearing out of nowhere as a major character in one plot arc, though his name is spelled "Gigen." Jigen reappeares extensively in the third volume, showing up in nearly every single chapter of the manga, though he has not settled in to his persona as an enigmatic killer. His eyes are often visible, and he rarely uses a gun. He teams up with Lupin opportunistically in several capers, opposing Lupin as often as not. By the end of the first series, however, he has firmly settled into place as Lupin's most trusted ally.
In the anime series, Jigen is extremely loyal to Lupin and almost always partners up with him for a given mission. (This is not true in early chapters of the manga; later chapters more closely mirror the anime portrayal. The aforementioned film, "The Mystery of Mamo", also contradicts this characterization because it is a closer derivative of the manga.) Like Lupin, he has a sharp sense of humor and genuinely enjoys participating in each caper. He is, by far, the more pragmatic of the pair, with a cynical streak founded in failed romances (his luck with women runs from bad to worse, with love interests often betraying him or dying). He especially distrusts Fujiko and becomes irritated when Lupin goes along with one of her plans. Jigen is also a chain smoker; a cigarette, or occasionally a pipe, is never far from his lips, and it is a running joke in the series that his cigarettes always end up bent out of shape. Another recurring theme is Jigen's fear of going to the dentist. In "Tokyo Crisis", he actually loses his ability to shoot straight (temporarily) from being distracted by an aching cavity he refuses to have fixed. Jigen is the "big brother" of the group, and often serves as the voice of reason to Lupin's impulsiveness, as he must because of his friendship with Lupin as well as out of sheer professionalism. However, he has long since resigned himself to having to go along with the craziest of schemes.
His preferred cigarettes are Pall Mall king size.
Jigen is a heavy smoker and smokes about 60 cigarettes a day, according to the The Mystery of Mamo DVD booklet.
In the booklet that accompanies The Mystery of Mamo, Jigen's Smith & Wesson is referred to as an M27 Revolver, another .357. It is the same model that General Patton used in World War II.
Jigen's theme song is "Tornado".
The Tokyopop reissues of the original Lupin comics note in their preface that Jigen's appearance and temperament are based on the actor James Coburn, especially Coburn's role in The Magnificent Seven.
References to Jigen abound; He makes a quick background appearance in the Warner Brothers cartoon "Animaniacs" in the episode entitled "Sir Yaksalot." In the opening sequence, there is a cart being pulled by a horse, with the rider of that cart being a medieval Daisuke Jigen. Much of the animation work on Animaniacs was performed by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, producers of Lupin the 3rd.
He is also homaged in the Samurai Jack episode "Jack and the Labyrinth" where a thief wearing a white version of the trademark Jigen suit and hat (and brown version of the beard) - (concealing his eyes of course), vies with Jack for a jewel.
The popularity of Jigen as a character has even made its way into the Advance Wars series of games for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, in the form of the character Grit, who possesses many of the Jigen traits.
The Lupin III movie The Castle of Cagliostro is parodied in an early episode of the Sgt. Frog anime, where Aki Hinata forces altered (but recognizable) variations of Lupin and Jigen off a narrow country road and up a steep cliff face. "Jigen" in this clip, instead of wearing a suit and mafia-style cap, wears a sun dress and a straw hat.
- Dick Sargent (1970-1974)
- Christopher Lee (1977-1980; 1985-present)
- Peter Fernandez (Toho 1979-1980)
- Clive Revill (1984-1985)
- Steve Bulen (Streamline 1992-1995)
- Sean P. O'Connell (AnimEigo 1994-1995)
- Eric Meyers (Manga UK 1996)
- Terry Klassen (Viz 1996-2002)
- John Snyder (Manga 2000)
- Christopher R. Sabat (FUNimation 2002-2006)
- Richard Epcar (Geneon 2003-2007)
- Daisuke Jigen in the Lupin III Encyclopedia