Otaku USA Magazine
Hungry for the New Lupin III Movie? Try These Two Origin Stories First!

The new Lupin III movie is coming soon to DVD and Blu-ray!

We’ve been waiting on the beautiful CG Lupin III movie for a year, and it’s almost here! Lupin III: The First got a limited theatrical run, but it can be yours very soon on home video.

In the meantime, why not whet your appetite for the period piece with an origin story? The beginnings of the gentleman thief and his gang have been addressed more than once, and these two flicks will give you very different versions of how it all started. Which one do you like best?


Episode 0: First Contact

Episode 0: First Contact arrived in 2002

In 2002, this Lupin III movie (or, rather, TV special) tackled that eternal question: how exactly did these fools start working together? According to Episode 0: First Contact, it was a convergence of several things. And, in short, not all of them were especially friendly with each other to start.

Lupin has his eye on a treasure belonging to a mafia boss named Galvez. Naturally, Jigen is also on the case… but he’s Galvez’s hired gun, and his job is to kill Lupin! Oh, and of course Fujiko is around. She’s currently with Lupin…’s rival Brad. But don’t worry, Inspector Zenigata is on the case! And he’s chasing obsessively after… Fujiko. That’s right, at one point he even walks straight past a poster of Lupin without giving it a second look! And Goemon? He’s on the hunt for Zantetsuken, the sword we all know will someday be his.

This particular Lupin III movie is a clever look at how the gang might have gotten together. Originally rivals or even flat-out enemies, the four finally found each other and teamed up. And we all know Zenigata eventually changes targets, of course!


Strange Psychokinetic Strategy

The first-ever Lupin movie was actually Strange Psychokinetic Strategy!

Pop quiz! What was the first Lupin III movie ever made? No, it wasn’t The Castle of Cagliostro. And it wasn’t The Mystery of Mamo, either. Four years before Mamo premiered, a live-action prequel to the popular manga and anime aired, offering a potential look at how everything began.

Strange Psychokinetic Strategy premiered in 1974, starring Yūki Meguro as the up-and-coming thief. His father Lupin the Second is dead, and the once-strong Lupin Empire has crumbled. Now its last remaining member, Jigen, has to go and find Lupin the Third, and convince him to restore the Empire to its former glory. But this is Lupin, and he’s way more interested in stealing nuns’ undies and having off-screen fun times with Fujiko. Zenigata is on the case, but Goemon is conspicuously absent.

If you’re confused, that’s understandable. The plot-light slapstick film is still fun if you think of it like Peter Cushing’s Dr. Who and the Daleks. It doesn’t have much to do with what you know, but it also came out to ride the show’s early popularity. But if you like Lupin III when it’s extra goofy, this will be right up your alley.

What other Lupin III movies will you be watching while you wait for The First?

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.