The Lupin III franchise has been evolving for half a century, outgrowing its manga origins to encompass anime films and series, videogames, and even stage musicals — but never a computer-animated feature. That’s set to change. The first trailer for Lupin III: The First, released on Wednesday, reveals that the movie will be entirely cg. It will open in Japan on December 6.
The character Lupin III first appeared in a 1967 manga by Kazuhiko Kato, better known by his pen name Monkey Punch. The comic pitted the world-renowned thief against the tireless Inspector Zenigata in various outlandish scenarios; Lupin was conceived as the grandson of Arsène Lupin, star of Maurice Leblanc’s turn-of-the-20th-century crime capers, although Kato was also influenced by action-adventure stories like Ian Fleming’s creation, James Bond.
The manga was a hit, and the first spin-off anime series, Lupin the Third Part I, was broadcast in 1971. Some anime translations preserve the comic’s dark, raunchy spirit, while others tone it down for family audiences, including Hayao Miyazaki’s feature The Castle of Cagliostro and the episodes he directed for Lupin the Third Part I. The director of the new feature is Takashi Yamazaki, the man behind Dragon Quest: Your Story and Stand by Me Doraemon.