Lupin III: Green vs Red (OVA)

ルパン三世 GREEN VS RED (OVA)
Rupan Sansei: Green vs Red (OAV)
Lupin III: Green vs Red (OVA)

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Lupin III: Green vs RedA Lupin impostor in Tokyo committing shoplifting gets caught and the news is broadcast around the world. This brings Lupin’s from all over converging on Tokyo, each claiming to be the real one and wanting to prove it. Zenigata returns to Tokyo to help the police try to sort out the real Lupin from the seemingly endless fakes; all of the different Lupins looking as Lupin has looked over the years complete with the red, green, and even pink jackets.

Lupin III: Green vs RedYasuo works at a ramen restaurant (he might own it, I wasn’t clear on that point) and is dating the pretty news reporter Yukiko. However, things aren’t going well for him financially and after a customer leaves a green jacket behind, Yasuo starts adding to his income by walking the crowded streets of the Tokyo metroplex and stealing people’s wallets. With this, he’s able to buy his girlfriend and nice ring even though she says he didn’t need to do this for her.

Lupin III: Green vs RedOver time, Yasuo becomes obsessed with becoming Lupin to the point that he reads and watches everything regarding him. He even works with Goemon for a time, disguised as Lupin. However, when Yasuo learns of the Ice Cube diamond, he knows that if he can steal this, he will be the real Lupin. With Fujiko at his side, he attempts to make the theft, only to have the “real” Lupin interrupt. This leads to the red jacket Lupin and the green jacket Lupin in a face-off with the winner becoming the real Lupin. When the battle is over, a red jacket Lupin leaves with Goemon, Yukiko’s ring hanging on a chain from the rear-view mirror.

Thoughts/Review:

Lupin III: Green vs RedConsidering my love for lengthy summaries, you might wonder what the heck is up with a 1 hour 19 minute OVA being compressed into a three paragraph summary. Frankly, this OVA defies the normal summary routine, mainly because it is all over the map. It doesn’t follow traditional story flows as there are flash forwards, flash backs, flash side-ways, and flash-flash to leave the audience going, “huh?” Don’t watch this when you are tired because you will get lost in a hurry, especially trying to keep up with all the different Lupins.

Lupin III: Green vs RedAs to the story, Ice Cube element is almost worthless here. It is a tool to tell another story since this OVA is not about stealing the Ice Cube (supposedly a diamond but actually a form of Plutonium). The writers make a token effort at making some explanations, even trying to make some anti-nuke, anti-military political statement with an anti-U.S. pickle on the side in the form of Mr. Mike Logan, who actually has a native (American?) English speaker play the part — Josh Keller. As an aside, it is nice that Josh got to speak as a normal American and not be given Engrish lines.

Lupin III: Green vs RedSo, what is this 2008 OVA about then? For starters, it was done to celebrate 40 years of Lupin III. Its hard to believe the Lupin franchise has been around so long, but it has (and I’ll go into the age thing more in a bit). Because of this celebration, the OP has a clever bit of tribute, showing how Lupin’s character designs have changed over the years (depending on the series, movie, OVA, or special) by having all of these Lupin’s descend upon Tokyo. There are scenes in the OVA which long time fans of Lupin III will recognize as having come from other Lupin III: Green vs Redtitles — I could only identify Castle of Cagliostro because I’ve seen it so many times. I could see a nod to Miyazaki-sensei’s other influences on the franchise (he was a big part of the first TV series and directed a couple of episodes in the 2nd TV series before doing Castle of Cagliostro) in the form of the giant robot that made a bizarro appearance and the insane faux Lupin in the attack helicopter who’s helmet and mask looked to be a Miyazaki creation.

Lupin III: Green vs RedThe story then is not about Lupin or his companions trying to steal something and getting caught up in an adventure. Instead, it is about Yasuo not being happy with his life and in wanting something else, slowly becomes Lupin. Not only does he own a yellow Fiat, have the looks and clothing of Lupin, but he also has the good heart, saving a child from drowning. Yasuo may have hated his life, but he had a good woman at his side and there were other ways to improve his lot. He chose a life of crime, a chance at Fujiko, and all the excitement that brings.

Lupin III: Green vs RedIn the end, Yasuo finds that the only way to become Lupin is to defeat Lupin in a duel, which a 3rd party sets up. Yasuo is wearing the green jacket and “Lupin” is wearing the red one. However, red-Lupin states that they are both frauds which is why a duel will settle the matter once and for all. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a comment on seiyuu KURITA Kanichi (who does the voice of this red Lupin) taking over the role of Lupin III in 1995 after YAMADA Yasuo passed away, more so because the Yasuo was named after the original Lupin Lupin III: Green vs Redseiyuu. The OVA strongly suggests that Yasuo wins the duel and breaks up with Yukiko, based on her ring being on the Fiat’s rear-view mirror. What happened to the “real” Lupin? The OVA suggests that he may have retired and runs a small bookstore in Tokyo disguised as an old man who knows all about Lupin. That would explain why he left a green jacket at Yasuo’s place as well as slipping him the P38.

After all this craziness, I began to wonder if maybe the production team is trying to prepare fans Lupin III: Green vs Redfor seiyuu changes by showing how Lupin has changed in character design over the 40 years and how things like how Lupin looks (or sounds) doesn’t matter, it is how he behaves that is ultimately key here. When Kurita-san took over as Lupin, the amazing thing is that he sounded almost identical to Yasuo-san’s Lupin. So for fans, the change in seiyuu wasn’t much of an issue.

All of the other parts (Fujiko, Goemon, Jigen, Zenigata) have been played by the same seiyuu for Lupin III: Green vs Redall these years save for one OVA (which I really need to re-watch) — Plot of the Fuma Clan. The fact of the matter is that the seiyuu are getting old and they sound it, especially Zenigata’s seiyuu NAYA Goro, who’s 79. MASUYAMA Eiko (Fujiko) is 72. KOBAYASHI Kiyoshi (Jigen) is 75. INOUE Makio (Goemon) is 68. Kurita-san is the baby, being only 50. I’m guessing the production team will keep using the same seiyuu until they can’t make it to a studio to gasp out lines, at which point we’ll have to see if Japanese fans can accept a change in seiyuu or not (there’ve been so many American VA casts for Lupin titles over the years that it doesn’t matter to American fans).

Lupin III: Green vs RedSpeaking of Lupin’s gang, they don’t get used much in this episode. All of them get speaking cameos and that’s about it. Goemon teams up with Yasuo for a bit as does Fujiko while another Lupin briefly captured Jigen before he escapes. Zenigata fares a little better when it comes to speaking time. Further, he’s not a bumbling imbecile for this series. He’s a cop who’s been after Lupin for years and despite his failures is better equipped to handle him than the entire Tokyo police force. I’m glad the writers didn’t make him an idiot as too many of the recent specials have done.

Lupin III: Green vs RedThe humor aspect of the Lupin series is all but missing here. Oh there’s some humor at the beginning with so many Lupin’s coming to Tokyo at the same time. Also, the production team has some fun with the “Rupan” vs “Lupin” spelling of Lupin’s name. Because of the controversy with the use of the name Arsène Lupin III (the character Arsène Lupin being created by Maurice Leblanc and apparently the Leblanc family didn’t like the Japanese using the name or claiming Lupin III is a descendant of the French character), AnimEigo refused to use the name “Lupin,” choosing instead to use “Rupan” which is the actual Romaji spelling of Lupin’s name. Other instances of early Lupin in English simply called him “The Wolf” (or something like that). Today, the whole controversy thing is a big joke and that is reflected in one scene of the OVA.

Finally, there’s this — McDonald’s.

Lupin III: Green vs Red

Lupin III: Green vs Red

I wonder how much they paid for spots in the OVA, considering how real-life businesses like McDonald’s are usually parodied and not actually shown.

Lupin III: Green vs RedUltimately, this is the strangest Lupin title I’ve ever seen and one that I have no intention of seeing again. I can’t say it is a bad anime — it is a different anime and different does not equate to bad. However, I don’t like the jumbled style of story presentation, nor do I care much for the style over substance stuff that came up either. The anime does provoke some thought for Lupin fans, which if the goal of the production team, they succeeded. That alone make this worth a rent (should it ever be licensed in the U.S., which I doubt).

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35 Responses to “Lupin III: Green vs Red (OVA)”

  1. Gozar says:

    I don’t really think this OVA was trying to claim Lupin (As performed by Kurita-san) is a fake. It’s clear in the beginning that Jigen and Goemon have no doubt in their mind that Red Jacket IS the real Lupin. The added proof of this is even in the end when Lupin is diguised as the bookstore owner, Jigen and Fujiko (Or atleast it sounded like them) say “Good job”.

    One other note I’d like to make is, that Red Jacket did NOT lose. It was Yasuo who fell off the roof. Take notice that it’s Green Jacket (Yasuo) who wakes up in the ambulance with Zenigata.

    But the funny thing is that this OVA appears to not take place in the main universe of Lupin. Because we also have the 2008 TV Special in Japan which follows this and Kurita is still playing Lupin…So, er…LOL.

    But I do agree that the cast is getting old. It’s a shame but one day they will have to be replaces. Naya & Inoue’s voices seem to be fading the most. Especially Naya. Though I think Kobayashi is still perfectly fine in his Jigen play, same for Masuyama.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I agree that Fujiko and Jigen do know whom the real Lupin is. Kurita played played several of the fake Lupin characters in this OVA (well, as best as I can tell). Considering that the Lupin character is a master of disguises and voices, Kurita can still be the voice of Lupin for as long as the producers want (the character Yasuo can have just mastered the voice), but at some time, they can change that voice, having this OVA as a basis (along with Plot of the Fuma Clan, which I need to re-watch since I think I watched it in English when I saw it first).

    One other note I’d like to make is, that Red Jacket did NOT lose. It was Yasuo who fell off the roof. Take notice that it’s Green Jacket (Yasuo) who wakes up in the ambulance with Zenigata.

    I did notice that. However, when Zenigata called him the “real” Lupin (and considering that the Red Jacket has called both of them fakes before starting the duel), my thought was that he was the survivor (hence why he was in the ambulance) and the other (Red Jacket) Lupin would be dead.

    Still, part of the reason for the jumbled style in presentation may be so that fans can take different things away from the OVA and have a valid reason to support that idea. As such, I see how you saw a different outcome to the duel than I did. ^_^

  3. Gozar says:

    See, that’s my main problem with this OVA and reason why I personally am choosing to disregard it in the base of my fandom. It gives an easy interpritation of, every Lupin we’ve been watching over the years were all fakes and the only REAL one was the one in the Manga. To me that theory just gives an unsatisfied feel with the entire franchise. Like it’s all just been a sham, which I do not believe for a second was ever Monkey Punches intentions. But I don’t believe for a second that Jigen would be fooled or accept some new imposter of Lupin just willy nilly.

    On the subject of the winner…Notice how Zenigata says “Did you find the other one yet?”…Since Zenigata was below the building trying to see what was happening, clearly he’d see someone falling off the roof. Which would be the loser and same person who Zenigata brought into the ambulance, Green Jacket, Yasuo.

  4. Anonymous says:

    so confusing….its all mixed up…
    all i understand is that, yasuo became the new ‘real’ lupin. the old man in the book store prorbably is the real lupin. but is he really on disguise or he is actually old????
    and the red lupin on the duel, i think he is lost, since yasuo became the new lupin. but where did he go? or maybe he is the same person as the old man in the book store??
    😀 so many questions. im not sure which one is correct.

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    In making it so confusing, I think the writers have made things so that fans take away what they want to take away from the OVA. In that regard, whatever you come up with would then be “correct.” ^_^

  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s like a mystery anime, not the normal lupin. But it’s good, more than some of the old titles, I think.

    The end, requires analysis: After the duel, one of them fell (considered the loser) wakes up in the ambulance with Zenigata. At the same moment police reported another lupin has been spotted (one with Jigen) but this one possessed Yasuo’s ring – go figure!

  7. Rupan XIV says:

    all I can say is the real lupin is the in the fiat at the last scene w/ jigen and the police..(mobs), another, the one who lose in the duel is another impostor, not yasuo neither lupin, its clear that they are in different situation, yasuo and the one w/ the red jacket are dueling and the real lupin is just unaware on what is happening(although he knows the dueling, he didn’t know where it is) and lastly lupin has taken yukiko’s ring (also yasuo’s) as a respect that one time in lupin life there is another lupin who points a gun to him hahaha silly, its just a matter of respect..

  8. Carrie Crash says:

    I want to thank you for posting this summary. I just watched this OVA and my head hurts. I live in Japan and got the DVD cheep, but there are no subtitles. My Japanese isn’t bad, but, oh my that was hard (to impossible) to follow.

    Most of the other summaries I have found have been unhelpfully short. Thanks for helping me make some sense of this OVA. I think I’ll have to watch it about 5 more times before it really sinks in though.

  9. AstroNerdBoy says:

    You are welcome, Carrie. ^_^

  10. Stan says:

    Hey there and thanks for the synopsis. I’m really glad I found it because I now know more about the franchise history and voice actors. I completely agree with all of your speculations such as using the name Yasuo, ‘Rupan’ controversy, the tributes… I just wanted to state here that I believe that the Lupin that woke up in the ambulance had to have been the real Lupin (the one that disguises as the old man). The Lupin in the ambulance was not wearing any jacket, it was the black dress shirt they both wear underneath their jackets… their jackets were burned to pieces during the duel on the rooftop. But, as the old man in the screw factory states, the real Lupin never goes down easy and perhaps only the rel Lupin is able to escape in the ambulance… the face bandages was part of the plan to make Zenigata believe it was the one who was shot in the face (Yasuo)… it’s all just what I believe. I must say I really enjoyed the it for the most part because I kept speculating who was the real Lupin throughout the whole film. I would definitely watch it again and recommend it. What ever the intentions the designers are to the audience, we can only know by asking them.

  11. Stan says:

    I just wanted to add to my last comment, I just noticed right now that the ring at the end isn’t the same ring that Yasuo gave to Yukiko; that ring was red… the ring at the end is green…

  12. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I hadn’t noticed the change in colors for the ring. I see the green one in the capture I have here though.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the summary AstroNerdBoy. It is the best I have found (except perhaps I think you’ve swapped the descriptions of the characters Jigen and Goemon). I hadn’t considered the old man as a Lupin before reading it. May I only add that the green ring at the end is also the ring seen around Yasuo’s neck in opening scene. Also, the replacement of Yasuo at the shop seems like a cover for him to disappear from that life. Thanks again for the review.

  14. Anonymous says:

    goodness, it seems really confusing. I read the summary hoping to be able to know who the real Lupin was in the OVA… only to find out no one really knows. O.O that stresses me out! i don’t want to even consider the idea that theres gonna be a new Lupin (not that it will make a big difference… but ill feel bad inside)
    thanks for the summary!

  15. AstroNerdBoy says:

    You are all welcome. Always glad to be of service. ^_^

  16. G.O says:

    Well I guess I’m going to be the first comment in a couple years,hehe.

    I’ve been a fan of Lupin III for many years but I’ve just found a site that has most of the movies online.(I’m a college student sue me)

    Any way, I just finished watching the OVA and I was impressed. It basically summed up all of the feelings of I guess average fans and even the most radical(lupin flying the Helicopter.) In the entire show and all of the movies and OVA; Lupin has been an idea. What the people watching have always wanted to be at one point. Even if its to a small extent. Funny, Charming, “Cool and Smart.” Able to be free. Lupin has no binded to anything. He has no family, only acquaintances. He is free to do whatever he wants. Come on who here never once gave a thought to what it would be like to actually be Lupin III? If Lupin III could actually exist in this world?

    To answer the question of what occurred on the roof, it is difficult to say. Maybe in terms of the story, Lupin wanted to retire so this whole Ordeal was to chose his successor. The final test being the roof top. Then again what became of the third Lupin, the Lupin with the afro. He was the one who set up the duel.
    From watching the ending a few times, I don’t believe that the lupin the went off the roof is the same as the lupin in the Ambulance. Yes they were both identical on the roof. However, the lupin that fell off the roof had bandages cover his mouth while the lupin in the ambulance did not. Both of them would be burned however I think Our Lupin the III was still on the roof and that is why he was recovered by pops. The Lupin that went off the roof (Yasuo)went into the trees and would have been hard to find. I figure that Yasuo was able to flee after.

    Then again this could all mean nothing because its really all up to the individual, the people who take away and are given so much by the show.

    Signed,

    a fan of the show

  17. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Thanks for the comments. Interesting stuff there. ^_^ I like the analogy of Lupin representing personal freedom.

    Then again this could all mean nothing because its really all up to the individual, the people who take away and are given so much by the show.

    Yeah, that’s true. Heh. If I weren’t so busy, I’d go back and rewatch this episode again.

  18. Wyrmanazgaroth says:

    I found this site by searching for a Manga of Green vs. Red (anyone knows sth about this?), and have not much too say, it’s been a while sinc i saw the OVA last time. But y do you think the new Lupin could be Yasuo. I don’t think Fujiko wouldn’t find out. And if you look at the movie from the point of the whole Lupin Universe.. who wins at the end of the movies/episodes? 😛 It was damn confusing, i know, but as i saw it the second time, i had a good feeling of this OVA, not doubting Lupin anymore.

  19. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I should watch it again but there are those ugly time constraints.

  20. DeadPool says:

    First of, Thank you AstroNerdBoy for this review. I did just watch it and I got this feeling of “Heey.. wait a minute now… he.. how..No… or is he..” at the end. This film is mind boggling as all heck if you ask me.

    I had no real clue what was going to happen in this one (Since I never read anything before I watch a Lupin film).. But that feeling when a hundred Lupin’s are freaking out and starting to flood Japan… That is one of the best moment in any Lupin films. I won’t lie, I did sort of freak out when that happened. That was so awesome.. Lupin’s everywhere.. Wow.

    As I said before, the ending did make me scratch my head. “So.. did the real one live? Did he lose? what the..?”

    But it think this happened: the fake Lupin with afro did have the show off with Yasuo. And Afro Lupin did fall of the roof and did use a smoke bomb to get out. But then again.. I’m sure that it was Lupin dressed up as that old man in the book store. Maybe he was looking for a replacement (?) How knows. Maybe Yasuo did win or maybe Afro Lupin and Yasuo lost.

    There are so many ways you can go with this one and that is a pretty fun thing. I don’t know about you all, but in my mind, Lupin did win and did drive off at the end (The real one)… OR.. (did just think about this)… Maybe he did find a predecessor and Jigen and all the others where in on it… But that doesn’t sound like Lupin.. He is ” The king of Freedom”… I can’t see him ever quit, unless all the challenges in the world where gone.. and they will never end..
    *My head hurts now*..

    Anyway, thank you AstroNerdBoy and all the others that did leave there point of view.

  21. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Anyway, thank you AstroNerdBoy and all the others that did leave there point of view.

    And thank you for yours. ^_^

  22. Anonymous says:

    After watching it, I can tell you: Worst Lupin Movie Ever.
    The confusing plot is plenty of questions to the viewer. The episode with the robot is awful. The Lupin sidekicks play a minor role and at the end you don’t care about the red or green lupins, you end with the impression that so great animation was wasted.

    About the dubbing actors, I don’t care if they are replaced. They tried to create a sort of “homage”, but not a real movie with beggining, middle and end.

    Not good.

  23. AstroNerdBoy says:

    After watching it, I can tell you: Worst Lupin Movie Ever.

    OVA, actually. ^_~

    Still, thanks for your thoughts. ^_^

  24. Mr Ben says:

    I just finished watching this and it left me with way too many questions, and this is the only discussion I could find on the movie.

    The thing that bugs me the most is the whole idea of replacement Lupins. This film suggested that Lupin is a character that various individuals have played for the past 40 years. That’s fine: the original could be the old man who ran the bookstore, or he even could have been that cop (I can’t remember his name, but he was the one who told Yukiko she can’t interview Zenigata).

    This would mean Lupin is similar to the multiple Bonds theory: some players stay the same, but the lead is just a code name. This, however, brings about one huge problem: the supporting cast. I’m fine with Lupin swapping hands, as long as it’s a tall, lanky, always-cool, funny, chain smoking thief. But what about Fujiko? And Goemon? And Jigen? Zenigata I’ll buy as staying the same, but Fujiko would not look the exact same after 40 years. I would NOT want to see her in that catsuit.

    I was fine with the traditional James Bond theory: it’s all the exact same people, they just never age. My first introduction to Lupin was the 70s cartoon that aired on Adult Swim. They made George Bush jokes but played Pong. I thought he was the same one who uncovered the counterfeiting ring in Cagliostro, and he’s the one who that rich man said had the brain of an idiot or a god.

    If this movie is meant to be interpreted by the fans, I’d like to think that Real/Red Jacket Lupin was just messing with Yasuo, and he’s the one who escapes and continues his kleptomaniacal ways.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >I’m fine with Lupin swapping hands, as long as it’s a tall, lanky, always-cool, funny, chain smoking thief. But what about Fujiko? And Goemon? And Jigen?

      That is a good point.

      >My first introduction to Lupin was the 70s cartoon that aired on Adult Swim. They made George Bush jokes but played Pong.

      I think that’s part of the reason why the Lupin III franchise crashed on takeoff in the U.S. It was clear that the series was old, yet the dub HAD to make modern references, which made no sense in context with a show clearly set in the late 70’s. I remember being so excited when Lupin III was being aired on Adult Swim (I still watched anime in English rather than Japanese w/ subtitles back then), but being absolutely disgusted with the liberties taken. Then Pioneer/Geneon promised to not take such liberties with later dubs, but it was too late by that point.

      >If this movie is meant to be interpreted by the fans, I’d like to think that Real/Red Jacket Lupin was just messing with Yasuo, and he’s the one who escapes and continues his kleptomaniacal ways.

      Works for me. ^_^ Thanks for writing. ^_^

  25. Anonymous says:

    I loved almost everything about it, I watched it twice, the music, like always is beautiful, and the animation is good, especially the duel scene, that was cool. But, of course the ending was saddening, that the it makes it out to look like the good-old Lupin was replaced, but wait, maybe he wasn’t the good-old Lupin to begin with? Because, in the movie Lupin dressed up as Zenigata in the car and Lupin as the old man, says that Lupin is merely a title, and the detectives in the office say, “Lupin the Third Name, Unknown…” Wha? that’s not cool, a mere title? Throughout the entire anime Lupin talks about living up to his father Lupin II and talks about treasure left by his grandfather Lupin I. So really their can only be one Lupin, but other then that, I enjoyed it.
    P.S. The Jigen, Chopper scene is absolutely amazing, he fricken cracks the windshield of a chopper! Lol, So if you like Jigen, and Lupin this is a good OVA, but their isn’t too much Goemon, Fujiko action.

  26. Squirrely says:

    I apologize for coming into the conversation almost six years late, but I didn’t see this OVA until yesterday.

    Yasuo stole two rings and gave one ring to Yukiko. The rings being red and green likely symbolize that the red and green Lupins are two sides of the same coin. The ring hanging from the rear-view mirror likely symbolizes that Yasuo won the duel and has accepted the mantle of the red jacket, but wanted to remain connected to Yukiko and his old life. It seemed to me that all of the Lupins were fakes, and the real Lupin had retired to become the old man (a disguise) running the bookstore. I’m assuming he became a “Lupin expert” because he wanted to directly influence the next generation Lupin – a larger-than-life person like Lupin would likely create many imitators. None of this matters, though, because in the end whoever won the duel has become the real Lupin.

    This was the most thought-provoking Lupin story I’ve seen. The production values are excellent, and the way the story was told reminded me of Terry Gilliam (my favorite director). Even though it’s not a typical Lupin adventure, I’d still highly recommend it.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I apologize for coming into the conversation almost six years late, but I didn’t see this OVA until yesterday.

      Not a problem. I apologize that the images there were all jacked up as I haven’t reached this post in my correction project (though I’m fixing it now).

      This was the most thought-provoking Lupin story I’ve seen.

      I agree there. After all, I did write quite a lot. It is just not an episode that I’d want to watch again, unlike Castle of Cagliostro.

      Thanks for writing. ^_^

      • zt says:

        I’m wondering can some one explain how how if the imposter became the real lupin where is the green marker on his face I mean the duel happened after the real lupin escaped from prison and his face was still green so it makes since the real lupin is in the car

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Unfortunately, I cannot explain. For me, the OVA was confusing enough in its aspects. ^_^;

  27. Lizzie The Pest says:

    Hey there ! I am really sorry for commenting more than 6 years after the review was written, but your discussion was so interesting that I couldn’t help wanting to be part of it.

    First of all, thank you so much for your great review and the discussion that followed ! I have to admit that after first watching this OVA, all my brain could process was a poor “Wait … Wut ?!?” ^^”. If it was not for your thread, I would have considered this OVA as a story about Lupin III and would have been frustrated by it, as I wouldn’t have understood what point was the point it was trying to make. But thanks to you, I now understand that it is really about Yasuo, and by extension, about all the Lupin’s fans. And in that sense, I think this OVA was really a great hommage both to the character and its fan base.

    Indeed, after more than 40 years (as I write these lines, the story is actually in its 46th year of existence !), Lupin has gone through many changes, notably in chara-design as well as is personality portrayal. However, regardless of all the variations he has known, we can all agree that at core, one thing never changed : Lupin III himself. In that sense, I have always been amazed by this franchise : no matter what season/movie/OVA I was watching, not once have I felt betrayed by it nor went “no, I don’t know who this is, but this is not Lupin”. And I think that this is the point this OVA is trying to make : of course that after 40 years, the character had so many renditions that you have to have your favorite one. But it doesn’t mean that you dislike the other versions, nor that you refuse to consider that they are all perfectly genuine.

    And I don’t know for you guys, but as a fan, I really appreciated to be adressed this way by the creators. I really felt like they were trying to say : “don’t worry, things have changed and will change again, but no matter what, Lupin will always be Lupin”. Almost as if, after all these years, the character had earned a will of his own, enabling him to always stay true to his roots. I might be reading too much into it, but I find it kind of cool that the creators seem to believe that we, as a fan base, are smart enough to understand and accept what the new generations want to experiment with our beloved character.

    All that being said, I still have to admit that this OVA is a real mess, no matter how much I enjoy what it is trying to do ! Putting aside the useless plot points that lead nowhere, and the narration that is only confusing for the sake of being confusing, I really believe that the “real” Lupin III issue could have been tackled better. Especially considering the role of the “red Lupin” : is he the real deal, or just another phony Lupin wannabe ? And what about Zenigata going “I don’t know who the real one is between the Red and the Green” ? How could Zenigata say something so strange ? Come on, dude, you have dedicated your whole life to arrest Lupin III, have come to hate yet admire his unbelievable skills, yet are not able to recognize him when he is in front of you ?!?

    Although it is impossible to settle on one single theory, as the story is too blurry to allow us to do so, I still want to share how I feel about it. To me, the most plausible theory is that the Red Lupin and the old man are the same person, and that they are the real Lupin. For some reasons, he had decided to stop a bit his thief career (it would not be so surprising, asuming he has aged a bit and learned his lessons, following the logic of the Castle of Cagliostro, and that he would now like to settle down). But then comes this hord of Lupin wannabes, including Yasuo, that try to take his place. Knowing Lupin, this has to tickle his pride and makes him want to relive the thrill of his golden days. Thus, he comes back in the game, decided to show that no matter what, there will always be only one Lupin, and that this is him. But by doing so, he realises that he himself, is not the real Lupin anymore, as he no longer feels like him. Thus, as he and Yasuo are both “impostors”, he decides to settle the question once and for all by dueling him : if Yasuo wins, he will become the “real” Lupin, and if Lupin wins, he will have no other choice than to take back his place, as no one else can do it. I think this is what he means when he says “I don’t care if it’s real or not. All I care about is if he’s real or not” : in the end, it doesn’t really matter if he or someone else is assuming the role of Lupin III, as long as it is well done, respects the values of the Lupin legacy and feels “real”.

    And I already can hear you mubbling “Yes, well it is not coherent with the “Real” Lupin III, as he is the spirit of freedom, would never quit, and can never be replaced !”. But let me finish : yes, the real Lupin cannot be replaced, and even the OVA recognizes it, as the police clearly says at the end that it is a “new one”. But I don’t think that Lupin being the old man would betray his “free spirit”, quite the contrary. Indeed, after all these years of being chased down, and being forced to be “always cool, smart, and full of charm”, I can clearly imagine Lupin getting tired of it. I mean, wouldn’t you be tired as well if you were expected to be only one thing, even by your closest acquintances ? So as “Lupin III” was no longer equal to freedom for him, he did what only a true “free spirit” could do : he simply dumped the name, to keep on doing whatever he wants, even if it’s simply eating noodles and reading books. Some kind of ultimate “0 fuck were given that day” if you will. And by letting Yasuo become the new Lupin, he kept the legacy (that he respects so much) alive as well as ensured that no one ever suspects the old man. Brilliant, laid back, letting him get what he wants no matter how : to me, this would be the perfect last trick of the greatest thief in history.

    So yeah, that was what I had to say about this OVA. Once again, thank you so much for your review.

    Sincerely,

    Lizzie the Pest

    PS : As everyone speculated on who the Lupin III in the ambulance is, I’ll go and say that was the real one : do you really believe that Zenigata would have shed a tear for Yasuo ?!? To me this both prooves that 1) this was indeed the real Lupin, 2) Zenigata is onto the trick, but just like there must always be a Lupin, there must always be a Zenigata to chase him, because as he said “arresting Lupin is simply the right thing to do” (regardless of which Lupin it is ;P).

    Okay, this time, I am really done !! See you for the 50th Anniversary OVA 😉

    • Squirrely says:

      Thank you for adding your pesterings, it was an interesting read and made me want to try re-watching it when I’m not tired and intoxicated. : )

      Based on my hazy recollection: Zenigata’s waterworks at the end might have been him realizing that his life’s work of bringing the real Lupin III to justice would never be possible, because now there were at least a few (and possibly dozens) of “real” Lupin IIIs.

      Your response also confirmed for me that the original Lupin III (as far as the OVA is concerned) is the seemingly old man in the bookstore. It seems likely to me now that he also acted as the imposter with the afro (classic Lupin III misdirection), and set up the duel between the two imposters he felt most deserved to bear his name.

      • AstroNerdBoy says:

        Based on my hazy recollection: Zenigata’s waterworks at the end might have been him realizing that his life’s work of bringing the real Lupin III to justice would never be possible, because now there were at least a few (and possibly dozens) of “real” Lupin IIIs.

        That’s an interesting idea.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Hey there ! I am really sorry for commenting more than 6 years after the review was written, but your discussion was so interesting that I couldn’t help wanting to be part of it.

      No problem. I leave comments open because a post like this isn’t topical. Five years from now, someone may see it for the first time, go to the Internet and try to see what others have said. Like yourself, they may wish to add their say. ^_^ Thank you for taking the time to post. ^_^

      And in that sense, I think this OVA was really a great hommage both to the character and its fan base.

      That’s a good point and I think you are right in your assessment.

      And I don’t know for you guys, but as a fan, I really appreciated to be adressed this way by the creators. I really felt like they were trying to say : “don’t worry, things have changed and will change again, but no matter what, Lupin will always be Lupin”. Almost as if, after all these years, the character had earned a will of his own, enabling him to always stay true to his roots. I might be reading too much into it, but I find it kind of cool that the creators seem to believe that we, as a fan base, are smart enough to understand and accept what the new generations want to experiment with our beloved character.

      I think this is a good take on it. The Lupin in the manga is completely different from the version that Miyazaki-sensei put on screen in Castle of Cagliostro (and apparently, Monkey Punch didn’t care for that change even if he was OK with the movie as a whole). That version was different from the first anime series, which was different from the second, and which was vastly different from the third (what few episodes I’ve seen/blogged about). So there have been differences, yet it is always Lupin.

      in the end, it doesn’t really matter if he or someone else is assuming the role of Lupin III, as long as it is well done, respects the values of the Lupin legacy and feels “real”.

      That works for me as a theory.

      So yeah, that was what I had to say about this OVA. Once again, thank you so much for your review.

      You’re welcome and thanks for your excellent words.

      Okay, this time, I am really done !! See you for the 50th Anniversary OVA 😉

      I’ve got some episodes I’ve not watched which I’m planning to blog about this month. Hopefully, you’ll be back for those reviews. ^_^

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