The famous "green jacket" series was created with an adult sensibility and attempted to create a stylish series not previously seen. Great attention was given to the details of the automobiles, guns, and brand name items used. Initially, the series focused less on humor and more on pulp stories centered on a particular heist. Lupin would not hesitate to kill anyone in his way though he did have his own skewed moral code.
The series opened to poor ratings, and director Osumi Masaki's refusal to alter the tone of the series lead to his removal by the time the third episode had aired. In an attempt to reach a broader audience, Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao were brought in to soften the series and provide more humor. Despite their efforts, the series was canceled after twenty-three episodes. However, the series found its audience in reruns and grew in popularity.
The Hida Speedway has been completed and Lupin is looking to take top prize at the first race. Unfortunately for him, the race is an elaborate trap designed by the Scorpion Gang; they want to kill him and eliminate all criminal competition.
With Zenigata watching his every move and Scorpion holding Fujiko hostage, can Lupin outmanuveur them all in his Formula-1 Ferrari?!
Fujiko has stolen something from a man named Pycal, and he wants it back. Normally, Lupin would have no problem dealing with him, but Pycal can shoot flame from his hands, can walk on air, and can have bullets bounce right off of him!
Can Lupin and Jigen discover Pycal's secret before it is too late?!
A boat collision ruins Lupin and Fujiko's quiet boating expedition. They discover a woman named Linda in the other boat just as gunmen on a larger boat attack them. After avoiding the gunboat, they learn she is the assistant to a world-reknowned expert in nuclear fission. She lived on an island with the doctor. Unfortunately, the island also housed the "Kirein Killers" ("Killers of the Sea").
Lupin and Jigen must try to storm the island to save the Doctor and discover Linda's mysterious secret.
Lupin and Fujiko successfully pull off a heist; that is, until Zenigata manages to shoot Lupin with a tranquilizer dart. Zenigata hauls Lupin off to jail.
Despite Fujiko's best efforts, she cannot break Lupin out of prison, and Jigen provides no help claiming that Lupin can leave whenever he wants. One year passes, and Lupin's execution day draws near. Is this the end of our favorite thief?!
Ishikawa Goemon is the thirteenth direct descendant of a famous samurai highwayman of the same name. Goemon's mentor has given him a mission; find Lupin and use his invincible sword Zantetsuken to carve Lupin into tiny pieces.
Little does Goemon or Lupin know that Goemon's mentor and Fujiko are working together for other purposes. Can Lupin discover their plot and avoid becoming thief sashimi?
One rainy afternoon, a man seeks Lupin's help on behalf of a young woman. The young woman turns out to be Fujiko who is naturally after a piece of jewelry.
This is no ordinary piece of jewelry though. The Star of Killamanjaro diamond was implanted into the chest of a mob boss. This boss had his memory wiped but died days before it was to be restored. Now, Lupin and the gang are after the ambulance carrying the corpse and the diamond in it.
Naturally, Zenigata is in charge of the ambulance and its escort. Who will get to the diamond first?
Three scrolls contain the secret of creating a blade like the Zantetsuken. Lupin wants to steal them as a matter of family pride. His grandfather stole them in the 19th century. Lupin's father stole from a swordsman a dagger forged using the same process. The swordsman challenged Lupin II to a duel and lost. However, he managed to steal the scrolls for himself.
Now, Lupin means to steal them back but must face Goemon and Fujiko's own plans for acquiring the scrolls themselves. Who will get to the scrolls first? Can Lupin restore his family pride?
Napoleon once owned a deck of fortune-telling cards. These cards have come into the hands of the millionaire known as Mr. Gold. Lupin plans to steal them during Mr. Gold's birthday party, and Zenigata plans to stop him!
Lupin succeeds in stealing them, but the cards appear to have a mystic secret. Will Mr. Gold be successful in getting the cards back? And what secrets do the cards hold for Lupin and the gang?
Lupin and the gang aim to steal the plans for a new computer. In their way is a man skilled with the machine gun and his hitman partner Poon. The gang succeeds but not before Poon and Fujiko come face to face. Poon and Fujiko used to be a team, but things went wrong. Poon's boss shoots Fujiko before they can have a proper reunion. Lupin manages to get Fujiko back to their hideout, but she is near death.
Poon and his boss follow Lupin back and manage to oust Lupin from his hideout leaving a dying Fujiko inside. It is now a race against time as Lupin must try to save Fujiko's life. And what secret history do Fujiko and Poon share?
Lupin and Baron Ukraine are both after the world's most skilled counterfeiter. Normally, Lupin would have no problem beating the Baron, but the Baron has hired Fujiko and a man called Flinch to kill him.
Who can get to the counterfeiter first?!
NOTE: Used first opening, second version (credits included). (This note ©1995 by Michael House and Toon Magazine.)
Someone is posing as Lupin and is blowing up bridges causing a lot of damage and injuries. Lupin and Jigen discover that the bomber is trying to force an armored car to travel along a route of his choosing.
They track down the bomber, but he forces Lupin and Jigen to attempt to rob the armored car. He threatens to kill a girl named Lisa that he kidnapped unless Lupin and Jigen perform the job.
Can Lupin and Jigen pull off the job and save the girl?
Fujiko is racing against a criminal organization to acquire a pair of gold statues that are owned by a snowbound village in the mountains.
Lupin naturally throws his hat into the ring and attempts to acquire the statues. The village elder is caught between being a pawn of the criminal organization and his desire to sell the statues to help his village.
As the three combatants square off for the statues, who will end up having the last laugh?
Mamo Kyosuke claims that Lupin will disappear from the world in four days. He claims that he is a time traveler from 2874 seeking revenge.
Apparently, Lupin XIII destroyed the Mamo clan on 31 March 2874; Kyosuke has traveled back in time to destroy Lupin III preventing his clan's future destruction.
Kyosuke backs his claims up by traveling into the past and killing the builder of a castle causing it to disappear in front of Lupin's eyes. As time runs out for Lupin, can he discover Kyosuke's secrets? Is he all he appears to be?
Lupin and Fujiko are both after the legendary Eye of the Nile emerald. It is going to be a wedding gift presented on the yacht holding the wedding.
Lupin and Fujiko learn that Catherine Burgess, Queen of Hollywood, has lured them there to liven up her otherwise dull wedding party. Can Lupin and Fujiko find the emerald before being caught by Zenigata?
NOTE: Catherine was played by Masuyama Eiko, who played Fujiko in the pilot film, and would take over the role beginning with the New (Second / Red Jacket) Series. (This note ©1995 by Michael House and Toon Magazine.)
Zenigata has been invited to an international police convention in Europe; his chief wants him to go, but Zenigata does not want to since Lupin has declared that he will steal a gold bust within the next three days. Zenigata vows to catch Lupin before going to the convention.
Lupin learns of this and begins to hatch a scheme that involves him being captured by Zenigata intentionally! What can Lupin be thinking?!
Fujiko goads Lupin into stealing a large shipment of diamonds. Lupin takes the task despite Jigen protests that Fujiko is playing them for fools.
Of course, Jigen is right. Just who will end up with the diamonds?
NOTE: This episode introduced the series's third and final opening theme and title sequence.(This note ©1995 by Michael House and Toon Magazine.)
Fujiko invites Lupin and the gang to a famous night club owned by the sexy Hoshikage Rinko. Only Goemon refuses. This was a wise move as Rinko places time bombs on Fujiko, Jigen, and Lupin. They must cough up 3,000,000,000¥ within twenty-four hours if they want the bombs removed.
With the clock ticking, can Lupin come up with a scheme to get that much money?
Smith is an art thief that is selling stolen paintings under the guise of a beauty contest. Can Lupin manage to outwit Smith and make off with the paintings?
Inspector Ganimard III is the grandson of Lupin I's arch nemesis. He has come to Japan has the head of security for the 1972 France Fair but also intends to restore his family's honor by arresting Lupin III.
Ganimard publicly baits Lupin into trying to steal the Fair's exhibits by insulting Lupin's family pride. Ganimard is convinced that reason and science will capture Lupin. Lupin takes up the challenge, and the third generation duel is on!
Someone is committing thefts under Lupin's name. Lupin follows the impostors back to their island hideout. He has apparently stumbled into a whole island of thieves. Can Lupin learn their secrets and escape with his life?
Rie is being held captive though she does not realize it. She believes the man holding her is a friend of her father, Ken Makita. Lupin shows up to rescue her. Rie does not want to be rescued by Lupin and does not understand why he is trying to.
Lupin's father was a friend of Rie's father. The "friend" is Jooji Takigawa; he is holding Rie hostage in an attempt to get her father out of retirement to do his bidding. Can Lupin uphold his family honor by saving Rie?
Gordon, an FBI computer specialist, is in Japan to operate a computer capable of predicting crimes and determining how to stop them. The Metropolitan Police Dept. hopes that this will finally help them capture Lupin.
Zenigata is unimpressed and warns that the machine will not be able to stop Lupin. For once, Zenigata and Lupin see eye to eye. Lupin sets out to prove that the computer is no match for his intellect. Who will win? Man or machine?
A disputed horde of recently discovered ancient gold coins draws the attention of Lupin and company. Lupin decides to settle the dispute by stealing them from the Dai Nippon Bank.
After an argument with his chief, Zenigata resigns and vows to stop Lupin on his own in one final showdown. As each man races after his prize, who will win this climatic series showdown?
NOTE: Features a rare extended sequence of Jigen without his hat and cameos of animation director Ootsuka Yasuo and Miyazaki with an Army jeep. (This note ©1995 Michael House & Toon Magazine.)