Lupin the Eighth (partially found anime series; 1982)
Lupin VIII (ルパン８世) was a French-Japanese animated series set for a worldwide release in 1982. It was created as a sequel to Monkey Punch's manga and anime Lupin III.
Whereas Lupin III focused on the 20th-century grandson of famous thief Arsène Lupin, Lupin VIII takes place in the 22nd century starring the descendants of all the Lupin III characters.
The series was a co-production between Japan's Tokyo Movie Shinsha and France's Saban International Paris. It was to be directed by Rintaro, with character designs by Shingo Araki and Michi Himeno.
While the Lupin III anime was already a much more family-friendly version of the adult-oriented manga, Lupin VIII would have to be softened even further in tone for Western audiences. Daisuke Jigen sucks on lollipops instead of cigarettes, Fujiko Mine is a blonde, and Lupin VIII is a detective trained by Sherlock Holmes VIII instead of a thief. Thus, Zenigata has no real motivation for chasing Lupin VIII except for who his ancestors were. These handicaps aside, the art design and animation were gorgeous for TV animation at the time.
Arsène Lupin (Lupin I) was created by author Maurice Leblanc in 1905. Lupin III was created in 1967 at a time when international copyright law was much laxer. But as time went on and the Lupin III franchise become larger and more prominent, the Leblanc estate became greatly displeased. Although they tolerated it as long as Lupin III was isolated in Japan, they were greatly offended by this attempt by Saban International Paris trying to bring it to France (to be titled Arsène et Cie) and sued for copyright infringement.
A manga adaptation by Eiichi Saito and Kenichi Takigawa was briefly serialized in Monthly 100 Point Comics and compiled in a single volume, although it is long out of print.
The lawsuit affected the ability to export the entire Lupin III franchise. The few Lupin III movies that made it to the United States in the late 80s and early 90s had to be completely retitled and have the name of the main character changed. Eventually, the copyright to Arsène Lupin lapsed and Lupin the 3rd aired on Adult Swim in 2003. Lupin VIII however, was totally forgotten.
Parts of the series finally appeared in 2012 as a bonus feature on the DVD/Blu-ray Lupin III: Master File. The pilot episode appears in its entirety, however, the rest of the episodes were only shown in clip show format. Also, the episodes were silent with only hardsubbed Japanese subtitles to tell the story. The dialogue track was either lost, or more likely, never recorded at all as that is the last phase of anime production.
- Lupin the Third Encyclopedia on the show.
- Anime News Network page on the show.
- The Japanese Wikipedia page on Lupin VIII.
- "The Anime"; Aug.1983
- "The Anime"; March.1983