Lupin the Eighth (partially found anime series; 1982)

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Promo art for the series.

Status: Partially Found

Lupin III (ルパン三世, Rupan Sansei) also known as Lupin The Third, Lupin The 3rd, or Lupin The IIIrd, is a multimedia franchise created by Kazuhiko Katō (better known by his pen name Monkey Punch) about a thief named Arsène Lupin III, grandson of the character of the same name written by Maurice Leblanc. The franchise is very popular in Japan, and has spawned many different anime series and OVA specials. One of these planned anime series was Lupin VIII (ルパン8世). The series was a French-Japanese animated series, that was set for a worldwide release date of 1982. 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. Due to copyright issues involving the use of the character Arsène Lupin III by the Leblanc estate, production of the series quickly halted, and much of the series remains lost.

Many aspects of certain characters were censored for the Western market, including the use of tobacco.


The series was a co-production between Japan's Tokyo Movie Shinsha and France's Saban International Paris.[1] 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 smoking cigarettes, Fujiko Mine is now 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 their shared ancestors. These handicaps aside, the art design and animation were gorgeous for TV animation at the time.

Legal Issues

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.[1]

All production of the anime was halted in mid-production. Accounts vary if it was 6[2] to 8[3] episodes that were completed.

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.[4] 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.

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.


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