This autumn, for the first time in 30 years, the iconic crime-adventure anime Lupin III is once again gracing television screens with a brand new series. To further excitement, a series of either Lupin-inspired fan-art or really, really clever guerilla advertising of the chain-smoking Jigen is also gracing tobacco shutters throughout Italy.
As the old-school anime class knows, Jigen is the trigger man, sharpshooter, aide de camp and close friend of Lupin the Third. Along with colleague Goemon Ishikawa XIII, he joins Lupin in pursuit of riches acquired typically by theft. Traveling across the globe, Jigen has garnished fame as a gunman with a wildly capable speed and accuracy smoking about 60 cigarettes a day according to the The Mystery of Mamo DVD booklet.
The apex of “cool,” a running joke in the series is that his cigarettes always end up bent out of shape (see the graffiti below). His favorite cigarettes seem to be either Marlboro boxed (as in Kooky Kabuki) or Pall Mall (as in Mystery of Mamo); he's also occasionally seen smoking a briar pipe.
While we haven’t been able to smoke out the culprits behind the guerilla advertising, it seems the art has had a positive effect on deterring other graffiti from being painted.
Once Line News’ reporting an image of Jigen painted upon the shutters of an Italian tobacco store, the graffiti floodgates opened with images of Jigen art all across the land including automobiles and stadiums. This makes sense of course, as Jigen’s off-time is usually spent watching sports or spaghetti westerns and can pilot virtually any motorized vehicle.
The series was originally announced at the MIPCOM event in Cannes, France last October, and was scheduled for a world premiere on Italy's RTI channel this spring. The story of the new series will take place in Italy and San Marino. It will be the first full-fledged Lupin III television anime series to star the legendary thief character since 1984-85's Lupin III: Part III ended three decades ago.
Franchise veteran Kazuhide Tomonaga (key animator on Lupin the 3rd: The Mystery of Mamo and Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, particularly the whole iconic car chase) is serving as chief director, and Yuichiro Yano (Moyashimon, Francesca, Mujin Wakusei Survive, Patapata Hikōsen no Bōken) is directing at Telecom Animation Film. Writer Yuuya Takahashi (Donten ni Warau, Tiger & Bunny, Lupin the IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke no Bohyō) is in charge of the series scripts.