How ‘Lupin III: The First’ Director Takashi Yamazaki Brought a Japanese Anime Icon into 3D [Interview]
Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2020 by Hoai-Tran Bui
Lupin the Third is a cultural institution in Japan, but you’d be hard pressed to find many American audiences who know it, apart from anime die-hards and maybe those who have dived deep into the filmography of Hayao Miyazaki. But the name can strike fear into the hearts of (fictional) police and affection in the hearts of many Japanese audiences, who have grown up with the long-running heist franchise centering around a charismatic master thief.
Created by Monkey Punch in 1967, Arsène Lupin III was introduced as the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief of Maurice Leblanc’s series of novels. But as a product of the ’60s, Lupin III was daring, sexy, smug, and a little bit silly — a mix of James Bond and Casanova. Monkey Punch’s manga character would take off in popularity, spawning a franchise that spanned anime, video games, and feature films both animated and live-action. But there was one medium that Lupin the Third hadn’t dominated yet: 3D animation.
Enter filmmaker Takashi Yamazaki, the director of dramas like Always: Sunset on Third Street who would make the leap to CG animation and become on of Japan’s foremost directors in 3D-CG. With the blessing of Monkey Punch, who expressed a wish to see his creation in 3D before he passed in April last year, Yamazaki breathed three dimensions into the 2D character with his upcoming film Lupin III: The First.