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Anime Movie Review: "Lupin The 3rd: The First" (20109)

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

"Lupin III: The First" Steelbook Blu-Ray case.

"Lupin III: The First" Steelbook Blu-Ray case.

Quick Info

  • Director: Takashi Yamazaki
  • Distributor: GKids and ‎SHOUT! FACTORY!
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Released: January 12th, 2021
  • Availability: On blu-ray, DVD and digital, available for rental on digital stores

Story Summary

Arsene Lupin III announces that he’s going to steal the Bresson Diary from the museum where it is being displayed. When Lupin III steals the diary another would-be thief named Laetitia tries to outwit him to steal the diary too.

Laetitia convinces Lupin III to team up with her to open the diary and try to discover what “the Eclipse” is.

The Story Is Fun but Typical for “Lupin the 3rd”

I’ve enjoyed Lupin The 3rd a lot and I’ve watched a few movies and the more recent anime that has been released, along with Lupin the 3rd: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, but I’m no expert on the franchise.

This is the third Lupin the 3rdfilm I’ve watched, the second being The Legend of Golden Babylon and the first being The Castle of Cagliostro. Lupin The 3rd: The First is an anime movie that is the first entry in the Lupin The 3rd franchise that is animated in 3D instead of the 2D style of the current Part 6 anime that is simulcasting on HiDive.

If you have never watched Lupin The 3rdyou can easily start with this film as your first because even though all Lupin The 3rd media is a standalone story this is the most recent movie that you can watch and it’s shorter than starting with the various anime series that have been released.

If you are a long-time fan of Lupin The 3rd you’ll probably recognize a ton of plot points that are used often in movies in this franchise but I still enjoyed the movie.

You are the renowned Lupin III after all.

You are the renowned Lupin III after all.

Lupin III: The First [Official English Trailer, GKIDS]

The 3D Animation Is Amazing!

The anime industry isn’t known for creating amazing 3D animation. When it comes to TV anime 3D is either atrocious like the Berserk (2016) anime or pretty good like Knights of Sidonia and Land of the Lustrous (2019). 3D

The 3D in Lupin The 3rd: The First looks fantastic. The transition from 2D to 3D looks great and the character designs are similar to the anime but look noticeably 3D.

The art style used for the character designs is really nice. They look similar to how they are drawn in the current Lupin the 3rd Part 6 anime but they don’t exactly wear the same clothes in the movie that they wear in the anime.

There were many reviews gushing about the character designs and lots of gushing about Fujiko Mine (which I expected) and a lot of gushing about Daisuke Jigen (which I didn’t expect). People also liked the designs of Lupin III and Laetitia as well. Goemon Ishikawa XIII looks great too and even though he didn’t get to do too much he was still fun.

The fight scenes are well-animated and look really cool. The standout scene of the movie is Lupin III showing why he’s a master thief when he has to get past a massive wall of lasers; it’s a scene with stunning animation and is an excellent scene that shows his character traits and physical skills as a thief.

The 3D art style and animation are spectacular and Marza Animation Planet Inc. the studio did the animations for The Last Guardian PlayStation 4 exclusive videogame and the animations for this film are amazing. They also worked with TMS to bring the movie to life and it looks stunning.

Audio and Subtitles


English (Reviewed, on DVD, Blu-ray, or digital rental )

English (On DVD, Blu-ray, or digital rental)

Japanese (On DVD, Blu-ray, or digital rental)

The English Dub Is Great but the Lip Flaps Don’t Match

The English cast is the voice cast from the Lupin The 3rd Part 2 that premiered on Adult Swim in the early 2000s.

Lupin III

Tony Oliver reprises his voice role as Lupin III, he’s reprised this role in most Lupin The 3rd anime and movies outside of the Lupin the IIIrd movies that are a spinoff of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine anime and the movies Funimation Entertainment dubbed with their voice cast.

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I’ve always enjoyed him in this role despite my first exposure to Lupin being Sonny Strait’s Lupin but I like Tony Oliver more than Sonny Strait in this role. I think that Tony fits the role of Lupin more than Sonny does but Tony has more experience voicing the character too.

Kōichi Zenigata

Doug Erholtz reprised his role as Kōichi Zenigata after he replaced Dan Lorge when he retired to teach voice acting. He does a great job but he doesn’t just imitate Dan Lorge’s Zenigata. He did a great job but his character had a minimal role in the movie compared to the other characters, but he was still fun to listen to and he’s a staple of the franchise.

Zenigata has always been important to the story but his role is reduced but still very important. He’s fun to listen to and Doug Erholtz did a great job in this role.


J. David Brimmer was excellent in his role as Lambert. He is one of the villains for the movie and he was an interesting character and J. David Brimmer was a nice choice for this role and he was very convincing as Laetitia’s grandfather.


Laurie Hymes is fantastic as Laetitia. Laetitia is the new “Lupin Girl” for the film, and unlike the “Lupin Girls” she will probably only appear in any sequels to Lupin the 3rd: The First due to the story being set in the 1960s instead of the decade that the anime is released in, such as Parts 4, 5, and 6 all being set in the 2010s and 2021 respectively.

As for the character, I like her a lot, she’s distinct and I enjoyed her motivations and characteristics in the movie. She’s a good character but I don’t know if she will show up in any sequels to this particular movie.

Laurie Hymes did a great job voice acting and I enjoyed her voice work in this role.

Goemon Ishikawa XIII

Lex Lang reprises his role as Goemon Ishikawa XIII. He’s a fun character, and he plays his regular role in the movie the Ronin that has a sword that can cut anything. While he’s mainly there for the action sequences, his sword the Zantetsuken is important to the plot and I enjoyed him being in the movie, especially since Goemon in the drivers’ seat led to one of the funniest moments in the movie.

Lex Lang did a great job voicing his character and he did a good job in his performance, I’ve always enjoyed him as Goemon and he’s always an interesting character and I enjoy seeing him on screen and I enjoyed hearing him in this role.

Fujiko Mine

Michelle Ruff reprises her role as Fujiko Mine and her character is very toned down for this film compared to the main anime installments and Lupin The 3rd: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine but she’s still in-character and still the same as she always is, stealing Lupin’s treasure at the last second.

Michelle Ruff does a fantastic job in her role voicing Fujiko and she is fantastic in this movie, although she too is not in the film as often as the rest of the main crew she still has an important role to play, even though a lot of the screentime is given to Laetitia.


Paul Guyet is great as Gerard, one of the villains in the movie. He was a very interesting villain and Paul Guyet voiced him in a perfectly villainous fashion. He’s a great villain because he has interesting motivations, even if they are cliché for the Lupin The 3rdfranchise. He’s also pure evil and does not evoke the Sympathetic Villain trope that is used in a lot of modern media.

Paul Guyet did a great job voice acting in this role and he voiced a great villain that I enjoyed listening to.

Daisuke Jigen

Richard Epcar reprises his role as Daisuke Jigen and he also did a great job. His character is the voice of reason and he’s the most reliable member of Lupin’s gang.

Richard Epcar did a great job voicing his character and it was fun to see Jigen show off right at the start of the movie. His character’s always been a fun foil to Lupin. I was quite surprised when people were gushing about how hot the character was. That’s the sort of gushing I expect about Fujiko but 3D made Jigen unexpectedly hot, which I find very amusing.

The English dub is fantastic and the entire cast is on top of their game bringing all the charm they’ve had dubbing these characters for years with welcome newcomers and the English dub is just fun to listen to.

I will warn viewers that the animated lip flaps don’t match the English dialogue and it can be very distracting. It is a little weird but if you don’t want that issue just watch the Japanese dub with the English subtitles instead.


The Music Is Fantastic!

Yuji Ohno composed the music for Lupin The 3rd: The First and he has composed the music for every entry of Lupin The 3rd since Lupin The 3rd Part 2. The music he composes is phenomenal. He takes the familiar themes from the anime and remixes them to create songs that are familiar but they sound new for the old fans.

I loved the music for this movie. It is emotional and exciting when it needed to be, it is a carefree and adventurous score like the characters themselves. It just embodies Lupin III and his crew.

The soundtrack is wonderful and embodies what I love about this franchise and you’ll enjoy it along with the movie.

It Has Every “Lupin the 3rd” Plot Point and It’s Predictable

This is mainly for fans of Lupin The 3rdand not newcomers to the franchise. This movie has all of the predictable plot points you’ll recognize if you’ve watched a decent amount of this franchise. But because I don’t want to spoil them, I won’t give them away.

If you’ve watched a decent amount of this franchise you’ll see the plot coming from the very beginning if you didn’t see a trailer on YouTube.

And since the plot is predictable for fans you might be disappointed if you were hoping for a unique plot that couldn’t be easily predicted by fans.

“Lupin The 3rd: The First” Is A Fantastic Starting Point for Newcomers!

Lupin The 3rd: The First is a fantastic movie that is a great entry point for anyone wondering where they should start, you can start by watching Lupin The 3rd: The First as your first exposure to the franchise.

It’s a fun and engaging story with adventure and humor and great characters. The story is cliché when it comes to the Lupin The 3rd franchise but it’s well-executed and gives all the characters their moments in the spotlight.

It’s a great film that brings all the fun of Lupin The 3rdto a new audience and retains everything fans love about the franchise.

The gang's all here for their big team-up.

The gang's all here for their big team-up.

Reader Poll

Quick Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

Great story, characters, and world-building

It has every "Lupin The 3rd" plot point regularly used in the franchise and it can be predicted by long-time fans

Great English and Japanese dubs

Great soundtrack

It's a great entry point for newcomers to the "Lupin The 3rd" franchise

My Grade: A-

Lupin The 3rd: The First is a fun, adventurous caper that has everything that fans love about the franchise, and yet has all the clichés that longtime fans will recognize, which means that fans will either love or hate it but newcomers will be excited by Lupin III and his gang and want to see more of his adventures.

Lupin The 3rd: The First is a fun movie and I enjoyed renting it on Amazon, it was worth my time and the gift card I used to rent the movie. I could have borrowed it from my local library but I didn’t feel like waiting for the DVD to arrive. I got to keep it for a week and that was long enough for me.

I highly recommend buying Lupin The 3rd: The First, I had a lot of fun watching it, and it’s a great entry for newcomers that won’t have the stigma of it being an “old” anime, like Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro does, although, I highly recommend both movies since they are both top-notch.

Lupin The 3rd: The First is a movie that anyone can watch and understand these characters. It’s a great film that I loved and even though I am running out of physical space for my anime collection, I am quite happy that I rented the movie and I enjoyed it a lot.

I highly recommend the movie, whether you borrow it from your local library or rent it digitally, you should definitely watch Lupin The 3rd: The First, it’s a great way to get into the Lupin The 3rdfranchise and a wonderful 3D movie. It deserves to be in your anime movie collection, whether you buy it physically or digitally. It’s worth both your time and money to watch it. I am hoping they will make a sequel so we can see more of 1960s Lupin and have more adventures in this portrayal of the character.

My Rating

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