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Wait, Lupin!

— Inspector Zenigata to Lupin III

Inspector Kōichi Zenigata, is one of the main protagonists of the manga and anime, Lupin the 3rd. He is an incredibly talented, yet often bumbling police officer who has made it his life's goal to capture Lupin III.


Inspector Zenigata was conceived as Lupin's arch-rival to create a "human Tom and Jerry".

Monkey Punch has said that he believes that despite the fact that he ended the manga with Zenigata winning, the Lupin III story can never end but that if he had to, both Zenigata and Lupin would have to end as equals. They would either both fail, both win or both get very old.


Zenigata is often portrayed as a middle-aged man of average height. He has dark hair, typical of the average Japanese man although, in Plot of the Fuma Clan, he had shaved his head when he joined a monastery. Depending on the occasion, the Inspector will either have his hair cropped into a flat-top or neatly styled into a comb-over, but most of the time he has a full head of thick dark hair. Zenigata is always seen wearing his signature khaki colored trench coat over a dark brown suit and a stereotypical Inspector's fedora. As with the rest of the characters, the color scheme of his attire slightly changes from series to series.

In Part 4, he was made to look younger & more handsome, likely taking influence from the original manga, where Zenigata is not much older than Lupin, as he was a junior in college when Lupin was a freshman.

Zenigata is only slightly taller than Lupin, making if easy for them to disguise themselves as each other, despite Zenigata having a more muscular build. A running gag in Part 3 was that he was always completely dwarfed in height when surrounded by a crowd of Americans or Europeans.

In the first manga, Zenigata, who was concieved as Lupin's former classmate and therefore is suggested to be around his age, just looks like an older buffer Lupin in a hat, which carries over into the anime at times, depending on the art director.


Throughout the franchise, he has been portrayed as both a serious and competent police inspector and a bumbling, overzealous Lupin chaser. Although every incarnation of him has both of these qualities, the level of seriousness and incompetence varies. In the manga, he is serious in terms of his duty and tries to present himself in some chapters as cool. In Part 1, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and spinoff movies, he is portrayed as more stern, whereas in the Red and Pink series as well as a majority of the TV specials and movies, he is much goofier. In Lupin the 3rd Part 4, Zenigata is more balanced between the two personalities while in Part 5, he was more serious and not as interested chasing after Lupin but still gets hotheaded at times.

Zenigata is widely respected among his fellow officers at Interpol as an expert criminal catcher. He was able to discover security flaws and took down countless gangs and criminals long before he met Lupin. This does not apply to his bosses where Zenigata often argues with them due to his obsession over Lupin and wants to do it his way while the boss wants to do it another way or the boss is corrupt and Zenigata wants to do his job.

Zenigata tends to be impulsive. This is probably due to his strong sense of justice and honor which others often consider old fashioned. Unlike most other officers in the police force and Interpol, he is resistant to bribery and is often offended when someone attempts to bribe him. The exception is in The Woman Called Fujiko Mine where Zenigata was corrupt.

Zenigata doesn't tend to drink or smoke as much as Jigen or Lupin but often goes on binges when in a state of depression. In Tokyo Crisis, he drinks heavily after being suspended from the force and has to be carried home by Mariya. Sometimes he is known to eat large portions of food to improve his mood. He is often seen eating either a cup or a bowl of ramen, he only stops eating when Lupin is about. Unlike Goemon who is only interested in Japanese food, Zenigata also eats burgers. In Episode 0: First Contact, after struggling to request for a hamburger in a diner, he managed to ate 10 burgers and in Part III Episode 2, he ate burgers at a restaurant in Paris with everyone looking at him to build up his physical and mental strength, he also requested for a steak.

Because he does not spend much time in one place, Zenigata never bothers to clean up after himself and is extremely messy. His apartment, hotel rooms, and desk at Interpol are usually cluttered with cigarettes, papers, and empty bottles.

Zenigata is not dependent on his police badge. In The Mystery of Mamo, after having been ordered to stop chasing after Lupin, he resigns and declares that he will chase Lupin as a citizen. While in Tokyo Crisis, he continues to investigate even after having been suspended.

In The Castle of Cagliostro, he is depicted as still being temperamental, but tries his best to stay professional, even when having to face rudeness from the Count. His interaction with Clarisse at the end of the film brings out his kinder, gentler side.

Early anime temperament: High energy, short tempered, gung-ho, & loopy. Manga temperament: Snide, malicious, contemptuous, & competitive. Koike temperament: Laid back, serious, calculating, composed.


Originally, Zenigata was with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police but joined Interpol after meeting Lupin. In Part 1 Episode 15, he was invited by the Commissioner to attend the conference in France on that he did after "catching" Lupin. His relationship with the Commissioner started pleasant however by the time of Part 1 Episode 23, he threatened to resign from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police since they clashed regarding on how to catch Lupin and his failure to do so. According to Part 2 Episode 1, after unable to catch Lupin as he left Japan, he was demoted to a police officer in Takahata Village until Mister X lured him back to attend the Sirloin to chase after Lupin.

In The Woman Called Fujiko Mine however his backstory is different. While in France, he turned to corruption after being assigned "a low paying, thankless job" because it "was the only way for a guy like me to make it to the top." However, he eventually reported himself to his superiors after witnessing Oscar risking his life to protect his one franc by jumping into a river. After pulling Oscar out of the water, he adopts the boy who grows up to be his second in command and lieutenant.

In some backstory moments such as Part 1 Episode 1, Episode 0: First Contact and The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Zenigata originally wanted to catch Fujiko however once Lupin got his attention it became his main goal.

His obsession has unfortunately put a strain on his marriage and his relationship with his daughter Toshiko (however this has only ever been mentioned once, in The Mystery of Mamo). In episode 100 of the Red Jacket Series, Zenigata is asked if he has any sons or daughters, he states no. He is asked if he has any family and replies, "no". However, this can be attributed to the fact that he is divorced.

In Red & Pink Jacket series, Zenigata occassionally complains that his tireless pursuit of Lupin has left him childless & with no wife, & that he wants both, though other writers have chasing Lupin as his greatest pleasure in life, with him becomeing depressed at the idea of Lupin dying or not escaping prison.


Inspector Koichi Zenigata

Although perpetually unable to permanently detain Lupin, Zenigata has proven over and over again that he is extremely capable. He is shown to be able to take down every member of Lupin's gang with ease.

Zenigata's signature weapon is a pair of handcuffs that are often attached to a rope for long-ranged attacks. He can throw cuffs with almost unhuman accuracy and has never once missed, although Lupin can escape within seconds.

He is also skilled at hand to hand combat. In Dead or Alive, a group of soldiers confronts him while he is eating. He doesn't even get up from the table but still manages to incapacitate all the soldiers (then proceeds to leave money on the counter, stating that the soldiers will probably need some coffee when they come to). In Another Page, he quickly takes down two hitmen. In Angel's Tactics, he manages to fend off a hoard of Bloody Angels minions with Lupin, surprising even Lupin. He also defeats several at once using his handcuffs throwing technique combined with hand to hand combat. He's only beaten easily when he dithers or gets too reckless.

Although not shown often, Zenigata is also skilled at inventing gadgets. In Part 2 Episode 26, he creates a pair of thumb cuffs (known as Zenigetchas in the English dub) that manage to completely stump Lupin. In fact, Lupin himself is unable to escape them until Goemon slices them with the Zantetsuken. In episode 114 of the Red Jacket Series, he invents a train link that can not be uncoupled. In Farewell to Nostradamus, he creates the "Lupin Catcher", a metal detector-like device that beeps when Lupin is near and a chain of handcuffs to hold all four members of Lupin's gang at once.

Zenigata is adept at riding a motorcycle (Bad Guys Are Truly Big Villains, The Legend of the Gold of Babylon, Elusiveness of the Fog and Greatest Capers) and flew a harrier jet in Angel's Tactics.

Zenigata's ability to capture Lupin increases steadily as the series progresses. By the end of the Red Jacket Series, he has already come up with several, extremely inventive plots to prevent Lupin from getting his target. Whereas at the start of the Lupin the 3rd Part 1, Lupin often escapes him by very simple means. In the special Operation: Return the Treasure alone, he can catch Lupin 3 times. In Seven Days Rhapsody, he discovers that one of the riders in a horse race is Lupin in disguise and calls the bomb squad before removing Lupin's exploding mask. In Sweet Lost Night, he is able to predict all of Lupin's escape methods.

Zenigata has shown his skill on more than one occasion, leading the viewer to wonder about his true capability. In Computer or Lupin? from Part 2, he seeks Lupin's help in returning an item he stole and his passion allows him to easily defeat the gang who are impressed by his skill yet after helping Lupin, he goes back to his ways. In Find the Treasure of Lupin I, Zenigata realizes the gang's lives are in danger, so he creates and deploys a simple plan to capture them for their safety. Within minutes he has captured all three and has them handcuffed to a tree. Lupin comments on more than one occasion that it's a shame Zenigata is a cop.

Zenigata's obsession when he gets upset or close to Lupin seems to give him superhuman abilities. In The Hemingway Papers he is trapped in an underground cell but manages to break the door down when he gets angry enough.

Zenigata has incredible stamina and high pain tolerance like in lupin vs detective conan movie he was able to move after twice being electructed by lupin's shocky-shock sticker which was stronger that a stun gun. In the crossover, when he was hit by a tranquilizer that would floor an elephant for an hour, he only remained unconscious for about thirty seconds.

In Part 3, he once got so angry that he bent prison bars apart with his bare hands, & invented a scanner machine that could see through disguises. He also outwitted Goemon 3 times in one day & stole his water walking shoes. The Lupin gang seem significantly more intimidated by & afraid of him in this series than in Part 2, though he still has his fair share of episodes where he is quickly dispatched to focus on the villain of the day.

He is an excellent swimmer. In The Castle of Cagliostro he is able to keep up with Lupin in swimming for an extended amount of time without scuba gear.

He seems to be fluent in several languages, such as French, Spanish, Swedish and Arabic. His ability to speak English varies from episode to episode, although it could be that the officers he interacts with are actually fluent in Japanese.


Lupin III

Whenever Lupin III is, Zenigata will be there.

— Inspector Zenigata[2]

Zenigata has developed a relationship with Lupin that is both complicated and straightforward. Even though his goal is to arrest Lupin, he also cares about him and both have an unusual friendship to each other despite both being rivals. Originally in the manga, Zenigata just wants to deal with Lupin and has in one occasion wanted him dead- and eventually, at the end of the second manga series, fulfils this wish and has him killed by detonating an island the thief is on. His obsession with Lupin that would show up in the anime manifested in the manga, but in a slightly different form; in Chapter 85 of World's Most Wanted he muses, "I can't live in a world without Lupin... Who would I have to hate?"

However in the anime, Zenigata does not want to kill Lupin and only to arrest him. In Part 1 Episode 1, Zenigata is a little less caring but still filled with respect. For Part 1, he was just focused on the job to the point of conflict with the Commissioner and even though Lupin helped him stop art dealers with their beauty contest scam and saved Rie Makita, Zenigata was not interested. From Part II, they talk to each other and had moments where they are forced to work together including when they were trying to escape from the Foreign Legion. Since then when they meet each other, they have some banter between them and, once in a while, he would come to Lupin for help, such as in Part 2 Episode 69.

He and Lupin get along very well when they're both off-duty. There were times that Lupin saved Zenigata's life and his job at Interpol as he believes that it is not the same without him.

Once when Zenigata tried to warn Lupin that someone was out to kill him, Lupin replied by saying that it was too bad he was a police officer. He often seems amazed that Zenigata can keep up with him. At times he's overwhelmed by how much thought Zenigata has put into his traps for Lupin. In Part 2 Episode 98, when Lupin thought Zenigata was dead, he sought to take down his supposed murderer Truffaut.

Ever since the Red Jacket Series despite featuring the nickname in a few Green Jacket episodes, Lupin has called Zenigata "Pops" ("Tottsan" or "Zazà" in other languages). Zenigata has never complained about the nickname, only once in Red Jacket series in one episode he told Lupin to not call him like this because he is not his relative. Based on the big puppy eyes he gives Lupin at times when he seems glad to see him, he may even like the nickname.

Like most of the inspectors in animes, Zenigata has become addicted to arresting Lupin, but Zenigata is different. While others couldn't arrest their target, Zenigata was able to do it few times, but gets depressed when Lupin is in jail and hopes he can break out so he can chase him again.

His reactions to Lupin supposedly dying vary wildly. In The Fuma Conspiracy, Zenigata is so upset about the manner in which Lupin supposedly died that he becomes a Buddhist monk. In The Mystery of Mamo he gleefully prepares to run a stake through what he thinks is the thief's corpse, but what turns out to be an exploding dummy, to his chagrin. Often he gets sad and depressed when Lupin few times supposedly dies, but when Lupin turns to be alive Zenigata brightens and starts chasing him again. Now, chasing Lupin has become his only goal in his whole life, without that he doesn't have any job to do.

His obsession with Lupin borders on suspect and comes across as having elements of unrequited attraction. In Part 4 Episode 1, when he crashes the wedding, Rebecca assumes he's Lupin's jealous ex-boyfriend. In Part 5 Episode 23, he expresses his desire to "arrest Lupin's heart", suggesting that he possibly does harbor feelings for him.

In Dead or Alive, when he thinks he's captured Lupin (Lupin actually disguised a captured bartender as himself), he brags about how he's going to write a memoir, but rejected two titles: War (because he doesn't want to upset his female readers) and Love and War (because he doesn't want people to get the wrong idea about the two of them).


While he has some interest in capturing Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko with the latter wanted as much as Lupin in the past, he is really after only Lupin. Jigen seems to have a genuine fear of being caught by Zenigata. On a few occasions, he even worked with Fujiko.

In the past Zenigata had partners who worked with him to catch Lupin and in the manga, Starmow however they were either incompetent or betrayed him. This also applies to his bosses at Interpol including Alan Bonaparte and the Commissioner who was promoted to Secretary-General. Since Lupin the Third Part 5, he has an apprentice called Goro Yatagarasu.

Unlike most of the characters, Zenigata is not shown to pursue other women. Like with Jigen, the women Zenigata loved either died on him or betrayed him. In Part 2 Episode 69, he was attracted to Laura Jaws, but though he did his best to protect her, she died on him. He was attracted to the new police officer Jasmine in Part 2 Episode 85 , but she lost interest in him when he failed to keep Lupin caught. In Part 2 Episode 114, Nova fell in love with him and called him darling , but she was using him and after he failed to stop Lupin getting The First Supper, she dumped him.

The only relationship that survived was with Mariya Isshiki in Tokyo Crisis. Alibaba Naibaba also wants a relationship with Zenigata as he has an attraction with his butt however Zenigata ran away from him.

In the manga, he had a college girlfriend named Fujiko. As an inspector, he had a cop subordinate & assistant named Fujiko. They could be the same person, but the manga functions like a world where all women are clones of the same person.

Character Origins

Zenigata is based on a famous Japanese crime-fighting character named Heiji Zenigata. The character is a few hundred years old and was best known for throwing coins as a weapon. Zenigata's handcuff throwing technique is his own take on the character's choice of weapon.

His true counterpart, however, is Maurice Leblanc's Inspector Ganimard, who was Arsene Lupin's rival.


Zenigata was voted the eighth-best supporting character in anime by also put Zenigata as the 9th greatest anime detective.

Mike Crandoll of Anime News Network compared Zenigata's pursuit of Lupin to Wile E. Coyote.

Voice actors


  • Gorō Naya (1971-2010)
  • Shinsuke Chikaishi(Pilot Film Cinemascope)
  • Chikao Ōtsuka (Pilot Film TV)
  • Seizō Katō (The Plot of the Fuma Clan)
  • Koichi Yamadara (2010-current)


  • Enzo Consoli (1979-2007, Treasure of the Sorcerer King)
  • Marcello Prando (Lupin the 3rd Part 2)
  • Paolo Poiret (The Castle of Cagliostro first dub)
  • Maurizio Scattorin (The Castle of Cagliostro second dub)
  • Sandro Iovino (The Mystery of the Hemingway Papers)
  • Rodolfo Bianchi (1991-Present)


  • David Povell (Streamline dub)
  • Seán Barrett (Manga UK dub)
  • Marc Matney (AnimEigo dub)
  • Kevin Seymour (Animaze dub)
  • Dan Lorge (Geneon dub, Treasure of the Sorcerer King)
  • Phillip Wilburn (Funimation dub)
  • Richard Epcar (The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Daisuke Jigen's Gravestone, The Blood Spray of Goemon Ishikawa)
  • Doug Erholtz (2017-Present)



  • Luis Mas (Lupin the Third Part III, season 1, Telecinco dub[3])
  • Mario Hernández (Lupin the Third Part III, season 2, Telecinco dub[4])
  • Víctor Prieto (Lupin the Third Part 2 2008 Animax dub)[5])
  • Juan José Moscoso (The Plot of the Fuma Clan,[6] )
  • Rafael Calvo (The Castle of Cagliostro[7]))
  • Juan Carlos Lóriz (Bye-Bye Liberty - Close Call![8])
  • César Lechiguero (Lupin III vs. Detective Conan: The Movie[9])

Latin American Spanish:

  • Octavio Rojas (Lupin III: The First)
  • Luis Daniel Ramirez (Most of FilmZone Specials 1999-2003)
  • Guillermo Diaz (Lupin III Part 1)
  • Esteban Desco (Lupin III vs Detective Conan: The Movie)
  • Ezequiel Romero (Castle of Cagliostro, Zima Entertainment Argentinian ReDub)
  • Eduardo Tejedo (Hemingway Papers, FilmZone TV special)


  • Patrick Meese (Lupin the 3rd Part 1)
  • Jacques Ferrière (Lupin the 3rd Part 2)
  • Laurent Pasquier (The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and Lupin the IIIrd films)

Brazilian Portuguese

  • Antônio Moreno (The Legend of The Gold of Babylon)
  • Francisco José (Lupin the Third Part 1)
  • Luiz Antônio Lobue (Lupin III - The First, Lupin the Third vs Detective Conan, The Mystery of Mamo and The Castle of Cagliostro)


  • Stefan Staudinger (2001-Present)
  • Donald Arthur (Castle of Cagliostro first dub)
  • Oliver Siebeck (2014 live action movie)

Live Action Actors


  • According to The Castle of Cagliostro Dictionary Book, Zenigata's birthday is on April 5 [1] however in Bye-Bye Liberty - Close Call! his birthday was given as December 25, 1938 and came from the Saitama prefecture on his badge.
  • Zenigata's former voice actor, Gorō Naya, also voices Leonard Dawson from Golgo 13: The Professional. Dawson sounds similar to Zenigata when he is in his angry state.
  • In the original manga, he was referred to as Heitaro Zenigata in two chapters.
  • His first name of "Koichi" was a typo that was written in Lupin III Famous Scenes. The name made its way into episodes of the series and it stuck throughout the franchise.
  • His first name is rarely given. In most animation, on merchandise or character profiles, he is Inspector Zenigata outside of the Pilot Film, Part 1 and The Mystery of Mamo where it is Heiji Zenigata VII. There were times that it was mentioned; the first mention was in the manga chapter Zenigata Gets Lucky / Detective Fuuten both in the Japanese original and the English Tokyopop translation. In Part 2, a book made for the series called Lupin III Famous Scenes lists his full name as Inspector Koichi Zenigata. In Part 2 Episode 104 he gives the butler a business card with Zenigata Koichi written on it,[2] and in Part 2 Episode 123, he signs an autograph in Japanese as Zenigata Koichi. In The Blood Spray of Goemon Ishikawa his Tokyo Metropolitan Police badge lists his full name and in the live action Inspector Zenigata series, he is called Koichi.
  • In the episode Part III Episode 3, it is revealed that his monthly salary is 338,363 yen (roughly $1427).
  • The original Japanese audio of Part 2 Episode 24 shows he doesn't like James Bond. He says it's because spies are enemies are the police, but it's possible that it's also because like Lupin, Bond takes whatever he wants without a second thought, and is a womanizer.
  • A running gag in the English dub of the Red Jacket series would be that every time he fell on his face, he would react with an understated "Ow."
  • He is the only living main character at the end of Kazuhiko Kato's run of the manga, having killed Lupin and his gang by trapping them on a floating island with explosives beneath it.
  • The end of Part 2 Episode 139 implies he died in Mr. Steel's body, and shows up alive in the next episode, back in his own body, with no explanation. Given that there's no consensus of public opinion about what actually happened to him at the end of the episode, it may be that he almost died and managed to get himself back into his own body in time without the help of the machine.|
  • The English dub of Part 2 plays up the "tsundere" aspect of his personality; in the dub of Part 2 Episode 32 he outright tells Lupin, whom he thought had died, that he loves him, then tells him he hates him a few seconds later and immediately apologizes for telling him he hates him.
  • His Stefan voice in Part 2 Episode 85 is provided by Rokurō Naya, Gorō Naya's younger brother.


Character Designs



See Also