Lupin is acknowledged by virtually every law agency on earth as the world's number one thief. Often in his adventures, he and his colleagues, Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII, will take it upon themselves to foil other criminals engaged in more violent crimes. While first glance may imply Lupin as fun-loving, flighty, perhaps even "goofy", his surface facade overcoats a brilliant imagination and a thorough knowledge of a hundred varying sciences. Forever extemporizing and reevaluating, Lupin has been responsible for heists no right-minded individual would believe possible. While arrested and jailed on numerous occasions, typically by his nemesis Inspector Zenigata, he has always managed to escape. He has a fondness for fancy gadgets from time to time plus hands-on experience in many skills a thief would find useful. His infatuation with Fujiko Mine is perhaps his most significant weakness, as it lands him in undesirable situations most of the time.
In the manga and early episodes of Lupin the Third Part I, Lupin is shown to be remorseless and psychotic with a twisted sense of humor. He has murdered people, his relationship with people are on business terms and in a few occasions in the manga, even raped women to get what he wants. He rarely steals items or plans to steal them but doesn't follow them through and is more of an assassin or just wants to screw around with people. The only woman that he was kind to was Linda.
Since the later episodes of Part I onwards and for most of the franchise, his personality has changed. While Lupin is a thief, he will go to great lengths to right injustice. While he sees nothing wrong with his chosen profession, he reminds anyone who asks that the people from whom he steals are people who can take the loss and that there are worse people than he in this world. He also shows a chivalrous streak that compels him to help those less fortunate than he (especially attractive women). Furthermore, Lupin often takes it upon himself and his gang to stop criminals engaged in more violent crimes and leave them for Zenigata to arrest. He fancies himself a ladies' man, although his actual success with women is erratic. In Monkey Punch's original manga, Lupin is very much the ladies' man, though Fujiko is frequently beyond his grasp. His abilities with the opposite sex tend to fluctuate with the writer.
When not seeking fortune from his adventures, Lupin unwinds by a variety of pastimes. His most-witnessed hobbies are fishing, nightclubbing, gambling, playing pool, watching TV, being part of cafe society, and dating beautiful women. He's a connoisseur of international food and wine, drinks liquor, enjoys beer, tea, and coffee. In Lupin the Third Part 5, he is known to love eating galettes. He also smokes cigarettes and occasionally cigars and kreteks; in the manga, he's seen smoking a briar pipe occasionally. His preferred cigarette is the famous French brand Gitanes. Lupin is a celebrated race car driver, competing in several international events when time allows. He's also a skilled sleight of hand artist who loves to befuddle his opponents with various gimmicks: i.e., a cigarette which explodes into confetti, a gun with a spring-loaded boxing glove that clobbers the shooter, and bubble gum that becomes plastique after brief chewing.
Even though his gang's loyalty has been an issue, with Fujiko willing to betray and cohort Goemon promising to eventually kill him, Lupin will still drop everything to come to their aid in a helpless moment; further the team would rather face torture than to betray Lupin (or he betray them) to a third party. Curiously, this rule of loyalty extends also to Inspector Zenigata, who reciprocates by not trying to kill Lupin. Lupin's vendetta against the Tarantulas in Island of Assassins was partly due to their shooting and nearly killing Zenigata. There were times that Lupin saved Zenigata both of his life and his job at Interpol as he believes that it is not the same without him.
In all, Lupin can best be defined as an intelligent guy with a child's fun-loving demeanor, laughing and quipping in the face of opposition with a handy trick always available to maintain an upper hand.
It appears Lupin loves to steal more than actually having the treasure he sought. There have been times he has had what he has stolen lost or he intentionally threw it away. It appears Lupin relishes more of the challenge of stealing and thus is usually not that upset when he ends up empty-handed as long as he beat the security and stole the object of his desire away. There also have been times when Lupin only stole the object in question to give to someone else, such as if it rightfully belonged to them or they needed it more than he did.
While Lupin is often presented without any weaknesses and having the upper hand, there were times that others mentioned them. In The Coming of Goemon the Thirteenth, Goemon mentions that Lupin has a weakness for extreme curiosity and mischief. According to Inspector Zenigata in Lady Detective Melon, his weakness is beautiful women and is often shown as in many occassions they have distracted him. In Hot Shot: This is Fujiko while doing tests, Lupin's weakness is being tickled, a weakness that Fujiko also has.
Lupin has historically described himself as of mixed heritage, Japanese and French. His features, like most characters in manga/anime, are racially ambiguous and tend to oblique which ethnic side of the family he favors. His darkbrown-to-black hair is plastered flat with what is either a widow's peak or a V-shaped bang on the forehead. His trademark sideburns extend from ear to nearly the chin. Lupin is a snappy dresser with a blue shirt, cream-colored tie, khaki pants and a brightly colored jacket as his typical running-around gear. He is often seen wearing various colors (notably jackets), which tend to color-code his anime seasons: green (1st TV series and the color used in a few OVAs and films), red (the second series; also the color chosen for most films and television specials but wearing a yellow tie), pink (third series) or blue (Part IV and V). Curiously, Lupin is often depicted as being cross-eyed and occasionally monkey-like, although these may be comic flourishes rather than actual characteristics. The red jacket suit is worn with extremely pale pink pants & a matching tie.
Lupin only has an average level of physical strength, but he can throw a good punch when he needs to. His years of stealth and sabotage have made him an expert in acrobatics and sneaking. He also possesses an almost absurd mastery of the art of disguise. This skill is so complete that he can even fool close friends and family members of the impersonated party. His skinny body enables him to easily impersonate heavier subjects by wearing padding that's usually filled with a variety of gadgets. He can even throw his voice to imitate others. His favorite disguise has always been that of his archnemesis, Inspector Koichi Zenigata, which annoys Zenigata to no end. Another of Lupin's abilities is his encyclopedic knowledge of various topics, such as history, the different sciences, fluency in multiple languages, etc. He also shows amazing intuition and awareness of his surroundings. For unknown reasons, Lupin favors the Walther P38 as his principle firearm. He is shown to be an excellent marksman, but will not kill unless his life, or the lives of those close to him, are threatened.
Lupin is a terrific stunt driver, motorcyclist, and pilot. His favorite automobiles seem to be the Mercedes Benz typically painted yellow (he apparently has many since several SSK's have been destroyed during his encounters) and a souped-up 1957 Fiat 500, most famously seen in The Castle of Cagliostro.
Lupin is a formidable escape artist, capable of cracking any safe or freeing himself from shackles in moments. He can even use his restraints to entrap his would-be captor before making his escape. Seemingly prepared for all contingencies, he can make his escape even when surrounded.
Despite his facade of reckless child-like antics, most notably his taunting enemies with silly faces and leaving notes of his next caper, Lupin's brilliance for tactics and originality belies any underestimations his behavior may have implied. In the Lupin III vs Detective Conan special, not only did he figure out Conan Edogawa was far more intelligent than he appeared, but had discerned his identity as Shinichi Kudō.
Lupin's ethnic origins haven't been specified; in "Green vs. Red", a dossier held by Zenigata indicates his place of birth as "unknown", however, this particular work is not considered canon. He admits being French like his grandfather, but apparently lives in Japan. Inspector Zenigata often calls him Japanese and Lupin himself once called himself "half-Japanese, half-French" (2nd series, episode 118).
In Lupin the Third Part I, episode 13: "Beware the Time Machine!", Lupin tricks Mamo Kyosuke by dressing as a Japanese peasant and acting as though they are in feudal Japan. Lupin specifically states to Mamo that the ancestor whose face he most resembles was Japanese. When Mamo "meets" this ancestor (Lupin in disguise), Lupin states that he would like to marry some girl by the name of Mylène Lupin from France someday. This statement implies that Lupin was either aware of the family's history stemming from a Japanese ancestor marrying a French woman of the Lupin family and is using that information to further convince Mamo that he has gone back in time OR it could be Lupin making up something untrue to confuse Mamo.
Lupin described himself to an Imperial soldier as being mixed heritage Japanese. Goemon immediately countered by saying Lupin wasn't Japanese, but still worthy of respect.
Lupin speaks often of both his famous grandfather and his father, both of whom were thieves. He's forever quoting his grandfather's advice and has attempted to complete or repeat heists attempted by his ancestors with good or bad luck.
Lupin was voted the eighth most iconic anime hero by Mania.com. IGN ranked Lupin as the fifteenth best anime character of all time in 2009, placing him on the 16th spot in 2014.
After completing his involvement with the Lupin III franchise in 1980 Hayao Miyazaki wrote an article in Animage where he discussed his view of the series and the character. He stated that Lupin was "truly a character of his era" but that as the franchise progressed he had been overtaken by the real world. Despite this, Miyazaki still thought fondly of Lupin's early days. For the video game Persona 5, its creative team originally asked themselves how a character like Arsène Lupin III might win appeal in modern society.
- Yasuo Yamada (1971-1995)
- Kan'ichi Kurita (1995-present)
- Toshio Furukawa (The Plot of the Fuma Clan)
- Roberto Del Giudice (1979-2007)
- Stefano Onofri (2008-present)
- Loris Loddi (The Castle of Cagliostro first dub)
- Luigi Rosa (The Castle of Cagliostro second dub)
- Giorgio Melazzi (The Mystery of Mamo third dub)
- Tony Oliver (2003-present)
- Tom Clark (The Mystery of Mamo Frontier Enterprises dub)
- Bob Bergen (Streamline Pictures dub)
- Robin Robertson (The Fuma Conspiracy AnimEigo dub)
- William Dufris (Manga Entertainment Ltd. dub)
- David Hayter (The Castle of Cagliostro Animaze dub)
- Sonny Strait (FUNimation dub and The Woman Called Fujiko Mine)
- Keith Silverstein (Lupin the IIIrd films)
- Jose Carabias (Legend of the Gold of Babylon)
- Angel Sacristan (Lupin the Third Part III)
- Txema Moscoso (Telecinco dub and Goodbye Lady Liberty)
- Ricky Coello (The Castle of Cagliostro)
- Anselmo Herrero (Lupin the Third Part I Animax dub)
- Juan Navarro Torelló (Lupin the Third Part II Animax dub)
- Roger Pera (Lupin III vs Detective Conan: The Movie)
- Ricardo Tejedo (1999-present)
- Victor Mares Jr. (Lupin the Third Part I)
- Hernán Bravo (The Castle of Cagliostro Argentina dub)
- Albert Roig (The Castle of Cagliostro)
- Philippe Ogouz (1983-2005)
- Bruno Magne (2006-2007)
- Marcel Guido(The Mystery of Mamo first dub)
- Yann Le Madic (The Castle of Cagliostro second dub)
- Tony Joudrier (Goodbye Lady Liberty)
- Fabien Albanèse (The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and Lupin the IIIrd films)
- Peter Flechtner (2001-present)
- Tommi Piper (The Castle of Cagliostro first dub)
- Hans Pauwels (The Castle of Cagliostro dub)
- Ezio Ramos (The Legend of The Gold of Babylon)
- Peterson Adriano (Lupin the Third Part 1)
- Yuri Chesman (Lupin the Third vs Detective Conan, The Mystery of Mamo and The Castle of Cagliostro)
Apart from the manga and comic pictures, all images below are owned by TMS and NTV.
- He was never named "Arsène" in Japanese media with only one partial exception. The Girl in the Twin Towers from Lupin the Third Part V where the name appears as a profile in the episode, however, said profile was also written in English.
- Before the Arsène Lupin copyright expired, most English dubs renamed him "Wolf" or "Rupan" with the exception of the Frontier dub of The Mystery of Mamo who kept Lupin but renamed everyone else. If Lupin III was ever used, it had to be referenced as an alias on the packaging. In Germany, he was renamed to Hardyman. This did not affect Spain or Italy who kept his original name.
- In France, he's called Edgar de la Cambriole (Literally “Edgar of Burglary”) as Arsène was still under copyright in France due to the longer copyright law. For the same reasons as above, he was also known as Vidocq, "Wolf", "Lupan" or "Rupan". The Woman Called Fujiko Mine was the first series in France to use the Lupin III name as the copyright lapsed in 2012. While the Lupin III name is used in France, the Edgar de la Cambriole name is also used for re-releases of older series or as an alias.
- In the Blue Jacket series he married Rebecca Rossellini for a heist and as the two have yet to sign divorce papers as Lupin is still officially her husband.
- In Green Jacket series, he married Fujiko. Mamo made her vanish for about an hour & this somehow annuled their vowes. When Fujiko dragged him back to the church, he ran away.
- In Red Jacket series, Lupin married a man named Onabess in episode 42, an episode inspired by the 1959 movie "Some Like It Hot." Lupin told Onebuss he was a man, Onebuss said he didn't care. They had a real wedding, Lupin stole his paintings, & the two never officially divorced. Meaning Lupin is still officially his wife.
- Lupin's English voice actor, Tony Oliver, also voices Robert Dawson from Golgo 13: The Professional in the 1992 Streamline Pictures dub. Robert sounds similar to Lupin when he speaks in his calm voice.
- Lupin III: Jigen's Gravestone & Lupin III: Goodbye Partner both imply that Lupin's right eye is bionic.