Lupin Zero is a fun, light-hearted prequel that’s heavy on nostalgia while still bringing a fresh take on the Lupin franchise.
We review the HiDive anime series Lupin Zero season 1 does not contain spoilers.
When it comes to beloved franchises, most fans will tell you they will take any new content they can get. For the Lupin the Third fandom, a prequel of this type seems almost long overdue, especially when viewers have gotten the chance to see the backstories of characters like Lupin’s family or Fujiko at various points throughout the franchise’s decades-long history. With as many spin-offs, movies, and more that Lupin has received, we’ve got the chance to see him in a number of different lights. However, Lupin Zero gives off the same fun, quirky tone of the original series while still managing to raise the stakes every week. It’s a shame it will only run for six total episodes.
Lupin Zero Season 1 review and plot summary
Many know the story of Lupin III (voiced by Tasuku Hatanaka), a world-renowned thief known for being able to steal anything, but few know exactly how he became so infamous. Lupin Zero follows the titular character through his teenage years as he comes into his own in the family business. Lupin’s father, Lupin II, would prefer he not become a thief at all, going so far as to remove him from his grandfather’s custody to keep him out of the life. However, it’s clear Lupin is still drawn to getting into trouble, especially after meeting friends like Jigen (voiced by Shunsuke Takeuchi) and Yuko, who continually get roped up in questionable antics of their own.
This series feels a lot like the original Lupin anime, which is where it really shines. It doesn’t feel so similar that it’s unoriginal. Instead, this series takes much of what viewers already love about Lupin and channels it into this prequel. It also helps that the animation still has the same old feel as the previous movies and shows. It ties this series into the universe instead of trying to over-update the looks of characters we’re already familiar with.
Lupin and Jigen have always been a dynamic duo, and that hasn’t changed much, if at all. It’s just as fun to watch them work together as it is to watch them get on one another’s nerves. Of course, as teenagers, they’re still developing, and that’s especially evident in their more childish arguments and decisions. It’s in those less mature moments, where Lupin makes an incredibly reckless decision, that you remember this is a prequel, which isn’t a bad thing. Lupin is supposed to feel a little bit like a different character here, so we recognize his development later. He’s still crazy intelligent while remaining a fun-loving gentleman at the end of the day.
At times the series can feel unrealistic or goofy, especially in keeping up with running gags like Lupin’s never-ending pockets that seem to be able to house anything. However, like with the older series, those moments never really feel out of place. The over-the-top heists are just realistic enough while still remaining fantastical enough to be compelling. This anime strikes a pretty good balance between comedy, drama, and action, but if anything, it could stand to lean more on some of those more serious plots and character backstories. At times, while Lupin Zero has a lot of heart, it feels like the series misses the chance to capitalize on more emotional moments.
Is Lupin Zero good?
Lupin Zero is a good series. Whether you’re a seasoned Lupin fan or this is your first introduction to the character, the series isn’t hard to enjoy. The original story makes the anime easy to follow, picking up a lot of what you need to know about the characters along the way. As a fan of the original anime, I feel a tad biased toward the series. I have always enjoyed watching Lupin and his crew’s hilarious antics. However, what’s nice about this series, is that it feels like the kind of prequel you can enjoy whether or not you’re familiar with the source material.
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