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After a three-year gap, Lupin is set to return with Lupin III Part III, but what kind of Lupin does Yuko Aoki intend to create? Actually, before we ask that, let’s find out from Aoki, who’s been involved with the series for a long time, what Lupin means to him.
Aoki: I think everyone who’s been involved with Lupin so far has had their own concept of who Lupin is. Since I haven’t been on the main staff until now, my job has mostly been to try to match my style with theirs, so it’s a difficult question. Personally, I’m not that attached to him.
It’s just work?
Aoki: Yes, I’m not that attached, so it’s not like I’m thinking about him all the time. That said, I do like him more than other characters. Lupin is a hero who doesn’t get in the way. Regular “heroes,” like in your typical robot show, like to think about how they’re the star. It’s like, “look at how great I am!” But Lupin, he doesn’t do much of that. When it comes down to it, Lupin’s more of a relaxed personality who doesn’t feel the need to be treated like a hero. Lupin, he’s just walking his own ridiculous path in life, doing what he wants.
Even though he’s a fictional character, Lupin is really forceful. He’s a flesh-and-blood human, and if it looks like he can do something, he does it, right? From that perspective, I think he’s quite a forceful kind of hero. Those kind of heroes, I feel like they have aspects that kind of match the times we live in. From Part II onward, that is. Part I was still too early. He was still a hero’s hero, like Ashita no Joe or something. I feel like that tendency came out around Part II. That “children’s hero” thing came out, I think.
You’re doing the storyboards for the first episode of Part III. What’s your method for the direction on this series?
Aoki: I’m aiming for something between the work of (Masaaki) Osumi and that of (Isao) Takahata and (Hayao) Miyazaki on Part I. So that we can use both, I’m now thinking about splitting the designs into distinct patterns. I’m considering breaking them into three: a “hard” Lupin, a “soft” Lupin and a “comical” Lupin. Then, depending on the script, the director can have the animators draw according to one of the three patterns. There are three personalities, so I have to divide myself up into three different animation directors. That’s what I’ve been thinking about. Like Neapolitan ice cream (laughs).
We’re planning to do a special feature on your Lupin designs, so thanks in advance.
Same here (laughs).