The Lupin the 3rd franchise created by Monkey Punch began in 1967 and has spanned a variety of manga, TV series, games, a theme park ride, and musical adaptations. It featured acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki in his first feature film debut with The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979. The Lupin the 3rd: The First is a highly anticipated film that marks the VERY first installment in CGI for the lauded animated franchise. In recent news, the upcoming English language dub film will feature the voices of
Lupin III – Tony Oliver
Daisuke Jigen – Richard Epcar
Goemon Ishikawa – Lex Lang
Fujiko Mine – Michelle Ruff
Koichi Zenigata – Doug Erholtz
Laetitia – Laurie C. Hymes
Lambert – J. David Brimmer
Gerard – Paul Guyet
From 2D to CGI 3D
“I’ve been looking forward to seeing Lupin III in 3DCG for a long time now. I saw the characters and story, and it looks like this new Lupin is going to have a whole new feeling to him. It’s exciting just imagining how the movie is going to turn out.”
-MONKEY PUNCH (OCT. ‘18)
An excerpt from Gkids’ Interview with LUPIN III: THE FIRST director Takashi Yamazaki:
As soon as the project began in September 2015, the 3DCG Lupin character designs were also developed. Lupin has different characteristics between the TV series and the specials, and likewise, various options were considered for this movie.
First, several character designers and concept artists were hired to develop about 30 different designs of Lupin in 2D. The Staff cast voted on the three most popular designs. Those were further improved until the final design was completed. Once Lupin was finalized, developing Daisuke Jigen, Goemon Ishikawa, and Inspector Zenigata was relatively easy by applying the same style.
However, Fujiko Mine proved to be difficult. She was portrayed as a provocative lady in the TV specials with eyes slanting upwards, whereas she was cute and playful with eyes slanting down in the series. Her characteristics changed according to the staff. After many discussions about which direction to go and whether she should be slim or voluptuous, the production team decided on the current design.
Building 3D models based on 2D concepts turned out to be challenging since small details make or break Lupin’s likeness. Two dedicated 3D modelers were building digital maquettes in ZBrush for the main characters. What resulted were completely different models, and it was hard to believe that they came from the same concept art. In the end, the one chosen was the model that was most expressive in CG animation. Attention to small details such as the sideburns and jawline were considered to finalize the 3D models.
The new characters Laetitia, Lambert, and Gerard were developed based on Director Yamazaki’s rough sketches. Lambert’s 3D model was almost entirely developed from Director Yamazaki’s sketch. Gerard’s design was less straightforward. Ultimately, the character drawn in the animatics turned out to be well-received, so the model was developed from that design.
What is great about 3DCG is its rich texture. The slick texture of Lupin’s leather jacket was made possible because of the medium. There were more than 10 different outfits designed for Fujiko and Director Yamazaki mentioned that it was like an upscale costume fitting. However, because of the budget, only a couple of outfits were developed. Fans can enjoy the carefully selected outfits in the film.
Special thanks to GKids for interviewing the film Director Takashi Yamazaki, and providing us with the said interview. For those interested in reading the entire interview please do so here (Lupin III: The First Press Kit PDF).
Follow the iconic “gentleman thief” as Lupin III returns in an action-packed, continent-spanning adventure, as Lupin III and his colorful underworld companions race to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Bresson Diary before it falls into the hands of a dark cabal that will stop at nothing to resurrect the Third Reich. The gang undertakes trap-filled tombs, aerial escapades, and daring prison escapes with the trademark wit and visual finesse that has made LUPIN THE 3RD one of the most storied animation franchises in the world, in a thrilling new caper that is sure to delight fans old and new. Watch the trailer below!
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