Lupin III (ルパン三世, Rupan Sansei?), also written as Lupin the Third or Lupin the 3rd, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kazuhiko Kato under his pen name, Monkey Punch. It follows the escapades of master thief Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief of Maurice Leblanc's series of novels.
The first Lupin III manga, which first appeared in Weekly Manga Action on August 10, 1967, spawned a media franchise that includes numerous manga, four anime television series, five animated feature films, a live-action film, three OVAs, yearly television specials since 1989, music CDs, video games, and a musical. Many different companies have owned the English-language distribution rights to various Lupin III properties at various times, with just the first two movies having been released by over 10 companies alone. Tokyopop acquired the license to the original manga in 2002, and later the second series in 2004. In 2002, Funimation Entertainment purchased the rights to several of the television specials and films. Geneon licensed and dubbed 79 episodes of the second television series, 26 of which were broadcast on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim during 2003. In 2012, Discotek Media released the entire first television series on DVD, they also own the rights to several of the previously released titles, and announced more to come in 2013.
Over forty years after its creation, Lupin III remains popular, with several different manga series currently being published, yearly television specials and a fourth anime series airing in 2012. For several years, issues relating to the copyright of Maurice Leblanc's intellectual property meant that the Lupin name was removed from its releases outside of Japan, usually changed to "Rupan". However, the copyright has now expired, allowing foreign releases to use the Lupin name.