US distributor of anime GKIDS has announced today that they’ll be handling the North American release of Lupin III: The First (still a confusing title), the upcoming entry in the long-running master thief saga, and the first film in the series to feature computer-generated animation. The film will be released with both a new English audio track as well as the original Japanese, English-subtitled version.
We caught wind of The First last summer before its early-December premiere in Japanese theaters, though things have been quiet on word of an international release. Though no concrete date beyond this year was given, amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic it seems that pinning a date to anything seems like a gamble. The confirmation on GKIDS’ part that the film is indeed coming is meager, but about all we can hope for at the moment.
Directed by Dragon Quest: Your Story filmmaker Takashi Yamazaki, The First is the latest entry in the landmark and influential anime franchise starring the titular gentleman-thief and his band of oddballs and outlaws. The first film to make the leap to CG animation, The First released last December to Japanese theaters, and has been rolling out internationally.
Having distributed recent anime hits like Promare and holding the North American rights to the Studio Ghibli library, GKIDS is a prominent presence in anime and global animation in the States. No doubt that when it does release, Lupin will receive the proper promotion it deserves.