Lupin III, also known as Lupin the 3rd, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kazuhiko Kato under the pen name of Monkey Punch. The story follows the adventures of a gang of thieves led by Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief of Maurice Leblanc's series of novels. Lupin and his gang travel throughout the world to steal treasures and escape from the law.
The first Lupin III manga, which first appeared in Weekly Manga Action beginning on August 10, 1967, spawned a media franchise that includes numerous manga, various animated television series, feature films, direct-to-video releases, yearly television specials, music CDs, video games, and a musical. Several different companies own the English-language distribution rights to various Lupin III properties. Geneon licensed the second television series, which was broadcast in 26 episodes on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim during 2003, and Tokyopop acquired the license to publish the original manga. WhiteLight Entertainment, purchased the live-action theatrical rights to Lupin III in 2003.
The series remains popular and the anime adaptions have attracted the attention of directors such as Shinichirō Watanabe and Steven Spielberg. Although the series is popular with critics, some elements of the English adaptions have been criticized for language and use of contemporary references that were not present in the original. For several years, issues relating to the copyright of Maurice Leblanc's intellectual property meant that the Lupin name was removed from releases outside of Japan. However the copyright has now expired, allowing foreign releases to use the Lupin name.
Source: Wikipedia, "Lupin III", available under the CC-BY-SA License.