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Lupin III: 10 Facts You Never Knew About Goemon Ishikawa

Though each member of the Lupin III gang stands out for different reasons, probably the strangest of them all is Goemon. A literal modern day samurai, while the rest of them change with the era (with the most recent Lupin series in 2018 seeing Lupin and Fujiko embrace the technology of the 21st century), Goemon remains the same character in every anime (even in live action). An unchanging, predictable character, clinging to the ways of the ninja.

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In reality, though, most viewers know very little about Goemon, as the character isn’t focused on nearly as much as the rest. As such, we’ve delved into the annals of Lupin history to bring readers ten facts a lot of people may not know about the incredible samurai thief.

10 TERRIBLE WITH TECHNOLOGY

As expected from a walking anachronism, Goemon is quite flummoxed by all forms of modern technology. He spends most of his time away from Lupin and the others simply meditating or training, so he has little opportunity to even learn how to use it.

In the recently released Lupin Part V, Lupin gives him a cell phone so they can remain in contact. Unsurprisingly, the first time he’s contacted on it, he doesn’t even know how to work it. He breaks the phone screen, and even has to ask children to help him learn how to use it.

9 DOESN'T REALLY UNDERSTAND WOMEN, EITHER

Like most characters who tend to place their focus on their training and battle over everything else, Goemon’s pretty awful with women. His usual calm demeanor can be easily cracked by beautiful women, and even worse, he’s willing to trust nearly any woman he meets who looks remotely trustworthy. This results in Goemon often being tricked.

One of the few women this hasn’t happened with is Fujiko, someone whose tricks he’s well aware of. That didn’t stop them from dating briefly, though, before he actually met Lupin.

8 THE DESCENDANT OF GOEMON

Just as Lupin is Lupin III as he’s the descendant of the original thief Arsene Lupin from the fictional short story series, Goemon is actually Goemon Ishikawa the XIII. He’s the descendant of the original Ishikawa Goemon from the 1550s, a renegade samurai outlaw who was known for his Robin Hood-like escapades, stealing from the rich to give to the poor.

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Surprisingly, though, while his name is inspired by the earlier Goemon, the character was also influenced by Kyuzo, from Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. Much like Kyuzo, Goemon is a master samurai who is particularly skilled with a blade.

7 ORIGIN OF HIS SWORD

In the anime, Goemon’s incredible blade is known as the Zantetsuken. The nature of Lupin is that nothing seems to have a concrete origin, and the story behind most things can change between the different “eras” of Lupin.

One of the main origins of Zantetsuken involves the sword being forged from the metal of a fallen meteor. Another origin still implies it was forged from three other mystical and powerful Japanese swords. However it was made, this mighty weapon makes Goemon one of the most formidable allies Lupin has, as we'll see!

6 WAS TRAINED AS A NINJA

This is probably the most surprising thing on the list. The samurai thing is Goemon's whole shtick. He walks around with a katana, wearing a classic kimono, constantly spouting phrases that would indicate he was a true samurai warrior. Yet, in the first season, there’s an episode called “Goemon’s Revenge,” where Goemon meets up with Jinen, his ninja master.

Goemon was raised as an Iga ninja, and the episode centers around him tracking down a disciple of his master, a thief who stole half of a map leading to the treasures of the Iga.

5 ISN'T ALWAYS WITH THE GROUP

Most people familiar with the Lupin series likely believe the group is always together. While it’s true that some of their adventures happen while they are working together, and there have even been episodes where they all enjoy some downtime as a group, this isn’t always the case.

Just as Fujiko is often away doing her own capers (and usually winds up betraying them or in conflict with the gang), Goemon isn’t always working with Lupin or Jigen. This is likely because Goemon’s incredible swordsmanship means he's powerful enough to  pull them out of nearly any problem at any time.

4 WAS ONCE ENGAGED

In the OVA “The Plot of the Fuma Clan,” we see Goemon already engaged to be married to Murasaki Suminawa. Unfortunately, before they’re even married, they wind up under attack by warriors from the Fuma Clan.

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Murasaki is kidnapped, and it’s left up to Goemon and the group to try and rescue her in return for the Suminawa Urn the clan is after. Though Goemon saves Murasaki, he decides he’s not ready to marry her, and leaves to train to correct his weaknesses. Considering she responds by telling him she won’t wait for him, it’s a safe guess that he probably lost out on romance here.

3 WAS BETRAYED BY HIS CLAN

Goemon has been pretty unfortunate with respect to friends and clan members. He was betrayed once by his childhood friend, Kikyo, in the TV special “Burn, Zantetsuken.” In that special, she betrays Goemon to attempt to get the treasure from a mission Lupin and the others brought her on.

Later, in the TV special “Secret of the Twilight Gemini,” he runs into Sadachiyo, a person he trained with as a child. Sadachiyo becomes an assassin who crosses paths with Goemon multiple times. Their actions eventually lead to Goemon killing both of them.

2 WAS ORIGINALLY AN ENEMY

The relationship between Lupin and Goemon hasn’t always been friendly. When the character was originally introduced, it was because he was supposed to kill the master thief. In the manga, Lupin was trying to steal the alchemic formula responsible for creating Goemon’s sword. This results in the two being enemies for several volumes before Goemon finally sees the value of working with Lupin rather than attempting to kill him.

Still, the two of them have faced off in serious combat as recently as the latest anime series, with Goemon claiming he eventually wants to prove which of them is superior in battle.

1 HIS SWORD CAN CUT ANYTHING

Yes, literally anything. The most important aspect of Goemon is his sword. We’ve seen him cut bullets in combat, but that’s just the bush league stuff. Goemon’s cut tanks and airplanes clean in half. He’s gone further than that, though, as once he managed to cut lightning itself with the blade!

Incredible feats are nothing unusual in anime, and perhaps Goemon's greatest was cutting the film of his own animated world, meaning he’s capable of cutting his own reality. The few times his sword gets chipped or broken, it tends to mean bad news for the group, which probably goes without saying, considering how impossibly powerful it is.

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