For the past five decades, Lupin’s loyal, cool-as-cool sidekick Daisuke Jigen has been voiced by Kiyoshi Kobayashi. The 88-year-old voice actor announced that he is finally stepping down.
Kobayashi first voiced Daisuke in the 1969 animated pilot. He is the only voice actor to continue in the series when the show was later picked up in 1971. Ever since, Kobayashi has carried on in the role.
In Japan, Kobayashi also voiced Crystal Bowie in Space Adventure Cobra, Watari in Death Note, Jubei from the Samurai Shodown games, and Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He’s even dubbed Clint Eastwood, James Coburn, and Lee Marvin, because his voice sounds that badass.
Another titan of tough-guy Japanese voice acting, Akio Otsuka, will take over the role. Otsuka is best known for voicing the various Snake incarnations in the Metal Gear Solid games, as well as Black Jack in the self-titled series, Batou in Ghost in the Shell, and Shunsui Kyouraku in Bleach, among many other roles.
“For me, Lupin was the job of a lifetime,” Kobayashi said. “I devoted my life to it.” He added that it was a shame he couldn’t continue the role until he was 90. “In one way or another, it was impossible to cling on.” According to the veteran voice actor, he’s been told that Jigen sounds older and is hard to understand. “Naturally,” he said. “I’m 88 years old.” Still, bringing the character to life well into your eighties is one impressive run.
“I would like to humbly offer my gratitude to everyone who has supported me,” he continued. “Thank you. And Lupin, I’m going to quietly make my getaway.”
Kobayashi’s last role as Daisuke Jigen is not the 2019 CG film Lupin III: The First, but rather, will be the debut episode of the upcoming series Lupin III Part 6. The show will air this October and marks the anime’s fiftieth anniversary. Otsuka will take over the role for the rest of the series.