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Introduction

Night Hood is a French-Canadian cartoon series which was aired in 1996. I used to watch this back then in a channel called Kids Central which happens to be a Singaporean channel. I have no idea that it’s a Singaporean channel before. But now, it no longer exists in the Philippine air waves as Cartoon Network and later, Nickelodeon came in. But I remember that this was also aired in Studio 23, one of ABS-CBN’s subsidiary channels.

The story is set pre-WWII unlike the original novels which was set in the 19th century. It tells about the adventures of Arsene Lupin, who deals with the corrupt industrialist, Howard Karst, while being chased by the French police. Lupin usually travels around the world from time to time just to stop Karst’s evil deeds. He’s usually helped by his accomplice, Grognard, and his friends, Kelly Kincaid and Max Leblanc.

Characters

Main characters

Arsene Lupin- the main protagonist of the series. He’s a gentleman thief and the master of disguise. He wears a monocle, a cape and a scarf. He also wields an awesome sword cane. Fans speculated that he might be Lupin II, the son of the original Lupin and the father of Lupin III (yes, that goofy and pervy Lupin III) because the story ‘settings. Unlike his grandson, Lupin III, he’s not a goof or a pervert and can never be fooled by a woman. He leaves his signature card and sometimes roses after he had done his deed. He has  quite a number of allies who are sometimes important figures themselves. But the most common are Grognard, Kelly Kincaid and Max Leblanc. Like the original (and even his goofy successor), he’s always chased by two policemen, who he ironically helped them solve crimes. Apparently he doesn’t steal anything for now, but I could blame Karst for pinning him all his dirty crimes on him and not letting him do his gentleman-stealing.

Kelly Kincaid- an American intrepid journalist. She likes to get the scoop firsthand.  She’s also Lupin’s friend and possibly the two might have some unresolved romantic tension between themselves. Lupin usually contacts her with his signature card plus roses which lets Kelly know that it’s actually him communicating her. Sometimes, Kelly always ended up being the damsel in distress and Lupin is always there to save her. But she’s not weak and not having the qualities of the stereotyped damsel. She’s smart and brave enough to face danger. The series haven’t shown how she and Lupin first met. But I’m assuming that their first meeting is in the opening credits.

Ganimard- a French inspector who’s in charge in chasing down Lupin. He’s similar to Inspector Zenigata. Unlike Zenigata who manages to catch Lupin III from time to time (which Lupin eventually escapes too), Ganimard is unable to arrest him not even once. But he’s not incompetent and goofy. He’s very smart but sometimes he puts the blame on Lupin for crimes which are actually committed by Karst. But thanks to Lupin’s indirect help, Ganimard was lucky to keep his job. Despite Lupin’s help, he would do anything to put him in jail.

Howard Randolph Karst- a power-hungry and corrupt businessman and Lupin’s archenemy. He usually blames his crimes on Lupin in which he leaves a copy of his signature card on the crime scenes. Of course, Lupin would anything to get back at him. Apparently, Karst and Lupin had a history way back before the Titanic sunk. Usually, Karst let his cronies do his dirty work while he twiddles his thumbs in his office. But he also faces Lupin a few times.

Supporting characters:

Max Leblanc- Kelly’s assistant who always accompanied her. He’s an orphan and it’s possible that Kelly adapted him as Lupin told her to take care of him. Like Kelly, he’s very curious and always the first person to see Lupin through his disguises. There’s speculation that Lupin let Kelly adapt Max so that he could make him his successor (thus, the goofy Lupin III). Fun fact: his family name came from the author of the original Arsene Lupin novels, Maurice Leblanc.

Grognard- Lupin’s accomplice and driver. He always helps Lupin out but he’s not physically skilled as him. He drives a car (the series never mentions the name of the car but I’ll call it Lupinmobile) which can transform into a plane and boat. He’s also a skilled engineer and uses a lot of devices to help Lupin get out of a tight situation. He’s also very concerned on Lupin’s wellbeing and always makes sure that he doesn’t end up behind bars.

Folenfant- Ganimard’s assistant and a sergeant. Though he sometimes acts clumsy and goofy, he’s not dumb and like his boss, he usually sees that Lupin is responsible for the crimes which were actually committed by Karst. He has a one-sided crush on Kelly and is always obsessed in getting Lupin behind bars.

Steele- Karst’s right-handed man. He’s a psycho and would do anything to eliminate Lupin and his allies. He and Lupin usually had a one-and-one combat and sometimes Lupin gains the upper hand.

May Hem- a countess and also Karst’s right-handed woman. She’s a femme fatale and usually uses her charms to seduce her targets. But Lupin is not stupid to fall on her charms unlike the other Lupin. She might have an implied sexual relationship with Karst.

Guilla and Diesel- Karst’s useless henchmen.

Impressions:
The series usually shows a lot of references from the original novels. They also retain Lupin’s character features such as his monocle, his cape and his cane. Yeah, the hat is missing so who cares. The animation is neat and the use of shadows is really distinct most especially on Lupin. The opening credits is very James Bond-like (minus the dancing women) and the music is awesome. BTW, this is a kid show. No, srsly, a kid’s show.

The format itself is episodic but there’s a little character development. Actually, they only show one season in English. I heard that the show has 3 seasons. So, it really sucks that they didn’t release the other two seasons in English. Season one’s ending just left me hanging and I was wondering if the Lupin Vs. Karst plot will ever  be resolved.

Night Hood can be watched here. I want to watch Carland Cross except that I can’t find it.