A while back I made a post about where new viewers should jump into Lupin III. I presented a multitude of places to start. Green Jacket, Red Jacket, Pink Jacket, Blue Jacket, Woman Called Fujiko Mine (which is a recommendation I’ve decided to take back upon a rewatch), and of course Castle of Cagliostro. Looking back on this post I realized something, that it doesn’t need to exist.
In fact, no “Where to Start” or “How to Watch” guide really needs to exist at all. Because, there’s only one proper way to watch any franchise, from the beginning of the release order. In Lupin’s case, this is especially easy since they have Roman Numerals in the title telling you what order they’re intended to be watched in.
But why must you always start from the beginning, no matter how disconnected from one another a franchise is, or if you’re jumping on board for a reboot? Well, the reasoning is quite simple, it’s just a matter of knowledge. I’ll be using prequels as an example. Some would try to argue that, if you’re going through a franchise, you should watch them in chronological order, not release order, which I find to be rather misguided.
You see, a prequel will always assume that the viewer has some prior knowledge of the franchise that it’s a part of. For instance, the Star Wars prequels assume you know who Darth Vader, Yoda, Obi-Wan, C-3P0, Bail Organa and The Emporer are, what a lightsaber is, what the force is, and a plethora of other information you would have attained from watching the original trilogy in order to get the full experience of those films. Jumping back to anime, an example there would be Hellsing: The Dawn, which assumes that you’ve seen the original series and are acquainted with Alucard and others.
And all later installments in a franchise do this. Reboots are like that as well, much of the time skipping over large chunks of explanations, in the assumption that you’ve seen what’s come before. And even when they don’t do that, there’ll still be nods to the past, or little inside jokes that you simply won’t get if you didn’t go back to the beginning. Even episodic shows like Lupin reference their history all the time.
The only type of media where I really wouldn’t in most cases recommend release order being a rule is American Superhero comics, which are much too dense in material for that to be feasible. But for something like Lupin? That’s not hard at all, you can get through release order and get to the new stuff in a few months, and I guarantee it’ll be a better experience than jumping in where ever.