This morning, it was reported that Kazuhiko Katō, known under the penname of “Monkey Punch”, had passed away after a battle with pneumonia. He was 81 years old.

Kato is best known for creating the Lupin the Third franchise, which the original manga was serialized in the Weekly Manga Action magazine from June 23, 1977 – May 28, 1981. The series’ success would spawn numerous sequels, films, specials, and other media. The Lupin franchise commemorated its 50th anniversary in 2018.

Cartoon Network has had a history of airing Lupin in the past, with 26 episodes of Lupin the Third Part II airing on Adult Swim in 2003, and more recently, all of Lupin the Third Part IV airing on Toonami from June 17, 2017 – January 20, 2018. Toonami also pursued airing The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, but issues regarding nudity forced them to forgo airing the show. Whether Toonami plans on pursuing Lupin Part V or other iterations of the franchise is still to be revealed at this time.

We send our condolences to his friends, family, and fans. On behalf of the Toonami Faithful, Rest in Peace, Mr. Kato, and thank you for creating this great franchise.

(Image by Mainichi Shimbun)