5 Point Discussions – Lupin the III Part V, Ep 8: “Who Has The Black Notebook?”

by Sage Ashford

Lupin discovers the origins behind the creation of the Black Notebook! But can he outsmart Albert, the man who requested he find it to begin with? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.

1. Though Lupin finally realizes who sent him on this ridiculous wild goose chase, he’s also managed to let himself get tracked down by an old man claiming to be one of Gaston’s old friends. Though he pretends to be a harmless old man at first, it isn’t long before Lupin deduces his identity–Camille Bardot, a legendary detective famous for his photographic memory. They don’t get to talk much though before the group find themselves on the run again.

Eventually, we do discover how a former forgery artist had a notebook containing all the crimes committed by French police/government officials in the first place, though. Turns out, the Black Notebook they have is actually a fake–though it’s up in the air where the real notebook is, Camille asked Gaston to create a forgery, and then the two of them found a way to hide it where no one would ever be able to get to it. Unfortunately, while Camille always wanted the notebook to be published and people could be held accountable for their crimes, looks like the French police brass is having none of it.

2. It doesn’t take long for Lupin and Jigen to be tracked down by the DGSE. The longer Lupin evades capture and the black notebook stays out of the DGSE’s hands, the more desperate they become. Each time they send a group that’s either larger, or more heavily armed than before.  This time, the organization’s leader Guillaume sends an assassin known as Jose, a man who spent so much time in deep cover he wound up picking up some rather…unfortunate habits.  Habits like bombarding a tiny pub with rocket shells and semi-auto fire because there’s no one else around.

The group escapes briefly, but it doesn’t take long before Jose catches up with them. Jose continues the trend of having threats capable of standing out both in aesthetics as well as ability.  He’s decked out in bright red coat with a jester’s mask, while using twin batons doubling as mini rocket launchers. Like this, he manages to fight on even keel with both Lupin and Jigen–though mostly just Lupin, while Jigen tries to find a shot to take him out without killing his buddy.  Unfortunately, Jose finally gets the upper hand by simply outfighting Lupin, and nearly kills him until Camille manages to get a shot off. He nails Jose square in the chest, but not without catching sprayfire to his own chest. Jose falls off the railing of the road into the sea and is very probably not dead…but unfortunately Camille’s done for. He lives long enough to explain the origins of the notebook, but passes shortly afterwards.

Whoever this Albert guy is, he’s a real piece of work; he’s nearly gotten Lupin and Jigen killed several times, and winds up killing a former police investigator. No wonder Lupin can’t stand him.

3. Though it’s not as strong a theme in this arc, technology still seems to be the name of the game for this Lupin series, and I’m digging how much everyone’s favorite thief has been willing to change with the times. He’s still got his super useful eyepiece to hack into things and surf the internet…but now he’s also acquired a universal smart key for cars–giving him the ability to remotely access any vehicle he gets close to. I’m not sure how an invention like that would work (or who made it), but it helps Lupin escape from the criminals this week and is a pretty sweet creation overall. He’s also become an absolute master of disguise, as for the second episode in a row he’s managed to disguise himself as a woman in order to get some useful information about his prey.

But not everyone can be quite so adept with computers. Goemon, the group’s samurai assassin and “walking anachronism”, finds himself is apparently completely incapable of using a cell phone. While on the run from Jose early on, Lupin calls Goemon while he’s in meditation. But Goemon doesn’t know how touch screens work, so he winds up chucking the phone at the ground and leaving Lupin and Jigen to figure things out on their own. The second time, Jigen texts Goemon for help…but since he’s in the middle of Paris, he decides to ask some young children who’ve been following him (y’know…’cause he’s in samurai cosplay 24/7) for help. It’s funny, but also endearing because he’s at least trying to figure out how the modern world works.

4. While it doesn’t seem like it, Lupin spends the entire episode off his game. He’s letting people get the drop on him, losing in fights, and outright letting himself get angry about his latest job, something that usually never happens to him. He even goes off on his own, abandoning Jigen in order to finish things.  Just who is this Albert guy? Well, we’re not sure. When Lupin’s doing research on his current life, we find out Albert’s in a relationship with another man, and the quickest assumption for Lupin and Albert is they were former lovers. After all, who gets under your skin more than an ex? Sounds crazy, but with all the ship teases in the first arc and having him take on the role of a woman in not one but two episodes in a row now (one where he let a guy get awful handsy to complete his mission)…maybe not so much. Interesting as that would be, I don’t think it’s the intention of the story.

A bit of cursory research reveals Albert’s last name is d’Andresy, which was the name of the original Arsene Lupin’s mother. This seems to be setting up Albert being Lupin’s cousin, and combined with Lupin letting Albert get under his skin, explains how Lupin is so easily outsmarted. While impersonating Albert’s new boyfriend, he swaps Albert’s gun with one of his own, then informs him about a note on his back for a meet up at a hotel. When Albert goes, he has someone direct him to an empty road where they can complete their transaction.

After a bit of back and forth where Lupin refuses to hand the notebook over, it gets stolen by Albert after he shoots Lupin in his side. Turns out he was aware of Lupin’s deception from the very beginning. Easily able to steal the notebook, Lupin goes with his final trump card–a car bomb.  He detonates it, but it goes off inside the river. Albert literally thought of everything, and Lupin passes out from blood loss while watching his enemy escape.

I’ve seen some complaints about an overreliance on pretending Lupin is dead, but I think this is a different situation from arc one. It was obvious Lupin wasn’t in danger in episode 3; it was a sniper headshot. Since you can’t survive that, he had to have faked it all. This time though, there’s nothing faked–Lupin’s been shot in the gut and is at imminent risk of dying if his friends don’t show up.

In any case, I am absolutely loving the depth this series is giving not just Lupin, but the world around him. He’s not unstoppable, and sometimes he gets in over his head, especially when he doesn’t have his “brothers” there to have his back.

5. Next Episode: Lupin’s been left for dead in the middle of the night, while Albert has the black notebook. Even if Jigen and Goemon save him, will Lupin really be able to let it go? And what could Albert have done to enrage this otherwise unflappable thief?

If they can keep up the intensity they built in this episode, this arc might actually surpass the first one.  And it seems like episode 9 is set to be packed with action on the level of episode 3, as people try to attain the black notebook for themselves. Guess we’re in for even more twists and turns, as this arc seemed close to being done last week, but now we’ve learned nothing could be further from the truth.

Lupin the III Part V is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.

Sage Ashford

A writer with way too many hobbies, Sage can often be found catching up on the latest anime, or reading a stack of comics between Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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