With Ami’s friend kidnapped and taken back to her home country, it’s going to prove that much harder to steal the Bloody Teardrop. But Lupin won’t be deterred. But what’s Fujiko’s role in all this? And what’s happening in Padar? 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. You’d think the political intrigue angle was something they were only doing for a single arc, but it looks like it’s here to stay. Lupin Part IV from 2015 dipped its toe into a bit of that, but this season’s been much more involved. In “Chapter 3”, the story brings us to Padar, a country torn apart by a dogmatic adherence to the old ways juxtaposed with a society doing it’s best to push forward into the present. Princess Dolma’s father is a member of the people pushing for reform, while the country’s high priest heads up a traditionalist army.
Dolma was “kidnapped” in order to become a figurehead for a high priest who thinks his country has gotten too far from tradition, and he’s planned a coup d’etat which looks to stand a pretty good chance of succeeding given roughly halfway through the episode he’s convinced half the country’s army and captured key political figures in the country. It’s noteworthy even elsewhere in the world of Lupin, as we get a glimpse at how France and Lupin’s cousin Albert is taking Padar’s obvious political instability. It feels like Lupin’s way in over his head, but it just makes you root for him even harder–everyone else has all these complex, murky goals…and he just wants to steal shit.
2. Though it’s only for a few minutes, they do a great job of setting the stage for Padar, a place which almost feels like two different countries. On the one hand you get your stereotypical expy of a foreign country, and then on the other you get a literal City of the Future. A place where people pay for things using their phones, where doors have locks opened by iris signatures, and self-driving cars can take tourists directly to their hotels via personalized cars. It makes the future look so cool you automatically take the side of the reformist group at first. But there’s a downside to everything, and this technology–powered by the ShakeHands corporation–doubtless comes with a cost we’ll learn about before the arc is over.
3. This week we see Ami continuing to work alongside Fujiko to rescue her friend. It feels a little forced at first to see Ami go so far to try and rescue someone she’d known for all but a few hours, but it’s not as farfetched as one might think. Ami’s a young girl who spent years separated from society–first because she was the captive of a child pornography ring, then later because she was a hacker who never traveled outside of a single room. Once she was exposed to the rest of the world by Lupin, she fell in love with it…but she’s still been pretty crap at making friends, because that’s hard even for those of us who haven’t been sequestered away for most of our lives. So it’s not hard to believe the first friend she’s made that’s actually her age she’d bond with pretty strongly.
At the same time, Fujiko’s beginning to pick up on Ami’s hostility, and it’s going beyond being embarrassed once ’cause she failed to escape a guard. She hasn’t quite sussed out it’s because Ami’s in love with Lupin though, and boy is that going to be quite the awkward conversation when we finally get to it.
4. So there’s a part at the end where Ami’s trying to sneak into the building where Dolma’s being held, only to get caught by the same guy who “rescued” Dolma in the first place. The guy’s a member of the CIA, which makes sense ’cause there was no way this blonde-haired, blue-eyed guy was from a country where the people look like Dolma. Turns out, America has their hands in this as they’re trying to help the traditionalist faction get their way. He makes quick work of the relatively inexperienced Ami, and is about to choke her out until Lupin shows up to save her at the last second.
Lupin’s spent the entire episode tracking down Dolma’s location to attain the Bloody Teardrop–narrowing down leads, knocking out guards and 3D printing replicas of their faces to walk around more secure areas undetected, and even pretending to be Zenigata for a bit–so while it does feel a little convenient, it’s not overly so. But what is surprising is how whoever wrote this episode takes time out to have Lupin trash America for being nosy, self-congratulatory assholes who can’t ever seem to mind their business when it comes to international politics. There’s literally a thirty second speech where he dresses down America in a way that’s so on the nose there’s no way this wasn’t something of an author avatar moment for whoever wrote the script.
5. The unexpected “what a twist” moment of the episode comes at the tail end. Lupin successfully tricks the CIA agent and ties him up with wire, but before he can save Ami and the Princess, he takes an arrow to his side courtesy of Dolma herself! It comes as a brief shock because we see Dolma earlier acknowledging how once the coup takes place she’ll be installed as a puppet Queen while the high priest runs things, but to be fair it’s not as if she ever said she had a problem with the role. Guess that’s what we get for making assumptions.
Of course, this leaves Ami in grave danger, with the guards having realized their security’s been breached and are closing in at the end of the episode, and her “hero” bleeding out on the floor. Again. Man, Lupin has the worst luck.
Lupin the III Part 5 is available on Crunchyroll.