5 Point Discussions – Lupin III Part V, 22: “Answer Me, Zantetsuken”

by Sage Ashford

To deal with PeopleLog, Lupin decides to go right to the source by dealing with ShakeHanz itself! Meanwhile, Zenigata and the ICPO are closing in, and tech genius Enzo Bron has plans of his own… 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. After Zenigata talked about how Fujiko had been “captured” last episode, the end of the episode showed her in a literal gilded cage, completely nude. This week’s episode she’s treated a little better when they give her a…sultry dress. Sigh. After Episode III’s Fujiko showed herself to be just as competent as any of the other members of Team Lupin, having her downgraded to “eye candy” and “bait for Lupin” is seriously disappointing.

But while we’re at it, let’s talk about how much of a jerk Enzo Bron is. Like, it’s bad enough he’s basically every negative stereotype of techbros rolled into a smarmy human-shaped thing obsessed with business casual wear, and it’s terrible he’s treating arguably the First Lady of anime like a trophy. But he’s made it clear one of his primary goals is shutting down Lupin. …Seriously?  Lupin is the guy you want to stop? Later in the episode they talk about how PeopleLog has the power to erase the need for the administrative elements of government. All the murderers and child traffickers you could be stopping and you want to stop the goofball stealing expensive crap 99 percent of the world doesn’t even care about?  Good to know we’ve got our priorities in place.

2. Whatever thoughts I might have had about Zenigata teaming up with Lupin went right out this episode. He’s still as single-minded in his quest to take down Lupin as he ever was. While he and his young partner head towards PeopleLog headquarters after learning Lupin was on site, his partner wonders why he would share information about Fujiko at all.

Reminding everyone that Zenigata is actually smarter than anyone gives him credit for, he points out there’s no point in capturing Lupin if he doesn’t also capture his squad as well.  And while his partner balks at such a simple statement…it’s not wrong, really. Lupin’s broken out of trap after trap of Zenigata–he’s been “caught” plenty of times, but none of it means anything if the world’s greatest marksman and a samurai who’s so fast he dodges and cuts bullets clean in half are still walking free. The key to taking down Lupin is to dismantle his squad, and that’s largely what happens in this episode.

3. This show has been excellent about embracing every part of Lupin’s lengthy history as one of the oldest “franchise” characters in anime, so a battle between Goemon and Lupin seems like it had to eventually happen. I suspected it would be another flashback episode though, rather than occurring in the “present”. The two initially started off as total enemies, with Goemon attempting to kill Lupin several times before finally falling into being friendly rivals who worked together on cases.

The wheels for this subplot were set in motion last episode, when Goemon saw a bit of information entered into PeopleLog that called Goemon one of Lupin’s lackeys. He carries that frustration into this episode, where after speaking with the blacksmith who keeps his sword up, he’s reminded he initially wanted to prove which one of them was stronger. Later, Lupin points out Goemon being his lacky is information even PeopleLog doesn’t think is accurate, but nonetheless the seed is planted, which eventually leads Goemon to challenge Lupin to a duel.

Lupin accepts, and we get a pitched battle between the samurai and thief, eventually ending with Lupin’s chest getting cut open, just as the cops start to arrive. It’s only after Goemon “wins” (though we’re not sure if Lupin threw the fight) that he realizes what he’s done to a close friend of his, but by then it’s too late.  I’m actually not against the two of them having this kind of intense showdown, but this felt pretty forced–Enzo talks Goemon into believing Lupin sees him as just another treasure to steal, and he’s never gone all out because he wouldn’t want to break his treasure. You’d think after knowing the guy for years he wouldn’t be so easily swayed. Still, it proves Enzo a master manipulator, as he’s able to suss out exactly the kind of fault a stoic like Goemon would have.

4. If it isn’t enough to have Goemon nearly gut him, Enzo tries to talk Jigen into abandoning Lupin as well. After the group splits up to accomplish different objectives, Jigen winds up tracking down Enzo’s partner, Ling Bo, to keep him from getting in their way. Besides discovering Ling Bo is apparently a martial arts master, Enzo pops in via a giant television to point out that Jigen should have his own reasons to leave Lupin behind. As unlikable as he is, one thing I’ve got to hand him–he really knows how to hit Lupin where it hurts.

5. This episode throws away it’s biggest twist fairly early on. They talk about how Enzo was originally married with a young daughter, only he was divorced and lost his daughter in a custody battle. That information would’ve been enough, but they go on to talk about how the mother committed suicide after the daughter was kidnapped, mentioning she was either dead or a “victim of child pornography”. Ami’s origins were she was placed in a child pornography ring…until her knowledge of coding saved her from that life.

A young, kidnapped girl who happens to have grown into an exceptionally talented hacker?  An older man who lost his kid and happens to be exceptionally talented at programming, so much so he invented his own social media service? Yup, they’re probably related. The only surprising part here is Ami turns out to have been completely aware of it from the start. Her DDoS and zombie bot attacks help to slow PeopleLog’s organization down enough to sneak inside, but she makes no attempt to connect with her father until Lupin’s down and at risk of dying.

You’d think this would give Enzo some manner of pause, but given he’s had this immensely powerful tool to learn about or track everyone in the world and we didn’t know he even had a daughter until now, I’ve got a feeling he doesn’t care as much as we think…or Ami hopes.

Lupin the III Part 5 is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.

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