5 Point Discussions – Lupin the III Part V, 24: “Viva Lupin III”

by Sage Ashford

It all comes down to this! Can Lupin finally extract Fujiko from the grasp of ShakeHanz, and escape the ever watchful eye of PeopleLog once and for all? 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. Enzo’s so singularly dedicated to his vision of what PeopleLog is and trying to force society to get rid of its lies through technology, he doesn’t even see the end of his company at the hands of the militaries of the world coming.

In this last episode of Lupin Part V, we see both Enzo and Ling Bo brought before a collection of representatives of world powers, with them demanding to have Lupin’s information removed from the website and Lupin banned. Things have gotten worse since we last checked in–Lupin’s posts caused ALL the candidates for a presidential election to withdraw in one country. He’s wrecked international trade deals and destroyed multiple stock markets with his information. The representatives claim Lupin’s information is false, which sets Enzo off as he points out PeopleLog has verified it all as true–meaning they only want it gone because it makes them look bad.

…Unfortunately, when you’re in charge of military power, you’re able to ask for exactly that. While Ling Bo tries his best to appease the countries threatened by Lupin’s exposes, they eventually run out of time. In one fell swoop, the world declares PeopleLog to be a terrorist organization, “infringing on the privacy rights of the people” and endangering national security. The key to making goverments care about their people’s right to privacy is apparently to make sure the governments don’t have any privacy either. Good to know. In any case, this all means while Lupin and the gang are making their attack on ShakeHanz HQ to recover Fujiko and Ami, the entire building is under attack from the combined military powers of the world.

2. There’s a surprising number of guest appearances for this last mission in Part V. They start at the end of episode 23, with renaissance woman Rebecca Rossellini from Part IV’s Italian Adventure making an appearance both last and this episode. She offers him a trawler to travel the seas with. But there’s also a couple other guests, including the goofballs from Episode Six’s “Lupin vs. the Smart Safe”, and Diana, from the film Lupin: The Pursuit of Harimao’s Treasure. Diana carries the team near ShakeHanz HQ on her giant golden submarine, allowing them to infiltrate just as things get hectic.

Using guest stars at all was pretty cool, but it made me wish if they were going to do it we should have gotten a few more–if not in this series as a whole, then at least in the final episode to give things a bigger, more important feel. But I guess none of it matters because you were going to forget anyway once you watched Jigen and Goemon take down an entire army with nothing other than their pistol and sword.

3. I’m uncomfortable with how they just tossed this bit in and just expected us to forget it. Lupin’s cousin Albert is the chief reason ShakeHanz was caught off-guard by the government’s attack–he’d promised Ling Bo to buy them some time, then at the last moment he yanked his protection. While the building is falling down around their heads, Ling Bo tries to escape via an underground tunnel and runs right into Albert. Albert phones in to claim he’s killed Ling Bo, but that’s just a show. In reality, he’s kidnapped Ling to have him create a government-sponsored version of PeopleLog to control the country of France. PeopleLog was terrifying enough when everyone knew about it and had access to it–now Albert’s going to have singular control over a predictive AI and become shadow ruler of an entire country? Great.

4. And so we come to the final statement on Lupin and Fujiko’s relationship for this series.  After finally overcoming ShakeHanz’s predictive AI, dodging the world’s armies, and running into a collapsing building to rescue Fujiko the two of them finally get to have a heart to heart. This entire series I’ve been so enraptured with how they’ve handled the relationship of these two characters, but this part fell somewhat flat to me.

There’s some great bits in it–like Ami asking why Fujiko dumped Lupin only to be told what we’ve known from the beginning: they tried regular life and it was too boring for her. She’s in love with the chase and the adventure and the romance of their relationship, so when they tried living a normal life it became too mundane. We even get Lupin confessing his feelings for her–though she blows it foff in favor of trying to understand a question she asked in the last arc: what does she mean to him?  She runs through the different things she’s been to him at various points–a lover, a rival, a obstacle, a stepping stone, a port in a storm…she even suggests he looks at her as his coffin, referencing how he only ever seems to get serious with her when they’re about to die.

At one point she even makes the controversial statement that the two of them only being friends is impossible, because she doesn’t believe a man and a woman can be friends, which probably says more about the character than all twelve episodes of A Woman Named Fujiko Mine.  Ultimately, Lupin doesn’t answer her question–not with words, at least.  Instead, he reveals his ultimate secret to her: the true identity of Lupin the III. Tearing off the face we’ve known him to wear for the last four decades, Fujiko gets to see who he “really” is, though the viewer is left with nothing more than a shadowy visage. Seemingly satisfied with Lupin bearing himself before her like this, Fujiko frees herself from the cage, and the two escape together alongside Ami and Enzo, just as the ShakeHanz building starts to collapse.

5. Final Thoughts: And that brings us to the end of the second chapter of the era of Blue Jacket Lupin! I was much higher on this one than the prior chapter, which seemed like it wasn’t sure whether it wanted to push Lupin into the modern era or take modern animation and emulate classic Lupin storytelling.  The expanded, theatrical length “episodes” allowed for a much bigger, more important feel to each major story in this series, and the interludes allowed them to pay homage to the roots of one of the longest-lived characters in anime.

Since they started doing Lupin in the modern era (between this, Part IV, and A Woman Named Fujiko Mine) this is easily the best of the three–though ANFM is a close second. Having Lupin deal with how technology affects not just the world around him, but his ability to operate as a high profile thief, was fascinating and something I hope future series don’t abandon, even if its just having the team become more proficient in technology in general. I do wish some of the interlude chapters had done a bit more with developing Lupin’s relationships with his crew members and Zenigata in a modern context, though.  What we got for how Jigen and Goemon feel about their fearless leader was great, but with a third of this series being standalone episodes, there had to be a better way to use them.

I think my biggest faults with this series actually come in this last episode. The Lupin-Fujiko conversation, while dripping with symbolism, was still kind of boring overall. Fujiko’s problem shouldn’t be not understanding what she is to Lupin–it should be her understanding why even when Lupin agreed to spend his life with her she wasn’t happy. It’s obvious Lupin was happy, so was the problem that she’s too much of an adrenaline junkie? Or is she incapable of enjoying a relationship that isn’t broken in some fundamental way? Instead of answering any of that, Lupin just took his face off and it’s all good, I guess.

The more egregious issue here is how Enzo’s character does a complete 180, his character forced to change completely for seemingly no other reason than the credits are about to roll. Just last episode he was writing off his daughter’s existence, but as the group is escaping the remains of the collapsing ShakeHanz, he starts explaining to Ami why he and her mother came up with her name, and acting like he wants to be in her life. I don’t know what it is about anime, but they never seem capable of properly pulling the trigger on broken parent-child relationships. Sometimes the dad/mom is just a jerk, there’s no need to try and “fix” that, and when you do–especially in a sloppy way like this–it comes off as cheap and wrong.

Still, overall this was a pretty good show. Beautifully animated, solid action, and the strongest appearance from these characters in the modern era yet. Hopefully we see a sixth part that builds on what was established here.  ‘Till next time.

Lupin the III Part V is available on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

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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