Ami returns…just in time to get held hostage by a terrorist group?! Meanwhile, Lupin and the rest of the gang are trying to steal a new priceless artifact…but how does that save Ami? 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. Returning to the present we get to check on Ami after several weeks of following Lupin through interludes and other stories. Since becoming a member of a prestigious boarding school, she’s managed to acclimate herself to “normal” life quite well, except she’s absolutely garbage at making friends. A trio of girls even approach and try to eat lunch with her, but upon realizing she’s a hacker they become creeped out. Given the trouble hacking’s caused the world globally lately, that’s probably a fair reaction.
Still, when all else fails hook up with the other weirdos in your school–like the new girl, a Princess from another country who likes cooking her meals outdoors and carrying a bow and quiver to hunt crows. Drawn to each other by their unique nature, Ami and Princess Dolma become fast friends…maybe a little too fast, given we see their introduction to one another this episode and their willingness to risk their lives for each other at the same time. It’s still cute to see their friendship bloom though, so it gets a pass.
2. Even without simple touches like Lupin’s blue jacket or the story marking itself as “Episode III”, the quickest way to notice they’ve placed the story back to the present-day is how the violence automatically takes a sharp rise upwards. The villains this time are a group known as the Whales of Liberation, and they break into Ami’s boarding school in order to use some of the more important kids there as a way to get some of their friends out of prison. Bodies start dropping from their introduction, as they murder the guards and later get murdered by Lupin and the rest.
Their willingness to update things is admirable; Lupin was bloodless back in the day as it was the best way you reached the mass audience. There’s no need to drown in body parts and blood, but pretending those days of Gunsmoke and Bonanza-levels of bloodless violence should be over with. In universe it almost makes me wonder if Lupin intentionally sanitizes his stories to seem like less of a threat to people and more “friendly”.
3. Holeeeee crap. I’ve been complaining these past two weeks about Fujiko being largely useless, but the second we got back to the present Fujiko once again became one of the smartest, most dangerous people on the show.
After Ami gets kidnapped by the terrorists because they’re all too aware of her special hacker abilities, she tries to get free by tempting the guy watching her into sex. Fortunately, before that gets very far at all Fujiko saves her. Fujiko’s been pretending to be a new teacher there in order to steal the Bloody Teardrop, a necklace passed down through Princess Dorma’s royal family over six hundred years. She gets Ami to agree to work with her, and manages to take down an entire room of terrorists all on her own.
The difference between Fujiko in the “blue jacket” era of Lupin and every other is massive. Here she’s a master of chemical formulas, using a high school chemistry classroom to create a powder which glows in the dark to mark all the terrorists and take them out. She uses her looks and subterfuge to distract them, then quickly kills the terrorist’s leader and incapacitates the rest with several well-placed gunshots. Welcome back, master thief Fujiko.
4. I’m not sure yet how I feel about Ami and Fujiko’s relationship. On the one hand, it’s possible she dislikes Fujiko ’cause Lupin was the only person who cared about her and Fujiko seemingly betrayed him on their first meeting. But in reality, it’s totally because she’s in love with Lupin and feels like she’s in competition with her, which probably isn’t the most healthy relationship to have developed in a show that usually only puts women in a femme fatale role.
She knows she can’t compete with Fujiko in either her history with Lupin or maturity level, so they’re already at odds. It doesn’t help Fujiko witnessed Ami fail miserably in her first (and probably only) attempt to use her feminine wiles to escape her bonds, or that Ami then got to watch Fujiko use the exact same trick to exponentially greater effect barely a few minutes later. It’s already creepy enough Ami (who can’t be older than 15) has a crush on Lupin, hopefully they find a way for these two to get along in the future.
5. While Lupin and the rest are still trying to infiltrate the school, Fujiko manages to save the girls being used by the Whales of Liberation. But of course, with this plot wrapping up so soon we need a new twist, which is where it’s suddenly revealed one other teacher isn’t what he seems, but is instead a member of Princess Dorma’s country, demanding she return to save her land. His allies arrive via helicopter, and things are now much more complicated than the “take down some terrorists” plot we started with.
Lupin the III Part 5 is available on Crunchyroll.