5 Point Discussions – Lupin the III, Part V 16: “Let’s Talk About First Loves”

by Sage Ashford

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1. This is a bit out of order, but man they really wrote themselves into a corner this episode and just said “fuck it” here, huh? Both last episode and this episode Jigen and Goemon are left wondering exactly where Lupin is and why he hasn’t contacted then. Eventually they both decide to go where Lupin would be most likely to be found: where the treasure is. That’s a logical enough conclusion to come to, even if they guessed wrong about where the treasure really was.
But what bugs me about this bit? Lupin and Amy both go track down the high priest in order to find Dolma and save her. Just before Dolma’s about to either be transported outside of the city or be killed for fighting back against the high priest, the two of them show up. But they don’t seem to have any sort of real plan, so when the priest has his men train their guns on them, it’s only through pure luck they survive. I get that Lupin had ultimate confidence in his brothers, but…it still just feels kind of sloppy.

2. Even though Zenigata only plays a bit part this episode, the bit we see him in is great. Lupin faked being him and that doubtless raised red flags with the organization he worked for. Now, even before he got there it was obvious the nation of Padar was about to become consumed by the flames of civil war, and any normal person would have just left Lupin to potentially get killed. But rather than allow that to happen (and probably assuming there’s no way Lupin would die like that), he rushes into an actual war zone without even thinking about it. Why? Because the good guys arrest the bad guys, even if they’re putting their life at risk to do it. Because it’s the right thing to do. Zenigata’s awesome.

3. So after realizing the King is alive and his forces are halfway to reclaiming the country, the High Priest tries to escape, with Dolma in tow. However before he can leave, Lupin and Ami arrive, revealing they’ve had the Bloody Teardrop, the item necessary for honoring their rites of succession. They’re about to just kill the two of them and take it from them, when Goemon and Jigen start slaying the Priest’s bodyguards. Suddenly he’s left alone, and immediately he starts trying to bargain.
And if it wasn’t obvious the priest was a creep before now, it’s blatantly obvious now. Dude sells out his entire country, listing off all the things he’ll give Lupin if he just sides with him. Unfortunately for him, the entire thing is on video–recorded courtesy of Lupin’s eyepiece and broadcast via Ami’s hacking skills to the entire country. It’s never been quite so satisfying to see someone make a complete ass of themselves…

4. This was such a boss move and watching it happen gave me chills. Dolma’s gone through all this trouble to try and create peace, to avoid civil war at all costs. Then the plan goes off the rails and the high priest nearly blows it completely when he snitches. But Ugo thinks quick enough to grab Dolma and make it seem like the whole thing was the idea of the CIA and the High Priest, rather than a thing Dolma consented to. Fully aware of what he’s setting himself up for, he leaves himself open to be attacked as they’re trying to escape, and is gunned down.
As he takes his last breaths, Dolma realizes why Ugo worked with her in the first place, and immediately takes charge. Despite watching the first and only person to actually respect her as a leader get murdered, she maneuvers perfectly, creating the elaborate lie necessary to unite her people. As Ugo takes his last breaths, we flash back to him as a child, in a city block ravaged by civil war. The only thing he wants…the only thing that matters to him is for his country to be at peace. And while it’s a lost cause for his country, Dolma has honored his wishes, and stopped her own land from suffering the same fate. Though he passes, he goes in peace, because Dolma was willing to be the villain, and even go far enough to make an enemy out of one of the most powerful nations in the world to keep her country safe.

5. So. Let’s Talk About First Loves. This episode actually has two very good statements to make that really shouldn’t have been intertwined, but what are ya gonna do?
After Princess Dolma’s little speech, the people of Padar gradually set down their weapons and start working towards trying to reclaim peace.  So in the aftermath, Ami gets to talk with Dolma briefly before she heads back to her school.  While they speak, Dolma reveals something to her new friend: Ugo was her first love. In response, Ami reveals something just as precious–we don’t hear it, but it’s presumably the identity of her first love, Lupin.  Moments later, she returns to Lupin and actually confesses (!) to him, claiming that when she becomes a better woman than Fujiko, she expects an answer to her feelings. And that brings us to a brief flashback Fujiko has to the moment Lupin took the Bloody Teardrop from her, where he starts to tell her what she is to him, but he can never quite get it out.
Now there’s a lot wrong here. Ami admitting she’s in love with a man twice her age is creepy. Dolma saying she was in love with a man twice her age is also creepy, but it’s less annoying because personally I was too busy being annoyed with them reducing Ugo’s sacrifice to a matter of “love”, when it absolutely was not that. But all of that overlooks what’s ultimately being said here about first loves: they aren’t meant to last.  They’re always passionate, but they rarely have happy endings. That’s why Lupin and Fujiko (at least in this canon) don’t seem to be meant to be, and that’s why Ami/Lupin is fortunately a non-starter.
Lupin the III Part 5 is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.

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