Lupin the 3rd Part 6
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Lupin the 3rd Part 6 ?
Community score: 4.6
By taking last Saturday off for New Year's after that two-fer two weeks ago, Lupin's schedule effectively got rebalanced. It provides a clean break going into the show's second cour here, kicking off what appears will be the next ongoing story arc in "Witch and Gentleman". As with the previous arc involving Lupin's prior involvement with Holmes, as well as large portions of Part 5's major stories (along with, let's be real, basically any Lupin plot worth its salt) this one seems it'll be detailing some new corner of Lupin's past. The distinction this time is just how personal that part of his past seems to be, but also, just starting out as we are, we've only got the vestiges of the questions being asked before any answers can follow. But they're compelling questions nonetheless, and this first episode setting them up is so simply effective as a cool Lupin entry on its own that it was easy for me to get sucked in.
The 'Season Premiere' feeling of this one is driven home right from its opening moments, opting to flash-forward to some action-packed antics driven with just enough lack of context to draw us in. This is definitely the flashiest Part 6 has been in a while (even counting some of the more explosive moments of the two-part finale to the Sherlock storyline a couple weeks ago), choreographing things like Lupin's desperate running along a wire while gunning down a collection of mysteriously-identical pink-haired assailants. Before the story's clock winds back to set up the broader, more slow-burn details around this case, they've already gotten us with the mystery of what the heck is even going on here, not taking into account the fact that we (and Lupin) are still less-than-wise to the context by the time the episode's up.
The "Witch" titling in the arc, the large collection of ladies seen observing Lupin's conflict with the femme fatales, and the name-dropping of Lupin III's mother Tomoe at the end all point to the women in the thief's life being an apparent thematic element running through this story. At this point, it's all just a loose aesthetic allusion that we'll presumably cover in forthcoming episodes, but the seeds of where this is going are still planted early with the establishing of why Lupin is after the gem that serves as this case's particular targeted treasure. We get filled in on Lupin's childhood remembrances of his namesake grandfather and the eventual revelation that mama Tomoe was the only thief who managed to make off with some loot out of old Arsène's vault. It lends an early personal touch to the story that makes clear how important this is to the main character even before we get a peek at the broader conspiracies it seemingly entails.
With that specific setup though, Lupin is still aware enough to declare he's going "back to basics on this one" in terms of how he's going about the heist and how it's presented for this episode. Granted, even "back to basics" in this case still involves an army of custom-built remote control miniature robot bugs, but as we've covered, that sort of thing is pretty mundane by the overall standards of Lupin. The rest of the plan plays out like the sort of reliable crime procedural that makes any generally entertaining entry in the franchise so satisfying to watch. It's fun to follow the through-lines as Lupin zeroes in on the flowers being brought into the auction house as his method of smuggling in his bugs, and the montage of him building the things and incrementally initializing the setup drives home just how much work a heist is. As so many entries in this franchise do, it's a simple indicator of how Lupin does this sort of thing for the love of the criminal craft, as opposed to getting into the phantom thief game entirely for the money. That itself is a nice tie-in to this particular target's status as something of his grandfather's he's retrieving, a symbol of that very personal kind of honor that actually exists among the thieves of this series.
It's also all just plainly a lot of fun to watch. Lupin's careful approach due to the nature of the gem he's targeting and Zenigata's immediate presence on the scene ratchets up the tension even before we understand there's that third party meddling in the affairs, and when that kicks off, the episode loops back around to the explosive action it opened with, not even content to repeat the same beats as the in media res introduction, but also throw out new bits that play off the clarified context we saw in the leadup. The liveliness on display here shouldn't be too surprising, given this entry is directed by Kazuhiro Soeta, who for my money has been responsible for most of the more distinctive episodes of Part 6 so far (including both of those Mamoru Oshii episodes).
The dynamism of things extends even past the action scenes, manifesting in sequences like Lupin and Jigen's rapport over their meal early in the episode, or little bits like Lupin rolling back across the floor in his swivel chair at one point. But there's also a sense of heavier thematics already draping over this story we're just barely getting introduced to, as Lupin is compelled by this episode's end to swing to the rescue of flower-girl Mattea he was being ingratiated to. She winds up injured anyway, casting the point that even if he tries to stay focused on his targets, Lupin's crimes can't always remain otherwise victimless. That question of collateral damage, more than the cliffhanger complication of his mother's involvement, is an element I'm curious to see this story explore. With all that, I'd say that part two of Part 6 is off to a pretty solid start, by my estimation.
Chris is a freelance writer who appreciates anime, action figures, and additional ancillary artistry. He can be found staying up way too late posting screencaps on his Twitter.
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