Lupin the 3rd Part 6
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 2 of
Lupin the 3rd Part 6 ?
Now that the outlandish opening fireworks have died down (well mostly, this episode still makes time at the beginning for stunts like Zenigata driving a police car sideways up a flight of stairs after Lupin), Part 6 can take some time to more fully detail some of its current context to us. It turns out there's a fair amount to cover, as like any good mystery story, the seeds for this one reach further back into the characters' pasts than just the opening segments we've seen so far. And also like any good mystery story, a lot of the information was there for us to speculate on already, with some of what we're told here being confirmation of what we could have extrapolated ourselves.
The first point to cover is a follow-up on the climactic moment that links the previous episode with this one: Holmes and Lily's visceral reactions to seeing Lupin. As figured, Holmes's old 'cherished partner' John Watson is dead, Lily is his surviving daughter, and Lupin had something to do with the death. Of course, mystery-writing 101 means it's almost certain that Lupin's role in Watson's killing isn't as clear-cut as the visions we see make it look, and even the specific wording Holmes and Lupin use regarding the event acknowledge that. The lynchpin of the event that keeps the bad blood boiling between detective and crook seems to be Lily herself, who's been stricken with a bout of repressed traumatic memories, which now appear to be returning at the exact speed the plot is going to unfold. As a mechanic for the overarching story, this is a fundamentally functional choice, even if it means poor Lily has little to do as a character at this point, and the whole deal in London is left seemingly put on hold at the end of this episode so Lupin and the gang can head out for some more conventional one-off capers.
Much as I love those kinds of classical Lupin plots, it definitely comes off a bit disappointing to be ducking into them so early, given the tantalizing leads this episode deigns to give us. The basic reasoning for Lupin and Holmes's feud works at that baseline level, but the storytelling around it in this episode spices up its presentation effectively. My favorite detail comes with the pointed contrast the show already knows it has to make between Holmes and Zenigata, as detectives in a rivaled chase for the same criminal: Zenigata is content to bide his time and wait for Lupin to make his move as he always does so he can go after the thief then, while Holmes takes the proactive approach, using his famous deductive skills to track the gang down with near-supernatural efficiency. That also informs the different motivations of the detectives, since Zenigata, for all his long-nurtured hang-ups on Lupin, still pursues him mostly out of professional obligation, while Holmes has that much more vengeful focus on the famous thief.
The informational backstory we get on the historical context for both Holmes and Lupin's rivalry, as well as the treasure being pursued in London that brought everyone here in the first place, does come off a bit more rote than the well-rendered personal affectations. To be sure, it's a neat revelation that the 'Holmes' we're seeing here is in fact a successor to the named mantle of the famous detective, and there's definitely something cheeky about Lupin's crack about not knowing how his line of succession works, given that we only barely got a few hints about Lupin's own succession of nomenclature back in Part 5. But apart from the necessary info there, that's mostly all it comes off as: Cheeky. It gets to a point that it nearly trips into overt self-gratification when the script sees fit to throw in references to the characters' encounters with 'Holmes III' back in Lupin the 3rd Part 2 in an effort to paper over any possible continuity snarls. I genuinely appreciate Lupin the 3rd's awareness of its canon it's taken care with in recent decades, but bits like that can come off a bit too much like wiki-article checkmarking that this kind of story doesn't necessarily need. At least we also get some basic information on the treasure of 'The Raven' that everyone's after, with its noted status as 'a treasure that can control an entire nation' providing some neat context for why Albert might have been after it.
A longstanding franchise like Lupin understands the overall dynamics of storytelling though, so this episode smartly closes out after that infodumping by showing us what a renowned threat Holmes actually is, to the point that Lupin himself would rather withdraw for the time. It's a bit that almost seems to be over-selling Holmes at times, as we get to watch how he can out-fight Goemon, out-shoot Jigen, and even out-charm Fujiko. It is over-the-top, but this is a franchise that has always worked best when it was demonstrating larger-than-life characters, so making sure we know early on how Holmes is on that level means his overarching presence in this series has some weight. At this point he feels less like a natural integration into Lupin's universe the way Ami and Albert were in Part 5, and more like a disruptive interloper. Out of the gate, that's done a good job allotting Part 6 its own 'feel' as a series, which makes me extra curious as to how it'll handle what looks like a more standard globetrotting Lupin the 3rd caper next week.
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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