Lupin the 3rd Part 6
Episode 8

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Lupin the 3rd Part 6 ?
Community score: 4.5

At last, a Jigen-focused episode! It's the first one of Part 6 since the sorta-premiere Episode 0, and does feel a bit overdue. It also provides me with the excuse I've needed to comment on Akio Ohtsuka's performance as the new version of the iconic gunman following Kiyoshi Kobayashi's retirement. In short: I like it! Ohtsuka's Jigen obviously sounds a bit younger (though not by much), with less of the gravel that Kobayashi had in his latter days in the role. But Ohtsuka still gets the general vibe of Jigen right, feeling at home in his attachments to his unique career and old-style ways, while still putting enough of himself into his own spin on the character that he doesn't come off like he's just doing an impersonation of the original. He did sound different enough to throw me a bit when we initially heard him way back in the first episode, but that'll happen when a character sounds the same for fifty years until he doesn't. I've since acclimated to Ohtsuka's sound, and that's good, since he proves he can carry a large chunk of an episode with this one.

Structurally, this one falls somewhere between an episodic one-off and being part of the overall Sherlock Holmes/Lily/The Raven plot. Yes, those critical characters still figure into it, but there really isn't any new insight into the overall mystery aside from reinforcing that The Raven knew Lily's yet-unlocked memories could ID her father's killer and thus were scheming to kidnap and/or execute her. Such a plot is mainly here as a framework to show how Lupin, and by extension Jigen, were working behind the scenes to protect Lily in the past. And springboarding off of that is a thematic exercise in convincing you once and for all that the new Ohtsuka version of Jigen is every bit as kick-ass as the Kobayashi iteration.

Such a setup is moderately common by Jigen story standards: There is some other gunslinger considered a rival of Jigen who represents a dark reflection of where Daisuke's choice of lifestyle could lead him if he wasn't mindful. And the man's reliance on his ever-outdated revolver (the Katana of the gun world) is called into question as a spur for him to 'get with the times'. The actual technical details are espoused pretty heavily for this instance, with Jigen being told that his preferred .357 Magnum rounds are actually enacting too much wear and tear on his beloved gun, and is pressured to switch to more practical .38 Special ammunition. That's an immediately-recognizable easy-fit allegory with what the rival character for this go around, Brad Roark, represents: That if Jigen keeps pushing himself too hard in his high-power gunman lifestyle, he too could end up cracking and becoming "a wack job who kills for fun".

Jigen's tether, as it so often is in stories like this, is a connection to humanity itself. He still primarily takes his jobs via his effectively-married partnership with Lupin, and just for good measure, this particular job sees him protecting a small, vulnerable child. In fact, another running theme of this episode is Lupin and Jigen being impressionably cool to said small child, with the further twist being that the child in question isn't Lily! Instead the career criminals are imprinting on Kenny Howell, one of Lily's classmates who seems to have a precocious crush on her. At this stage I'm not sure if Kenny's being set up to have a role in the more present-day Lily-adjacent stories, or if he's mostly here to pull off this kind of plot without entangling Lupin and Jigen too much with Lily earlier in the timeline, but either way, what we get here works.

The Kenny plot also flows along with some clever bits of subterfuge the show teases us along with. I was all set to assume the sinister smirk of Lily's teacher as a couple of hitmen drove away with the kid was on account of him being in on their scheme, but instead it turned out he was onboard with Lupin and Jigen's counter-scheme, safely escorting Lily home while Jigen with Kenny acted as a decoy. It's appreciable as a smaller twist, in contrast with the more elaborate mysteries that Part 6 has been a bit more inconsistent about successfully pulling off. And it means we can better focus on the more straightforward story and thematic elements of this episode instead of trying to follow any odd bread-crumb trails. It's an episode that demonstrates how characters that live a 'lifestyle' like Jigen could still be considered noble or heroic (admitting as Jigen does that even he still has his nerves shaken by the stuff he goes through). And it provides an always appreciable opportunity to show how even Jigen can improvise creative new uses for his busted revolver and heavy magnum ammo, shooting the front of the gun off into Roark in a move that is indeed totally sick.

Of course, Jigen ends up able to have his revolver repaired at the end after all, because even a series as concerned with progressing itself the past few years as Lupin is still beholden to some degree of iconic status quo. But that aforementioned gun-blasting moment is indicative of how even with that situation, the series knows it can always innovate. It can take elements we expect and are familiar with, and find surprising new ways to use them. That's the entire point of these continuously-reinvented 'Parts' of the franchise, after all. And if Part 6 hasn't felt as pointedly fresh as my beloved Part 5 did, this episode, with its clever little rug-pulls to its schemes and engaging moments from its specifically-new version of its categorically 'oldest' character, showed me it could still have some surprises in store.

Rating:

Lupin the 3rd Part 6 is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

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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