Lupin the 3rd Part 6
Episodes 0-1

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 0 of
Lupin the 3rd Part 6 ?

How would you rate episode 1 of
Lupin the 3rd Part 6 ?

Following the resounding sendoff for classic Jigen voice actor Kiyoshi Kobayashi in its 'Episode 0', Lupin the 3rd Part 6 has now earnestly begun. And almost immediately, this opening for the series finds us in an interesting place. My impression of Episode 0 was a positive one, but that was coming at it from the understanding of a familiarized fan of the franchise who could follow the various layers of legacy metatext that one was built on. Newcomers to the Lupin series pointedly wouldn't get anything out of it, which was fair enough for its purposes, but surely the clean break of an actual brand-new storyline starting with the true first episode of this season would serve better as a jumping-on point for the Lupin-curious. Surely.

Instead, the first surprise Part 6 throws at us is that it's going to be a much more contiguous follow-on from Part 5 than early advertisements might have made it appear. Now personally, I think that's fantastic news. Part 5 was all about definitively bringing Lupin and crew into the new now, so carrying on as part of the continuous canon (even as Lupin changes out of that era's blue jacket into his classic green look) is thematically perfect as a continuance of that. The new show even clarifies the connection in the most effective way possible by almost immediately reintroducing Albert d'Andrésy at the start of the episode. Even absent the understanding of how appreciable Albert's addition to the overall Lupin canon in the last series was, it just makes perfect sense for him to be along for a story that's at least spiritually paying homage to the classic feud between the literary Arsene Lupin and the detective Herlock Sholmes, who bears a suspicious resemblance to the 'Sherlock Holmes' character introduced in this new Lupin anime.

Indeed, apart from the old Lupin gang continuing straight off their Part 5 adventures, it's the World's Greatest Detective who provides the cleanest entry point into the story starting with this episode. And Part 6's portrayal of Holmes ends up being the next appreciable surprise in this premiere. A fully modern-day iteration of the classic character, this is an aged Holmes at a later stage in his career. Not all the details have been spilled yet, naturally, but we can glean that he's lost Watson, has taken to looking after a young girl named Lily in his stead, and they both seem to have some blame for Lupin tied up in the loss. It's all pure speculatory setup at this point, but it's compelling because it provides that constant reframing that Lupin stories need to distinguish themselves from their ever-growing back catalog. Lupin is a thief, after all, so providing some more conventional 'heroes' for him to play villain against allots for that new angle as we kick things off here. And even as this Sherlock is down in a rougher place than usual, slumming it by taking simple cases that shouldn't be worth his impressive abilities, we still get treated to a few scenes of the character's signature dazzling deductive abilities. Though my favorite display of his cleverness came from the brilliant way he blew off Lily, sending her to deliver a blank note to Lestrade, which had me howling upon realizing the revelation.

Holmes and Lily thus provide the strongest emotional connecting point here at the beginning, since the classic Lupin crew are mostly here for now to burst onto the scene with their contractually-obligated traits. You know how it goes: Jigen shoots some stuff real good, Fujiko infiltrates somewhere utlizing her sex appeal, Goemon cuts something up. It makes for the kind of explosive popcorn entertainment the franchise excels in when it wants to, and this first episode in particular is already getting a lot of mileage out of putting Lupin's beleaguered Fiat 500 through some outlandish car chase antics (there are a few more CGI shortcuts therein than I'd prefer, though the show does know to cut to cel animation when it really needs to). It creates an engaging effect around the heart at the story's center that Holmes and Lily currently represent, the streets of London around them erupting into chaos as a direct result of Lupin crashing back into their lives.

That, and the setups for the greater mysteries on the fringes of this story, form the most compelling components of Part 6 so far. It's a strong opener that's only undercut by my concerns about its deployment of continuity overall. Sure, I'm psyched to see Albert again, but what role he actually has in all this hasn't really been explicated on yet (to say nothing of clarifying how it follows on from where he was after Part 5), and I can't help but wonder how dropping in a character like him with little context rings right at the beginning here for that prospective new-to-Lupin audience. I understand that this is supposed to be an attention-getting explosion of action before it properly settles down to sort all the character and plot details, but between all the main cast coming back, plus the new and returning guest stars, it can feel a little like too much at times.

That's just one more aspect that makes this one come off more like another entry in an ongoing season-based narrative than a whole-new 'series' in a neatly-blocked overall franchise. Squaring that circle of evaluating how this show functions as its own entry alongside my understanding of it as a familiar fan of Lupin overall might just prove the most challenging aspect of reviewing this series! Apart from those concerns, most everything here makes for an exciting intro in setting up this battle between franchise legacy characters and a public-domain literary figure though. So with the hopeful caveat that like all good mysteries, things will be explained and resolved with time, the premiere of Part 6 puts a mostly entertaining, engaging first foot forward.

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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