Lupin the Third: Part 5
by Rose Bridges,
How would you rate episode 24 of
Lupin the Third: Part 5 ?
Episode 24 is a truly satisfying finale to Lupin the Third: Part 5. It manages to seamlessly weave in various important characters from the show's past arcs, and even features some fun cameos from one-off allies and villains. There are certain places I wished it did more—especially with the most teased and anticipated of those cameos—but it also seems like a likely hook for a Part 6. This isn't the end, but it ties a nice bow on this specific series.
The first few minutes give us a bit of continuation from what happened in the previous episode. Lupin's reveal of documents on PeopleLog has various government agencies, including the EU—represented by Albert, among others—pressuring Shake Handz to shut down the app. Enzo refuses; he sees the way it has rattled so many governments as fulfilling its stated purpose. The way it works without regard for governmental boundaries, he thinks, "can correct people's prejudices and ignorance." With all this pushback, Ling becomes more skeptical. This is especially true after both the EU and China declare sanctions on the corporation, and the U.S. government labels it a "terrorist organization" and begins bombing their offices. In-story, a lot of this is just a means to an end to set up Lupin's daring rescue of his two "princesses," Fujiko and Ami. It also sets up Albert and Ling as potential villains for a hypothetical Part 6.
We find out Lupin has been hiding out for a month (!) on a boat, piloted by none other than his wife from Part 4, Rebecca Rosellini. I'm guessing she might be an "ex-wife" now, despite the way Part 4 ended, considering this episode involves a pretty strong declaration of love by Lupin to Fujiko. Either way, I wish more had been done with her than just provide a deus ex machina from a prior season. I do appreciate though that this suggests she might still be around in future series, along with some of the characters introduced in Part 5 like Ami, Enzo and Albert. Even if she's just a summonable helper, that's certainly better than nothing.
Lupin makes it to the top of the Shake Handz tower. He confesses his love very dramatically to Fujiko: he even uses "ai," a term that suggests a more everlasting, soulmate type of love, rather than "koi," which is more specific to simpler dating and romance. She confesses that she knows everything and wants clarification on who she is to him, so he says so by revealing his "secret": pulling off a mask of his face to seemingly reveal the same face underneath. At least, that's what the following scene suggests, as the building starts to collapse, since we don't see him put it back on in that moment. During the dramatic reveal and his subsequent kiss with Fujiko, Lupin is portrayed in shadow. Enzo also shouts something about this revealing how he defeated PeopleLog, and later confesses to "knowing his secret." But if it's something beyond Lupin using a suspiciously-similar-but-not-quite-identical mask of his face to defeat scanners, this remains hidden from the audience. Perhaps it could have something to do with the way this series suggests Lupin is a false identity, passed down through men who prove their worth for it; Albert suggested in his arc that Lupin had defeated him for the right to use the name.
There's a lot in a name. We also get more info about Ami's name this episode. I appreciate the way that Crunchyroll tried to "translate" this joke for English-speaking audiences, distinguishing between "Amy" and "Ami," but the confusion around the pronunciation of Ami's name is kind of untranslatable, and this final episode proves why. Enzo and Yoko didn't name her "Ami" because it's a pleasant yet common Japanese female name; they named her "ami" as in the Japanese word for "net," to suggest their hopes that she would be an expert at navigating and bridging the world's networks. The words have the same kana, but different kanji, and perhaps slightly different pronunciations, although that was hard to tell for this non-native speaker. It makes me curious how this joke was translated for the French viewers this series was created for, like how Part 4 was made for Italy.
As for our other Part 5 characters, Albert's final scenes are very revealing, suggesting the franchise might have more in store for him in the future. His confrontation with Ling provides a pretty good villain origin story for possible future series. Ling, his skepticism in place toward PeopleLog, is pretty easily sold on Albert's plans for it. I'd love to see more exploration on why Albert has this desire to take over his country as a dictator or monarch. (He talks about the futility of elections, which suggests he wants to do away with them and be an absolute ruler.) Albert's history with Lupin also makes him a more interesting adversary than others. Albert's a really clever mastermind type of villain who is tremendously fun to watch, so I really hope this is not the last we see of him.
The resolution of the "Shake Handz" plotline was interesting for how it didn't really resolve the central problem: the app existing in the first place. The characters admit that somebody else is going to come along and create something just like it, even if they destroyed Enzo's version of the app. (That person will probably be Albert or Ling, this episode suggests.) What it does resolve is Enzo's relationship with Ami. He gets a chance to prove that he does care about her, when she threatens him with a gun—and announces that for all his app claims to know, he doesn't even know his own daughter. In the end, he reaches out to rescue her as the building crumbles. His speech about her name proves how important she is to him and her mother. So Ami chooses to stay with him, as Zenigata's helicopter rescues them, suggesting a stronger father-daughter bond going forward. He also learns of her big secret—that she's the famous hacker Underworld—so maybe going forward these two tech-savvy family members can work together rather than against each other.
There's a lot to love about this finale, and it sums up what I've loved about this whole series. Zenigata only shows up at the very end to make hay about arresting Lupin as he's getting away. The show reinforces how useless "Pops" is at his job, but also the strange bond he has with his target. Jigen and especially Goemon get in some good fight scenes. We see every past ally and enemy react to the online updates about Lupin's showdown against Enzo, with even some past adversaries rooting him on now. Most importantly for this particular story, we get reinforcement of how deeply Lupin and Fujiko will always love each other, even if they can't be normal about it and "settle down." For a series that did a lot to play with Lupin III's conventions, especially in bringing them into the digital age, it ends in a pretty familiar place.
That's part of the fun of Lupin III, though. No matter what time or place, the master thief and his gang will never be irrelevant. They'll keep adjusting, and we'll keep cheering them on no matter what. I always want more Lupin III, but now I'm really hoping for a Part 6. There's just too much promise in this final episode to leave things here. For now though, I feel pretty satisfied with the ending to this story.
Lupin the Third: Part 5 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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