Well friends, it’s that special time of the month again—the time when I take a look at an anime I’ve never seen before, try to guess what it’s about, and then write about it.
Just like last time, I gave Twitter three choices. And while in the first installment of this feature I easily guessed what the outcome was going to be in advance, this time I was pretty surprised! Sorry, DARLING in the FRANXX, maybe next time.
it's that time again! which of these shows that i've never seen would you like me to take a stab at, watch, and then write about expectations v reality for @WatchVRV
— merritt k (@merrittk) May 12, 2018
What I Think I Know
I’ve of course never seen the newest iteration of Lupin the 3rd, which is after all the premise here. But I know it’s a long-running series about a guy named Arsène Lupin who is a descendent of a fictional French thief. True to his lineage, Lupin also does crimes. I’m picturing a kind of cat burglar, stealing as much for the monetary gain as for the thrill.
Lupin has a group of friends that includes a sexy lady and a big muscle guy. They help him do the crimes by distracting guards and maybe sometimes hitting guards. I feel like there’s some kind of animal friend too, maybe a talking dog.
I have actually seen a couple of episodes of one of the versions of the Lupin series, which aired back on Canadian television sometime in the late 90s, on our pale imitiation of Cartoon Network called Teletoon. All I remember from this series is that Lupin is kind of a scrawny dude in a suit and also that in the introduction the announcer very dramatically said “Arsène Lupin!” I’ll be honest, the space in my brain devoted to French-inspired cartoons was pretty much entirely taken up by Cybersix at the time.
What else? I saw a clip of one of the recent series where Lupin and his friends honk on a huge weed cigarette. His sexy lady friend is extremely hot. Oh, and back when I used to play Dance Dance Revolution every weekend, I remember there being a song called “Lupin the 3rd ’78” that I’m assuming was a remixed version of the show’s theme song.
And the Truth Is…
Arsène Lupin III is a gentleman thief who, in modern day France, has decided to steal the ultimate prize: Bitcoins. Assisted by his friends Jigen, a bearded gunman with no eyes, and Goemon, a literal samurai, he breaks into an underwater data center and convinces a teenage hacker named Ami to help him steal the cryptocurrency in exchange for spiriting her away. Lupin is a bit of a goofball but seems to have a good heart, and his choice of such a well-protected target suggests he’s in it for the thrill as much as the money.
However, the shadowy dark web network Lupin’s robbed doesn’t take things sitting down. They develop an online game complete with leaderboards where the goal is to track Lupin’s movements. Lupin, who apparently doesn’t online at all, takes a while to catch on but once he does, flees to an island outside of his nemesis Zenigata’s jurisdiction, where he becomes a social media influencer in a bid to make the Lupin game boring. Things backfire on him, however, when his dark web enemies start a different game—a betting pool on when he’ll die—which causes unscrupulous gamblers to hire assassins in an attempt to win the jackpot.
So, what did I get right? Well, I pretty much nailed Lupin’s character. His friends… not so much. I thought there was a burly muscle guy, which I guess could correspond to Goemon. And there’s no talking dog, unless you count Jigen. Which… I mean, he is pretty hairy. Fujiko Mine is the sexy lady, though at least in this newest series she’s less of a pal and more of a frenemy, trying to kill Lupin at one point then later helping him. And yes, she has hit a bong on at least one occasion — in the film Lupin the 3rd: The Blood Spray of Ishikawa Goemon. She did it in a totally wack way though.
That American airing of an older Lupin series I thought I remembered watching as a kid? That was actually a completely unrelated show called Night Hood, a Canadian-French cartoon based on the original Arsène Lupin character created by Maurice Leblanc and set in the 1930s. Whoops!
Lupin the 3rd is a franchise that’s existed in one form or another for an intimidatingly long amount of time (it’s turned fifty in 2017!) but I found Part 5 easy to get into. It’s a simple premise—a gentleman thief with a cop nemesis—and the modern setting featuring digital crimes and social media antics is super fun. As of this writing fewer than ten episodes have aired, so it’s a great time to jump in Lupin’s rocket-powered car and strap in for a #crime adventure.
Oh, and the theme song totally bangs.