What They Say:
The famous diva Aiyan’s bejeweled mask has been targeted by Lupin the Third, and Zenigata determines to "set a thief to catch a thief." Who will get to the mask first: Fujiko or Lupin?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Zenigata has been the long suffering detective determined to capture Lupin. He has alternated between an intelligent opponent and comedic bumbler. However, his moral character was impeachable. Justice was his goal, though he would bend the rules if it meant thwarting a threat larger than Lupin. This episode tosses that image out in the first minutes and casts him in a new light.
Zenigata is enjoying a round of carnal pleasure with Fujiko in his office; it is one condition of Fujiko’s release from prison. The other is her cooperation in an operation to prevent Lupin from stealing the jeweled mask worn by a famous but disfigured opera singer. Fujiko soon learns though that Lupin is not the only player to contend with back stage. A mysterious ghost threatens to ruin the opera’s production and the career of their diva.
The usual hijinks ensue with each party chasing each other about; the twist at the end sees the famous diva faked her disfigurement to leave the stage to marry the stage carpenter. They are living a blissful life of love in the catacombs below the stage and simply want to be left alone. Along the way though, Fujiko has a technicolor flashback about her childhood.
While the plot is fairly forgettable, Zenigata’s behavior will stick with you long after; he has returned to his manga roots in one respect, as he is more than willing to kill Lupin outright rather than capture him. However, they seem to be casting him now as a more "dirty" cop. His romp with Fujiko, by his own words, is not the first time he has used his desk for more than paperwork. While this characterization could work given the tone of the series, it came off as a bit forced, as if they were trying to drive home the point that "this isn’t your Cagliostro’s Zenigata".
Fujiko’s flashback ties into the ending theme (why is left un-subtitled?) hinting at what could be the undercurrent for the series now that everyone is introduced. There is almost a Noir feel to this undercurrent – young female now grown into a capable thief willing to kill. As a tease, it is intriguing but has yet to reveal enough to make it a tantalizing prospect. For now, this episode managed to keep the tone and action of the series but trips up a bit for the uneven, forced character development of Zenigata.
Zenigata’s episode paints him in a rather unflattering light, a move that will have people talking for some time. While it might work in the context of the series, having him be seemingly as lecherous as Lupin felt forced, as if to make a point that this series is a departure from the previous works. The story is decent and allows the characters to have some fun interactions, and Fujiko’s flashback hints at a larger story line for the series. While not as solid an episode to round out the introductions, we now have all the pieces in place to dash towards what is hopefully an exciting finish.
Streamed By: FUNimation
24” iMac booted into Windows XP Home, using FF11.