Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers Review (TV Special)

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers
ルパン三世『ヘミングウェイペーパーの謎』
Rupan Sansei: Hemmingway Paper no Nazo
Lupin the 3rd: The Hemingway Papers

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway PapersJigen auditions for a bodyguard job. Fujiko hooks up with a wealthy arms dealer named Marcess. Goemon discovers there is something Zantetsuken cannot cut. Zenigata gets called out for unnecessary expenses while chasing Lupin, so he heads into the streets, where he sees Fujiko in a limo and decides to hitch on board. Lupin gets information on the lost Hemingway Papers and sets out to find this rare treasure. Lupin discovers that the place with key to the treasure chest containing the papers has been stolen by some folks in military uniforms. Lupin tracks them to a small island nation of Corcaca, where Jigen happens to be bodyguard for Consano, who’s looking to overthrow the government.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway PapersLupin arrives on the island and is saved by a local named Maria, who seems to be the only resident in town. She runs a bar and lets Lupin sleep in the barn. Lupin discovers Jigen is on the island, but gets nothing but a promise from Jigen to fill Lupin in later. Consano goes to the fortress where President Carlos is and challenges him. Carlos sends out his bodyguard, Goemon, to fight Jigen. The two take a dive to avoid killing each other and later meet up with Lupin at Maria’s bar. Goemon explains his mission on the island, to cut the chest that holds Hemingway’s papers, and Jigen explains his mission, which is to kill Mash, the man who beat Lupin to the key to the chest. Lupin thinks they can accomplish all their goals together, but neither Goemon nor Jigen are interested in a team up.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway PapersCarlos learns that Consano has received a shipment of tanks from Marcess, who’s arrived on the island with Fujiko and secret stowaway Zenigata. Lupin makes no romance ground with Maria. She slips out to attempt to assassinate Consano, but gets caught, then rescued by Lupin. At the bar that night, Goemon and Jigen return to Maria’s bar where Jigen announces he’s going to take down Mash and doesn’t want help from Lupin nor Goemon. Jigen tries to get the drop on Mash, but Mash get him instead. Jigen recalls why he’s after Mash, but before Mash can kill him, Lupin saves Jigen, knocking Mash out. Elsewhere, Fujiko is popular with Consano’s men and has to be saved by a drunk Zenigata, only to flee when Fujiko screams for help. He’s caught and thrown into prison with Zenigata.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway PapersJigen’s attempt to have a fair fight with Mash is interrupted by Mash’s men, who capture and throw Jigen into prison. Elsewhere, Goemon breaks into Carlos’s vault with the help of Lupin, who waiting for him. Goemon uses Zantetsuken to try to cut the chest but fails to do so, leading to his capture, where he’s thrown into prison. Lupin escapes and returns to Maria, who reveals that Carlos and Consano were originally treasure hunters who had a falling out and took over the island. She’s the last living member of the local resistance as her brother and others are dead. As Consano and Marcess come to an arrangement on the treasure, Fujiko leaves to hook up with Lupin, where they return to Carlos’s place and steal the treasure box. Fujiko shows Lupin how to get the key from Marcess’s vault off the island, where Lupin takes photos of the pages inside.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway PapersFujiko and Lupin are caught in their getaway car and hauled back to the island. Marcess takes possession of the chest and key after which Mash dumps Lupin and Fujiko into the water. Mash turns on Marcess, having been paid more by Consano. Fujiko and Lupin make their way to Maria’s, where Fujiko gets jealous and storms out. She later has a change of heart and goes with Maria and Lupin to rescue Goemon and Jigen, who’ve been scheduled to fight each other again. Goemon and Jigen make their fight last long enough to get rescued. Meanwhile, Carlos and Consano come to terms, open the chest, and read Hemingway’s papers and Lupin shows his comrades the enlarged photos he took of the manuscript pages, which speak of Hemingway’s trip to this island with a friend, who died there.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway PapersZenigata escapes from prison as Lupin and company attempt to beat Carlos and Consano and their men to the treasure. Using Maria’s weapon stash, they defeat the troops on motorcycle, but aren’t so fortunate against Consano’s tanks. However, the tank shells cause a rock slide and a water burst which wipes them all out. With that, Lupin, Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko make their way to a cavern where Goemon cuts open the lead door that leads to the treasure, which turns out to be weapons grade uranium. They find Hemingway’s friend’s grave. They decide to leave, but Mash and some men stand in the way. In the fight that breaks out, Jigen shoots Mash in the head. Mash shoots up the cavern, causing it to collapse.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway PapersThe group returns, where Lupin says goodbye to Maria, who has finally warmed up to Lupin’s charm. Lupin refuses to say whether he’ll be back or not.  After he leaves, Maria plays Lupin’s favorite song. Goemon repeatedly attempts to slice open the Hemingway chest is shocked when he finally cuts it open. Lupin, Goemon, Jigen, and Fujiko board a single engine prop plane when Zenigata emerges, clinging on as they take off. He manages to get into the plane and causes Lupin to veer all over the place as Zenigata attempts to arrest Lupin.

Thoughts/Review:

Of all the Lupin III titles I’ve seen (sans the Fujiko series), I have to say that in many ways, this one had many unexpected elements that initially made Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers more interesting. Alas, things don’t stay interesting.

x01 Jigen Lupin

So, what are some of these interesting, unexpected elements. Right from the start, we have Lupin working as a construction worker doing some repair work inside a cathedral. Then, he actually breaks his leg after falling off scaffolding while getting information on Hemingway’s paper from a fellow construction worker. When Lupin fell off, I just assumed it was done for gag purposes, but in the next scene, Lupin has a cast on his leg and crutches, and not for gag purposes. Yeah, he’s been injured before (Castle of Cagliostro for example), but I was just surprised that the writers would show consequences to Lupin falling off the scaffolding.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

Lupin’s gang all being off following their own agenda’s is not unusual, but what was unusual was that even when circumstances caused Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon to meet at Maria’s bar, both Goemon and Jigen decided against teaming up with Lupin to obtain their objectives. What made it interesting is that Lupin was suddenly tasked with coming up with a way to get his friends back into their important, supporting roles while at the same time continuing to figure out a way to get Hemingway’s Papers.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

Because Lupin’s gang is split up, they all end up having stuff to do. Jigen has his mission to kill Mash for some past run in the two had. However, the writers have Jigen go about this in such a stupid way in order to keep Mash around. OK, I get that the writers didn’t want Jigen murdering Mash, but the whole Jigen arc was about him going to kill Mash. And making Mash a psycho who doesn’t kill Jigen after Jigen fails his duel setting didn’t come off as believable to me.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

Goemon’s mission to try to cut the treasure chest containing Hemingway’s papers (because said chest supposedly couldn’t be cut by Goemon’s sword Zantetsuken) was laughable in how it came about. But, having him be Carlo’s bodyguard did allow for some fun clashes between himself and Jigen, where they both had to be careful lest they actually harm or kill each other.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

Fujiko plays her usual bimbo role by being the personal secretary to the arms dealer Marcess. What made her role different this time was that although she was after the Hemingway Papers, she jumped ship to support Lupin as his girlfriend. She even gets jealous when she sees Lupin has befriended Maria, which really surprised me in a good way. I did get a laugh at how spending the night in an abandoned, wrecked car caused her to get over that.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

Zenigata is only in this picture because Zenigata is always in Lupin III titles. So the writers have Zenigata be disgraced for claiming expenses at hostess clubs, just so he can see Fujiko in a limo with Marcess, just so he can break into the trunk of said moving vehicle (without anyone knowing it), and be flown to the island when Marcess has his car flown there. After that, he is either hiding or in prison until he breaks free at the end so he can jump onto a moving plane and break into it to try to arrest Lupin, to hell with whether they crash or not. (It was supposed to be funny; it was not.)

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

As to the plot, I quickly grew bored with Carlos’s and Consano’s feud over the treasure that Hemingway supposedly found on the island. They way the writers disposed of them was laughably stupid, but clearly the writers had written themselves into a corner and so had to make these adversary characters accidentally kill themselves from stupidity.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

Having the treasure Hemingway found be Uranium 238 was a bit odd to me. I don’t know how that element looks naturally, but I don’t imagine it looking all sparkly.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

Which brings me to another point. By keeping Mash around, the writers were able to have him conveniently confront Jigen in the U-238 cave so Jigen could shoot him, thus allowing Mash to shoot up the place so that the cavern collapses. Yay! 🙄

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

Just as an aside, I often wonder about official English titles for anime. A translation of the Japanese title would be Mystery of the Hemingway Papers. Discotek went with The Hemingway Papers. It is a minor thing, but why drop the word “mystery” from the title?

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

In the end, what started off as an interesting title ended up getting bogged down with a tedious conflict between two of the antagonists, and common sense being rejected in order to fill cliched drama elements (Jigen vs. Mash), which leads to the writers having to come up with eye-rolling solutions to remove some of the antagonists. It is worth a watch if you are a fan of the Lupin III franchise.

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

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