Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01 (And So It Begins #LupinIII)

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01
ルパン三世
Lupin III Episode 01

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis

Lupin enters a Grand Prix race run by a criminal organization known as Scorpion. Their intent is to kill him. The race starts and Lupin is in the lead. Jigen keeps an eye on things. He attempts to contact Fujiko, who has infiltrated the hotel where Scorpion is monitoring things. However, the Commissioner is aware of Fujiko and captures her. He mildly sexually assaults her as he forces her to watch the race.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

Meanwhile, Lupin tells Jigen that he can tell all of the cars and drivers in this race are frauds, mimicking real Grand Prix racers. The Commissioner attempts to sabotage Lupin, but fails as Lupin’s driving skills are superb. However, this sabotage attempt does cause Zenigata, who’s in another race car tailing Lupin, to slow down.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

At a blind spot on the track, Jigen enters the race with an identical car to Lupin’s while Lupin exits. He takes a motorcycle to the hotel. Disguised as a plumber, Lupin is given access to the facility, only to damage the water pipes and cause a flood. Lupin then rescues Fujiko before replacing Jigen on the track. He laps other drivers, secretly planting tiny explosives on their cars, then wins the race.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

Zenigata is frustrated Lupin appeared to commit no crime. However, Scorpion have a bomb in Lupin’s trophy. He tosses it before it explodes, then sets off his own explosions. Fujiko shows up and gives Zenigata proof of Lupin’s actions. In return, Zenigata gives Fujiko her arrest warrant. Fujiko leaves while Lupin escapes Zenigata. He shows up in the back of Fujiko’s car to get his revenge.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

Thoughts/Review

Although I watched this series MANY years ago (with terrible, bootleg subtitles), I decided to go ahead and rewatch the series with official subtitles from Amazon. This was prompted by a Lupin fan and blog reader (The French Lupin III Fan), so lets get things going with Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

A Different Lupin

Outside of the non-familiar OP Theme music (I forgot it was different), the first thing that struck me about Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01 is how different it is from what I’m used to. Normally, Lupin is out to commit some theft. Here, Lupin is in a Grand Prix race with a Formula 1 car. The franchise has shown Lupin to be a superb driver, and now we know why.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

Still, the oddities continue as Lupin isn’t out to steal anything. He’s let some criminal organization known as Scorpion lure him into a trap. As such, his whole goal is to not only win the race, but to land a massive blow to Scorpion. Unfortunately, the episode doesn’t say why Scorpion views Lupin as such a threat, they need to spend a massive ton of money just to kill him in a supposed racing accident.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

Finally, there’s Zenigata. He too has entered the race in an attempt to nab Lupin. The episode has him think some exposition, so that you know the history of the two characters. Further, we are told that Zenigata has been attempting to nab Lupin for years. That aside, I’m not sure why Zenigata couldn’t just arrest Lupin without being in the race himself.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

I got the feeling that Zenigata believed that Lupin was going to commit a crime on the track. When that failed, I guess Lupin’s crime was blowing up stuff after Scorpion tried to kill him? This was a sham race, and Lupin took down a criminal organization trying to kill him. So none of Zenigata’s actions made sense.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

The Familiar

There were some familiar things in Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01. For a start, there’s Lupin’s relationship with Fujiko. He calls her his lover, and I believe that is true. But as Fujiko is want to do, she betrays Lupin, even after he rescued her from being massively sexually assaulted (and possibly raped), then killed. That’s gratitude for you, but then Fujiko was always working for Zenigata in this episode, not Lupin.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

Also, we have the traditional Lupin in disguise. However, for this episode, his disguise is pretty mild, consisting of a plumbers outfit, beard, and glasses.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

Jigen was the other familiar element in the episode. As normal, he has Lupin’s back. And he even entered the race for a time to allow Lupin to save Fujiko.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

Finally, we have the classic Lupin escapes, where he was handcuffed to Zenigata, but then manages to attach said handcuff to something else. In this case, a wrecked racing car. Also, he just impossibly ends up in the back of Fujiko’s car. I’ve seen him do similar stuff in other titles.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

In the end, Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01 is kind of a strange episode in that it isn’t a typical Lupin adventure. In fact, it seems almost like Lupin is channeling Bugs Bunny when he deals with Zenigata. And it doesn’t have the classic theme that we are all used to. However, it was okay for what it was in setting the table for this franchise.

Lupin the 3rd: Part 1 01

 

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