Overview (Spoilers Below)
Ami is still getting used to life at her private girls’ academy. While she enjoys the learning, the structure, and the food, making friends does not come easy for her. The girls think hacking is weird and shameful, and they don’t warm to her because of it. Ami doesn’t mind the loneliness too much but is still pleased when she meets an interesting companion. Her name is Princess Dolma, of the Kingdom of Padar. But Ami doesn’t like her because of her status. Rather, she is intrigued when she shoots a crow with an arrow from two-hundred paces back and then hangs it upside-down from the quad’s decorative fountain.
Their friendship is immediately tested when a busload of terrorists invades the campus. Their plan is to hold the princess and her other wealthy classmates for ransom—or at the very least execute some of the students to embolden their terrorist agenda. Luckily, Dolma wears a valuable necklace called the Bloody Teardrop which draws the attention of a few specific thieves.
Lupin and the boys have trouble breaching the school’s perimeter since the terrorists blocked all the entrances and main roads. Fujiko, on the other hand, has infiltrated the school, posing as a new professor who already has a super nerdy teacher wrapped around her little finger. She recognizes Ami even before the terrorist invasion and singles her out as a potential ally.
When the terrorists attack, everyone is taken by surprise except for Dolma who uses her bow and arrow to evade capture—but not for long. Fujiko, under the guise of a timid professor, excuses herself to the restroom but instead heads straight to where they’re keeping the young super-hacker. In a private room, well away from anything electronic, Fuji knocks out a terrorist/potential pedophile and unties Ami.
Even though the terrorists blocked the internet, Ami still has control of the school’s internal cameras and electricity, so the girls hatch a plan. Dressed in next to nothing, Fujiko seduces the head gunmen and places her delicate hands all over them. When the boss gets upset, recognizing her familiarity as a ruse, he raises a gun just as Ami kills all the lights. By touching the men, she placed a luminescent chemical on their bodies, making them easy to see and shoot in the dark.
Once Lupin and company finally arrive on the scene the worst is over, and Fujiko is about to flee with the necklace after saving Dolma’s life. But the nerdy professor has other ideas. He claims to be from the CIA and is actually there to protect the princess from the terrorists and the filthy thieves who stopped them. He wants Dolma to come with him to “save Padar.” But can she trust him after a day filled to the brim with dishonesty?
With the triumphant return of Ami, Lupin the Third is back to its very best. Terrorist plots, CIA intrigue, shooting crows for fun and profit—what could be better? Maybe it’s just me, but the Ami plotlines this season just feel more sophisticated than anything else the creators have to offer. The character is mysterious and chic, and the capers go well beyond a few thieves trying to steal a diamond… or something. The treasure/Macguffin often acts as a catalyst for a bigger, far more enriched story.
Ami certainly feels encased in the larger Lupin universe even though she’s only been in six episodes of the show’s nearly fifty-year run. It was touching to hear her compose a heartfelt note to Inspector Zenigata, and for the inspector—who is her guardian now—to get all bent out of shape when nobody at the school would answer his call. Expect to see more of Zenigata later on in this arc.
Dolma is an interesting and appreciated addition to the cast. Earlier in the season, Lupin, Jigen, Goemon, and the inspector certainly bonded with young Ami, but none of them really “got” her. Dolma, while very different than the young hacker, speaks to her on a level nobody ever has. And after suffering so many years of isolation and uncertainty, Ami needs a friend as understanding as to the princess. I hope to see this budding companionship prosper despite all the trials and tribulations it is certain to face.
Lupin and the boys played a background role in this episode, which was a good thing. In the season’s first arc, Fujiko and Ami had about eighteen seconds of screen time together and that wasn’t nearly enough to create anything magical. Seeing these two larger-than-life characters play off each other was a well-deserved treat, and we better see more of it as the back half of the season unravels.