Lupin III and Zenigata in: Road to the Border
Overview (Spoilers Below)
We begin right where we left off with Lupin staring down the barrel of Fujiko’s gun. Nobody thinks she’s going to shoot him except for Fujiko and Lupin, who both insist whatever relationship they once had is long over. Before she can shock the world, Inspector Zenigata drives straight into the ruins to rescue Lupin and Ami. Fujiko shoots, but her bullet misses, setting off a bomb in Lupin’s extended hairpiece. This may seem like a one-off joke but likely comes back into play at the end of the episode. As they speed off in Zenigata’s car, Fujiko finds herself in a supposed standoff with Jigen and Goemon.
On the road, Lupin and Zenigata have a heart-to-heart and the inspector seems genuinely sympathetic over his adversary’s remorseful love life. Unfortunately, their male bonding is interrupted when that pesky drone destroys their vehicle, forcing the unlikely trio to flee into the bush. They soon come across a desert which Ami insists is only 50 kilometers long. And since she’s read roughly 83 e-books on deserts, she claims to be an expert.
The sheltered girl learns the hard lesson that reading about something isn’t the same as experiencing it. While her research must’ve romanticized desert life, actually slogging through the arid heat proves excruciating for our inexperienced heroine. Within a few hours, she curses the desert and passes out. Lupin and the inspector trade off carrying her until they both begin to hallucinate. (Zenigata’s mirage takes the form of a camel while Lupin sees a group of delectable “babes.”)
For some reason, the assassin drone and the Bwandan military helicopters can’t find them in the desert. But not long after Ami finds a windmill and a hefty supply of water, the Lupin Game recommences. The military chopper attacks first, shooting missiles at them—really bad missiles. Those weak projectiles only start a small fire which Lupin and Zenigata appear impervious to. The pilots then pursue Ami, who sets off a windmill-powered trap that causes the helicopter to crash and explode.
Zenigata and Ami cross the border while Lupin remains in Bwanda dodging bullets from a sniper who the online community believes is the mysterious Drone Fighter. Despite the inspector’s plan of starting a few brush fires to blind the sharpshooter, one bullet seems to strike Lupin in the head, killing him. Of course, before the sniper shot, he spat out a very familiar-looking bent cigarette.
Another fine outing, and this time some of Lupin the Third’s major characters got more play. Zenigata, in particular, returned to the action and once again humanized his relationship with Lupin, something we haven’t seen in quite a while. One highlight occurred when Ami put their unusual rapport into perspective. Just because they’re on opposite sides of the law doesn’t mean they can’t be friends or share a certain type of love for each other. Love isn’t always about kissing or sex, and if you are in somebody’s orbit, so intimately, for so long, feelings are bound to develop.
This season, Zenigata’s excuse for aiding Lupin is that he doesn’t want anybody to kill him before he can bring the elusive thief to justice. However, over the years viewers have seen Zenigata show actual compassion for his target. And on the rare occasions when he captured Lupin, their relationship did not end. Sure, in this instance, Lupin played it off as yet another “super funny” gay joke—blatantly mentioning the inspector’s penis—but he’s always been open about his comfort and warm feelings for his “Pops.”
So the Lupin Game has been shut down and only one person won the fifty million cryptocoin jackpot. Does anybody else feel this winner is none other than Fujiko Mine? There’s no doubt a fair amount of bad blood between her and Lupin, but it’s a little unrealistic to think she’d kill him over an alleged broken heart. It also appears that she’s in cahoots with Lupin and the gang since Jigen and Goemon had her dead to rights early on. Because what better way is there to end the dangerous Lupin Game than to fake the target’s death and collect a cool fifty million in the process?
But hey, maybe I’m way off base and Lupin really was shot in the head. It’d be a bold move with twenty episodes left in this season, but then again when hasn’t Lupin the Third defied expectations?