What’s it about ?
The Lupin the IIIrd franchise has been around for decades (that’s where Miyazaki himself got his start), cranking out at least a new TV-movie a year ; this is the first new TV series in quite a while though.
Don’t let that history intimidate you, though ; not only is the franchise continuity-light to begin with, but this series goes back to basics, with the first meeting of Lupin the IIIrd & Fujiko.
Lupin the IIIrd, grandson of the original gentleman-thief. A thief himself, and so good at it that he’s getting a bit bored, to be honest. He’s now at the point where he’s warning the cops beforehand, because that’s more fun.
Fujiko Mine, Lupin’s sexy new rival. They collide on the same score, and it’s slightly irritated fascination at first sight.
Inspector Zenigata, the tireless policeman always on Lupin’s tail. This series makes a noble try at giving him some credibility, mostly by giving him a whiny sidekick (voiced by Yuki Kaji, of course ! Though he’s less annoying than usual, at least…) so that he’ll look better.
The score of the week involves a depraved cult leader trafficking rare narcotics on their private island… Oh, who cares, it’s just a backdrop for the Lupin/Fujiko interplay and an excuse for elaborate set pieces anyway.
This clearly makes a bid for the best-looking show of the season. It’s got an impressive budget for the action set pieces, and a rough, artsy style that makes nearly every shot interesting to look at.
A word of warning : this is a sexy series, and Fujiko regularly gets topless and/or nearly naked over the course of the episode.
I really hope that ain’t the regular OP, because that pretentious voiceover sounds like it’s going to get annoying very quickly.
But there’s something more beyond the mere dazzle. This is a series with a point to make : Fujiko uses her body as a weapon on every possible occasion, however degrading that may be ; and the OP monologue unsubtly points out she may well be a masochist, addicted to that thrill. I’m not quite sure whether this show is arguing it makes her inferior to Lupin (he outclasses her nearly every step on the way, mostly thanks to his “I can do offscreen whatever the plot needs me to” powers).
Still, they’ve got chemistry, the show is gorgeous, and heist anime are rare enough for me not to be picky. I’m in.