Episode 04, "Hand Me My Gun"
Synopsis: Jigen's time to shine! Suffering a toothache, our favorite wide brim-hatted gunman seeks help at a small town hospital, where he befriends a old man named Nino and a lady doctor named Livia. But the town is in the grip of "Non Lethal Eric", a sadist who enjoys to shoot people to see them suffer, and his gang is paying a strictly uninsured visit at the end of pistols! What will Jigen do when his pistol is stolen and his mouth in pain? A Lupin episode sans Lupin, where Jigen may need intensive care!
I've been holding off on getting new reviews up because lately I've had to wait for the Japanese rips with subtitles. After these initial four episodes nobody subbed the Italian version and the Japanese version wasn't available in Italy (ruining kind of a cool feature Italian TV was utilizing). For some reason it's taking forever for this show to get subbed. I really wish Funimation or Discotek had picked this up and did a simulcast stream.
This is a fairly low key episode, and maybe the weakest of the initial four that aired in Italy. I do love some Jigen episodes, like that episode in the second TV series where he's trying to get a defector across the Berlin border (Cold War era). This one? Ehhh, it feels like this sort of thing has been done before. For instance, it starts with Jigen having a toothache, borrowing from some past episodes and features, where Jigen can't fire straight because he can't concentrate with the toothache (a variation of his hat being missing causing him to be unable to line up a shot), but since he can't find a dentist, goes right to the hospital, where he becomes involved in some ruckus, involving a woman he reluctantly helps. A weak beginning to an episode that only redeems itself in the final act.
There is, at least in passing, a fairly interesting moral quandry in this episode. The gangster who rules over the town, preventing people from owning guns, has a reputation for never actually killing his victims, though he injures them badly by having a circle of gunmen fire on them. However, he's only "Non Lethal Eric" because the doctor Livia is able to just barely save his victims' lives, but at the cost of them becoming "living dead". She feels that she is complicit in his crimes, since his reputation for not killing is entirely reliant on her skills as a surgeon. I suppose law enforcement just isn't interesting in catching a guy unless he murders people? Kind of a shaky premise there, but okay, guess I'll suspend belief.
Jigen, meanwhile, has no trouble whatsoever using lethal force, and at the end of the episode, no surgery is going to fix what happens to Eric and his gang. It's weird that the episode is kind of ho-hum until the gunmen try to take Jigen on directly, and then suddenly a deadly bloodbath. Eric does not go out well. It might be the most violent episode I've seen, but it's this odd punctuation at the end of kind of a flat, uneven episode that Jigen spends mostly as a spectator.
The episode also does this odd thing where we don't really find out what happened in the final showdown until Inspector Zenigata comes onto the scene in the aftermath and tells the local detective what must've happened. It's only after this we get an epilogue where Lupin finally appears and chides Jigen for not really getting his tooth taken care of.
Sort of a shaggy dog tale, really. It's a pretty steep drop from the previous one.
2 out of 5
(Also, this episode is like an NRA-sponsered PSA. Weeeeeak.)