"Lupin's Day Off"
Synopsis: Lupin's been recruited by Fujiko to escort a dog to her obnoxious wealthy owner, and our blue jacket bandit turns courier, dragging Jigen and Goemon along. The travelling trio take a trip through the Italian countryside to meet their client on a cruiseship. However, the pooch is more trouble than they expected and all the while Zenigata's on their trail! Can they get their pet passenger to its destination to keep Lupin's promise to Fujiko? It's a show about (basically) nothing in this shaggy dog tale!
This is how you do a casual, stripped down Lupin episode. Though there's no caper and not much tension. It's a series of Murphy's Law at work, with Lupin and the group's seemingly easy job turning out to be more trouble than it was worth. One of the most amusing elements is, that, like in the previous episode, we see Lupin take on a more maundane task, but unlike that episode, this one had a lot of little interactions that really gave the characters an extra dimension and showed their humanity.
For instance, the episode begins with a conversation about Jigen's favorite animal, which is apparently the praying mantis (official insect of the state of Connecticut, go Nutmeg State!). The basis for his choice is that he thinks they're cool for having sickles for hands. Lupin claims that it would make it hard to smoke, but Jigen assures him to the contrary. The conversation moves to the sushi place Lupin's planning on treating his passengers to in exchange for their help (and company). The comrades have frequent Seinfeldian exchanges that I find enlightening and fleshing for their characters, like Jigen's annoyance that Lupin still does things for Fujiko or when he stole the wrong kind of cigarettes. There's a scene where Lupin and Jigen have to get out to push the Fiat when it runs out of gas. We discover that Goemon can't drive (doesn't even know which pedal the break is), isn't good at walking dogs, is awkward around beautiful women, and won't eat in between meals.
At one point, Lupin tries to extract from Jigen his hair cair secrets, and Jigen rebuffs his inquiry, leading Lupin to lament that outside of work, the three have little in common. But I think they're really more alike then they'd like to believe, because they're more than just these bold mythological figures of theiving, but people who have foibles, insecurities, and pet peeves, and while they don't always handle their issues the same, they have a great chemistry as a team.
Also, weird, that dog is a lesbian? I mean, there is homosexuality in nature, but it seems kind of a random element in this episode that the female dog is, well... a pussy hound, eschewing the attention of her large, obnoxious owner for a trio of pretty blonds. A dog after Lupin's own heart. It's too bad those three are going to continue calling her "Goemon". Life's ruff.
Even though this was a low-stakes episode with not a whole lot going for it in the plot development, I enjoyed the fun of the characters exchanging quippy lines and making smalltalk. And hey, they even used an instrumental of "Super Hero" from Part II at some point. Neat.
3.5 out of 5