Episode 06, "Prison of Love"
Synopsis: Fujiko goes undercover at a private girl's school to get close enough to a girl to steal her valuable pendant. However, the girl turns out to be Zenigata's assistant, Oscar, in disguise. He's gone undercover himself to get both Fujiko and Lupin. When Lupin arrives on campus, he seemingly falls for the trap. However, it turns out that Fujiko and Lupin have outsmarted Oscar after all.
Predictability doesn't always produce disappointment. For example, I wasn't surprised or disappointed that an episode about Fujiko teaching in an a private girl's school contained Fujiko kissing a girl, and liking it (the taste of her cherry chapstick). You've got a nod to shows like Oniisama E and Maria-sama ga Miteru that also take place in private girl's schools and contain similar elements. It wasn't an out-and-out lez fest, but did have some of the markers, and that's a-okay with this typical heterosexual male.
We can see that Oscar is a pretty twisted guy. He obviously has a great disdain for Fujiko, who he sees as a "spitoon" (read: cumbucket). At the end of the episode he is practically murderous in thought. However, one wonders whether or not he was acting entirely as he played the young girl. That is to say, he may find himself somewhat attracted to Fujiko, based on what he said when she was knocked out, though he loathes what she represents. He's either superb actor or a very confused young man, or more probably, both. He obviously will do anything for his beloved Zenigata, but all his work goes to pot when he's outsmarted by Fujiko, enraging him. But why did it bother him so? Just look at his interactions with Fujiko as he poses as the young girl. Nobody can fake blushing. But he obviously has issues with women, as he even violently stripped the girl he was posing as for her uniform.
I was surprised when Lupin came onto the scene. He was obviously the person who released Fujiko from her bonds, but what was he doing there, anyway? Is he just keeping an eye out for Fujiko? He pretends to fall for Oscar's trap but apparently escapes when Oscar is in histerics over Zenigata. My question is, what does Lupin get out of this? Is it all part of the same plan to get their hands on the papers by that physicist?
Another thing I don't quite get is, what was the deal with those schoolgirls having guns? Why were they working with Oscar? That part didn't make a lick of sense.
I did, however, appreciate the nods to Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, a classic bildungsroman novel of an ordinary man who tries to change himself by joining a group of elites. Fujiko quotes it when she says, "Women never show themselves in their natural form" and "They are not so vain as men, who conveive themselves to be always amiable enough, just as nature produced them." Fujiko herself is always wearing many covers, many disguises, so what is her "natural form"? This series is all about the formation of the Lupin crew, people who are also experiencing bildungsroman, a growth, a coming of age, so it's appropriate.
Overall, some of the weirdness of the episode is a tad off-putting, like Fujiko's strange flashbacks and the girls with the guns, making it seem a little silly, but not in a good way. It seems like the episode is merely setting up something for later and trying to do little else but that. It was weird that Zenigata barely spoke in this episode, and showed little zeal. This series really isn't using him much, which is a shame. However, it was a pretty entertaining and stimulating episode, even if it wasn't as good as the last one.
Fujiko better get Batman to take care of those Court of Owls folks from her past.
4 out of 5
4 out of 5