First Look: Lupin the Third: Part 5

Alternative title(s): Lupin III vs Social Media, Lupin Trois 2018, The Great Bitcoin Heist
Manga Adaptation by TMS Entertainment
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Lupin and friends stole from the wrong evil tech conglomerate, and now their faces are all over the Internet! But even the power of social media is no match for the master thief, Lupin III!

Iro’s verdict: Stealing the Show

I’ve never been super into Lupin III (I only know the most basic of basics), and while 2015’s “Part IV” installment seemed decent enough, it failed to hook me past the first episode or two. Thus, I’m happy to report that the premiere of Part 5 was a riotous romp through France, full of fun gadgets and gentlemanly thievery. I’m not sure the entire Internet angle would work if Lupin wasn’t already a bit of an artifact, but instead it becomes hilarious. Bitcoin is still cold hard cash, right? Social media means everyone is a cop! If this show can keep coming up with clever ways to leverage the franchise’s legacy against new, modern obstacles,¬†Part 5 is in the running to be one of the season’s best.

Zigg’s verdict: Part Five Stars

This was an absolutely delightful premiere episode which did maybe the best job yet of blending the slick heist drama of Lupin with the bumbling comedy ensemble version of the character, then throwing in a bunch of totally unexpected modern day references to up the ante. ‘Lupin versus bitcoin bros’ is such a compelling concept it barely needs any fleshing out, but there’s a really great balance here between traditional Lupin hijinks and some new technological twists. Relocating the action to France gives it a unique atmosphere and a borrowed Gallic charm that immediately makes it stand out from most shows, and also means TMS can go town on lush rural backgrounds and crumbling stone villas. The stylized animation is outstanding, the character designs are faithful yet subtly updated in all the right ways, the animation is full of vim and vigour, and even the soundtrack is appropriately brassy and slinky. What’s not to like?

Gee’s verdict: Currently Trending

I’ve always been a fan of Lupin III’s¬†ability to take on multiple interpretations across the generations. From the lighthearted Castle of Cagliostro to Takeshi Koike’s stylish noir tales set in the Lupin universe, Lupin III has taken on a variety of tones to its crooked capers and hijinks. That said, at its core Lupin III has always been about the gentleman thief’s elaborate heists, and for better or worse, is something of a familiar formula. It’s what makes this new TV anime so interesting. The elevator pitch of “Lupin and the gang vs. social media” is one that’s rife with potential and this premier has already proven its potential. The concept of a bunch of evil techbros using crowdsourcing to hunt down Lupin is a fantastic twist and introduces an interesting new challenge for our heroes. It would appear we need not worry that this new take on Lupin III would mean giving up on the old hijinks. Between the heists, ridiculously stylish car chases, and tricky sleight of hand, it seems this premier episode also served to reassure us that at least for now, this new show is going to be all about Lupin using his familiar tricks against new obstacles. I’m all for it and haven’t been this interested in the potential of a new Lupin III anime since Takeshi Koike handled the franchise. Here’s hoping it can maintain the momentum.

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