This episode is a real family affair that perfectly balances the drama and the fun for the best episode in the series so far.
Last week’s Lupin Zero premiere delivered not only entertainment but nostalgia factor as well, reminding fans what it is they love about the crafty villain. Even as a teenager, it’s clear Lupin (voiced by Tasuku Hatanaka) is already a well-trained thief, ready to take over the family business. Whether or not his father will actually give his seal of approval still remains to be seen, but fans know that he will still grow up to be a master burglar regardless. Lupin Zero season 1, episode 3 gives viewers a fascinating look into something we haven’t gotten a lot of before, seeing multiple generations of the Lupin family interacting.
Lupin Zero season 1, episode 3 recap
The episode opens with Lupin and Yoko out enjoying drinks together. He mentions Jigen is out of town with his father in Cambodia when two large men approach, telling Lupin they are here to “fetch him.” Lupin refuses, causing the men to draw their guns. Yoko attempts to protect him, but Lupin manages to jam their weapons using the stirrers from their drinks. It seems all he wants is to embarrass them, as Lupin then reveals he will go with the men. He already knows who they are and that they work for his grandfather, who will find a way to get his hands on him regardless.
Lupin arrives at his grandfather’s mansion to find the man in his bedroom lying with multiple scantily clad young women. The walk from the door to the bed is littered with boobytraps that Lupin manages to dodge pretty easily, but when he reaches the older man, Lupin does not seem happy to see him. It seems Lupin’s father has forbidden him from interacting with his grandfather, Arsene Lupin I. However, his grandfather doesn’t care, saying his son, Arsene Lupin II, “has absolutely no grace as a thief.” Lupin says he isn’t interested in getting between his father’s and grandfather’s issues. The women in bed agree that they shouldn’t be fighting as a family, but when one of the women “speaks out of turn,” Arsene Lupin I rips out two of her teeth to teach her a lesson.
After his grandfather’s crazy display, Lupin demands to know why he was summoned in the first place, only to find out he’s been called here to participate in a “game.” Out pops three other contestants: Marion Hood, Phoolan, and the Blonde Genius. The contest winner will inherit Arsene Lupin I’s entire legacy and estate. If Lupin wins, as his grandson, he will also inherit the title of Lupin III. At first, Lupin seems skeptical but agrees and signs the contract to participate.
After signing their contracts, the participants are sent running through the forest, with no weapons allowed. As they run, the Blonde Genius reveals to Lupin that he’s essentially his replacement, having been there learning under his grandfather since Lupin moved out. The group arrives at the family training grounds, a large area filled with dangerous trails and puzzles. To win, one of them must figure out how to make it inside the secret compound and be the first to get inside a locked door to lay claim to the inheritance. They all split up, looking for ways to make it inside. Lupin accidentally finds a trap lever that flips him in, but once inside, he finds himself struggling to dodge the excessively deadly weapons and booby traps.
Back at the mansion, viewers see Arsene Lupin I is sick and preparing for surgery as he watches the contestants from his bedroom window.
Inside the compound are a series of traps and trials, including lasers, infrared sensors, and safe cracking. After escaping death with Phoolan’s help, she asks him what made Lupin agree to this in the first place, as he doesn’t seem in it for money. Lupin reveals he’s there because he’s angry, especially with his grandfather, who only cares about him being a thief, and his father, who stole him away from his grandfather just to abandon him anyway. She seems to understand, saying he has a right to be angry and allows him to accompany her as a human shield.
Before reaching the last room, each player is given one of four random items to use, including bandages, a knife, a gun, or a key. Lupin spins for his item and enters, only to see Marion and the Blonde Genuis are already there as well. As the room suddenly explodes, the group finds themselves blown to the very door they’re supposed to open to receive their prize. That’s when Arsene Lupin I appears on a nearby tv screen to reveal that the door will not open without the special key spun for earlier. Since no one knows who has which item, it will be up to them to kill the other three contestants in order to steal the key.
As they try to figure out who amongst them has what, Lupin deduces that whoever has the gun must have a limited number of rounds, or they would’ve simply shot everyone by now. Lupin thinks he’s figured out who has it, but before he can say anything, the Blonde Genius is shot by Marion, and he is attacked as well. Marion manages to get on top of Lupin, halting Phoolan with his gun when she attempts to help him. Marion reaches into Lupin’s pocket, swiping the key. He reveals that as Lupin spoke, he was inching his way closer to the door, giving himself away.
Marion attempts to use the key, only to find it doesn’t work. That’s when Lupin reveals the key in his pocket was actually to his family garage, and he had the knife all along. Before his confusion can even settle in, Marion is stabbed by spikes through the door.
It turns out the Blonde Genuis was the one with the key. As Lupin takes it from him, he wakes up, and viewers see he is wearing a bulletproof vest just in case. Paramedics arrive on the scene, but when they run off to grab Marion but ignore the injured Blonde Genius, Lupin gets suspicious. Phoolan mentions that the bullet was not real but made of wax as it crumbles in her hand. It is then that Lupin finally realizes this entire game wasn’t to find a successor but a ploy for his grandfather to steal a healthy person’s functioning heart the whole time.
We then see the contracts were a fraud the entire time, written in disappearing ink. Luckily, Lupin knew better than to sign his contract in real ink as well, as he knows the only way to inherit anything from a real thief is to steal it. While Lupin walks home, he discovers the real Phoolan tied to a tree in the forest, causing him to wonder who helped him during the game. The viewers then see it was actually Lupin’s father in disguise the entire time.
The episode ends with Lupin and Jigen smoking together, exchanging stories of their time apart, and lamenting how their parents treat them as property.
While this was another fun episode of Lupin Zero, it also revealed quite a bit of interesting backstory about the characters as well. The fun thing about the Lupin franchise is that it’s always somehow managed to teeter the line between being wholesome and mature all at the same time. It’s not afraid to be fun, but still tackles edgier plotlines or character backstories to remind you that these are criminals, after all. The dynamic between Lupin, his father, and his grandfather is definitely one that’s more complicated than it initially comes off, and today’s conflict managed to reveal a lot about all of them and their relationship, even without seeing them all interact directly. I wasn’t expecting those little serious moments, but they were a welcome change of pace from the crazy antics.
The crimes and mystery in Lupin Zero have been fun, and today’s was probably the most entertaining yet because there were so many small twists involved. The antics never disappoint, but if Lupin can continue to capitalize on the strong family themes and emotions as well, it will only get better from here.
What did you think of Lupin Zero season 1, episode 3? Comment below.