5 Point Discussions – Lupin the III Part V 19: “A 7.62mm Mirage”

by Sage Ashford

Lupin gets involved in a deadly game of chess, where his life is in danger from a sniper who could take his life at any moment. The only thing keeping alive is Jigen, locked in a battle of snipers with his old friend. Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.

1. If  last episode spent a lot of time explaining the amount of work Lupin and the gang spend putting into their disguises, this episode serves to drive home why. Even when being relatively low-key, Lupin can’t even flirt with someone without the absurd  happening, as the waitress he’s talking to gets shot by a sniper. Learning more about what happened on the news later, Lupin realizes it’s the work of an old nemesis named Zylberstein, a very rich man who seemingly enjoys laying out Rube Goldbergian-esque death traps for the protagonist.
This time? It’s a game of chess played while a sniper is trying to blow Lupin’s brains out. Charming.

2. Episodes like this leave you wondering just how many enemies Lupin has. We’re aware of Inspector Zenigata, ever waiting in the wings should our legendary thief finally slip up without his usual dozen or so back up plans. But “7.62mm Mirage” introduces an antagonist to Lupin’s life we’ve never heard of but he’s apparently run into enough times to be used to him. Someone with resources enough to hire a sniper talented enough to keep pace with Jigen, and help him set up a death trap for Lupin. I never even questioned it while watching the episode; Lupin’s a career criminal who’s got a career that’s over a decade long, there’s no way he hasn’t ticked off quite a few people. Given both his intelligence, resources, and network of friends, I could easily see Lupin having his own gallery of “rogues” he’s been outsmarting for years.

3. Lupin tries to avoid the challenge by simply staying out of sight for a few days, but is forced out of hiding when the sniper hits a cop in a completely unrelated incident. Forced to play by Zylberstein’s rules, he meets the eccentric older man in a deserted location surrounded by mountains: the perfect place for a sniper to hide out. Zylberstein makes it perfectly plain while he’d be fine taking the chess victory, he’d prefer to see Lupin’s brains blown out mid-game.
But Lupin got one of the world’s most talented deadshots on his team in Jigen, so the chess game takes a backseat to a pitched battle between two talented snipers. This was by no means the best fight scene we’ve gotten in this series, but it was pretty solid–and certainly played out more interestingly than a chess game–watching them strike and counter strike, taking advantage of each other’s mistakes. Things heat up for Jigen several times–literally, as eventually Mirage switches to explosive rounds to set the area around Jigen on fire. The only bad thing is neither Lupin or Jigen ever feel like they’re in real danger–they’re both invincible, so even when the scene is shot well it’s harder to build tension for characters who can’t come to real harm.

4. Jigen’s been attached at the hip of Lupin for so long it’s easy to forget he had an entire life before they started being Heterosexual (?) Life Partners. Though this mission starts out as doing clean up for Lupin’s past, Jigen’s past comes up as well when we learn the sniper hired to kill Lupin is Mirage, an old partner he used to work with. Mirage has the kind of cool origin that makes you wish she’d appear in more episodes: she was a refugee during a civil war who took advantage of the hunter skills she’d been taught by her parents to become a sniper when her refugee camp was attacked by some guerillas.
After the war ended, she became a sniper for hire, and wound up on the same side as Jigen, and only retired when she decided to have a child. She and Jigen both agree they’ll never meet one another again, which makes their match up now all the more unexpected.

5. It feels like this episode could have used a little more detail to it. The episode reveals it was actually Mirage’s daughter fighting Jigen the entire time, explaining how her mother had gotten sick and this was the only way she could pay for her treatments. Ever the gentleman, Lupin decides to cover the debt with the money he would have earned from beating Zylberstein.  That’s cool, but the episode ends with Jigen taking the girl’s rifle and telling her she should quit because she doesn’t have the talent of her mother.
It’s more than a little patronizing, as the character has a lot of depth and a deep tie to Jigen only to be written off as little more than an afterthought. They try to make up for it by saying they’re “saving” her from a life of murder and danger, but that would have meant more if she knew she was being saved or it had been the wish of her mother, who we never see outside of Jigen’s sepia-toned flashbacks. Instead it’s just two dudes who walk up, steal her sweet gun, and walk off into the sunset together. This is supposed to be a cool moment but it just felt more awkward than anything else.
Lupin the III Part 5 is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.

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