I’ve loved the Lupin III series for longer than I knew why. There’s just something about a gentleman thief and overpowered crew getting into wacky hijinks before always seeming to make it out alive that’s appealing in a world so stifled by insufferable formalities. What happens when an anti-hero from the past arrives in the present laden with smartphones, drones, and everything digital that could usurp his throne, and cause his reputation to lay prone?
Rating: ★★★★★ [5/5]
Adapt or die.
In this Media Meandry series, we meander through the presented topic, so let’s consider how technology has changed specifically in the realm of writing, then move out from there. I’ve been able to write some of these essays while I’m away from my home-base, the apartment-mansion, on two smartphones and one tablet. Even within the past year, it’s made quite a difference in the speed at which I can publish, and though I have many hurdles still that I would like to iron out, these things take time.
What would happen if these barriers were removed?
I could then write at an even more fast pace, with even more consideration for capturing “my present moment” than before. Similarly in this final installment of the series with series creator Monkey Punch’s involvement, we see Lupin and crew adapting or stumbling to adapt to changes in technology. Lupin adapts quickly because it makes his work easier, whereas for Jigen and Goemon, their crafts are a gun and sword respectively, so they do not need to adapt immediately.
Their crafts are in place – until they’re not.
Outside of these plot-heavy episodes, the crew gets themselves into and out of fun antics across a fictionalized version of Europe and beyond where physics just doesn’t seem to apply especially to cars and guns and the rule of cool is the only rule in town. They steal and are distinctly bad people, except the “gentleman thief” motif applies here because even though Lupin is sleazy, he’s never a bad guy. We can explore the darkness of our hearts through a character like this more than we can just by considering our traditional moralities.
He lies, cheats, and steals yet they’re always victimless crimes.
Even when he hurts other characters in this world or outsmarts Detective Zenigata, it’s just a fun cartoon, and even when it goes into serious territory, it’s always with a light touch. We live in a world of formalities where we have to dress up to impress people that we don’t respect. What if operated our lives on our terms? That’s where Lupin shines. Wanting whatever you want and getting it is the dream because that means that we aren’t beholden to artificialities. If there is a jewel that is impossible to obtain, Lupin will obtain it.
Lupin reminds us that our goals in life aren’t impossible.
We have to keep moving through the adventure of life and not give up. We will encounter hardships that will scratch us but never hurt us because similarly to the over fifty-year run of Lupin III, there’s nothing that should happen to Lupin to prevent him from appearing in next week’s issue or episode. We, too, in life should remember that even if we’re fired from our jobs, lose out on a promotion, don’t get the call, don’t get the shot, don’t get the offer, don’t get what we want, that’s just a temporary set back.
We can get it if we want it.
There’s a sort of philosophy-in-action that applies throughout the series where even when it’s purely a silly cartoon or manga, there are still times when we might consider certain themes. Are the good guys that much better than the bad guys? Especially in this final series, some characters present themselves as good guys but do bad things, whereas Lupin and crew are bad guys but always seem to do good things. They positively affect the lives of people around them, even if some fellow criminals are negatively affected.
We all live in this sort of moral gray area.
If you know you’re a bad guy but do good things, are you still a bad guy? Maybe not completely? I think we’re often surprised by people in real life doing bad things because we expect perfection out of everyone. Lupin may have superhuman abilities but he’s not infallible so it’s easier to see his weaknesses. As a flawed hero, he can be the type to steal from the rich and give to the poor or keep the riches for himself, if no one needs a Robin Hood rescue. It’s in that universe where we can escape for a boost of self-confidence and motivation.
I think that’s why we watch celebrities and other people with massive success.
Whether they obtained their riches through legitimate or illegitimate terms, whether we like them or hate them, they are successful. They will never have to worry about putting in a job application at the company we would need to apply for to hopefully get a job because they’re able to live on their terms. Even if they have to adapt to the times and are charmingly ignorant of the changes, they can still figure it out. As long as we don’t binge-watch or overindulge in these sorts of fantasies, we can learn valuable lessons from these sorts of characters.
Even when Lupin is near death, he can still laugh.
That sort of cheerful attitude is something that we should use in our lives. We should be willing to evade our equivalent to Detective Zenigata, constantly chasing Lupin, with the same grin and upbeat attitude. Why let the darkness of our pasts or present ruin us? If Lupin can figure out ways to do the impossible, we too can figure out ways to do what seems impossible for us, even if we’re not willing to steal it. Adapting to our new lifestyles and embrace the good that technology has to offer.
Then fight off the bad aspects of technology.
|Sources: My personal and viewing experiences.|
|Inspirations: Just jamming after the first sentence.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays and Series Reviews.|
|Screenshot: I had this as my desktop background for probably the longest in a few years, so it’s become what I associate the show with, I guess.|
|Written On: 2020 February 03 [From 4:02am to 5:04am. This was a bit too scattered of an essay, I suppose.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 February 03 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|