Episode 24, "What Crooks Love"
Synopsis: Tomoe discovers that hypnotizing Lupin III isn't as easy as she thinks. The influence of Lupin's friends in his mind prove more powerful than her power of suggestion. The past Lupin forgot is finally recalled as he confronts his teacher. After this, an injured Lupin duels Mattea and manages to counter his opponent, despite her fierce attacks. Zenigata takes Mattea into custody. After obtaining the special box he once stole from his grandfather's vault, Lupin and his gang decide to burn down the mansion. Lupin refuses to be tied down to his past, as he continues his path with his friends, on the run from the law as usual.
We come to the conclusion of Lupin III Part VI, which was... a mixed bag, honestly.
Speaking strictly about this episode, it was quite good. It was nice seeing that no matter what kind of hypnotic suggestions planted in Lupin's mind, his friends and allies, his gang, are planted in his psyche to help him shake them off. Because of this, he's able to, with his gang, pull one over on his "mother". I'm not sure how I feel about Lupin just outright executing Tomoe in cold blood, but it's not as though she didn't deserve it.
Lupin's fight with Mattea, while short, was pretty neat, with him using roof tiles to throw off her knives, then getting close enough to just pummel her over and over again. They end in kind of a tie, despite this, because Mattea was trained well, but it was still entertaining. And while she has doubtlessly killed many people over her lifetime, at least Ari wasn't one of them, her having finally recovered from Mattea's attack way back in episode 19. But given that Tomoe was all about contingency plans, isn't it possible more women like Mattea are out there still doing Tomoe's bidding, despite her death? They should do at least one episode about that the next time there's a Lupin series (not to mention bringing back Albert and Mercedes). But Mattea's character arc ended satisfactory, with her deciding to not let her instructor decide who lives or dies, leaving that to herself from now on.
Lupin remembers his past, so far as the incident with Tomoe in the past went, at least. He was the one who stole the box and the jewel from his grandfather's safe, not her. He did it for her, though, and she kept the box presumably to keep Lupin from knowing she wasn't really his biological mother. But what exactly was in that box? The show does this non-reveal, like in the ending of Part V where Lupin "unmasks" for Fujiko, leaving the viewer to decide whether it was something that could have changed the status quo or not. But I, and Lupin, have the same answer to that question: It ultimately doesn't matter. Lupin lives his life as he pleases, not letting other people, aside from maybe his friends, dictate what he does.
As far as Lupin III Part VI in general, it's probably the weakest of the newer Lupin shows, overall. That doesn't mean it was terrible, there were quite a few good episodes, but there were quite a few mediocre, or even awful ones. I loved the tribute to Kiyoshi Kobayashi with "Episode 0", or "The Times", which lampshaded the longevity of the franchise and the changing times. I really dug the Sherlock Holmes arc and its twists. The Hemingway episode was a highlight. As was the episode where Jigen was at the wedding. And the Tomoe arc was excellent, for the most part. But there were plenty of disappointments, too, like the "time travel" two-parter. There was also that abominable anti-science "Darwin's Bird" episode which bothered the shit out of me. And in between the good and the bad, a whole boatload of mediocrity, like the Goemon fashion episode or the mermaid fish episode.
If I collect this series in the future, it probably won't be a priority purchase. I was super eager to get Part V as soon as it was available (and it took forever!). This? I'll see if there's anything else I want at the time and if there isn't, I'll get this. But an average Lupin III series is still better than a lot of other anime.
4.5 out of 5 (for the episode)
Pretty Good, Not Truly Great (for the series)