"The Dream of Italy, Part 1"
Synopsis: Determined to dicipher the writings of a departed flame, Rebecca tracks down a hint to a MI6 outpost, where they capture her and take her to a hidden base. Rebecca's butler enlists Lupin and the gang to extract her from the facility, whose security seems inpenetrable. But our sideburned swindler loves a challenge, and inacts a plan that throws the British agents into chaos. However, it may not be so easy to get Agent Nix to cooperate, and when he gets angry, things may get out of hand! How can Lupin save his nascent wife from a dozen men with a license to kill? The next page in the book is turned in this battle of wits!
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but MI6, which is British intelligence, works out of, you know, England, right? Why are they all up in Italy's business? It's not like Italy is an enemy nation and they need to keep a close eye on them (it's probably why there are only about a dozen of them working in that base). It's not exactly a hotbed of terrorist activity or anything (though there's definitely organized crime). Don't the Italians have their own intelligence counterpart that the writers could use? But I guess most intelligence agencies work outside of their country of origin, depending on their function (CIA vs FBI). Whatever the case, MI6 is up to some dark shit in this, because they don't think twice about torturing a young woman for information.
Torture, by the way? Not a good way of getting information. You catch more flies with honey, old chaps.
You have to admire Lupin's scheme in this episode. Rather than his usual gambit of disguising himself as somebody, he uses the tight security of the MI6 facility to his team's advantage. Throwing the MI6 staff into a panic by imitating their supervisor and convincing each agent that they were the only trustworthy one and the others were suspect was a great plan that had Nix saving Rebecca for him. It's good to see Lupin take control of a situation without the need of masks or gadgets.
Unfortunately, Lupin's group lingered on the street for too long and the other agents caught up, giving Rebecca's butler the impetus to put his trump card into play: threatening Nix's family with a (supposed) explosive placed in a suitcase outside their home. I'm not sure whether or not he was bluffing at this point, but I assume he was. This has two effects. For one, it enrages Nix until he flies into some kind of demon trance that causes him to beat down everyone in his way, and because of this, when the MI6 agents are too busy dealing with him, Lupin and the gang can escape. It's a good thing, too. Nix was freeing the beast on his colleagues. But you know they were badass because when Zenigata came by, one dude could only mutter, "Stay out of this." Wow. That's dedication.
A lot of questions are raised that this episode doesn't answer, but then, it's only part one. What is this "Dream of Italy" that's on everyone's mind? What's with Nix's irratic rage form? Why did Nix's boss want Rebecca so badly and what was that empty house she was ambushed at have to do with the book? Well, Lupin III is ready to study that tome of notes, and we'll see what conclusions can be made of it!
Overall, though, this is an excellent episode. I especially like that scene where Nix is fighting the fellow agent and the art/animation changes to a different style that reminds me of Kid's Story from The Animatrix. This is a high watermark for the franchise.
4.5 out of 5