Lupin III Part I Episode 03 Review

Episode 03, "Farewell, My Beloved Witch"




Synopsis: Lupin happens upon a troubled young woman named Linda, being chased by a group of criminals called the Killers-in-Killers. Teaming up with Jigen, he discovers that the syndicate wants a scientist named Dr. Heinlein's research which converts a certain flower, the Third Sun flower, into a powerful explosive. Linda is the doctor's assistant who was trying to leave their island laboratory, and the Killers wanted to ensure she stayed. Fujiko also wants the Third Sun flowers, but her plane is shot down by the Killers. Lupin is captured, but escapes with Jigen's assistance. Lupin, Jigen, and the scientist burn the Third Sun flowers, but Linda also dies. The scientist is killed and Lupin infiltrates the Killers' submarine to sabatoge their Third Sun-powered missile. In the end, the missile is disabled, but Lupin, Jigen, and Fujiko are left with nothing to show for it.





The Japanese word "majo" is a word that means "witch". It is comprised of the kanji "ma", which means "demon" or "evil spirit" and "jo" meaning "woman; female". Majo. Demon woman.


魔女 = witch


The title of the episode refers to a "witch", that is, a "demon woman" of some sort, later the same word used by Dr. Heinlein to describe Linda, his assistant. Apparently when the scientist was doing research involving the Third Sun flowers, he experimented on the poor woman, and she "became a witch". These are his exact words. Scientifically, while discovering a way to transform a kind of flower into an explosive, a scientist transformed a regular human being into a majo, a witch. With flowers.


A witch. He transformed her into a witch. With flowers.


Now, dear reader, I'm not sure if any of you are fluent in Japanese, but I need some advice. What is the best way, in Japanese, to describe the depths at which this plot element is baffling and stupid? Because I'm going to need a good Japanese phrase made up of the kanji for "fucking stupid" and "a waste of time". It would describe this episode to the letter.


Linda, Linda (Linda, Linda), Linda, Linda, Lindaaaaa.... (cue Blue Hearts).


How, in what way, is Linda a witch? Does she cast spells? Does she conjur evil spirits? Does she ride a broom into the night's sky, over the eye of the moon, to collect mushrooms and rat droppings for her wicked concoctions? Nope! Does she have a bubbling cauldron? Does she even have any kind of magic whatsoever? None. None whatsoever. Madoka and her friends would call Dr. Heinlein an imbecile. Linda is not a witch.


Linda is just a hippie chick. With long flowing hair a bandana, and a bubbly, free-spirited personality. She likes dancing through the flower fields, being chased around a tree, and just generally being airy and whimsical. She's not a witch. And honestly, I think Dr. Heinlein is a classic authoritarian who believes he's transformed Linda into a witch because he couldn't control her.


I mean, that has to be it, right? That this is social commentary about the 60s and early 70s? The girl is made a "witch", an abomination, by the power of "flowers". Flower power makes her something that the explosives-mixing mad scientist loathes, a reminder of his selling out to murderous psychopaths. So cowed is this spineless warmonger, that even if he can tear himself away from his research, he cannot suffer the girl to live, so he outright murders her, and the viewer is intended to feel that, while this is tragic, it is also correct, as she was unnatural.


Because if this is anything but social commentary, this is just the outright most dumbest, nonsensical plot in the entirety of the Lupin franchise. That's right, just the third episode of the first Lupin series in the decades-spanning franchise, a franchise that includes a weather-controlling jewel and a ninja dog, and this is the pinnacle of what-the-fuck-ery. This is the zenith of absurdity, right here.


And the only one of the Lupin gang even interested in stealing the secrets is Fujiko, our other "ma"-"jo", our other evil woman. Looking to steal the secret of the Third Sun so she can break out of the binds of the patriarchy. But what happens to her? Shot down. Forced to hitch a ride with Lupin and Jigen. Pushed into using her feminine wiles and judged for it in the face of the unrelenting phallicentric military-industrial complex.


Wow. I just went full Tumblr. Er, look, I just wanted to point out that Lupin the Third is a thief, guys. Him having zero interest in stealing anything in these first three episodes is driving me bananas. I still stick by what I said about Linda, that her character only makes sense as a feminist reading (or indeed, perhaps an anti-feminist message) of hippie culture.


Otherwise, this episode is just plain crazy stupid. And not the fun kind.


Overall Score:


1 out of 5 (4 out of 5 with my interpretation)


Yeah... that's where that bit in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya comes from.



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