Anime Review (Lupin III: Part V)

Can adventure and social media co-exist?



I’m a huge fan of the Lupin III series. While other kids were studying math and science and dreaming of growing up to be civil rights heroes like Harriet Tubman and Ghandi, I was learning Japanese and fantasizing about being a lovable sociopath who could do say or take anything he wanted. Sadly, as I grew older, the internet killed my dream of becoming a gentleman thief by creating a world where everyone is famous and nothing is worth stealing. I switched from idolizing Lupin to idolizing Socrates and lost track of the Lupin franchise around 2014.

It’s not such a big deal for a man to reject his boyhood dreams, it happens everyday. The people who own the IP rights to Lupin’s fictional universe don’t have that luxury. No matter how jaded they become or how many dreams they discard, they have a fiduciary responsibility to commercially exploit the property. Keeping the Lupin asset in play requires a convincing premise for a wacky adventure, and so the employees at Telecom Animation Film Company were tasked with solving one of the hardest problems of modernity: “What commodity has the internet failed to render boring and worthless?”

They did a fantastic job. Lupin III series 5 is an exciting and moving justification for Lupin’s continued existence.

The opening scene of the series, shows Lupin breaking into a massive cryptocurrency mining facility to “alter a distributed ledger” and steel billions of dollars in “Bitmoney”. The facility is owned by an evil organization(Marcopolo) which combines the worst qualities of The Silkroad, Mt. Gox, and the psychopaths who control B’Cash.

While the real world versions of those organizations have their share of heroic qualities. Marcopolo’s owners clearly don’t care about decentralization and simply want to accumulate wealth, and run irresponsible social experiments.

Lupin’s intention is apparently to clear out the organizations wallets, and then HODL the coin forever, much like Satoshi seems to be doing with his trillions in bitcoin.

Lupin is more than a match for his myopically greedy opponents, and he steels their assets before the end of the first episode.

A crypto heist was kind of fun, but it doesn’t really answer the question “what’s interesting”. As soon as you use an idea like that, the novelty evaporates. It’s not like the rest of the series can be…