Perhaps it’s stating the (blatantly) obvious to say that this show has a very European sensibility but, nevertheless, I couldn’t help but nod in amusement over how this plot about a fortune teller predicting the death dates for Lupin’s “victims” felt like some gothic chiller out of the old country. Given how THE SECRET OF MAMO had plenty of German expressionist moments, I think it’s fair to say that THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI is somewhere up in the DNA of this franchise. There's a bit of a Mario Bava here, too. Monkey Punch makes a cameo of sorts in this episode, and I’d put money down on a bet that he’d at least seen those flicks.
Maybe I’ll get around to reading the original LUPIN III manga someday. I’m a little more curious, now, about whether this has been another case, all along, of nuanced and adult subject matter being watered down into an easier-to-digest show. A friend recently asked me if he should check out FUJIKO MINE since he’d had never watched any of the previous shows. I told him there wasn’t a ton to grasp with this franchise.
However, Fujiko and Lupin’s (decidedly mature and European) courtship takes an interesting turn in this episode, with “the court of owls” suggesting that they’re putting Lupin through this gauntlet of challenges to see if he’s worthy of Ms. Mine. That would suggest that the two might actually end up together at the end of the series, which is actually a little startling for the notion that these characters might actually have some sort of, you know, growth over the course of this series. That would seem like a brave new direction for the material to be taken into… but it could just as easily be the crew finally realizing plot developments from the comics.
Which is it? I ask you, the vastly-knowledgeable lunatics in this community.