Recap / Lupin IIIS 2 E 106

Shin Lupin III: "You're a Cat, I'm a Dried Tuna"

On the poor side of town, the beautiful Vivian struts around, turning up her nose at all the men. She's convinced she's going to be a famous and rich dancer someday. Two local con men, Bucky and Butcher, attempt to woo her, but she passes them by on the way to her audition at a local revue. In her audition, Vivian proves to be a terrible dancer, while outside Bucky laments his poor fortune since having Butcher as a partner in crime. Bucky and Butcher's fight is interrupted by Lupin and Zenigata, in their perpetual chase; Vivian, leaving the theater, witnesses the whole thing. She is suddenly struck with an idea: she's going to use Lupin to gain the fame and riches she wants!

Vivian tries to call a press conference telling everyone that Lupin has stolen something from her, but when she can only come up with a million-dollar cat, the reporters grumble that isn't particularly impressive for the master thief and leave. The only one willing to report Vivian's story is a child from the local school newspaper. Inspired by watching him sharpen his pencil, she tells the kid that the cat is so valuable because it eats pencil shavings!

Lupin is furious when he sees the article. His friends tell him not to make a big deal of it; after all, it is just an article from a school paper. Concerned that his reputation will be lowered by such a silly thing, he decides he will find the missing kitty and return it. Zenigata, after interviewing Vivian, likewise has his doubts about the case, but decides to pursue it anyway as Lupin is involved. He has the police pass an endless line of cats in front of Vivian to see if she can identify hers, but it's all for naught.

Meanwhile, Lupin's employed his own men to go seek out the cat; Goemon parades, humiliated, through the streets with a sign seeking the cat, Jigen sets a trap and falls asleep out of boredom waiting for the non-existent critter, and Fujiko goes door-to-door with flyers to make inquiries, only be handed a bunch of kittens when she's mistaken for an animal control agent. Lupin himself is riding a bicycle around town with a bullhorn, calling out about the cat. Bucky and Butcher, going hungry, hear him and decide to find the cat themselves, hopefully giving it back to Lupin for a large reward. It's a good thing, too, as Lupin's gang, embarrassed and exhausted, refuse to search any further themselves. Promptly through their door comes Bucky and Butcher, complete with a pencil shaving-eating cat!

However, when Lupin, Bucky, and Butcher confront Vivian with the questionably-talented kitty, she informs them it's not the right cat. She finally lets slip there is no such thing as a pencil-eating cat, but is staggered when the cat that was dragged in begins doing exactly that with a pencil Butcher dropped. Not realizing the pencil came from them, Bucky and Butcher are just as amazed and snatch up the cat, believing it is their way to a fortune by breeding actual pencil-eating cats. Vivian heads off in pursuit, grabbing up the cat when Bucky and Butcher trip and drop it. While the three of them tussle, the cat ends up with Lupin, who decides to flee and leave the three of them to it. However, the cat has taken a liking to the thief and won't leave him alone no matter what, so now the con men and the would-be dancer are after Lupin instead. Eventually, Lupin decides that it would be cruel to leave the cat to be fought over and exploited by the three of them, so he and the kitty hide. When Lupin quiets the mewing cat with the pencil from earlier, he's curious as to if the pencil shavings are really that tasty and tries one. It turns out the pencil is not made from wood, but from dried tuna fishcake!

Lupin calls in a favor from his gang before being found by Vivian and the con men again. But Vivian also calls Zenigata, who is all to eager to join the chase for another crack at Lupin. The police have now joined the chase, and they corner Lupin and the cat in an abandoned warehouse. Meanwhile, Jigen and Fujiko have gone to the local Japanese market and bought boxes of dried fishcakes, which Goemon cuts into "pencils". The gang ties the fake pencils along a string to drag behind the back of Lupin's car and drive; as they go along, stray cats, attracted by the smell of the fishcake, go after them.

Zenigata, back at the warehouse, has offered an ultimatum: if Lupin doesn't surrender in ten minutes, the police will open fire with bazookas. Vivian is distraught when Zenigata completely disregards the safety of "her" cat. Time runs out, and the police fire, blowing several large holes in the warehouse walls. Charging in, Lupin and the cat are nowhere to be found; the warehouse, weakened by the attack, collapses soon after and the police barely escape.

Zenigata looks on, knowing Lupin has somehow escaped; he is unaware the master thief is disguised as the very police officer who has delivered the news of the fruitless search. Upset and unsatisfied, Vivian, Butcher, and Bucky search the ruins of the warehouse themselves, and rewarded when Lupin reveals himself and the cat. They demand the kitty, but Lupin promises them another pencil-eating cat. The gang promptly drives by, followed by hundreds of strays. Jigen hurls the strings of fishcake at Vivian, Butcher, and Bucky; the con men are swarmed by hungry cats and Vivian is dragged off by another group when she becomes entangled in the strings.

There is a happy ending, though; Vivian trains the cats who dragged her off into a successful circus act, while Bucky and Butcher sell their own pencil shaving-eating cats and "pencils," going on the run before anyone can return their cat for a refund. Lupin is annoyed; in the end, he still unwillingly helped make Vivian rich and famous!

This episode features examples of:

  • Attention Whore: Vivian. Completely willing to make herself and others look like total idiots to rise to the top.
  • Bank Robbery: Bucky and Butcher tried one in their past; Butcher was stupid enough to leave a receipt for the money they stole. With his full name, address, and thumbprint on it.
  • Bizarro Episode: Cat that eats pencil shavings? What were the writers smoking?
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Vivian confesses after Zenigata's interrogation:
    Vivian: (to camera) I wish I hadn't lied...
    Zenigata: (looks up from desk) What were you saying just now?
    Vivian:: Uh, nothing...
  • The Cat Came Back: A literal example, as the original pencil-eating cat keeps going back to Lupin over and over.
  • Dumb Blonde: Vivian, who comes up with the lamest Lupin encounter ever.
  • Facial Composite Failure: Rather hilariously used to create a picture of Vivian's "missing cat."
  • Giftedly Bad: Vivian wants to be a dancer. The theater owner offers her a job as a janitor instead.
  • Hard Work Montage: Shows Lupin traveling around to various locations, looking for information on the pencil shaving-eating cat.
  • Human Mail: After he discards the pencil-eating cat in a mailbox, Lupin receives a package moments later. Guess what's inside?
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: In a few swipes, Goemon makes hundreds of pencils out of dried tuna cakes. Which is probably the weirdest damn thing he's ever done with Zantetsuken.
  • Off-Model: The episode is one of the more egregious examples in Shin Lupin III. Butcher and Bucky suffer the most, but Vivian and Lupin himself have issues as well.
  • School Newspaper Newshound: The one who reports Vivian's "Lupin encounter."
  • Snake Oil Salesmen: Bucky and Butcher with their own pencil-eating cat, first to con Lupin and Vivian, then to outright sell to others.
  • Snowball Lie: Vivian's idea pulls in Lupin, his gang, Zenigata, most of the local police, a couple of con men...