Recap / Lupin IIIS 2 E 12

"A Present For the President"note , with the English title "The Sleight Before Christmas". Released in 2003 by Geneon on Volume 2: Love Heist.

A news report features a report on a special bottle of Bordeaux, commissioned by Napoleon to honor his wife Josephine, that is being given to the President of the United States as a Christmas gift. The Lupin gang watches the report, and Lupin decides to steal the bottle to impress Fujiko, make Jigen happy, and convert Goemon from sake.

Meanwhile, in Paris, a lonely Zenigata is dining on stale bread and bad wine when he receives a note at his hotel room from Lupin; the master thief tells him he plans to steal the wine. Zenigata rushes to the French countryside, and Lupin's gang follows him, hoping the challenged officer will lead them to the wine's hiding place. The local police chief takes Zenigata to the chateau where the wine is stashed, while Lupin follows, disguised as a local wine maker and with his gang hidden in barrels in the back of the truck. There, the disguised Lupin persuades the guards to help him move the barrels into the chateau's wine cellar, presumably where the special bottle is being kept. Instead, Zenigata springs a trap on the gang after they reveal themselves. The thieves manage to escape by slicing and smashing several of the wine barrels and bottles, flooding the cellar with wine.

The next day, as everyone recovers from their hangovers, the police chief praises Zenigata for helping foil Lupin, and offers to let him personally accompany both the chief and the special wine to the White House. At the airport, Lupin and the others scout the scene, watching not only Zenigata and security, but a mysterious crate being loaded on the plane that they soon find out is a Christmas present from France to the U.S. Lupin decides to target both the wine and the crate, and sets his gang into action.

Lupin, Jigen, and Fujiko board the plane, disguised as the flight crew. While Zenigata and the chief gloat over their foiling of the master thief, the gang gasses the plane, knocking everyone out. As the plane flies over New York, they look for Goemon, who flew over earlier. Meeting him with a truck, Goemon and Jigen relieve the plane of its crate as Lupin switches the real bottle of wine for a cheap bottle of wine with the same label. Lupin leaves a note for Zenigata taunting him about the switch ("Dear Inspector, in recognition of your nearly successful efforts, here's some really cheap crap. HA!"). Luckily, the chief does not spot Lupin's note and lauds Zenigata a second time for saving the day.

Christmas Eve comes and Zenigata panics, fearing that the President with taste the fake Bordeaux and be revolted. Instead, the President declares it delicious. Meanwhile, Lupin and his gang, watching on TV, laugh themselves silly before helping themselves to the real thing. Their joy is cut short when they quickly find out the two-hundred year-old bottle has turned to vinegar over time. They also find out that the crate they stole is full of dolls, destined for needy children. Admitting he's made a mistake, Lupin flies over D.C., releasing the dolls on little parachutes to the kids and feeling a bit more Santa-like than before.

This episode features examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Goemon just cuts some wine barrels this time. Completely in half. With one swipe.
  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • In the original Japanese, Zenigata is misnamed as "Zenigame" (pond turtle).
    • In the English dub, over the course of this episode Zenigata is called "Origami", "Epiglottis", "Terra Cotta", "Pennsylvania", and "Sanitation".
  • Artistic License Geography: After Lupin & crew hijack the plane Zenigata is on, the rest of the caper takes place in (and they drop Zenigata off in) what appears to be a desert. There is no desert within a thousand miles of Washington or New York; it would take several additional hours of flight to reach one.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Zenigata makes this reference in the dub.
    Zenigata: A glass of cheap fermented grapes, bread you can break your teeth on, and they call this "eating". No wonder they can't win a war! {laughs}
  • Christmas Episode: One of two in the "Red Jacket" series.
  • Covert Pervert: Goemon, watching Fujiko get into the wine barrel.
  • Double Caper: After failing the original caper, they try again, this time both targeting the wine and the special gift for America.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In Zenigata's case, almost literally.
  • Expensive Glass of Crap: The bottle given to the president. Except it's not crap.
    • Played with with the actual Napoleon vintage wine. It's expensive, but after ~165 years, it fermented to the point it's expensive vinegar.
  • "Gift of the Magi" Plot: This episode isn't one, but it is referenced by Fujiko:
    Fujiko: So, is this one of those "Gift of the Magi" things? Because I hate that story.
  • Going Commando: Goemon holds his Fundoshi out the window to signal the gang he is in the right truck.
    Lupin: Must be kind of... breezy under that robe.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lupin and the gang followed and infiltrated a convoy where the Bourdeax would be stored for safekeeping, but it turned out to be a trap to lure them into an ambush. Zenigata even lampshades it... or, he tried to.
    Zenigata: I knew you were settin' me up, Lupin. You had no idea where the bottle was, but I turned the tables on you, Lupin! I had him take me to the wrong place, and now you're hoist on your own whatever you call it.
    Lupin: (while facepalming) "Petard", it's called a damn petard!
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Goemon opens a crate of dolls via katana without damaging the contents.
  • Invisible President: Averted. Jimmy Carter, who was President when the episode was made (late 1970s), is clearly shown.
  • Knockout Gas: Employed by Lupin on the plane.
  • Out-Gambitted: Lupin doesn't know where the wine is being kept, so he writes to Zenigata and tells him that he's planning to steal it—expecting Zenigata will rush off to guard it, leading Lupin to its location. But Zenigata figures out Lupin's game, and instead leads him to a police ambush in a completely different winery.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • The Japanese version is an imitation of (1977) the then-President Jimmy Carter, a Southern Democrat.
    • The American dub (2003) replaces the Jimmy Carter imitation with President Bill Clinton, the most recent (2001) Southern Democrat.
  • Reality Ensues: Shows what would happen when wine doesn't age properly, it ferments into vinegar. Even then, the highest that any wine aged is only around 50, not since the Napoleonic era.
  • Shout-Out: Mostly in the dub. This episode is probably the closest to Gag Dub of the lot.
    • Jigen repeats the famous "Don't call me Shirley" line from Airplane!
    • Also, Zenigata keeps mispronouncing "bonjour" as "Bon Jovi".
    • Fujiko name-checks The Simpsons in the American dub.
  • Strange Salute: A whole series of them between Zenigata and a disguised Lupin.
  • Unsuspectingly Soused: In spite of massive amounts of wine being sprayed everywhere, Lupin seems to think himself immune to its effects.