Recap / Lupin IIIS 2 E 22
"Search the House of Mystery Women"note
, with the English title "Lupin in Paradise"
. Released in 2003 by Geneon on Volume 4: Thieves' Paradise
One lovely spring day, Lupin and Jigen are hiking through the Japanese mountains, looking for something on a map Lupin has with him. They come across an young man, apparently drunk out of his mind and carrying an elaborate box with him. Lupin asks if he's seen a palace-type building in the area; the man confirms not only its existence, but that there's indeed something special in it. Since he seems too happy and drunk to elaborate, Lupin and Jigen continue on while the man rants and opens the box. A puff of gas emerges, and when it clears, the young man is no longer young at all!
Shortly thereafter, the two arrive at their destination: a beautiful and elaborate walled palace. However, they hear a scream of help from a half-naked young woman; she is being pursued by two thugs with less-than-pure ideas on their mind. Jigen tries to tell Lupin that what's going on is none of their business, and even physically restrains the master thief, but the gallant Lupin can't be dissuaded and rushes to her rescue, soundly thrashing the thugs. As Jigen urges his friend to resume their pursuit of the palace and its treasure, the rescued girl runs after them, wishing to thank Lupin for helping her. Lupin tries to play it cool, but the girl reveals that she lives in the palace, and her big sister there would like to handsomely reward him for her rescue. Grinning idiotically, Lupin (and a reluctant, grumbling Jigen) are guided into the palace.
The palace turns out to be home to a gaggle of scantily clad ladies. The girl fetches her "big sister", a sultry woman and the leader of the palace who has been expecting Lupin and Jigen's arrival. She gloats over Lupin's easily exploited weakness for women. The younger sister asks to see the palace's treasure, but the head sister opens the vault to instead reveal a gun and the knowledge that the "younger sister" is actually Fujiko in disguise. She forces Fujiko to drink a special potion that puts her into a blissful daze.
Meanwhile, Lupin has been enjoying a swim with the ladies in a pool while Jigen sits to the side and sulks. The leader introduces herself to the two men, but Jigen, suspicious as always, is disgusted as Lupin continues to get drunk and enjoy the beautiful women around him. Furious, he finally storms out, only stopping to take a gift offered by the leader and her girls...the same kind of box as the drunk man opened earlier.
As he exits the palace, grumbling about Lupin's inability to control himself around women, he hears a cry for help. Looking over a rock, he see the same two thugs as before, and apparently the same girl, re-enacting the attack Lupin broke up earlier. This time, however, the girl's rescuer is Inspector Zenigata, who thrashes the thugs with some judo. As before, the girl invites Zenigata to the palace. Jigen's first thought is to warn Lupin of the scam, but recalling Lupin's childish behavior, he resolves to let his friend live with the consequences. Just then, there is a growl from behind Jigen, and a tiger that has been stalking around the palace walls springs forth. Jigen hurls his gift box at the tiger, which strikes and opens on the fierce cat, turning him into a toothless old waste.
As Jigen gasps in amazement, a familiar voice calls out: Goemon has followed the two to the palace, and he is accompanied by the drunk and now elderly man Lupin and Jigen encountered earlier. The old man confirms he also rescued a girl and was "rewarded"; Goemon has also captured the "thugs" and cuts away their costumes to reveal them as two girls from the palace. The two quickly come to the conclusion that if they don't rescue Lupin, he will also end up aged by the women of the palace.
Back at the palace, a drunken Lupin and Zenigata are enjoying a dance performed by the ladies. As they continue their revelry, a messenger informs the head of the palace that Jigen and Goemon are still hanging around outside. As she orders her guards to attack, Lupin slips away, apparently to use the restroom. Making his way past many traps, he reveals that he is both completely sober and is using his hostess' hospitality to look for the treasure. He manages to find Fujiko, still in her daze, but is stopped from helping her and dragged off by the head of the palace, who believes him to be still drunk and womanizing.
Outside, Jigen and Goemon are being fired upon by the palace guards. Goemon takes several out with the back of his blade, while Jigen shoots the machine guns from their hands. The guards repeatedly call for reinforcements, but they are thrashed every time. Desperate, they unleash bombs of aging gas at the two, who are finally forced to retreat lest they fall prey to it.
With most of the girls now outside fighting and the leader distracted, Lupin manages to finally find and open the secret safe in the leader's room. However, he accidentally releases a cloud of aging gas set in it as a trap, and has now been rendered old. Laughing at her victory over the famous thief, she tells him he can leave; he wants a present like all the other men, and she decides a "really big one" will be suitable for him.
The elderly Lupin, carrying a huge chest on his back, is released to Jigen and Goemon. Down the road, he sets down the chest, and pulls off a mask, revealing his "gassing" was a trick for the leader of the palace. He opens the chest, showing the drugged Fujiko inside, as well as the treasure, a potent narcotic that only works on men, which Lupin pours onto the ground to prevent further problems. Back inside the palace, a bomb planted by Lupin on the tanks of aging gas is detonated as the leader finds the missing treasure and a note Lupin left in the vault. Goemon reminds Lupin that Zenigata was still in the palace after the gas cloud is released. Luckily, Zenigata, who was still stumbling around drunkenly inside, found the ladies' weapon stores, and as a joke put on a gas mask to scare people. He eventually stumbles out unharmed, and suddenly sobers up when he remembers he was with Lupin. Lupin and the gang are relieved to see Zenigata as his usual self, and they take off, with the good inspector in pursuit as always.
This episode features examples of:
- Amazon Brigade: The guards of the palace.
- Animation Anatomy Aging: After the gas is released (or seemingly released, in Lupin's case.)
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted with the messenger guard, who appears more battered and bruised the longer the fight with Jigen and Goemon goes on.
- Belly Dancer: A group of them perform for Lupin and Zenigata.
- Damsel in Distress: Fujiko is captured while trying to steal the treasure for herself and spends the rest of the episode under the effects of the drug.
- Death Course: While looking for the treasure Lupin dodges (seemingly by coincidence) several deadly traps, including spikes, a retractable blade and a laser all in the same corridor.
- Does Not Like Men: All of the ladies of the palace, apparently. It's never stated why, though.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: In the English version, the drug only works on men, despite being explicitly used on Fujiko earlier. The original Japanese clears things up by stating that anyone who drinks the drug becomes addicted and can't leave the palace, which means the women there had no use for men to make them happy.
- Fantastic Drug: The treasure everyone is after.
- Fat Girl: All the House's women are slim and pretty, except for a fat, unappealing lady who flirts with Jigen.
- Fountain of Youth: Inverted, via aging gas. Oddly it seems to work on trees and buildings alike.
- Funbag Airbag: At one point Lupin rub his face against the big sister's breasts.
- Gas Mask Mooks: The last wave of guards who fire the aging gas bombs. Which also serves as Foreshadowing to how Zenigata keeps from getting gassed later.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The titular women end up victim of their own aging gas.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Well, there's a whole hard-to-reach mansion filled with man-hating, scantly dressed beauties including some tomboyish one and a drug that gives them so much pleasure that they don't want to leave nor need men. You have to wonder what they do when they're not receaving visits...
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Goemon slices away ropes and disguises without hurting the women beneath.
- Instant Sedation: Fujiko is instantly affected by the drug she's given. When Lupin meets her some time later she's still in her blissful stupor.
- Latex Perfection: Fujiko disguises herself to look exactly like the "younger sister".
- Nipple and Dimed: None of the ladies seem to have nipples, with or without their translucent garments. And it's not a case of Cartoon Network digitally removing them — the original Japanese version has this as well.
- Oh Crap!: The two sister's reaction after reading Lupin's letter. The eldest is stunned, the blonde one facepalms.
- Playing Drunk: Lupin.
- Shout-Out: This episode is based on the famous folk tale of Urashima Tarou: the blonde sister is the turtle, the house is the Dragon God Palace where the party takes places and, the gift given to "Urashima" causes him to grow old if he opens it. To really hammer the point in the original version Zenigata can be heard singing a song about Urashima near the end.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The two sisters and most of the ladies attending at Lupin and Zenigata's needs are the girly girls, the various guards are more tomboyish by comparison.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: For some reason, the "big sister" has green hair.