"The Flying Zantetsuken"note
, released in English as "The Yam is Mightier Than the Sword"
. Released in 2005 by Geneon on Volume 12: The Flying Sword
In Chicago, Lupin, Jigen and Goemon show up in a rough riverside neighborhood to meet with local mob boss Camone about some sort of deal. Camone's car pulls up, but when the gang exits Lupin's car to investigate, a tank bursts through the side of a nearby warehouse, sending the Mercedes into the river. Another tank appears; realizing they have been lured into a trap and are outgunned, Lupin and Jigen jump into the river to escape, leaving Goemon to deal with the tanks. A few swipes of Zantetsuken, and the artillery lies in pieces on the ground, the samurai calmly walking away from the wreckage. Watching from Camone's limo, an arms dealer named Sherlock admires the sword's cutting power. Together, he and Camone plan to get hold of the sword and use it to destroy an African peace treaty.
The next morning, Fujiko turns up at the hotel the rest of the gang are staying at. Lupin and Jigen have caught a cold from their swim in the river, so Fujiko brings them a get-well present: a bottle of good whiskey. They eagerly partake, but Goemon steadfastly refuses, citing his drink as sake. After some urging from the others, he gives the whiskey a try, and happily accepts another glass after downing the first one. Soon after, the men are passed out around the room. Fujiko carefully removes Zantetsuken from the sleeping Goemon's hand and replaces it with a broom. She promptly takes the sword to Camone, who gives her a million dollars for delivering it to him. Camone, in turn, delivers the sword to Sherlock for a hefty sum of his own.
Inspector Zenigata is sitting in his office that evening when he receives a tip that Lupin is staying at a local hotel. The caller is revealed to be Lupin himself, who urges Zenigata to come right away. As the police zoom towards the gang, it is revealed that Goemon has woken up from the drugged whiskey to discover his sword stolen. Shamed at allowing Zantetsuken to be stolen, and feeling his soul is gone without it, he is trying to commit suicide by hanging and shooting himself in the head with Jigen's gun. Jigen and Lupin struggle with Goemon until the police arrive; they flee, Lupin promising the distraught samurai he will find Fujiko and the missing sword. Zenigata opens the hotel room door to find Goemon wildly firing Jigen's gun and dangling from a noose, begging to die. He is taken into custody.
At Sherlock's factory, Zantetsuken's blade is mounted into a special remote control drone that can use the sword for cutting at a variety of angles. Sherlock plans to use the flying sword to violate the treaty and get the African countries fighting again; they will in turn buy more of his tanks and weapons, making Sherlock and Camone a hefty profit. At the front lines, the Flying Zantetsuken is dispatched by Camone, who uses the blade to lay waste to the tanks and armories of both fighting countries. The two countries furiously blame the mysterious new weapon on each other, and vow to restart their war. Sherlock laughs as his ships, loaded with tanks for the resumed fighting, head off to his buyers.
Seeing footage of the "battle" on TV, Jigen and Lupin spot the missing sword; figuring out that Camone and Sherlock are in cahoots, the two decide to collect Goemon and head for Africa. At the jail, Goemon is slowly starving himself to death, and Zenigata begs him to eat, even bringing him Japanese food. Lupin, disguised as a guard, tells Zenigata that the samurai is being transferred, locks Zenigata in a cell, and drags off the weakened Goemon. The gang arrives in Africa a few days later. Flying over the jungle in a small airplane, Lupin looks for signs of Camone and the Flying Zantetsuken while Goemon stoically carves a bamboo blade in the back seat. They fly over the rubble at both lines, gasping at the damage and wondering how it was done.
Meanwhile, Sherlock's factory is churning out weaponry, and the dealer is making a killing, so to speak. Tanks are being feverishly ordered by both countries, determined to blow each other to bits. Watching as the orders are loaded up, Fujiko gasps in horror...she should have asked for much more money for the sword! She decides to follow the tanks to Africa and get pictures of Sherlock's new "toy" in action to blackmail him with.
Back in Africa, Camone continues to use the Flying Zantetsuken to attack both sides. He spots Lupin's plane overhead, and deciding the thief is there to make trouble, sends the sword at the gang. The plane dodges, and Lupin and Jigen demands that the samurai do something about his sword. Goemon calmly informs him they have to land first. The Flying Zantetsuken promptly cuts off one of the plane's wings, sending the gang for a crash landing into the jungles below. As the gang emerges from the wreckage, Camone sends the flying sword after them again. Goemon tries to stop the drone with his skill and bamboo blade, but his own sword proves too much for him and he is forced to flee into the jungle with the other two. As it starts to grow dark, Camone decides to call it a day and come back to finish them off the next morning. Fujiko, watching in the bushes, gloats over the pictures she's gotten.
Night settles in, and the gang sets up camp next to the ruined plane. Suddenly, Goemon sits bolt upright, remembering one weakness of Zantetsuken; even it can't cut through sticky devil's tongue, also called konnyaku. With no other idea to go on, the gang spends the night digging for yams, grinding and cooking them into konnyaku gel, and then covering the fuselage of the plane with a thick coating of the stuff.
The next morning, Camone takes a quick break to put a stop to Fujiko following him around and taking pictures by flipping her jeep with the Flying Zantetsuken. He then heads to finish off Lupin's gang, but they're waiting for him in their konnyaku plane. He chuckles as he first sends the blade at them, but is taken aback when it fails to cut through the thick coating. He takes a more direct approach, sending the sword straight at the plane like a dart, but the sword gets lodged in the konnyaku gel. When Camone tries to loosen it, he stresses out the drone so much it falls to pieces. Zantetsuken safely back in their hands, they ram Camone's jeep with the konnyaku plane, taking him out. They next come after Fujiko; Lupin and Jigen only think it fair that Goemon decide her punishment. He stuffs her mouth with leftover konnyaku.
With a confession from Camone and Fujiko's pictures, Lupin alerts the ICPO authorities as to Sherlock's activities. Zenigata heads after the arms dealer, but when Sherlock attempts to outrun him in a car chase, he looks out over the bridge he's turned onto and is horrified. Goemon, Zantetsuken firmly in hand, is on the other end. As Sherlock comes at him, Goemon charges forward and cuts his car in half with a single stroke, causing it to explode. The samurai, reunited with his sword, peacefully walks away from the chaos as the authorities look over the wreckage.
This episode features examples of:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: It's an episode about Zantetsuken. Pretty much everything gets chopped into tiny bits.
- Arms Dealer: Sherlock, of the International Arms Merchant variety.
- A-Team Montage: Shows Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon turning their wrecked airplane into a konnyaku-coated tank of awesome.
- Bulungi: Two of them, "West Naire" and "East Naire", who are both at war with each other.
- Blackmail: Fujiko resorts to this to try and get more money out of Sherlock.
- Catch Your Death of Cold: Lupin and Jigen, after fleeing into the river.
- Engrish: "Hot El Cicago."
- False Flag Operation: Each side of the war blames the unmarked Flying Zantetsuken's attack on the other.
- For Your Own Good: Lupin arranges for Zenigata to arrest Goemon because he knows the detective will keep the suicidal samurai from harming himself while Lupin and Jigen look for Zantetsuken.
- Friendly Enemy: Zenigata seems genuinely concerned for the starving Goemon's health while he's in prison, even going to the trouble of getting him food that he likes to entice him to eat.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Goemon attempts to take on the Flying Zantetsuken with a simple bamboo blade. Subverted in that the bamboo blade is shredded completely.
- Interrupted Suicide: Goemon, first by Lupin and Jigen, and then by Zenigata.
- Karma Houdini: Fujiko steals Goemon's sword (and soul), hands it over to a man who uses it to restart a terrible war, tries to blackmail him for more money, and leaves her friends to fend for themselves in the jungle. What does she get as comeuppance? A mouthful of raw konnyaku.
- The Mafia: Their leader is working hand in hand with Sherlock.
- Misplaced Vegetation: Although the plant konnyaku is made from is called a "yam" or "potato", it is not the same as the tubers most people think of. And while actual yams grow in Africa, the bulbous plant konnyaku comes from only grows in Asia.
- Mundane Solution: Zantetsuken can be defeated by konnyaku, an everyday food item. A bit of Truth in Television; konnyaku has been heavily marked with warnings because it only breaks down through chewing and has caused a number of people, usually children or the elderly, to choke to death because they can't chew it properly.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Fujiko appears to undergo this after seeing the havoc Zantetsuken has wrought. Promptly subverted when she reveals she's horrified because she should have asked for more money.
- Picky Eater: Zenigata goes to great trouble to get Goemon his favorite Japanese food in prison. Since Goemon is starving himself, he still doesn't touch it.
- Slipping a Mickey: Fujiko slips sleeping pills into the whiskey she freely pours for the boys.
- War for Fun and Profit: Sherlock's reason for stealing Zantetsuken.