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Anime / Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papers

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Just a nice little vacation

Lupin III: Mystery of the Hemingway Papersnote , or simply The Hemingway Papers, is the second of the Lupin III Yearly Specials, first aired on July 20, 1990. Like the previous special, it was directed by Osamu Dezaki. Discotek Media released it in the U.S. with English subtitles in 2014.

It's been some time since the Lupin Gang's last caper. Everyone has split up and are working on independent jobs. We open in the middle of a war zone where Jigen finds himself in a shootout with some random thugs – after thoroughly schooling their leader, he is hired to "track down" Crazy Mash, a Psycho for Hire known for his ruthlessness. Thousands of miles away, Goemon is in training when a local Buddhist monk informs him that something exists that even his trusty Zantetsuken cannot cut, which prompts him to seek out this uncuttable object. Meanwhile, Fujiko has landed in Geneva and gotten herself hired as the secretary to the obscenely wealthy (and obscenely sketchy) arms merchant Mr. Marces. Zenigata is also in Geneva, and follows Fujiko hoping to find Lupin.


Over in Barcelona, Lupin hears a rumour about a secret manuscript written by Ernest Hemingway that allegedly tells the location of a massive treasure – legend says Hemingway wrote it while living in Paris, and his suicide was actually a murder by someone who wanted the manuscript, which was stolen and locked in an impregnable box. The box is said to be on some island in the Mediterranean, but that doesn't matter since it requires a special key to open, which is in a German castle. Naturally, Lupin decides to steal the key, but a group of mercenaries gets there first and absconds with it.

Lupin tracks the box to the Mediterranean island of Colcaca, which is in the middle of a nasty civil war between the authoritarian forces of President Carlos, and rebels led by Consano. Consano has taken to hiring outside mercenaries (and Jigen) and turned to shady Swiss arms dealers for weapons. President Carlos, fearing Consano, has taken on Goemon as a bodyguard. Lupin tries (and fails) to bluff his way out of a tight spot when he's rescued by Maria, owner of the last working bar on the island. While scouting out the terrain, Lupin catches a glimpse of Jigen…


Thus begins the re-formation of the Lupin gang as the pieces of this puzzle slowly fall into place to unravel the mystery of Hemingway's lost manuscript.

Preceded by Lupin III: Bye-Bye Liberty Crisis! and followed by Lupin III: Steal Napoleon's Dictionary.

Complete Spoilers Below — Don't read any further if you don't want to know how this caper turns out!

This TV Movie provides examples of…

  • Achey Scars: Jigen (in this special) has a couple of bullet wounds on his left arm from where Crazy Mash shot him during the Alaska incident.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Any scene that takes place in Maria's Bar… until Consano's mooks show up.
  • Action Girl: Maria. She drives her beat up truck through the middle of a war zone to get supplies, and sneaks right up to the Consano base carrying a sniper rifle, fully prepared to put a bullet in his temple (she fails).
  • Axe-Crazy: Fittingly, Crazy Mash.
  • Banana Republic: Colcaca. With the exception of the presidential palace, most of what we see of the place is already in ruins. Even the presidential palace is pockmarked with bullet holes. Maria mentions how a decade's worth of greedy treasure hunters has left the island almost completely stripped of vegetation.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: President Carlos is the head of government in Corcaca but the the Rebel Leader Consano is equally responsible for the hellscape the island's been turned into. Both were formerly adventurers seeking the treasure of the Hemingway Papers who got the money and resources to violently turn the land upside down looking for it.
  • Big Eater: What is the first thing Zenigata does after being locked in a car trunk for two days? Looks for food. What does he do when he finds some? Eats at least two full hams and downs an entire bottle of wine.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Jigen takes out Crazy Mash. However, despite taking a Magnum bullet right in the middle of his forehead, it takes him several more minutes to die.
  • The Chessmaster: Marces. Well, he sees himself this way, at any rate. For the truth, see below.
  • Chest of Medals: Both Carlos and Consano's uniforms have these.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Pretty much every antagonist is trying to screw over someone or everyone. Marces ends up being the one to suffer for it first.
    • Carlos and Consano used to work together before Carlos back-stabbed Consano in order to keep the box for himself. Marces tried to pull a fast one over on Consano… but Consano expected it and beat him to the punch. Crazy Mash did this twice – once a few years before the current story where he murdered his old comrades to keep millions of dollars for himself, and then during the story when he takes a contract from Consano to kill Marces (for whom he had been working until literally that second).
    • Ironically, Fujiko does not fall into the category this time. She doesn't even learn the lore behind the Hemingway manuscript until over halfway through the story. Once she does, she joins Lupin and never once even hints at betraying him. However, he expects her to.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Carlos started out as this. Despite calling himself "President", there's no indication he was ever actually elected by the people.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Maria expected to be found out and raided some day, so she rigged the bar's jukebox to explode by inputting a simple code (Z3Z3).
    • As mentioned below, Lupin keeps a microfilm camera on his tie-clip, fully expecting he won't be able to hang onto important documents for long.
  • Damsel in Distress: Normally, Maria does everything she can to avoid this. But at one point she gets in over her head, gets captured by Consano's men, and is about to be set upon by them, when Lupin comes to save the day, literally riding a white horse.
    • Fujiko plays with this. She calls for help when (a very drunk) Zenigata shows up, asks her where Lupin is, then refuses to buy it when she (truthfully) tells him she has no idea. But she really only did it to get him to leave her alone.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Maria the other 90% of the time she's onscreen. She saves Lupin more often than he saves her.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Fujiko attempts to explain to Consano's mooks how to operate the tanks Marces has just delivered to them… but they're too interested in trying to peek up her skirt. One guy climbs on top of the tank with her, and she promptly kicks him in the face.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Mash survives the death of both his own boss Consano and President Carlos as well to take one final crack at killing Jigen before the comrade he betrayed puts a bullet in his head.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Crazy Mash has no loyalty to anything but money and the second Consano overpays Marces he happily kills his former boss at the behest of his wealthier new one.
  • Easy Come, Easy Go: Lupin and the gang find the lost treasure of Colcaca… and Lupin immediately realizes why it stayed hidden – it's the world's largest natural deposit of Uranium-238, which is famously radioactive and will kill you if you touch it or hang around it too long. He tells the gang they're better off just getting the hell out of there.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Carlos and Consano consider themselves too important to do any fighting firsthand, so they send out their champions – Goemon and Jigen respectively – to duel for them.
  • Foreshadowing: A mild case, but… Marces plays a round of chess with Consano. During the game, Marces vaguely hints at his plans to a seemingly uninterested Consano. Marces loses the match, hinting at what will happen to him a few scenes later.
  • The Generalissimo: Consano is a wannabe. He dresses in military fatigues and a Pickelhaube, has a Badass Mustache, and appears not to care about Marces's ulterior motives. However…
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Carlos and Consano + narrow canyon + torrential downpour = karma.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: For all the thousands of bullets the various mooks fire at Lupin and the gang, none ever hit their mark. Not the case for the gang or Crazy Mash.
  • La Résistance: The Scorpions were a group of native islanders who took up arms to fight the treasure hunters that had taken over their island, but Carlos and Consano killed them all off. Turns out Maria is the only known survivor.
  • Last-Name Basis: This is one of the rare times you'll hear Lupin call Goemon by his family name, Ishikawa. Usually, everyone refers to him by his first name (a bizarre inversion for such a stoically Japanese character).
  • MacGuffin: The golden box.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Fujiko joins Lupin in Maria's Bar and sees him commiserating with Maria. She becomes fed up and leaves, with Lupin responding in the expected way. This is one of the only times in the entire franchise that Fujiko shows jealousy toward another woman hanging around Lupin.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Invoked by Crazy Mash as he explains to Marces why he's switching loyalties.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Consano, it turns out, much to Marces's shock. Consano knew Carlos had the manuscript box… more importantly, he knew Marces had the key to it.
  • Out-Gambitted: Consano double-crosses Marces by secretly hiring Crazy Mash away from him. Marces never saw it coming.
  • Plot Coupon: The gold three-pronged key and Hemingway's manuscript.
  • Schmuck Bait: The golden box containing the Hemingway manuscript is sitting on a table in the middle of a vault full of other art treasures, behind an easy-to-open cell door. Goemon sees it and immediately goes for it, ignoring Lupin's warning to hang back. Sure enough, it's connected to an alarm.
  • Take a Third Option: Jigen and Goemon are ordered to fight to the death. Twice. Neither of them want to kill the other, especially not with Lupin nearby. So, the first time, they turn their duel into a slap-fight and pretend to knock each other out. The second time, Goemon wins, but instead of dealing the final blow, brings down the scaffolding they're on so they can both escape.


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