"What Do You Think of Ukiyoe Blues?"note , with the English title "Now Museum, Now You Don't". Released in 2003 by Geneon on Volume 2: Love Heist.
In America, a mystery man meets with Fujiko for an interview. The man, Alan Budonsone, is a serious, life-long actor who wants to put on the greatest performance of his life, a task Fujiko wants to help him with. She presents him with a script entitled "Ukiyoe Blues"...
Lupin flies on a plane, sitting next to an elderly Japanese man examining a book of Ukiyoe prints done by Sharaku. The man suddenly falls ill; Lupin watches over him until the plane lands in New York, and eventually decides to accompany him to his home to make sure he arrives safely. Arriving at his newfound friend's apartment, he sees several more beautiful Ukiyoe prints adorning the walls and ceiling. The man calls the prints his "life's work" and informs Lupin they're the originals. Just then, there is a knock at the door and Fujiko enters, calling the old man "Sharaku".
Fujiko explains she is also friends with the old man and introduces him as Sharaku the Third, grandson of the great artist. She in turn introduces him properly to Lupin and explains Sharaku made forgeries and then switched them with his grandfather's original prints to prove his own skill. An exhausted and ill Sharaku is distraught, however; there is one painting missing from his collection. He, however, is pleased at Lupin's arrival, believing fate has sent Lupin to help him with this one last job. Fujiko encourages Lupin to do the job, offering to give him anything he wants as payment. Anything.
Lupin turns to Jigen and Goemon, presenting them with the final forgery: a painting of Goemon's own great-great-great. etc. grandfather, Goemon the First. The painting happens to be in New York at the Central Museum as part of a touring exhibit, but will be leaving the city in three days to head for the next stop. Goemon agrees to help for nothing, but Jigen is reluctant to participate for no payment; Lupin persuades the gunman to at least watch over Sharaku for a bottle of good scotch.
Speaking of fate, one of the men assigned to watch over the touring Ukiyoe exhibit is Zenigata; Goemon and Lupin go to case the museum, only to be spotted by him right away. Lupin is ensnared in some nets and is piled on by Zenigata and the security guards. Lupin wiggles loose, Goemon cuts him free and the two escape. In the chaos, Zenigata has managed only to handcuff himself, causing him to be stopped by a cop who thinks him a criminal. This causes enough of a distraction that Lupin manages to jump-start a car and slip away; Zenigata chases the car, only to see a rock on the accelerator. He crashes into a nearby storefront.
Zenigata puts more guards around the museum, awaiting Lupin's next attempt. Watching from a helicopter, Lupin and Goemon decide to formulate a new plan, this time with Jigen's help, since Jigen wants the whole thing over with. Fujiko, in disguise, goes back to the museum and manages to place a tracker on the painting. However, Sharaku is fading fast, and Fujiko fears that this new plan may not work in time.
At the airport, Fujiko and Lupin replace the flight crew. Zenigata arrives at the plane, paintings in tow, and they are carefully loaded on. The plane, with Zenigata and a security escort, takes off without incident. Shortly after, Fujiko, as the stewardess, offers them beverages while Lupin slips out of the back of the beverage cart without notice. He uses the tracker Fujiko planted to locate the correct painting in the many boxes on the plane; switching out the real one with the forgery, he sneaks back into the cart just as Fujiko finishes serving.
As Zenigata watches, another plane suddenly flies out of nowhere and fires on theirs. Amid the smoke and flames, Lupin makes an evacuation call, as it reveals somehow from his car on the ground. Zenigata and the guards strap on parachutes and exit the plane, only to discover it has gone nowhere. Lupin's gang rigged up movie screens to make the plane appear to fly, when in fact it never left its hanger. Lupin and the gang triumphantly drive off with the painting. They arrive at Sharaku's apartment, only to find he has passed away.
Sharaku is buried with his grandfather's paintings. Over drinks, Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon discuss the situation, Jigen particularly annoyed that they buried all of that valuable art. Meanwhile, in the graveyard, the coffin opens itself and Sharaku emerges, alive and happy, carrying the painting Lupin stole in his arms. As he leaves, Lupin and the gang notice that the tracker, still on the painting, is moving around! The three track them down, and Lupin pulls off a mask, revealing Sharaku to be Budonsone, the actor cast by Fujiko at the beginning of the episode.
The next day, Fujiko is on the phone with a buyer for the painting. She meets with Sharaku, giving him a check in exchange for his work. After she leaves, Lupin pulls off his disguise, and he and the boys gloat over pulling one over on Fujiko yet again. As she drives away, Fujiko suddenly spots a giant kite flying behind her car, which on examination is made from all of Sharaku's "originals" and a gloating banner from Lupin. As she cuts the kite away, she finds Budonsone, bound and gagged in the trunk. Fujiko laments you just can't trust anyone anymore.
This episode features examples of:
- Bound and Gagged: The pilot and the stewardess that are mugged for their uniform by Lupin and Fujiko. Budonsone at the end of the episode.
- Buried Alive: Sharaku. Played with that it is on purpose as the final part of Fujiko's secret plan.
- Caper Rationalization: Lupin does this one out of the kindness of his heart, and Goemon does it for the honor of helping Sharaku's descendant. Fujiko and Jigen's reasons are much less noble, however.
- Famous Ancestor: Sharaku the Third. Except not really, as it turns out...
- Fauxtastic Voyage: Lupin and his gang made a daring airborne heist of classic artwork from a plane guarded by Zenigata himself. The plane never left the hangar, and the background outside was airborne footage from an old movie.
- Friendly Rivalry: An excellent example of Lupin and Fujiko's. Fujiko scams Lupin, he turns it right back at her.Lupin: I've got the original and I've got your check, but you know, all I really want is you, baby. Love, Lupin.
- Gentleman Thief: Lupin is very much in this mode during the episode...though he is motivated slightly by lust as well after Fujiko's offer.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Lupin is freed from a net, unharmed, with a single cut from Zantetsuken.
- Irony: Fujiko's final quote.Fujiko: That's what's wrong with the world, you know? You just can't trust anybody any more.
- Kabuki Sounds: Accompany Lupin's kabuki-styled(and actually fairly insightful) Ice-Cream Koan epilogue;Lupin: It is written; A con man is a better actor than an actor is a con man! Hah!
- Mugged for Disguise: Lupin and Fujiko take the place (and uniforms) of a pilot and a stewardess to infiltrate a plane. The real pilot and stewardess are left Bound and Gagged in their undies inside the airport's toilets.
- Title Drop: Part of the Japanese episode title is on the script Fujiko hands Budonsone.