Global scale with the Global Police!
The episode opens on spring dawning. Keiichiro is out walking, bathed in cherry blossom leaves, and walks past a previously introduced antagonist, whom he plays off as just a weirdo.
The Lupins, in their Bistro, are given the opportunity to meet and rob a famous French jewelry designer who may hold a Lupin Collection item while the woman visits Tokyo. A small, but impressive touch, is when the French woman is introduced and actually speaks French. Her Japanese companion talks to her, in heavily accented French, and she answers in kind, even if only for a few words. For me, this adds a certain amount of scale to the world, rather than having Japan seemingly contained in its own pocket dimension as it has seemed to in previous Sentai series, with a few exceptions such as Ninninger featuring an American ranger.
The French woman, Ema, flees after being rescued from a Gangler by the Lupinrangers, and Kairi takes off after her to leave the fighting up to Touma and Umika. By the time the Patorangers intervene, Ema is already surrounded by Podermen. Later, she is met by Kairi, and reveals she speaks fluent Japanese. The item the Ganglers and the Lupinrangers are after is a memento of her grandfather, and she refuses to part with it, even after being offered a literal blank check.
Ema’s sister has been after the pendant, trying to use it to get her to return to France.
The Patrens, meanwhile, form a plan to lure Ema and the Gangler, Bletz, out. Tsukasa thinks of taking Ema into protective custody, the others of stopping the Gangler. Then we are given some background information on Ema, who ran away from her home in France when she was younger. This leads to Kairi having a flashback of his older brother playing basketball, growing up to do the same himself, and failing where his brother succeeded. Ema describes an inferiority complex, illustrated by Kairi’s memories, and he admits he understands her pain.
Kairi is full of regret as he tells Ema to hold onto her sister and make up while she can.
Later, as Ema listens in from around the corner, she overhears the Lupinrangers planning, and we cut to the gallery where Bletz wastes no time in trying to take the pendant. The Patrens are undercover at the gallery, and spring the trap as expected. Kairi goes his own way, following Ema, and Ema admits she knows that Kairi is a Phantom Thief. They discuss his reasoning, briefly, before he is forced to step in between Ema and Destra.
Destra confirms Ema’s pendant is part of the Lupin collection, and Kairi does not bother trying to hide as he transforms. Ema already knows, so what would be the point? This is another small but powerful gesture on the part of the writing team, who seem to be paying very close attention to the world building and consistency of characters.
After being rescued, Ema gives Kairi her pendant willingly, and Destra returns to the fight. Kairi uses the pendant to lure Destra away, and touches it to his VS Changer, where it becomes the Blade and Scissor Dial Fighters. After making a Kaiju, Destra disappears. Ema looks on from her hiding place with just a bit of longing.
Then we cut back to more familiar, less story-driven action as the two teams overlap and Keiichiro goes all out. He launches a finishing attack, and in the dust and smoke kicked up, Bletz is destroyed, along with his Lupin Collection item.
The weight of their failure is expressed in a great way, even through suits, as Touma and Umika process the results of the fight. Then the mecha battle begins, and we see Patokaiser enter the arena. The police are defeated, blinded by Keiichiro’s drive to capture Kairi, and Kairi uses the two new Dial Fighters to end the battle.
Ema, on the ground, looks on and decides to call her sister. For this scene, her lines switch from Japanese back to French, consistent with her character and background.
In the bistro, Kairi returns and is given the news. The episode cuts to a preview of next week, and we leave our heroes on a somber note.
Overall, this episode is big on two things: emotional tension and its ability to let Kairi shine. There’s a big underlying message here about the value of family, even if it is not always apparent, and we get to see Kairi grow as a person while making a genuine connection with another human being in a grounded, believable way. Nine episodes into its run of what will become fifty or more, this entry shines as an example of everything this show could be.
What did you guys think of this week’s episode? Leave your thoughts below!