The double agent appears! In the opening seconds of the episode, we are given a first glimpse of the new Ranger, as he boards his train to leave Paris behind. Despite being played by a Japanese actor, it seems our Double Agent Ranger is French, as he remarks that he’s off to the “Chaos of Japan.”
His train, shown from the inside for only a second, has a similar interiour design to the previously shown mecha, and has the sigil of Arsene Lupin on the side. From previous material, we know that this new Ranger is also operating as a member of GSPO, so we’re left with a sense of mystery about him right from the start. He even enters the country in a flashy way, running down a group of Ganglers before his train turns into his weapon. He introduces himself as, “A solitary sterling Phantom Thief, Lupin X.”
As is tradition, Lupin X is made out to be invincible, and takes the new Gangler’s item effortlessly using a number code, as opposed to the traditional spinning lock the other Lupinrangers have. He is clearly a light character, even going so far as to take a selfie with the girl he rescues.
Interestingly, though, Kairi is just as shocked as Keiichiro to learn of the existence of Lupin X. Thankfully, he doesn’t need to wait long for an answer. He’s brash, full of energy, and big on theatrics, including a demonstration of athleticism. In the midst of a show of backflips, Lupin X steals the phones of everyone nearby, openly declaring that he is Lupin X before he passes phones out back to their respective owners. Keiichiro arrests him on the spot.
Before departing, Lupin X leaves his calling card on Kairi’s phone.
Lupin X is called Takao Noel, and makes a joke and a show even of just telling the police about himself. He is consistently, and fittingly, dramatic while also being lighthearted and a bit fun. It seems only Commander Hilltop knows, though, that Noel is a deep cover agent transferring in from the French HQ of GSPO. Keiichiro immediately takes a strong and hilarious dislike to Noel, setting up some of the best jokes of the episode. Despite all his theatrics and silliness, though, it is revealed quickly that Noel is an engineer, and a brilliant one at that. Noel is the creator of the VS Changer system, and even went so far as to design his own changer that allows him to become Lupin X and Patren X at the flip of a switch.
As is fitting for a debut of a new hero, Noel is easily the best part of this episode. His movements in battle are acrobatic and draw the eye in much the same way that movies featuring Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan do. His motivation is selfish in the end, and the brashness he displays even brings out new traits in the other characters, as confusion gives way to fear and fear, in turn, to anxiety. Touma even goes so far as to raise his weapon as he declares that Noel is a threat. To me, at least, this seems to be a hint that Touma would not be above killing Noel in the end, if it meant that the Lupinrangers could accomplish their goals.
This mistrust is quickly swept aside when Noel allows his own VS Vehicles, X-Train Silver and X-Train Gold, to combine with Good Striker to create a new form of LupinKaiser. As his price, Noel claims a temporary leadership role on the team. After this, it is the police who are quick to doubt him. They question his motives, understandably, and when the thieves return to Jurer, they find Noel already waiting.
Overall, this episode is fantastic. The whole dynamic of the show’s previous cat-and-mouse game is instantly turned on its head by the arrival of brash, bold Noel Takao, and I cannot wait to see what more he can bring to the table as the two teams begin to question himself, themselves, and each other. Noel clearly has a much bigger part to play that has yet to be revealed, but we will have to wait to see where that comes from and how it plays out. What did you think of this episode? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!