A respectful history of Ishikawa Goemon XIII


Goemon's Close Call


Opening shot: close-up on a red rose, drawing back to show that it's part of the image painted on the side of a Land Rover a running wolf with a rose gripped in its jaws. Sitting on the hillside near the jeep is a man playing the guitar, Spanish flamenco style; a man with a long, jagged scar crossing his face. We see Goemon walk up behind him and ask if he knows the location of the nearby hot spring; the man faces him with a challenging stare, and Goemon thumbs open his sword. But he points the way, and Goemon thanks him and leaves. As he walks away, a rose-topped dart flies into the frame, striking the guitar. That must be Goemon, says a woman's voice; she has a proud angry face and is dressed in a black jumpsuit. A dangerous man, likely to shed blood, agrees the guitarist; we mustn't underestimate Lupin. He pulls the rose dart from his guitar and tosses it back to the woman, who catches it and tucks it into her hair. But no one can survive being tracked down by the partnership of Wild Wolf and Rose; she replies; it's never happened yet.

Goemon is soaking in the hot spring, singing "YMCA, YMCA" ( yes, the Village People song. Really.) Ah, this is the way to bathe, he says contentedly; Western baths just don't compare. Suddenly he looks up to see the silhouette of a woman --apparently naked--approaching the spring. In shock, he rushes to the far bank, and there is caught off guard by Wolf, who throws a garrote around his neck. He strikes out, shattering part of the rock and forcing Wolf off balance, then dives and swims off underwater. Wolf calls to Rose, who quickly takes Zantetsuken from where Goemon has left it lying with his clothes. Goemon surfaces, grabs for his sword and finds it gone. Rose approaches him; he throws an arm across his eyes to avoid seeing her nudity, takes a rose dart in the neck--apparently drugged. I was too careless, he gasps, and collapses into the water. Rose, now wrapped in a towel, looks down at him triumphantly, and Wolf comments that just as they'd heard, Goemon's weakness is women. Rose says she'll get Lupin the same way, but he cautions her that method won't work on him.

In the stone castle where the gang is apparently hiding out, Lupin is taking a bubble bath with a rubber doll of Fujiko (….) Jigen enters, pops the thing with his cigarette and says this is no time to be playing with balloons--Goemon is missing. Isn't he resting at the hot springs? asks Lupin, and Jigen says he has to be concerned when he sees what Goemon has left behind--Zantetsuken, and his white fundoshi. [Presumably Rose and Wolf left these somewhere findable.] Then that guy's running around without underwear? snickers Lupin, and Jigen says he shouldn’t laugh about that, it's disrespectful to the TV audience. =)

The Land Rover drives past the castle and Rose says "why don't we raid Lupin's base now? It's two against two" . But Wolf replies "they'll be here soon". Sure enough, a speedboat comes racing across the lake, carrying Zenigata and his men. He calls up to Lupin with a bullhorn, saying that Lupin is surrounded and he's determined to cloase the case today. Old bro only knows one method, sighs Lupin--but behind the jeep, we see there's a machine gun hidden inside Wolf's guitar. He focuses the cross-hairs on the tower window, aiming at Lupin.

Lupin says "let's go" and he and Jigen leave. A hot-air balloon rises from the top of the tower and Lupin's voice calls out his usual "abayo" to Zenigata; Zenigata climbs the anchor rope and gets his cuffs out, but finds the Lupin and Jigen silhouettes in the balloon basket are only dummies. The Lupin dummy --via tape--sings "Old Lang Syne" and thanks him for coming before shooting a dart from its head that punctures the balloon, and Zenigata is whirled away. At the same time, a tunnel opens in the cliffside onto the lake, and a motorboat races away from the castle. Wolf fires at that, but the "Jigen and Lupin" on the boat are also dummies, and Wolf says "we've been tricked". The real J&L are hiding in the lake, breathing ninja-style through bamboo tubes. Jigen wonders who the shooter was and Lupin says, who knows--lots of people want to kill me. They disagree over whether this is because he's too famous or too annoying. =) --Jigen reminds Lupin that Goemon's still in danger.

And how. --We see him; he's hanging by his thumbs (tied together with cord), stripped to the waist, a short chain and shackle suspending an iron ball from one ankle. Rose is giving him a fierce, bloody lashing with a bullwhip. She asks him if he's ready to talk. He smiles and shakes his head. She swears, lifts the iron ball a little and lets it drop, giving his whole body an agonizing yank. He howls in pain. Your fingers will break, she says, doing it again. ==Wolf, playing his guitar at the side of the dungeon chamber, stops and tells Goemon that he might as well give up; no matter how strong the man who meets Rose, in the end he'll become like an infant, wailing and crying. Give up, he says; tell us Lupin's weakness.

What will you do when you know that? asks Goemon. Wolf replies that so many have tried to kill Lupin and none have succeeded; "when we succeed, we'll become the number one assassins". --We're the best, Wild Wolf and Rose, adds Rose proudly. --Don't joke, says Goemon, no one can defeat Lupin. You mean he has no weakness?--demands Rose, putting headphones on Goemon. Wolf exchanges his acoustic guitar for an electric one, and begins playing a series of screeching, discordant feedback runs directly into Goemon's ears. He screams, wide-eyed in agony and drenched with sweat. Tell us Lupin's weakness, Wolf insists.

Lupin and Jigen can't find any clues to Goemon's whereabouts. Jigen says that the word has been put out and everyone must know where Lupin is--whoever it is must show themselves soon.

Goemon, screaming horribly, passes out and is slapped awake by Rose. Goemon, our target is Lupin, not you, Wolf tells him; just tell us and we'll let you relax. Goemon insists that Lupin has no weakness. He's human, he must have one, says Wolf--even the great Goemon is as helpless as a child when he sees a woman. Goemon smiles grimly and says "even if he had, do you think I'd tell it to you?" Too bad, because our time is getting short, says Wolf, and they cut him down from the ceiling and place a wooden bench over his chest. Rose kneels on the bench and picks up a power drill (!!), asking him with a smile if he likes "the doctor game". This woman uses no anesthetic when she operates, says Wolf, but Goemon grins fiercely into her face and says he's sure he has a decayed tooth. Rose drills, and Goemon screams and passes out again, blood spilling from his mouth. [MAN, this is rough.]

It's too much even for Wolf to watch and he steps out onto the balcony. There a carrier pigeon brings him the message that Lupin is trying to lure them out of hiding. (No kidding: by now there's a flashing red neon sign that says LUPIN THE 3rd on the castle roof. =) Rose walks out and he tells her the message; we'd better hurry and deal with him, she says. Wolf says he'll handle Lupin himself, because he's not like Goemon--he's heard he has quite a way with women. Rose tosses down the drill with an angry "Hmph!"

Jigen, watching the road with binoculars, says they've got a gate-crasher. If it's old bro, tell him I'm out, sighs Lupin, but Jigen says it's Fujiko. Well, that's quite a different story, and Lupin just about knocks him over to get a look. It sure seems to be Fuji, driving up to the castle in a flashy sportscar. Lupin rushes down to greet her, as Jigen indignantly calls after him, "who’s more important to you, women or comrades?"

"Fujiko" (of course, it's Rose in disguise) purrs that it's been too long since she saw her beloved Lupin, and he's only too happy to suggest that they talk about it in his room upstairs. Even though they're in a stone castle, he's tricked up one room with all the romantic amenities including wine, a fancy stereo, a chandelier, and of course a big double bed. =) ==We hear their voices being transmitted to the dungeon, where Wolf has chained Goemon around a pillar, wrists bound to ankles. Listen to this, Goemon, he taunts: you're doing everything to protect Lupin, and he's forgotten all about you. Using Fujiko--you're totally despicable, grates Goemon. If this works you'll die as well, says Wolf.

Lupin has "Fujiko" pinned to the bed, and she takes the rose dart out of her hair and tosses it into the pillow. Slipping a stiletto out of her garter, she prepares to stab Lupin but he's ahead of her and has leaped into the chandelier. He drops back down and pulls off the Fujiko mask--and has a good leer at her drawn-up knees and sexy garters). She swears ("K'so!" which is roughly "Bastard!") and bolts for the door--but not before he tosses the rose back. It catches in her hair unnoticed as she runs. ==Jigen has her car in his sights, but Lupin stops him from shooting, saying she'll lead them back to Goemon.

Lupin managed to tag the rose dart with a transmitter [what about the one she must have already been wearing?] and L&J track it as they drive in pursuit. ==Rose storms into the dungeon, furious, and Wolf says bluntly that she failed, adding that those tricks are useless against Lupin. I'll show him next time, she snarls, but Wolf says "he's already here" and pulls the rose from her hair, showing her Lupin's blinking tracer. She had no idea she'd been bugged, and sweeps out, royally pissed off. Goemon watches Wolf watch her and says with a slow smile, "your weakness is that woman."

There's no time left, says the assassin, and Goemon says it's the same for him--when this lock breaks, you'll die. Wolf takes a Spanish sword from the wall, draws it and growls "Die, Goemon"--but then the end of Goemon's chain catches and wraps around the blade, and Goemon drops to the floor. How?--Wolf is startled--and Lupin appears from behind the pillar.

Goemon, we're just in time, he says. He sees the terrible things the samurai has endured and is obviously moved: you went through this because of me, he says. I'd rather die than betray my comrades, says Goemon. You're such an idiot, a true-blue idiot, says Lupin with great emotion, kneeling beside him to embrace him, stroking his hair.

What's this, friendship? How touching--an idiot who gambles his life on that word, sneers Wolf. Lupin, still holding Goemon, glares up at him in contempt: You should know, Wild Wolf, he says, doing something so despicable. Well? Shall we finish this now or another time? asks Wolf, and Lupin stands and says he's got no wish to ever see Wolf again. He draws his gun, but Goemon asks to be the one to strike the blow. Lupin asks "can you?" but Goemon quietly asks "please" and Lupin, understanding, agrees. He helps Goemon to his feet. Looks as if you want to die quickly, Goemon, says Wolf, and he opens fire with his guitar-gun, but Lupin shatters it with a bullet and tosses him the Spanish blade, saying "we'll settle this with the sword". Goemon's hands are useless from the torture, but he takes Zantetsuken in his teeth, charges Wolf, and--just as he passes him--twists his head sharply left and drives the katana through his spine.

As Wolf falls, Jigen brings Rose in at gunpoint. Goemon, supported by Lupin, watches. When she sees Wolf's body, her eyes fill with tears. She drops to her knees beside him, takes the rose dart from her hair and plunges it into her heart, falling dead at his side.

As the trio leaves--Jigen with Zantetsuken and Lupin carrying Goemon on his back--Jigen says that he doubts he'd hold out as long under torture as Goemon did, so what would Lupin want him to say was his weakness? Hmm, highly skilled, ice-cold-clever, nice figure, good-looking---looks like I don't have one, grins the master thief. Goemon chuckles quietly and says "Lupin's weakness is that he's got a screw loose," and Jigen laughs and pats him on the back; well said, he says.


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