English: Lupin the Third, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
Synonyms: Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Lupin III, Lupin III~Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna~
Japanese: LUPIN the Third ～峰不二子という女～
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 5, 2012 to Jun 28, 2012
Duration: 23 min. per episode
Rating: R+ - Mild NudityL represents licensing company
Score: 7.781 (scored by 4861 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
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Jun 28, 2012
While the first half of this series is standard Lupin III fare, while more prominently focused on Fujiko, the highlight for the series for me comes in the form of its second half which features a more linear storyline when said mysterious organization comes into play. The group have their identities concealed in bird masks and apparently have some type of mysterious past connection with Fujiko. This particular story element is quite effective in messing with one's perceptions of what you assume is going on with Lupin and his group, especially as more details on the organization's illicit activities come to light and come to learn that not all is what it would seem on the surface. I won't spoil the major elements of this plot, but all I will say is that the ending comes across as quite the surprising shocker yet makes sense once you put together the elements of the organization revealed from earlier episodes. The only rough element to this new storyline was the unclear resolution of the fates of Zenigata and Oscar when they become entangled in the mess involving the organization.
The animation style to The Woman Called Fujiko Mine sticks out quite a bit as well compared to past Lupin III works. Anyone who seen Redline may notice similarities in the drawing styles used for scenery and character designs here in this series. This isn't a coincidence as two of the major figures behind making Redline, Sayo Yamamoto and Takeshi Koike, contribute their talents in the unique animation style used for The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. Scenery and character designs are drawn with a pastel-like feel as color tones are quite subdued and there is frequent use of pattern-like designs used to blend in with a number of scenery and character designs. The character designs are well-detailed and the memorable designs of Lupin characters are retained here, all the way down to Lupin's green dress coat worn during the original first series from the early 1970s. Action scenes are well-animated featuring fluid movement in many instances and have great choreography coming from gunplay and even the swordplay used by Goemon.
Overall, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine made for perhaps the best offering I've seen from the Lupin III franchise thus far. It still retains the basic elements of the franchise's premise and characters while creating a more mature series in its prominent focus on Fujiko's exploits and its dark, mind-bending second half when focusing on Fujiko's connections with the mentioned organization. The series certainly won't be for everyone if they are expecting the typical comical antics of the Lupin III franchise. But if you are looking for something different with the franchise, The Woman Named Fujiko Mine should be a worthwhile gem for you. read more
Apr 15, 2012
The story is about the sly lady thief Fujiko Mine, the mysterious fox that often helps Lupin and the gang. In this installment, it takes us back to before Lupin met Fujiko and the rest of the gang.
This new installment in the Lupin III franchise is delightfully sexy and raunchy, and definitely isn't for the younger audience. With unrestrained sexual tension and nudity, the character interaction is playful and dangerous, and is a whole other dynamic than one is used to in anime. In this world of thievery and espionage, playing dirty works.
How will uninitiated fans react to the show? To be honest, knowing who they are and how the characters interact beforehand is a huge help. As a "prequel" to the franchise, it does a decent job of introducing the characters. However, it feels more like an info recap intro rather than a full on introduction, so fans hoping to get into the franchise now might feel a little miffed.
So Lupin fans rejoice! A full fledged return to the glory days of Lupin III and Monkey Punch, the dorky gentleman thief Pink Jacket Lupin this ain't. This is full on Green Jacket Lupin, the dashing, quick-witted, pervert thief that many grew up with. read more
Jun 30, 2012
The plot was really interesting, everything in this anime was perfect in my opinion. There should be more anime with this style, because they are very enjoyable.
Jun 15, 2012
On the other hand, it has a messy and pretentious story that kinda killed the "mystique appeal" of Fujiko Mine, added some unnecessary characters and is cluttered with bad writing by one of the biggest hacks in anime (And yes, i'm talking about Mari Okada).
The story of this Lupin III series is all about Fujiko Mine, and how she became to be that one hot chick you see in every Lupin III anime from the past 4 decades. You also see her trying to rob things and steal stuff but who cares.
It's basically Lupin III meets "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego" with a sprinkle of Black Rock Shooter.
The story is quite a mess. The first 5 episodes have that sense of humour of the typical Lupin III story. And that's fine.
But then, they just have to add that fucking annoying and unnecessary "DEEP" crap and turn Fujiko into an Asuka clone. And i'm not talking of making Fujiko a tsundere. I'm talking about them turning Fujiko into a post-mental breakdown suffering of a woman. And yes, i hated that part. Why?
Because it's unnecessary and pretty killed the character for me. Fujiko was made to be a mysterious figure of lust and envy, and to add something that's the opposite of the two pretty much killed that. I don't want to know about her past. I want to see her as the sex bomb figure of tension that she is.
Also, the worst thing about the story are the flashbacks of Fujiko's childhood. It's messy and gives away nothing that would make understand her. It's just padding at its worst and i hated that.
I understand the need to go dark. Hell, i loved Casino Royale and Batman Begins for offering a gritty take on their respective franchises. But you don't make it to a point where you kill the appeal of the character. It's one reason the Star Wars Prequels don't work. You don't try and be edgy to the point of butchering what makes the characters likable.
And all of these can pretty much be blamed on Mari Okada. You can tell that all the "Deep & Dark" flashback trauma crap is handled by her. Hell, episode 11 has her shit all over it. And i fucking hated it. It reminds me of everything i hated about Black Rock Shooter. Who gave this woman more work? We kicked Shyamalan hard for butchering The Last Airbender and Akiva Goldman got cockpunched for Batman & Robin, and yet she's getting away with this?
And besides Fujiko III, you see the return of the well-loved Arsene Lupin, the samurai wonder Goemon, the sharp-eyed Jugem and the bumbling Interpol agent Zenigata. And they added another main character named Oscar who's Zenigata's assistant and obviously gay for the Inspector. And to me, he's pretty pointless because he brings nothing to the story, and he makes me ask "Is this franchise really desperate of a new following that they need to add a character made for a fujoshi fanbse?" Seriously, he's just there for the fabulous.
But those are the bad parts, so now, here's the good parts!
The art is excellent.It feels like moving palettes rather than animation and has an excellent colour scheme of sorts. It's clearly influenced by Western animation and it's more colourful than the other stories in Lupin III, which is a contrast to the dark storyline.
The sound's nice. In terms of music, it's clearly the jazzy orchestra type of music you'd expect from a Shinichi Watanabe production. It's nice and i enjoyed the score as it reminds me of music by Anton Karas. I'm surprised that the score wasn't composed by Yoko Kanno, because it feels like one. And thus, i think the composer did an excellent creating a score influenced by Yoko Kanno.
And the voice acting's pretty nice as you have the original seiyuus for Lupin and Jigen(Kanichi Kurita and Kiyoshi Kobayashi), whereas Fujiko is now voiced by the talented Miyuki Sawashiro while Goemon is voiced by the excellent Daisuke Namikawa. The legendary Kouichi Yamadera now voices Zenigata and Oscar is voiced by Yuki Kaji. All of them provides excellent voice acting and i'm impressed the most by Sawashiro as she is able to weigh in and sound as good as her predecessor, Eiko Masuyama.
All of these good points provide a counter-balance to the ridiculously terrible storyline. You have all of these elements of music and animation that brings more to the anime than the story itself. And surprisingly, the Lupin and Jigen scenes managed to be more enjoyable than the Fujiko scene and that is also a good point about this series.
Overall, Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna is a conflicted series with a flawed story, but makes up for it with the music, animation and giving space to Lupin, Jigen and Goemon. If you're a Lupin III fan and its core, then you will like this. But if you haven't seen any of the Lupin III series before, then go watch the original series alongside Castle of Cagliostro and maybe one of the other OVAs like Fujiko's Unlucky Days which is also similar to this anime.
And to end this review, here's Tom Jones singing It's not Unusual, because i really love Tom Jones:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrwO8b9iq34&feature=related read more
Feb 27, 2013
An interesting thing to notice is how about half of those who have been exposed to the franchise have only watched The Castle of Cagliostro, just because it was made by Hayao Miyazaki. The rest of them were never hyped much or didn’t have the same production values so they went into obscurity for many. That gave a somewhat misleading image of what the main series was all about, since Miyazaki’s envision made it appear to be just a silly teen adventure when in fact the canon would be quite vulgar, violent, and erotic at times.
So the next addition to the franchise is now actually a prequel, showing how the main characters got to meet in the first place. That was never really shown in the original series, since they were all a team since the pilot episode. And to no surprise, it all happened because of Fujiko’s non-stop backstabbing; for that reason she is now the main character instead of Lupin. This was received in a rather negative way from most, since the fans claimed she was always weak and nothing but eye candy, while all the charisma and gar action belonged to the male team of the thieves. And it’s true, she can’t fight at all and only uses her seduction as means to get her ways, something of which hardly means action or suspense. Women were always useless in such shows and especially half a century ago. I on the other hand believe that this was a good twist to the formula for two reasons.
- It is different. Enough with Lupin stealing the show, let someone else get some screen time.
- It is more appealing. What are the chances of someone watching a show that has an unshaved middle aged non-bishounen dude in the cover? How easy is it if it shows a hot naked babe?
But enough with that, what about the show itself? If Lupin lost its magic decades ago, what hopes would it have to make a comeback now? Well, it all comes down to presentation and DAMN does it look artsy. And I don’t mean that Kyoto Animation tired moe / breathtaking vista copypasta artsy, of which I got bored a decade ago; I meant it in a rather gritty/retro way. The opening video is one of the most bizarre ones you will ever hope to encounter, a weird blend of poems, classical music and art nouveaux. The characters retain their retro style but the lightning effects are to the most part nothing more than vertical lines, giving the whole show a comic book feel. The backgrounds are also rather trippy as they are colored in a stylized or monochromatic way to bring out an emotional response. The whole thing looks so damn special; it stands out from the done to death school grounds and typical-colored shows out there. This alone makes it attracting very easily.
Oh, I must not miss to mention the whole nude thing in this show. There is a heck of a lot as the heroine is not wearing any clothes half the time. Ok, the genitalia are always hidden in darkness or from some object but you get lots of in your face breasts and butt. Nothing over the top sleazy compared to what other shows do with ecchi these days but it definitely is not for the younger audience. I could bring out the rather gorish death scenes too but let’s just stick to how this show is not a typical shounen, and is aimed at older teens and above. There is a lot of nudity, a lot of implied sex, and males who don’t scream and run away crying if they touch a boob. You have been warned.
Don’t go expecting much of a story in the first half, since the missions are still episodic and quite straightforward. Some mystery may appear at times but it is revealed and resolved ten minutes later. But at least we get some backgrounds revealed around the early lives of the heroes and how they came together, so we can say there is a somewhat plot and development in here for a change. Especially the second half focuses a lot on the dramatic past of Fujiko, so the whole show becomes nothing more than her doing stuff and revealing her tragedies. Still, even here the plot is loose.
Although there is a lot of action it is always about the cool factor and has very little realism about it. The same goes for the characters; they are all two-dimensional but extremely charismatic by being too good and cool or sexy in whatever they are doing. You get the super smart thief, the super gunner, the super swordsman, and a slutty enchantress roaming around the world, shooting at criminals, running away from the police, and stealing stuff just for the heck of it. If you are satisfied with that, then you will get a blast out of this show. If not, you can always appreciate the very unique feel of the animation and the music. That is the timeless magic of Lupin the Third.
I wouldn’t call this anime a masterpiece but it sure is amongst the most interesting titles that came out in 2012, which is a wasteland for newer anime.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 9/10
General Artwork 2/2 (artsy)
Character Figures 2/2 (generic but quite memorable)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (artsy)
SOUND SECTION: 9/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 4/4 (atmospheric)
Sound Effects 3/3 (great)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 1/2 (loose)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10
Presence 2/2 (cool/sexy)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 8/10
Historical Value 3/3 (all-known)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 4/4 (extremely artsy to the point of forever remembering it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 7/10
Art 1/1 (looks artsy)
Sound 2/2 (sounds special)
Story 1/3 (feels generic)
Characters 3/4 (they are cool but don’t exactly have much context)
VERDICT: 7.5/10 read more
Nov 15, 2012
Title: It's Lupin, what can I say?
About the Anime: Fujiko Mine: a woman so beguiling that the greatest thief on earth, Lupin III, has vowed to claim her as his most prized quarry. And while men lust after her, she only has eyes for one thing – all the beautiful treasures in the world that she can possibly steal. From the haunted opera houses of Japan to the boobie-trapped pyramids of Egypt, Fujiko uses both violence and sex to manipulate those who stand in her way. But with the tireless Lupin intervening in every situation to 'take' her, and the skilled rogues Jigen and Goemon entangling their own personal vendettas with hers, how is a woman to realize her wildest desires?
Story 7/10: Looking back at the various incarnations of Fujiko Mine, any observer will recognise a mere handful of common traits, most of them incidental (sexy, traitorous, gunslinger), rather than grasp fully who she is as a person. So, perhaps it helps to focus on what she isn’t: definable, fathomable, consistent. The enduring allure of Fujiko Mine across generations and several reinterpretations is that she rarely lets us see into her soul. In some past incarnations this was because of lazy characterisation or sheer necessity of the plot – Fujiko Mine turned up to steal and cock-tease and left before we could ever get even a glimpse of her personality. In this reimagining, courtesy of Sayo Yamamoto, the dazzling creative mind behind 2008’s Michiko to Hatchin, that very opacity in Fujiko’s personality is no longer an accident but rather the point. In that sense, like many great anime, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is about a mystery; just that the mystery is not external to the protagonist but the protagonist herself.
This focus on the main character is what stabilises what otherwise remains a disjointed set of episodic adventures comprising the usual Lupin pick’n’mix of comedy, violence, drama, and action. In any given episode something must be stolen, there will be gunshots and stunts, possibly explosions, the infamous thief Lupin will try to seduce Fujiko, and Fujiko will try to seduce whoever is left. This is one of the more violent and explicit additions to the franchise, adding decapitations, frequent nudity, and blood splatters. Often the violence worked for me by imparting a grittiness that offset the more bizarre flights of fancy and became the bitter complement to the erotic sweet. I found the bawdy humour, which operates on a level similar to that of corny British soft core porn, much less appreciable. Broadly, though, this is a faithfully kitschy adventure spanning, in the manner of Indiana Jones, from the pyramids of Egypt to the fertile gardens of a girls’ boarding school and offering the kind of storytelling borrowed from the 1960s when people still believed in such unlikely crap as master thieves.
On the other hand, despite performing the usual motions, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is not about what it seems to be about. That is no small feat. So much of the content would have suffice for mere entertainment, and indeed, I’ve seen anime fans lap up much shallower fare with baffling relish. However, beneath the lewd flirtation and lovingly contrived action sequences, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine attempts to smuggle in some finer detail for those who care to look for it. Much of the series involves subtle sleight of hand, from the way we perceive characters to the direction in the action. Take Fujiko’s and Lupin’s dialogue for example, it is only vaguely about flirting – rather, it is always about one-upmanship. During a pool-side scene in episode five, for instance, Fujiko asks Lupin if he’s trying to get her, and the infamous thief responds that once he sets out to steal something, he always gets it. He may simply be talking about desiring her, but, more meaningfully, his boast lays bare his prowess at stealing while declaring something else that becomes more obvious towards the end. So pervasive is the script’s subterfuge that even when we finally come to the truth about Fujiko, it’s actually hard to say we really have it.
Animation 8/10: Style is not over substance here; rather style is inherent to substance. The retro comic book art, with its thick black pencil lines for shadow and simplistic colouring, props up the host of kitsch adventures. Any overt beauty to be found here radiates mainly from Takeshi Koike’s (Redline) design for Fujiko. His imagination elevates her to the status of a goddess, pure and simple, a saucy minx with hints of divinity who exudes childlike sweetness in her smile as easily as she does vengeful menace in her grimace.
Sound 6/10: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine delivers frenetic music that chops and changes as rapidly as its scenery. Brief tribal interludes will turn into chaotic jazzy refrains, only for the latter to melt away in waves of haunting solo vocals. The opening theme, intriguingly, consists of spoken prose over a tuneless instrumental while the end theme comes the closest resembling a marketable pop song. But for all its eclecticism, the score remains rather unassuming, so that I fear no-one will come away remembering much of it.
Characters 8/10: In a delightful twist that brings to mind Revolutionary Girl Utena and Brother, Dear Brother, Yamamoto transforms Fujiko from a victim of patriarchy to a symbol of complex female sexuality. Here is how I see the difference. In most shows Fujiko is defined by her sexuality. This happens, for instance, both in the exploitative first TV series as well as in the family-friendly Hayao Miyazaki classic, Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro. In the original, Fujiko’s sexuality is all there is, and being a sex kitten becomes synonymous with being a bad person not to be trusted. The message is simple, women who screw also lie and cheat and are not believable. They are certainly not heroes. In the tamer movie, Miyazaki falls into the same trap by divorcing sexuality from virtue, so that in order to be a likeable hero, the woman must be stripped of her sexuality. She’s strong, she’s convincing, and she can be trusted to help because she does not get naked with men. But in Yamamoto’s version, what can we make of Fujiko? Here Fujiko is sometimes a hero (saving a revolutionist from certain ruin) and other times a deviant (seducing vulnerable teenage girls for their loot), all the while remaining a sexually free individual pragmatic about her carnality rather than being trapped into using them as means (see 99% of episodes). Sex is part of her but it does not define her either in presence or absence.
But for fear of committing the ironic act of discussing Fujiko purely in terms of her sexuality while denying her objectification, I’ll add the following. This show offers an impressively thorough explanation for her character without spoiling her for everyone. Through most of the episodes I thought of Fujiko as a woman in search of a past, but coming away from the show, I am convinced she is merely a woman enjoying life as it befalls her. Her mystery is that there is no profound internal dynamic driving her: she is not torn up with angst, she is not ablaze with all-consuming hatred, but neither is she a cheery shoujo princess wanting to save the world through self-sacrifice. She challenges this great need we have for (anti)heroes with grand purposes and denies that life for anyone – especially for a woman – must play according to scripted rules. Above all, Yamamoto’s Fujiko is a mystery because she fits none of our preconceptions, and that makes her frightening, aggravating, bizarre, and above all, fascinating.
The director’s approach to the thief Lupin also impressed me (a bit like Miyazaki’s version of him, but not to the same level). Abstracted from various interpretations, I find Lupin an inherently deplorable concept – all selfish acts and lewd thoughts, a banal hedonist. He’s just a hungry Id made manifest, grabbing whatever he wants, whether it be treasures or titties. In The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, this aspect of him is not so much toned down as given a human twist. He still just wants things, however, his desire for Fujiko stretches beyond animalistic libido to sincere admiration of her fierce independence. Moreover, his lewd gestures arguably take on new meaning in a context where Fujiko is dominant, so that I could see his crass advances as an old in-joke between two equally autonomous beings who know when not to cross the line. In fact, it might very well be the case that, with this mingling of lust and admiration, Lupin might actually be in love and not just in lust. Sharpshooter Daisuke Jigen, samurai Goemon Oshikawa, and frustrated detective Koichi Zenigata, are more straightforwardly likeable than Fujiko or Lupin but also predictable for veteran fans of the franchise. They show up and perform their shtik and then get out of the way again. One exception may be Zenigata’s sidekick, Oscar, whose dark beauty and coy homosexuality make him an intriguing extension of the show’s eroticism.
Overall 7.5/10: Fujiko Mine remains indefinable but that is precisely what we love about her. So malleable is she as a concept that Yamamoto has been able to transform her from a traiterous sex object to a powerful, autonomous person while never betraying the Fujiko tradition. Fujiko is also successful here because she manages not just to captivate other characters, but to break the barrier of the television screen and entrance us, ensuring we follow her into fire and back. I offer reassurance, though, that fans will not just like this show for what it does anew, but also for the nostalgia it delivers. Experienced fans will savour the little homages to previous shows strewn throughout the story and recognise the boldness and vivacity of preceding Lupin works mirrored here. This ensures a caper that is, though light on the common sense, still utterly satisfying. To those who argue that the sex is still too much, I recommending closing your eyes and imagining Fujiko as clothed throughout the whole show. Still a fantastic character, no?
~WhiteBakemono read more
Apr 5, 2012
Story (9/10) - I think the story is very good especially near the end where everything is fully explained. I loved the depth they were giving to Fujiko throughout the series so it didn't seem like she was just Fujiko Mine the thief. The story revolved around her and it also did a great job of making everyone else matter even though the main focus of the story was her. The last 2 episodes were absolutely amazing. I loved that the show wasn't just about her or them stealing and that it actually had a full on story line to it. Again the story was great especially for an anime that doesn't really need one. But they gave it one and it was amazing. The execution of how it was told was also great and there's certain parts that had me flipping out.
Art (10/10) - I personally loved the art in this series. It was weird to me at first and I liked it at the same time. The style is so unique and you can tell it was made to look like that so it could give you the feel that you were watching an older series. That's how I felt about it anyway. A newer series that had a very old look and feel. I loved it. Everything was simply beautiful. The opening sequence was one of the sequences I listened to every time not only because of Fujiko's amazing intro but the art was just amazing.
Sound (10/10) - The music for the series was simply amazing. The song "Duty Friend" had me at the edge of my seat every episode because I loved that song so much I couldn't wait to hear it after an amazing episode just ended. Again the opening sequence was amazing also. Now the sound of the anime itself was also great the music they played at certain parts really fit well and made the scenes more enjoyable. The voice acting is amazing also in my opinion I think they were all great. Especially Fujiko, Lupin, & Jigen. The overall sound to me was flawless.
Character (10/10) - I said this during my first review that I grew up with these characters and I was already in love with and this show actually made me realize that I love them even more than I thought I did. They are just great characters. These characters who are usually in a comedy anime are thrown into this serious anime and it still worked and amazing. In my opinion again the seriousness is more enjoyable. Lupin is still his wacky self and I still loved him. Fujiko's character really impressed me on this show. I loved her on the original but my god they made me love her more throughout this series. They gave such depth to her character. Again the characters are amazing.
Enjoyment (10/10) - I loved this series so much. I couldn't wait until the next episode because of how much I loved watching this series. It was really great. I must say this show will be way more enjoyable if you have seen the original series and you already love it. If you don't already love the series you still think this is a good or even great anime. I still think anyone planning to watch this anime should watch the first series first. Lupin will always be one of my favorite series.