Lupin the Third: A Woman Called Fujiko Mine (2012– )

TV Series  -  Animation
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The story of how the fashionable femme fatale Fujiko Mine first met Lupin III, anime's greatest thief.

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Michelle Ruff ...
 Fujiko Mine (13 episodes, 2012)
Miyuki Sawashiro ...
 Fujiko Mine (13 episodes, 2012)
Kan'ichi Kurita ...
 Lupin III (10 episodes, 2012)
Sonny Strait ...
 Arsene Lupin III (10 episodes, 2012)
...
 Inspector Zenigata (8 episodes, 2012)
Josh Grelle ...
 Oscar (8 episodes, 2012)
Kôichi Yamadera ...
 Inspector Zenigata (8 episodes, 2012)
Yûki Kaji ...
 Oscar (7 episodes, 2012)
Kiyoshi Kobayashi ...
 Daisuke Jigen (6 episodes, 2012)
Christopher Sabat ...
 Daisuke Jigen (6 episodes, 2012)
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Storyline

The story of how the fashionable femme fatale Fujiko Mine first met Lupin III, anime's greatest thief.

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4 April 2012 (Japan)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The series is influenced by Rupan sansei (1971), which had a retro setting (Lupin is seen in his green jacket) and darker, more adult and mature content. See more »

Connections

Version of Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Darker, Edgier Reboot That Works
1 May 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'll start this review with a confession: I'm not generally a big anime buff. Sure, I appreciate the good stuff when I see it. But there's rarely one I go out of my way to catch.

The Lupin III franchise has totally won me over, which is why I'm surprised that, while the character has enjoyed a popularity in Japan over nearly fifty years that rivals that of James Bond elsewhere, it's barely received a cult following in the States, where series like Pokemon and Dragon Ball have become a part of mainstream culture. The five main characters of the series have been resurrected countless times for comics, series, movies, and specials, the two most well known internationally being the second, or red jacket, series, which has a certain zany Saturday morning cartoon charm, and Hayao Miyazaki's "The Castle of Cagliostro", an action-packed but largely G-rated romp.

There's nothing Saturday morning or G-rated about the character's newest revival, but it's the best thing to happen to the franchise in decades. Similar to what's happened with Batman and Bond, the new Lupin is a darker, edgier revival that takes the character back to his origins and takes a character based,adult approach to the material. The focal character of the series isn't Lupin, but is now Fujiko Mine, a popular character (maybe even my favorite) who had been shrunken to a supporting role in movies and specials. Sayo Yamamoto is the first female director to touch the Lupin series, and it seems all Lupin needed was a woman's touch.

The opening animation alone, almost filled with enough nudity to make series creator Monkey Punch blush, makes it clear this one isn't for the kids. Dubbed "New Wuthering Heights", the opening first struck me as a little too artsy and pretentious for a franchise that's usually opened with a swinging jazz melody, but the more episodes I've watched, the more appropriate the more heady opening seems. While,much like the original manga, the new anime doesn't shy away from nudity, there are plenty of anime where more fully clothed women provide more exploitative "fan service" than here. The nudity is more to service the character than the fans, and there were moments when watching Fujiko get undressed actually made me uncomfortable because I realized she was using her body as a weapon.

In the original comics, Fujiko Mine never really had a consistent personality, or even look, but was more a name Monkey Punch kept attaching to the women that crossed Lupin's path. While the character became slightly more developed over years of anime, she's never been portrayed so complexly as here. But Fujiko still isn't so much the heroine as a new lens to observe familiar characters through.

The first episode introduces what should be the series' central relationship, portraying the first meeting of Lupin and Fujiko as rivals chasing the same loot. The new Lupin combines the best features of the old, from the manga through the various anime series, wearing the green jacket from his first series and "Cagliostro", and remaining a goofball with a flair for the dramatic. He's still cartoonish, but there's a more realistic, drawn edge to him. Rather than just drool over Fujiko, Lupin realizes she's a dangerous enemy and is quick to point out the key difference between them. While Lupin's outrageous plots avoid harming innocents (something Lupin retains from the anime, as the manga Lupin was more sadistic), Fujiko is willing to kill or take advantage of anyone to prove her worth.

The second and third episodes surprisingly ditch Lupin altogether. Instead, they use Fujiko as a means to introduce the series' other classic characters. In the second episode, she meets Daisuke Jigen, and in the third, Goemon Ishikawa. Like Lupin, they're the best possible conglomeration of character traits developed over the years, resembling the characters from the original comics more than the goofier anime versions, but still the same beloved characters. Jigen is as cool as ever, with an episode exploring his relationship with women and why he's so attached to his favorite firearm. Goemon's episode is a surprise stand-out, as I would have never thought the character was capable of carrying an episode. While even the best Lupin series have had some of their lousiest episode focused on Goemon, this new version manages to keep all of the traits that have worked about the character for years, and ditch the ones that never quite did.

One of the more interesting character reboots is of Inspector Zenigata, Lupin's oldest rival. Portrayed as a bumbling cop in many of the previous anime, this newer, more hard-boiled Zenigata has a tryst with Fujiko in his office (portrayed in the Monkey Punch-approved method of throbbing zodiac symbols) and doesn't seem overly concerned with taking Lupin alive. It becomes clear his family and Lupin's family have a history. Zenigata's now willing to do whatever it takes to end the Lupin bloodline, including spilling it. (He's also been given an extremely effeminate subordinate named Oscar, who's more than a little jealous of Fujiko).

Lupin's antics are as zany as ever, and his cat-and-mouse chase with Zenigata, while deadlier, is still hilarious. While Lupin obviously gets much less screen time than in previous series, this is definitely my favorite portrayal of his character so far. The series is helped by an art style unlike anything I've seen in other anime or western animation, with a hand-drawn look that's a retro throwback to the manga with a more modern intensity. The animation is smooth, with even some of the wackier character movements seeming fluid and natural. And, while I miss the Yuji Ohno score that's been the essence of Lupin for years, the new composers provide an appropriate substitute that shifts between jazzy and dramatic.

The bottom line is that, anime buff or not, "Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine" is worth a look.


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