Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
The story of how the fashionable femme fatale Fujiko Mine first met Lupin III, anime's greatest thief.The story of how the fashionable femme fatale Fujiko Mine first met Lupin III, anime's greatest thief.The story of how the fashionable femme fatale Fujiko Mine first met Lupin III, anime's greatest thief.
Let's do like the anime and save the worst for the last. "The Woman Called Fujiko Mine" was the first instalment in a "Lupin III" reboot, and proves from its very opening onwards to be the most successful adaptation Monkey Punch's manga has received thus far. No other anime captures his trademark blend of adventurous glee and adult themes this well (though some restraint in the appliance of nude females would have been appreciated.)
The series' first half is practically a string of one-off adventures, featuring all the classic characters. Straightforward in their goals, these one-offs are a load of fun. Most enjoyable is "Blood Soaked Triangle", in which Lupin, Fujiko, and Jigen each try to get their hands on the same treasure. It's old fashioned escapism, brought to life with stunning visuals.
Really, the art design deserves a book's worth of praise. How well the animators captured the characters' particular postures, and details up to the hair on their knuckles. Backgrounds fit squarely within a luxurious colour palette, and the whole is edited with swiftness and flair.
The voice acting is really good, too. Although the original "Lupin" cast had by 2012 largely passed away, the new actors do a uniformly splendid job. And it is wonderful to hear Kiyoshi Kobayashi still voicing Jigen, even though he sounds his eighty years.
Alas, "The Woman Called Fujiko Mine" becomes a slog when it attempts to tell the story of, well, the woman called Fujiko Mine. You would think a popular 45 year-old character needs no further introduction, but during the series' second half, we are strapped down to sit through a miserable exploration of her past. The writers wrestle through a far-fetched, heavy-handed and exposition-heavy story that fails to be enjoyable in the slightest. Nor is it the "Evangelion" of "Lupin III" adaptations -- it is as silly as it is joyless.
So enjoy "Fujiko Mine" for its supreme "Lupin III" antics, and sit through the second half if you can be bothered to. Perhaps the pretty colours will keep you entertained.
- Jun 23, 2021