Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine

Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine

Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine anime series cover art
Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine

Series Overview

Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna / LUPIN the Third ~峰不二子という女~) is a prequel series to the rest of the Lupin the Third franchise, most notably the movie trilogy of Fujiko’s Lie, Jigen’s Gravestone, and Goemon’s Blood Spray.

And if you’ve read my reviews of those movies, you’re probably familiar with how I felt about Fujiko’s character — she seemed to be used mainly as fan service. But, oddly enough, although this series doubles down on the sexy nature of Fujiko, I actually thought it did a much better job of portraying her character without objectifying her.

In those movies, even in Fujiko’s movie when she was using her body to achieve her own goals, it felt like the sexualization of her character was mainly for the enjoyment of the audience. She would be naked or exposed in random action scenes for no real reason, and I think they were trying to show that she accepts her sexuality.

Fujiko Mine in disguise from the anime series Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
Fujiko Mine in disguise

But in this series, where there’s a lot more nudity, it feels as though Fujiko is really the one in control of it. There aren’t scenes where she’s randomly stripped of her clothing without reason. Instead, these are calculated actions taken by Fujiko.

And by calculated I don’t mean that she solely uses her body to achieve her goals, though this is certainly the case. For her, it’s also a sort of self-empowerment. Later on she says something along the lines of “theft and casual sex are just part of who I am,” and I think that just goes to show her ownership of it all.

Introduction to the Characters

As much as I did like how Fujiko was written in this series, one of the most interesting things I found was how she’s the one who brought all of the main characters together. Lupin is obviously the main character of the franchise, but the group of him, Fujiko, Jigen, and Goemon actually originated with Fujiko.

I thought that Lupin and Jigen would have been the first two of the four to meet, but that’s apparently not the case. Lupin and Fujiko are the first to meet, which although unexpected, still makes sense to an extent. But then Fujiko meets Jigen next, and then Goemon.

It turns out that Fujiko actually knew all three of the other main characters before any of them actually knew each other. And to take this even farther, the only reason the other main characters met each other was because of their involvement with Fujiko.

When Fujiko first meets Lupin, she’s infiltrating a cult that is producing a valuable drug. And when she’s finally about to get her hands on the drug, master thief Lupin III also shows up to steal it. This is also when Lupin decides that Fujiko is going to be one of the treasures he steals in the end.

Fujiko’s introduction to Jigen is very different. Rather than it being a chance encounter, Fujiko is officially hired to steal Jigen’s .357 Magnum. This, combined with a later episode in which Fujiko attempts to use Lupin and Jigen as bait, helps explain why Jigen is often wary of Fujiko in the events which take place later in the franchise.

And then we have Fujiko’s first meeting with Goemon, after which Goemon mistakenly thinks that Fujiko is a nice woman who’s attracted to him. This one was a bit strange because as I’ve mentioned in other Lupin reviews before, Goemon kind of just exists. He randomly shows up throughout the series and isn’t a real part of the crew.

Who is the Woman Called Fujiko Mine?

In the previous section there were some light spoilers about the first few episodes of the series, but this section is going to get into some major spoilers. If you haven’t watched the series yet, I suggest skipping over this section for now and coming back once you have.

Alright, so throughout the first half of the series the episodes seem fairly disconnected, but once we make it into the second half everything starts to come together. We learn that Fujiko was actually being manipulated the whole time and that even her run-ins with the other main characters were decided by a third party.

But before I get into who that third party is, let me bring up something I noticed in this series that connected to the Fujiko’s Lie movie. The organization which is behind all of Fujiko’s actions has its hand in a hallucinogenic drug production ring. And do you remember Binkam’s ability from the movie?

That’s right, he used the same drug — or at least a similar drug — to the one being produced in this series.

Fujiko pointing a gun at Lupin from the anime series Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
Fujiko pointing a gun at Lupin

As for the person who’s eventually revealed to be behind everything that has happened to Fujiko, it turns out to be a girl with a very strange past. As a child, she was experimented on by her father and eventually became bedridden because of it. And when her father died, she decided to start her own experiments.

She had her memories implanted into hundreds of other young girls and then planned to watch how their lives developed; this was supposed to simulate the possibilities she could have had in her own life. But in the end all of those girls killed themselves shortly after.

The only one who didn’t was Fujiko, but as we learn, these memories were implanted into her as an adult. So just after we learn that who Fujiko is is a fabrication, it’s also revealed that isn’t really the case.

On one hand, I’m glad that Fujiko didn’t end up simply being the product of some experiment. But on the other, that ending felt like it trivialized everything the second half of the series built up. I think that’s my only real complaint about the series though.

Conclusion

In the end, Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is my favorite entry in the Lupin franchise I’ve seen so far. It’s a 9/10 from me. I think it just did a much better job of exploring the character of Fujiko, and although the animation wasn’t as good as it is in the movies, I think the characters are more important.

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