2 CommentsTwelve Days / By Inushinde /

12 Days of Anime #3: The Trauma of Mine Fujiko


The recent Lupin the Third anime centering on Mine Fujiko is a radical departure from the norm of goofy, family-friendly fun that the franchise has slowly worked toward. The eccentric cast is still present and accounted for, albeit leaning toward greyer morality than usual. Where it shines the brightest is the way that it treats Fujiko, despite her lithe, nimble form being shown off regularly either without clothing or under formfitting cat-suits. It’s a perfect example of fanservice with a purpose; Fujiko knows about the benefits that her body provides to her career in thievery, so she uses every luscious curve to her full advantage. Depending on your point of view, it either deftly sidesteps exploitation, or falls smack-dab into it without a second thought.

For most of the series’ run, it tends to either show Fujiko traipsing about with as few clothes as possible or using her wiles to lure gullible marks into being robbed of every penny. Despite being billed as a more mature take, it doesn’t make good on that promise until about two-thirds of the way through, spending that time either focusing on increasingly ballsy heists, or Fujiko’s stylized form lounging in provocative poses. She’s little more than an accessory to the plot in several episodes, at least until she comes across a mute girl up for sale in what equates to a slave auction—a physical reminder of her traumatic past.

Fujiko does her best to eliminate this girl that reminds her so much of herself, finally exposing the audience to a woman who doesn’t steal because it’s what she loves, or just because there’s nothing else she wants to do; she steals because there’s nothing else that she can do to make herself forget her dreadful past. It’s a sobering moment in a series that was, up until this point, walking a bit on the sillier side. For the first time, I agreed it was more than a show that equates maturity with boobs and sex in nearly every episode. Finally, it wasn’t just a good show following various crooks that wallowed in its own pretentiousness, everything coalescing for the express purpose of explaining Fujiko’s predilection for thieving for thieving’s sake.

Until the tail-end of Jormungand’s second season, this was the year’s only anime to completely reverse my opinion after the events of a single episode. And I’ll be damned, it’s still one of the most powerful of the year exclusively because Fujiko follows this girl with quiet, calculated determination that she had previously only saved for her career. In the end, eeing any reminder of her past destroyed was more important than actually living, and that’s incredibly powerful.

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  1. Foxy Lady Ayame
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    May I guess you finished the series? If yes, you’re giving the wrong impression of why Fujiko steals… reducing her Heatchcliffian character into just another person bound by its past. They almost took away her agency That definitely doesn’t suit the woman called Mine Fujiko, imho.

  2. derp
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    Too bad the ending ruined everything.

    Still, good analysis. I liked how she was portrayed as being the more villainous out of the sides trying to steal her, with Lupin and Jigen being on the other. Looking coldly ahead, with a purpose.

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