Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna Review

Hello there. That top ten list really revitalized me. I am very proud of this review than the ones before it and the reason was my mind was cloudy when I made the previous ones. Oh well, they can’t all the decent reviews. This is review number thirty nine and whoa, I didn’t realize I was near my 50th goal. I do plan to review a thousand but the most attainable at the moment is fifty followed by a hundred. I’m taking baby steps.

The anime this time is the newest addition to the Lupin franchise after twenty five years!!! They did make a ton of movies in between though. “Lupin the Third, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine” is a thirteen episode anime about Lupin’s love interest, Fujiko. If you plan on watching it, prepare to drown in a sea of boobs! Let’s read on.

Story

Meet Mine Fujiko, a sexy thief and a companion of the famous Lupin the Third. Now join her as she uncovers her mysterious past. A story of when Lupin and Fujiko first met.

Taking the Pants Off

I remember Lupin back when I was a child. It’s about the exploits of this master thief who would send a letter claiming he’ll steal a treasure item before doing the deed. He has his trusty sidekicks with him. The sharpshooting Jigen Daisuke and the swordsman Goemon who’s Gantstsuken can cut anything. I remember how he would disguise himself as another person, carry out his ingenious plan and leave the area with the loot. He would have this fumbling detective scream “I’ll get you yet!” as he disappears with the treasure. After all that, this sexy lady would approach Lupin and double cross him. She would leave with the treasure after Lupin did all the labor. The master thief always gets the last laugh though. Thus conclude a wonderful episode of Lupin the third.

After the series ended with more than two hundred episodes combined, they started releasing movies about the popular series. The anime was in the heyday of old school animation and the movies brought the beloved series in the world of CG. The stories started to mature too as they began to be in depth stories about Lupin and the cast. A comedy action series evolved and evolved as it travels time. The latest addition to the franchise is a thirteen episode series starring Mine Fujiko.

The latest Lupin anime was certainly different from the beloved 70s anime that started it all. The original was a show where Lupin steals a bunch of things and leaves the cops defeated. It was a simple format but entertaining at the same time. This anime is different. It’s darker, mature and deeper than the original. The movies started it all since it pushed the boundaries of the franchise. A woman named Fujiko seems to be the culmination of all the efforts the movies accomplished.

First of all, there is nudity. A lot of nudity and most of them involves Fujiko. I seem to forget how sexy Fujiko is and this anime reminded me in a very crude way. Every episode has at least one scene where our heroine would expose her boobs and her nipples. Something 1970s animation wasn’t concerned about and an element 2000s anime is proud of. I’ve seen boobs and nipples before from series like Ladies vs. Butler, Highschool DxD and Freezing that celebrates this beautiful part of the female body. Well, this anime celebrates it too. That was one leap the Lupin anime made. It realized that all of their former audiences are now adults and it decided to blend nostalgia with a handful of nudity.

The old anime actually had a very sexy Fujiko deceive and manipulate people with her assets but most of the time; it was left to the viewer’s imagination exactly what she did to get what she wants. Well turn your imagination off because you get to see it up close since she is the main focus of the anime.

The anime is about this sexy thief named Mine Fujiko who loves stealing jewelries and highly priced treasures. She would disguise herself perfectly acting as a teacher, a maid or a reporter to get close to her target. She uses her sex appeal to corner the owner of the treasure, be it man or woman. Yes, dear lurkers, there is a bit of yuri in here. After stealing the treasure, Fujiko would mysteriously vanish.

The anime tries to cover some of the questions we’ve been asking for decades now. Who is Mine Fujiko? She could easily marry an old billionaire and own all his money in mere seconds. Why does she go to the trouble of stealing treasures? The old anime never really go in depth with the characters as it was a very direct anime focused on the adventures of Lupin. Fujiko is just the sprinkles to the anime. She is fun to look at and fun to eat (I’m rather proud of that analogy). The anime covers the question of why Lupin ogles over her when there are so many girls who would reciprocate his perverted affections.

The biggest plot point the anime tries to uncover is Mine Fujiko’s past. All the cast of this anime has mysterious pasts and I personally never question it because the anime can stand without it. Well after decades of a shadowy past, I think it’s time we get some flashbacks, right? The anime did a wonderful job of making Fujiko’s past an interesting puzzle. Throughout the anime, we get bits and pieces that wouldn’t fit together unless we watch it till the end. It didn’t disappoint too. Fujko’s past keeps on building and building until the exciting revelation.

This anime isn’t all about Fujiko though. It has some nostalgic fanfare too. What’s a Lupin anime without the charismatic thief and his awesome sidekicks? Lupin is here as he would often bump into Fujiko during one of his heists. Here’s the kicker though. This anime is a prequel to the original anime. Lupin, Jigen and Goemon (weird digimon name, haha) doesn’t know each other in this anime.

Whoa, isn’t this about Fujiko and her past? How does the three’s first encounter relate to Fujiko? The anime is indeed about the past where Lupin and the gang don’t know each other. The reason they met each other is through Fujiko. This woman got in the head of all three guys and we see them form an interest for her. Some of the interests are sexual, some mysterious and some caring and it ties the anime as a whole.

The anime did a great in making the characters a bit more interesting. They aren’t as one dimensional as they were back in the original. Some episodes are dedicated to their past as well that conveniently involves Fujiko. They were great episodes too as it fleshes out the characters but still manage to tell a story about Fujiko.

Even Detective Zenigata was wonderfully developed in this anime. He matured really well from this guy who throws his hat to the ground and stomps on it as he watches Lupin get away to this highly experienced competent detective that can rival Lupin’s cunning mind. Certainly the old incompetent detective of the 70s wouldn’t fit in this serious story about Fujiko’s past. The anime manages to keep Detective Zenigata in the loop by giving him an assistant. It’s a prequel so it makes sense we only met him now. The assistant is a young detective who wears heels and has a rather intimate love for Zenigata. A young and brash kid though that is opposite of Zenigata whose years of experience made him into a competent detective. I do miss the comedy gag that is the old Zenigata though. He’s not here. He’s replaced by a cool detective to have him play a role in this serious story.

This anime has all the great things of the original Lupin the Third but manages to create a completely different anime. It has a great balance of comedy, action and mystery. The main plot about Fujiko doesn’t disappoint too. As the plot thickens, you experience this wonderful tale about Fujiko’s past.

Sight and Sound

The anime retains its old school look that viewers remember but manages to make some scenes CG. The combination of a sketch effect on the characters and heavy shading has the appeal of hand drawn animation but it’s actually digitally made. The heavy shading and charcoal like effect is a bit messy but I believe it was the intention of the anime. It gives you the idea of a comic book coming to life. I really appreciate the choice of color too as some of them where bright like colors in a comic book. It gives the anime some heavy nostalgia but it has a modern appeal at the same time.

The background is also heavily shaded and the ties the whole “comic book” feel together. Or is it manga? The manga feel? Whatever. Some of the backgrounds are rough sketches but it blends in with the character design. It doesn’t stand out and it helps you focus on the characters instead.

I really appreciate Monkey Punch’s character designs because it was unique and it separated itself from the other anime of its time. As the anime keeps going forward in time, the design was the one thing that didn’t change. Oh, the face of Jigen and Goemon got surprising sharper and smaller though. The animation had an old school look too but was impressively nicely animated. I especially like the slow mo of Goemon splitting a bullet in half.

The opening was weird. It was a narrative about Fujiko, I think. As the woman talks, a violin is played in the background. The opening sequence has a film noir feel to it that effectively embodies the anime. Some of the lines may relate to Fujiko and the cyptic message becomes clearer as you progress to the episodes.

The ending song was the standard jazz like song the anime used to do. The sequence was still about Fujiko too. I don’t remember much, honestly, because the opening sequence was more worth noting.

Overall Score

8/10 “An impressive story about Fujiko and an amazing addition to the Lupin franchise.”

I hope they do Zenigata’s back story too. Haha. The art may be unconventional but the story is strong and the pacing was brilliant. We have a lot of fan service too so the anime can never disappoint. I highly recommend it.

Thoughts~

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