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REVIEW: Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine


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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 13364
Location: NZL

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:09 am Reply with quote
It was a badly written show, with some of the stories even going so far as to contradict themselves. The number of plot holes is quite large for a one-cour show; I gave up trying to count them before the first episode even ended.

The characters weren't all that interesting except for maybe the mafia woman in the gunslinger's introduction episode. It too long for Fujiko to get the backstory that explained why she was a cold-blooded killer, and even at the end I still couldn't care about her. Goemon did like nothing, Jigen was little better and Lupin had no depth beyond his lust. The detective went from a playing a buffoon in the movies to just being a plain arsehole with few morals.

I did like the art style, that was really cool, but the sexuality was so over-the-top as to be unsexy. Granted the boobs were toned down after episode one, however that presents another problem. The show was so reliant on the fanservice that when the boobs went the crappy writing became all the more apparent.

The look was fantastic, the music was great, the voice acting was well done. But the actual story and characters? Big failures.
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Gozar



Joined: 14 Dec 2005
Posts: 63
Location: The Future

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:13 am Reply with quote
I completely disagree with this review. In short, I don't find that the series was well planned. As a matter of fact it seemed more disorganized and all over the place. Take the character of Oscar and his involvement for instance. When Episode 6 rolls around and we find out about this character's dark side, he is seen to be very insane with the way he ties up Fujiko and drips wine over her naked body. You get left off on such a cliffhanging note and then Episode 7 brings you no sort of continuation and likely what is the most dull episode in the series. Then skip to Episode 8 and when Oscar and Fujiko meet in person again, Oscar seems to have no reaction that would be a continuation from Episode 6. We were lead to believe he'd work as an antagonist to Fujiko, but in the end more-so works as an antagonist to Zenigata by playing a ridiculous role in the series. The fact that they had to throw in a gay character for the sole purpose of being insane and gay is more like a modern day anime trope than a legitimate plot line.

Also, this series would work as a tie in that leads to the First TV Series (Green Jacket) that was just released by Discotek rather than the Geneon series (Red Jacket). Namely with the fact that Lupin never met Goemon and Jigen would not remember him due to the hallucinogenic drugs. Also, Goemon and Fujiko are left off as "boyfriend and girlfriend", which in Episode 5 of the First TV Series (Goemon's first appearance), Goemon refers to Fujiko as his girlfriend.

The only part of this review that I really agreed with was that there was WAY too much fanservice.
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lhernan02



Joined: 12 Jun 2005
Posts: 120

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:53 am Reply with quote
Actually, I would have liked this series much more if it wasn't a Lupin III series. The dark and victim aspects just don't work with the bon vivant aspects of Lupin and the gang. Fujiko is badass not because of something in her past (spoiler[I know in the final episode they show she was badass to begin with, but they took their sweet time and it seemed more deus ex machina than natural story flow]) but because she wants to be that way.

Also the silly name changes (Poros, Nahava, etc.) work in the fun, crazy Lupin universe, but here they seemed out of place.

Finally, Oscar does not work as a character, he is just a plot device to move things along. His actions make no sense whether you look at it from his backstory, his current circumstances, or his actions.

Frankly I came in looking for good Lupin fun and I got something that wasn't Lupin and would have been much better if they had just made up original characters.
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acejem



Joined: 01 Sep 2009
Posts: 59
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:58 am Reply with quote
Main problem with Mari Okada? She seems to put in random fetish material, namely randomly emasculating characters making them joke characters, in particular putting them in a drag. The most infamous example being in Anohana where spoiler[Yukiatsu was running in the forest in Menma's dress]. Did we REALLY need something so silly and stupid for a series that was supposed to be melodrama? Seriously, every single series within the last year or so that she's been involved in (anime original or adaptation), there has been crossdressing or some sort. Lupin had 3. The best Lupin episodes were the ones that were written by Dai Sato.

That Animation Kobe Award really inflated her ego imo.


Last edited by acejem on Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:03 am; edited 3 times in total
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penguintruth



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 6476
Location: Penguinopolis

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:53 am Reply with quote
I thought it was a daring step to take with these characters and franchise. It was a lot more thoughtful and a bit darker than the usual Lupin fare, but also still charming and compelling, making me want to root for the characters and see where the story went. The ending didn't resolve everything perfectly (in fact, parts of it seemed like kind of a cop-out), but for the most part dovetailed pretty well.

I object that Fujiko was too sexualized, because while there was a lot of semi-, if not full, nudity, it's treated as a matter of fact of Fujiko's life, a weapon in her arsenal, but not the sole means of her existence. She still uses her wits and boldness to come out on top.

I loved the detail, in the art and in the psychology of the show. I liked the atmosphere. I enjoyed the music, though not amazing, but always appropriate.

Overall, a good experience. I look forward to owning this on DVD or Blu-Ray.
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Ojamajo LimePie



Joined: 09 Nov 2007
Posts: 588

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:56 am Reply with quote
I enjoyed the series.

And, really, all of the Okada bashing is getting old. She isn't spoiled, or a misandrist, or the next Yamakan. She's just a currently popular scriptwriter who has her ups and downs.
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TitanXL



Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 4036

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:21 am Reply with quote
I enjoyed it. Was a fun ride.
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Myaow



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 1060

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:55 am Reply with quote
I didn't realize this show was so unpopular... I really loved it, though there were some iffy or boring episodes in the middle. I couldn't get enough of how stylish and beautiful every episode was, and how striking each story's setting was. I especially loved the aesthetic of the eerie backstory segments. Even more, I loved how it courted the female audience, adopting this very romantic, melodramatic shoujo manga sensibility that I thought worked surprisingly well with the quirky Lupin characters. In my opinion, Lupin and his pals (and enemies) make a more charming posse of love interests than half of the bishie harems you see in otome games these days! To say nothing of what a cool, funny, weird heroine Fujiko is. I feel like the largely lady-filled staff and the female main character ended up creating a very girly Lupin III show-- and I LOVE girly things, so I ate it up!

Similarly, rather than just being content to be "Lupin III: The Bachelorette Edition", this show actually had some things to say about power and control and how women appear in literature, especially the thrilling adventure novel traditions from which the Lupin series derives. It was nice to have some "substance" to go with the show's huge truckloads of "style". That said, it's kind of funny that this show about women breaking from their scripted roles to steal power... has a thread that's devolved into an argument about sexist jokes!

I agree with others in this thread that the writing could have been tighter and some things were a bit too abrupt, but that didn't stop me from really enjoying every minute of the show! I was so sad when the final credits rolled. What a cool show!
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Saffire
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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Location: Iowa, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:21 am Reply with quote
So, somehow in 3 pages we have a clash of egos, a debate about sexism, and Yuki/Yoko trolling. Man, you guys have been busy.
Myaow wrote:
I didn't realize this show was so unpopular... I really loved it, though there were some iffy or boring episodes in the middle. I couldn't get enough of how stylish and beautiful every episode was, and how striking each story's setting was. I especially loved the aesthetic of the eerie backstory segments. Even more, I loved how it courted the female audience, adopting this very romantic, melodramatic shoujo manga sensibility that I thought worked surprisingly well with the quirky Lupin characters. In my opinion, Lupin and his pals (and enemies) make a more charming posse of love interests than half of the bishie harems you see in otome games these days! To say nothing of what a cool, funny, weird heroine Fujiko is. I feel like the largely lady-filled staff and the female main character ended up creating a very girly Lupin III show-- and I LOVE girly things, so I ate it up!
It's not unpopular at all, quite the opposite, there just happens to be a couple people who love hearing themselves talk that happen to dislike it. I thought the show was great for a lot of the same reasons. It's not perfect, but I think it does a great job of accomplishing what it set out to do.
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ABCBTom



Joined: 10 Sep 2009
Posts: 183

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:52 am Reply with quote
I don't get the Mari Okada hatred. Black Rock Shooter was terrible, so her work may be inconsistent, but the Fujiko series proves that she is capable of genius.

Each one of her episodes (1,4,6,9,12-13) were absolutely thought provoking, bringing issues of gender and sexuality and a feminist subtext into the series.

You can analyze them endlessly, and that's not something you really get to do too often these days. Fujiko is a perfect companion piece to Utena.
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Spastic Minnow
Bargain HunterBargain Hunter


Joined: 02 May 2006
Posts: 3151
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:21 am Reply with quote
I pretty much agree completely with Rebecca, I rated this as my favorite show of the season (out of about 25 spring shows) and find it best to ignore dtm most of the time, so the thread isn't as negative as you think when you take that into consideration.

Although I mostly disagree with Gozar, it certainly isn't "disorganized and all over the place," he makes some valid observations about Oscar. I think Oscar fits his role but his character does fluctuate often... which may be partially intentional- he's definitively unstable and often run by impulse but he is very practiced at putting on a facade that covers up his honest prejudices and desires. If he acts differently with people at different times it can probably be explained as him putting on his respectable face.
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
Posts: 1536

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:12 pm Reply with quote
I have yet to finish this series because the characters bored me midway through. I have never watched any of the other Lupin shows so I came into this with no expectations. I thought the first couple of shows were fairly interesting, especially in terms of the style of illustration and the musical score, but I found less and less reason to stay interested as the story progressed.

I will take issue with one specific part of Ms. Silverman's review, that concerning the historical setting of the show.
Quote:
There is an overall impression of the 1970s, but every so often a small detail will jar us into realizing that this show is apparently meant to take place contemporarily.

Now I don't know about anyone else, but the episode set aboard the train is totally at variance with this view. It appears to take place in early 20th century Europe, perhaps just before World War I, unlike the episodes before it. Still, I could put that aside until spoiler[the helicopters arrive]. The similar scene that opens episode six of Oh! Edo Rocket works because that show is an exercise in ahistoricism. In the case of Mine Fujiko it just seemed absurd. I think that Okada never really could decide whether this was supposed to be a comedy or a drama, which gave the show something of a schizophrenic feeling to me.
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SethMosrite



Joined: 27 Nov 2010
Posts: 172
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:15 pm Reply with quote
In my opinion this was one of the better shows this season. I think another poster mentioned that it dragged in the middle, and I had the same feeling. I came close to dropping it around the Cuban Missile Crisis episode, but it picked back up toward the end, as it gears up for the finale.

One of my other criticisms of the series would be that it exists outside of time which bugs me a bit. Some episodes seem to be set in the 60's while others seem to be the 70's or 80's. I realize that other series do this quite often (even other Lupin's if I remember correctly), but it tends to pull me out of the story.

Some have criticized this show for fan service, I don't share that opinion. I don't even think that the nudity in this show qualifies as fan service. I view fan service as just that, racy scenes thrown in to pay service to the fans. The nudity in LIII:TWCFM didn't come across as gratuitous, it either had relevance to the plot, illustrated the lengths that Fujiko was willing to go, matched the gritty style of the show or a combination of the above.

The best thing about LIII:TWCFM was the art direction. It reminded me of the gritty Ralph Bakshi stuff from the 70's, in a good way. Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for something different with a bit of an edge that usually isn't present in most anime today.
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Greg Aubry



Joined: 10 Feb 2006
Posts: 206
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:34 pm Reply with quote
I'm interested to see this one, now, having read both this review and the encyclopedia entry's mention that Michiko & Hatchin's Sayo Yamamoto is the series director.
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Spastic Minnow
Bargain HunterBargain Hunter


Joined: 02 May 2006
Posts: 3151
Location: Central Florida

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:51 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, it's pretty much set "out of time." Whatever setting fits the story is what they seemed to be going with, but most did seem to fit in the 70's or before. There was even a reference to the whole pharmaceuticals research being a Cold War program.

I guess I'm fine with that. Its serving both as a quasi-origin tale and anniversary tribute, and when you're dealing with a tribute for characters that has been appearing in anime form for 40 years and in print for 45 it seems oddly appropriate to not give the show a set time-frame. I guess the idea is that it is set "in the past" but hey, the next project may be set in modern day, why give people the idea that you're definitively retconning the franchise as being set in a specific time?

That may be considered making excuses, I see why its disorienting, but I have to figure there's a reason they didn't make it all more definitive.
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