A Cold Rebellion; Lupin the Third: Fujiko Mine to iu Onna Episode 7

Welcome to our first Dual session, where both me, illegenes, and Steven, gallifreyians, come together to share our thoughts on certain episodes of anime! We enjoy bouncing our thoughts off one another, so there will be some days that we’ll do this for random shows and maybe a schedule where we do it consistently for one or two shows. Today we’ll be discussing this week’s Fujiko Mine!

illegenes: I did enjoy this week’s Lupin a lot- for some reason, though I’m a history fan, it didn’t strike me so well as last week’s, but that’s probably because there was a lot of going back and forth with the chronology of the episode. Ironically, I learned about Fidel Castro and the Missile Crisis in detail only weeks ago before my U.S History final, so it was nice to be able to keep track of what was happening despite the episode making the historical event….pretty uncomplicated. That said, I’m intrigued as to why they’d make such an episode; I did like that it maintained the year of when this show takes place in a way (as episodic as it is) but of all things, why Castro? Why the Cold War?

But that’s exactly why. It is Fujiko’s inherent nature to dream of the large, of the exotic. As the opening narration says every week- “to steal is not to take something away or break something, it is an elegant vice…. an amalgam of mischief and terror.” Fujiko seeks the danger, the sweet, sticky and poisonous juice of life itself. Everything is a game to her- and no exception. After all, as they say, business thrives best in war, and Fujiko thinks no differently. Her target is always on various scales- from the objects to ideals. This week, it was both the former and the latter. Fujiko revels in the idea of rebelling- the very idea of resisting what you are predetermined to be, as it ties very much with her identity and who she thinks she is and should be. All of this lies not just with Castro, but the Cuban revolution itself. Her said goal is the oil mines that supposedly exist in Cuba, but knowing Fujiko, I’m sure she knew it was a facade from the start. So why go after Castro? What was the point of becoming a journalist, of going through that trouble?

Fujiko seeks to be the center of attention, the apple of men’s eyes. She thrives on desire and people desiring her. She is the object, but she  seeks to claim all objects. So she goes into the apple of the world’s eye, the center of attention itself- right into Castro’s hands, to be a part of the history. To satisfy herself, to be in the master game of the Doomsday Clock, which ticks straight for the 12 as seen in the episode. It is that thrill, that danger, that excites her. But that sort of emotional greed is not enough. Fujiko desires for the tangible, something that can be kept as a trophy. Which is where this episode separates itself from the others. Fujiko never obtains the true location of the oil mines, because they don’t exist. Castro’s desires were built on dreams; Fujiko, in trying to steal and obtain those desires, finds nothing but the simple question: What do you wish for?

And Fujiko answers. To find the place that you belong. But both the audience and her know that a thief has nowhere to call home but the whispers of their obsessions, that very desire to steal and make something yours. To claim.  Fujiko is not the woman who endlessly lusts and consumes to fill an insatiable appetite. She satiates herself; her lust does not stem from uncertainty or anxiety, or even desperation. Rather, it comes from ego and self-obsession. Fujiko is her own home. She wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

gallifreyians: For me, this week’s episode of Lupin really just fell flat. What makes me really into this show is when we see Fujiko weaponize her role as a woman, her unique relationship with both her sexuality and her identity as a thief, and her inner workings as revealed through theme. But “Music and Revolution” did not deliver these, and instead heavily focused on the action of the plot.

The issue with that is quiet plainly that the plot of the episode was not very good or interesting: it had no complexity to it; it gave none of the characters any sort of agency, both Fujiko and Faidel being completely at the mercy of the “power that be” and Goemon himself is reduced to nothing more than a seeming deus ex machina with no personality or motivations of his own; the plot offered no new, interesting, or enjoyable character interaction; and furthermore, the episode had no development of any of the players.

In hindsight that does seem fairly scathing, yet as the plot temporally jumps from present day to three months ago to present day again and then back two weeks ago, I just cannot grasp as what the episode was trying to do. Natasha (obviously) got it and understand the themes the episode was trying to push, but the question must be begged: did we not already see those themes in episodes two and three?

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