gallifreyians: Episode eight is perhaps one of the most interesting episodes of this series of Lupin the Third; it not only features the strong themes of death and predicting the future, but also gives us an unprecedented view into Mine Fujiko’s background and motivation.
Trigger Warning: Rape/Sexual Abuse/Child Abuse
As I am speaking from the point of view of someone who has not seen any of the previous Lupin the Third series, I obviously cannot say what Lupin III, Lupin III Part II, or Lupin III Part III did for Fujiko’s character, but feel that this episode spectacularly characterized Fujiko in respect to her experience as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
When Shitoto regains his ability to forecast the future back and exclaims, “Now it is the time to fulfill the final contract with Count Luis Yew Armeid!”, Fujiko is stunned. She flashes back to her childhood and what Armeid did to her and can only repeat Shitoto’s last few words in disbelief, “Luis… Yew… Armeid…”
He was a man who hurt Fujiko in ways you and I cannot know; the things he did to her, the things he stole from her, are inconceivable and unforgivable. Anyone in that situation — faced with the realization that the man who held you as his personal sex slave for years is still after you, still wants something from you — would be dumbfounded, paralyzed with fear because it isn’t over. Yet we see Fujiko act, she kills Shitoto before he can “fulfill the final contract” and tell Fujiko her death day for Armeid and watches him burn.
What was the expression on her face as she killed Shitoto? It was anger, colder and harder than we have ever seen Fujiko. She has moved on, and will not let Armeid toy with her anymore, in any sense of the word.
But she is not some invincible, unfeeling, idol; Fujiko is still human. In the closing moments of episode eight we see her curled up in her bath. And there we see it, actual fear on her face. Sure, Fujiko killed Shitoto without any qualms, with no hesitation, determined to forever forestall his prediction and foil Armeid’s plan. However, just because Fujiko channel her anger at Armeid into action doesn’t mean she still isn’t scared shitless of him and dreading whatever he may throw at her next.
Mine Fujiko is still a human; she may be an extremely attractive thief with no issues with using her body as a weapon, but she is still human. And that is what this episode beautifully illustrated. In Fujiko’s reaction to Luis Yew Armeid coming back into her life we see both anger and fear, the ability to act and the heavy emotional toll. This episode showed us that just because Fujiko has put her past behind her for the most part doesn’t mean that it is no longer there, that it is no longer apart of her, that it can no longer affect her.
Mine Fujiko is a complex human being capable of a full range of emotions and is not limited to one at a time; she has complex, multilayered feelings and motivations. This episode just ran that home and, in my opinion, needed to.
illegenes: “Death is certain, its hour uncertain.” Gankutsuou‘s line becomes quite the theme of the episode here, with our heroes facing certainties as uncertainties and the other way around. Last week’s Fujiko Mine was perhaps the most interesting so far; it not only offered us a deeper insight into Fujiko’s past, but it also gave an edge- a very sharp edge- to the woman we all know as Fujiko Mine.
There’s no doubt the Shitoto is a man with an unnerving ability; to be able to predict one’s death is frightening. Humans are afraid of the unknown, and when an unknown constant becomes known, chaos erupts. Fujiko ironically, seems undisturbed by this sort of information. She and Lupin (on another note: I’m really loving how Jigen and Lupin are becoming more central to the show despite Fujiko being the main character- it really adds that sense of familiarity) laugh at death. And why not? They face it every day. To be a thief is to face constant unknowns at every minute. And yet when Shitoto reveals his secret- tying back to Fujiko’s own past- we see a sudden change in her. She is afraid of her past- ironically, a past where everything was completely controlled. The visuals and the music are striking and dizzying at the same time, though sparse. The owl symbol appears yet again, and the scenes show us more than enough information to gather that Fujiko was sexually assaulted and manipulated as a child. “We shall collect and observe all of you, Fujiko.” Absolute control is as frightening as a lack of control over your own death! It then makes sense- Fujiko chooses a life daring and unpredictable to balance the lack of power and agenda she had in her childhood. The past is a scary thing though, and Fujiko loses herself briefly, remembering it all.
So does she shoot Shitoto out of that imbalance, or does she shoot him fully knowing who she is? It’s hard to tell. Steven suggests that it was human to do so; I thus offer the counterattack and offer that she acted out of impulse. Out of fear. Fujiko Mine laughs in the face of death, but when it comes to being the puppet rather than the puppeteer all along in the game- that is her vulnerability. Fujiko so immensely desires control over her own life that if she were to have been tricked all along (by a mass power whom she’s familiar with and is frightened of) it would completely shock her. Make her vulnerable. So is she herself when she shoots Shitoto? I don’t think she is, as seen with her face when she enters the bath. That face is one of fear, of doubt- everything the name Fujiko Mine does not stand for but does stand against. It is not in her nature to doubt herself, but Fujiko does- and it’s not because she killed a man. It’s not even because she was outdone by her own past. Fujiko fears what is not in her nature. To be controlled, to have a destiny that is not yours. In the end, Fujiko never really knew the date of her death, but it didn’t matter. The biggest surprised was the understanding that even now, where sh has made a living of her own, she is still not in control of her own life. And in that desperation, confusion and grief, she shot Shitoto.
Ironically, her unpredictable action is…predictable. Shitoto sees his own death and follows it. His story ends, but the struggle for inconsistency and balance continues -inside Fujiko’s own heart. And as they say, the heart is a complex organ, and we have yet to see how desperate Fujiko can really be when she is put to the test in facing her own inner demons- a test that has yet to be truly seen. But for right now, Fujiko Mine shows us once again the woman behind the mask- a woman far more complex and intriguing than anyone we’ve met.