Inner Demons; Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna Episode 9

Steven is currently busy with exams so you can count on me to be reviewing last week’s and this week’s Tsuritama and Mine Fujiko by myself (don’t worry, he’ll be back by Wednesday).

Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko has really impressed me with its ability to waver between the fine line of being episodic, a slice of life, and a character study all in one (though you can mesh the last two together). This episode was no different. While most of the episodes for this series have all been in Fujiko’s point of view, this one was mainly from both Jigen and Lupin’s. We open to an exotic fair where all sorts of things- mainly people- are shown on display; one main attraction catches the eye of Jigen and Lupin (Jigen who is grudgingly working with Lupin) and it is a tattooed woman, apparently from the Amazons. Before Jigen and Lupin can get their hands on her, a thief appears and nearly snatches the girl away- a thief no other than Fujiko.

The construction of this episode was something I really enjoyed. It followed the format of yet another chase/escape adventure, but followed something along the lines of a major arc episode rather than a filler. Lupin and Jigen must keep the girl safe from Fujiko, who in this episode is perceived to be a threat rather than the heroine of the story. While our attention first focuses on the girl, it slowly turns toward Fujiko- why is she so possessed on capturing this girl, to the point of endangering herself? And that’s something we know Fujiko would never do, because the one thing Fujiko values more than anything- more than goods, exotics, gems or treasure- is herself. It’s only  halfway throughout the episode that we learn what instinct Fujiko is acting out of. Fear. The same fear we saw in the past episode when she sat and brooded in the bath, or the same look we saw when she killed Shitoto. Fujiko sees the girl as a mirror of her younger self- a life which has been totally controlled and decided by other beings. While most people would sympathize and help the girl understand herself, Fujiko wants to kill her. She wants to obliterate every reminder of that sort of past- a path that leads to a confrontation with Lupin, who tells her that in destroying the girl, she would be destroying herself. Lupin certainly has a point. In killing this exotic ‘present’, what would Fujiko gain out of it? A sense of calm? Nothing can erase the past. What’s done is done. Lupin thus asks Fujiko in an indirect way to look at herself; what she has made herself into. She’s better than that. Fujiko is the name that this woman has strived to work for and has made for herself, independently. It’s something she can be proud of. It’s something she is proud of.

Yet Fujiko doesn’t understand this- not yet, which is intriguing because as much as Fujiko loves herself, she still doesn’t accept it. They are two very different things. Fujiko acts under her name, but she hasn’t accepted her past or the history behind herself. Her pride is facetious, which clashes with her endless lust to be desired. So is that pride an illusion? Is Fujiko Mine running from her demons or is she trying to chase them down, like in this episode? Who is Mine Fujiko? But that is why this show is called The Woman Named Fujiko Mine. It’s her story. She has to figure that out for herself. Lupin can only help her so much, as can Jigen, or Mr. Samurai Man.  That’s something I’m hoping this conclusion will bring, with only three (or two?) episodes left.

So yes, this is a good beginning to the end- it opens up the story of Fujiko’s past, yet is more of a hint than an actual introduction. At the same time it concludes the last of our “episodic chase” stories, but not in a sad way. It’s more of a last road mark telling us that it’s time to hit the last route, and that road is going to be bumpier and darker than ever. But where does that road lead in the end? We can only hope to find out.

Enjoyment Level: 8/10

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4 responses to “Inner Demons; Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna Episode 9

  1. Bravo! What a great read (and what a great episode). It’s so pleasant to see people looking into this show and what it means, instead of just moaning that it’s not Red Jacket: Now With More Frames. :P Your analysis of what Mine underwent in this story was spot-on.
    This is definitely one of the most ambitious and -different- anime of the whole season, and I’m glad to be watching it.

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it- for some reason, apparently, this show has been looked down upon as a sort of prequel to the Lupin the Third series. I’ve heard criticism ranging from “too much nudity” (which to me is pretty ridiculous and ludicrous with the sort of fanservice anime tends to lean upon these days) to the lack of proper development to Fujiko Mine’s character, but I beg to differ. Personally, as both a fan of the Lupin franchise, and of Fujiko Mine, I think the show is doing a really great job of fleshing her out and telling her story in a compelling, artistic way that’s hard to find in anime these days. Fuijko Mine, like most of the characters in this show, is much more than meets the eye, and I think that’s the heart of the show rather than just a regular character study, which is why I love how it meshes an episodic tale with Fujiko’s arc at the same time. But as they say- haters gonna hate, and I guess they’re just missing out on enjoying this show for what it is. :)

      Apparently this series is thirteen episodes long instead of 12 or 11 as I had heard earlier, so that’s even more exciting to see how this show will finish! Though I admit, I will be sad to see it go- it’s been a great time, watching and reviewing it.

      • If you thought that was exciting, get this – rumor would have it that episodes 12 and 13 are actually a two-part series finale, so one story across two episodes (maybe even with a cliffhanger in-between? I’d love that)!

        Can’t wait for the episode 10 review, having seen it I think it might well be the most polarizing episode yet… o_o It’s INCREDIBLY unusual.

        • Oh, that sounds absolutely lovely- I’m really really excited to hear that then! Wednesday night can’t come soon enough as it is, so. (I would hope for a second season but I think that’s too much to ask for, it depends on DVD sales I guess).

          I’ll be releasing my review on it hopefully tonight or tomorrow because there was so much STUFF that I loved about it. I’m a huge fan of meta and that episode had a lot of wonderful references. It certainly was a trippy episode, I will admit (I had to rewatch it a couple of times just to understand what the heck was going on!)

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