The Story of a Woman (Part 2); Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to iu Onna Episode 13

gallifreyians: This finale unfortunately only brings one word to mind: disappointment; it  is not that episode twelve was a particularly bad episode or even a bad finale, it just was not the finale that a show like Mine Fujiko deserved.

What I originally loved about the pilot was how the show was able to simultaneously focus on Fujiko and be about Fujiko, because that is something that is very much lacking in television, all of television, especially in regards to television with female protagonists. CBS’s Unforgettable and Cold Case are prime examples; they are both about female detectives, but do not in any way focus on them, their lives, or their narratives. Series six of BBC’s Doctor Who is an example of the reverse of this, it focuses on Amy Pond’s pregnancy as a major plot point without ever considering how she feels about it, what she wants to do about it, or it changes her as a person.

This finale unfortunately falls under the latter category. This is an episodes focused on Mine Fujiko more than ever, but only in her capacity as a plot point. To make matters worse, Fujiko doesn’t even get to explain her plot relevance, that role is given over in its entirety to Lupin and robs Fujiko of all of her agency in this episode. Now I love Lupin – I find him to be an attractive, appealing character – but this show isn’t about Lupin.

I may have been able to handle that, after all it’s a very anime thing to have done, but the issue is compounded by the fact that all of the plot destroys Mine Fujiko as a character and ruins the narrative that this show was trying to build. Episode thirteen took Fujiko’s identity as a survivor of sexual abuse and sexual slavery rendered it completely invalid. No longer is Fujiko’s desire to steal founded by her desire to lock away her memories and fill a hole in her being. No longer is Fujiko’s shameless philosophy about sex and her body due to a disconnect she had to develop between her body and mind. She is simply a woman who enjoys stealing. She is simply a woman who enjoys sex. That doesn’t make Fujiko a horrible person, it just makes her painfully boring.

Mine Fujiko has been running since episode one: running from the law, from relationships, from her past. And this episode was the chance for her to confront all of those things in the form of Luis Yew Armeid. Yet in the end, Armeid and thus everything he stood for isn’t even real. Fujiko herself isn’t the complex woman stealing to hide her past and bending others to her will because she has painfully learned the power of sex. Fujiko’s entire inner workings are revealed to be hollow, her raison d’être fake, rendering all of her actions, her narrative, her powerful arc that has been constructed over the last twelve episodes meaningless.

Now let’s go over to Natasha with her newest thesis paper on Mine Fujiko.
(Spoiler: Natasha does it better than me.)

illegenes: (Steven, you are way too kind.) I couldn’t say it better myself. It’s an utter shame, because Fujiko had it all in the right place- a perfect buildup, a perfect climax and perfect development. All it needed was resolution, but it seems like it lost steam, swerved off track and took a U turn, because what I saw wasn’t just a clumsy, weak finale, but rather an episode that destroyed everything the show was standing for- for Fujiko- in the first place.

Mine Fujiko, as I’ve said before, is a story about a woman- a woman steeped in mystery, in intrigue, in exploiting her sexuality as a weapon to deconstruct the typical heroine who is abused by a male authoritative society. Whereas women are often treated as objects in anime because of their sex, Fujiko subverts this trope and uses it to her advantage. She takes advantage of men’s innate pleasures and bends them to her will. It’s a great set up for the wonderful and elusive femme fatale, but the show didn’t just stop there. Fujiko’s arc in this show was all about identity. What’s in a name? the show asks. What’s in a story?

Fujiko lusts because it is her nature. She lusts because she covets, and she covets because she desires what she sees. And what does she see? Fujiko doesn’t really acknowledge herself; she seeks to cloak herself constantly in jewels and mystery so that in essence, she can keep her trauma at bay. It’s a way of keeping herself sane and making an identity out of nothing except the imprinted behavior of her past. Fujiko’s identity is a construct of her very own survival. With an identity, we can label our actions and create ourselves a history; an identity, not just a name. And that is what The Story of Fujiko Mine was about. Fujiko had finally come face to face with the sole oppressor who had not only traumatized her but had chained her to her roots, making her go round and round in self-doubt and not being truly able to progress forward because her name wasn’t hers to keep. Her history in part was owned by another; in defeating Luis Yu Almeid, she would reclaim all of her and truly become Mine Fujiko, a woman of true power. It was all an identity arc, and it was brilliantly devised.

So where did it go wrong? The minute Fujiko’s oppression became nothing more than just a transplanted memory- fake and a useless tactic for some cheap scare thrills- was the minute her identity arc crumbled. Fujiko’s past- the very past she had built and founded her own rage against a misogynic society and had come to fight back against- was fake. The power and mystique behind Fujiko’s past is gone. To put it simply, it’s like trying to find a rare ruby- only to realize that it’s a cheap, plastic copy. It demeans everything Fujiko had been fighting for. Even more ridiculous is when Luis Yu Almeida is revealed to be some girl who Fujiko’s story was completely based on. As such, Fujiko’s history not only did not really exist- it was never hers, and never will be hers. Imprinting played such a pivotal role in making Fujiko who she was, and to find that this imprinting was false and rather a copy just…it really makes Fujiko Mine’s name and identity lack the power and mystique that the show had been creating for 12 episodes.

That’s not to say that Fujiko’s life is meaningless in any aspect, but with this reveal, it certainly feels like there’s nothing quite…spectacular about Fujiko’s arc. It almost feels silly, like a psychedelic dream for the purpose of being psychedelic. Fujiko is free and alluring still, no doubt, but her freedom and the reason why she is…that’s all down the drain. It’s like a war lost rather than a war won at the end, and it breaks my heart to say it, because Mine Fujiko was my favorite show of the season. But this? This wasn’t the finale I wanted. And it’s because the other 12 episodes are so stunning and dazzling in their portrayal of this woman that the finale is all the more disappointing.

Enjoyment Level: 5.5/10

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One response to “The Story of a Woman (Part 2); Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to iu Onna Episode 13

  1. Pingback: Lists Are Lazy Journalism, So Here’s My Top 10 from 2012 « Anipulse·

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