If any of you are wondering about why this post is also late, it’s because I’m still sick and my sleep schedule has been a bit messed up by all of the extra sleep I’ve been getting. If you don’t really care about why this post is late and just want to get to reading it, then jump past the cut already!
TEN THIEVES A THIEVING: Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to iu Onna
Mine Fujiko is ironically the only show actually from 2012 that I’ve included on this “Christmas 2012” list (but for good reason!). When Fujiko hit my computer screen back in April, I was blown away. My favorite episode of the series remain to be the first one, and is this thus what this post will focus in on.
For me, the first episode holds the largest bombshell, and that’s why I like it. Despite being shown from the point of view of Lupin, Fujiko truly takes the stage. Originally we are lead to believe that she is the unwitting victim of the cult leader’s machinations, and then “BAM” the show hits us with the revelation that Fujiko is far from the victim; Fujiko plays her her sexuality and femininity, both embracing and weaponizing them to the point where she is more than a match for Lupin. Yet does Fujiko ever allow her own positioning of herself as an alternating damsel-in-distress/sex bomb to ever get in the way of her ultimate goal? No! If she needs to Fujiko is willing to completely abandon her façade in the “traditional” Madonna/Whore dichotomic gender role to pick up a gun and get shit done herself.
However, the far stronger thing than Fujiko herself which makes me love the first episode of Mine Fujiko (and really, the rest of the series) is Fujiko’s relationship with Lupin. Lupin in this series is less of a character and more of an archetypical male hero/anti-hero figure and as such is only really a collection of ideas about being “manly” — a single trope refined to epitome. And so to have this trope of a character contrasted with Fujiko — who exists in a state of constantly defying tropes/expectations — brings about a lovely juxtaposition about the nature of gender in fiction.
This idea also plays through on a textual level that endears me to the actualities of the relationship between Fujiko and Lupin. Fujiko is a competent cat burglar, but is fallible and needs rescuing by Lupin. All the same though, Lupin is a “master thief” who is just as fallible as Fujiko and needs rescuing by her! They have this give in take in their interactions — getting each other in trouble, getting each other out of trouble — that really runs home how right they are for each other. In the world of theft, Mine Fujiko and Arsène Lupin III sit as equals on top, a cut above the rest, the only ones who can handle each other.
All throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons, Mine Fujiko to iu Onna, Fujiko, and the delightful Fujiko/Lupin stuck with me over even Natsume Yuujinchou’s great fourth season.