Anime Review: Lupin III – Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna

Who Would Like this Anime?


You don’t know about Lupin the Third? That’s… a pity. Anyway, it’s a super old (started pre WWII) series about a thief and his gang. It’s about cool robberies with cool getaways. Basically a gang of thieves who’s always on the run and always planning their next coups – all seasoned with comedy… usually.

Translation Where?


I think I’ve watched this release, I can’t really say now. Anyway, the subs were good and I’ve respect for the translator since I can totally see how this series might’ve been a pain in the ass.

Premise


It’s hard to pinpoint a specific premise here. The anime is about how Mine Fujiko first encounters the gang around Lupin the Third and Lupin himself. Hence, it centers around Mine Fujiko herself instead Lupin and digs into her past.

Visuals


The art is incredibly unusual and incredibly pretty. It just perfectly catches the flair of Lupin the Third and has this oldschool vibe to it. Just look at the picture and you’ll immediately see that this isn’t what anime usually brings to the table – and no, that’s not just a random, colored manga sketch, it’s really from the anime. I don’t really need to look for “the best” visual in this anime – it looks like that the entire time, and I mean that in a good way.

Conclusion


Lupin the Third was one of the first anime I’ve ever watched without knowing that what I was watching was anime. Back in the day, it aired on MTV around here (if I remember correctly) – together with Golden Boy… Man, all that soft core porn back then. Anyway, I couldn’t quite remember much about Lupin the Third, only that he’s an elusive thief and cool as fuck while he does what he does. That’s about it. His gang looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember their traits or anything, really.

So that’s about all you need to know before watching this. Actually, you’ll probably be fine without knowing anything about Lupin the Third. Anyway, let’s get to the anime.

I find it hard to write something about an anime I’ve hardly anything to criticize about. Let’s just start with the visuals. As already mentioned, they are unusual for an anime. Contrary to the usual clean pictures, you get stuff that looks like colored in manga panels. Lupin the Third is originally a manga, so that’s fitting, but more importantly this “dirty” and rough style catches the thieving, mafia-ish atmosphere in this anime just so damn well.

When I first tried to watch A Woman Named Mine Fujiko (translated title), I was totally alienated by the art and narrow-minded enough to avoid it for months. However, when I finally gave it a try and stuck through the first episode, I got hooked. It’s not just different, it’s probably the best style for the story this anime tells. And the characters just look as rough around the edges or sexy (Fujiko) as I’d imagine them.

But be warned: This anime has a fair amount of boobies and exposed skin. That’s just the kind of woman Fujiko is and the kind of story this anime wants to tell.

Which actually leads us to the story. Lupin isn’t the protagonist, it’s all about Fujiko. The anime wants to tell the story of Fujiko’s origins and also how she first met the Lupin the Third gang. So all the robberies and thefts are for Fujiko to uncover her past. The thefts themselves are interesting, the crew well depicted and everyone gets a fair amount of depth – even a “side character” on the cop side.

However, while the anime does have comedy, it’s not so much gag, but situational gangster comedy that it provides. The story isn’t lighthearted, but doesn’t have much psychological drama either, it’s just fairly dark and mature. It fits the goal of uncovering a dark past. Personally, I kinda hate dark stuff, but this is an interesting kind of dark story, you can trust me on that one.

The only thing that left me unsatisfied was the very ending. Alas, watching the anime is only half as fun when you know where Fujiko’s journey will take her, so only read the spoiler if you’ve already seen it or wanna ruin it for you:

Ending

In the end, it turns out that Mine Fujikos memories had been altered and that she was a maid in the bad guy’s mansion at first. But that’s not where her career as a thief started, she was a thief when she went into that mansion. So everything that the anime presented, weren’t Fujiko’s memories, but someone else’s. Hence, we’ve learned nothing about her past. Meh.

All in all, this is a great anime. Apart from the meh ending. But 10 minutes don’t ruin the rest. The visuals, the story, the atmosphere, the characters, the small arcs within the big arc, everything’s just incredibly entertaining. I feel like giving it an 8, but I can’t think of enough weak points to justify 2 points dropped. So it’s a weak 9 for me. Great anime, totally worth the watch.

A small fun fact to wrap it up: This anime was directed by a woman. She did a mighty fine job, I’d say.

Rating 9/10

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