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Anime / Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine

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" steal and steal again is my greatest carnal pleasure
and I stake my life on it.
A sexy prison from which there is no escape... if you want to gaze at me
first cease everything you are doing
and let your heart be the only thing to stir."
— The opening theme, "New Wuthering Heights"

Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is a 2012 anime series based on Monkey Punch's long-running Lupin III franchise. Produced by TMS Entertainment and Po10tial, it began airing on NTV on April 4, 2012 as part of a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the completion of the first Lupin manga. The series focused on the franchise's heroine, Fujiko Miné, as she takes on various missions and encounters other characters in the Lupin universe. The opening theme was "New Wuthering Heights" by Naruyoshi Kikuchi and Pepe Tormento Azcarar feat. Ichiko Hashimoto, whilst the ending theme was "Duty Friend" by NIKIIE. In addition, music direction was handled by legendary anime director Shinichiro Watanabe.

Sayo Yamamoto was the director of the series, making it the first Lupin title to be directed by a woman. The head writer was also a woman, Mari Okadanote . The character designs were handled by Takeshi Koike, best known for the film REDLINE, and opted to eschew the standard Miyazaki-inspired designs of previous decades in favor of a much darker, sketchier aesthetic more in line with Monkey Punch's original comics. Fujiko Mine, unlike previous Lupin anime adaptations, is also much closer to Monkey Punch's original creation in tone and in the portrayal of Arsène Lupin III. The series is darker, more serious, and more sexually oriented than its predecessors. It's also the first series in which Lupin is not the main protagonist there are some episodes where he does not appear at all.

This was the first full Lupin series to use the new voice actors for Fujiko, Goemon, and Zenigata (Miyuki Sawashiro, Daisuke Namikawa, and Kōichi Yamadera respectively); they had made their debuts in the annual TV special a few months earlier.

In North America, Funimation simulcasted the series with English subtitles on their website. Several months later, they announced the series would be given a proper home video release, complete with English dub using a combination of their own actors from previous TV specials and actors from the Lupin III: Part II TV series.note  Funimation's license later expired in August of 2018, leaving the series in limbo for a period of time before Discotek Media acquired the license in 2020 for a 2021 rerelease.

Three theatrical films by Takeshi Koike serve as sequels to the series, but the first two shift the focus to other Lupin characters: Gravestone of Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa's Spray of Blood. The third one, Fujiko Mine's Lie, returns focus to Fujiko.

This series contains examples of:

  • Already Done for You: Fujiko acquires an old graverobbers log, which gives her a clear route into the pyramid; with most of the traps having already been triggered.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Cicciolina is solely interested in Jigen, but then there's her actions around Fujiko, from specifically mentioning that she's held the desires of both men and women, to the inappropriate touching. She even comments on how beautiful Fujiko is. On the other hand Cicciolina has been known to fein attraction to others in her pursuit of Jigen.
  • Anachronism Stew: Commentary reveals that this was intentional, to avoid tying the characters down to a specific timeframe.
  • Animation Bump: Far and away the best looking Lupin series, as well as a strong contender for TMS' best work.
  • Art Shift: Oscar's mind plays out in a shadow puppet theatre style.
  • Becoming the Mask: Two characters are coaching a third character through this process. First by setting up a disguise for the third person to wear, then by creating a legend around her "masked" persona. This is Da Renzo and Aiyan's plan, having one of the stage hands, Nora, take over for Aiyan after finding out how talented she was.
  • Belly Dancer: Fujiko distracts the leader of the Fraulein Eule Cult with a dance, while secretly releasing his own drug to knock out his harem and guards before pressuring him to reveal the drug's source.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Glaucus Pharmaceuticals watches over every aspect of this show, as well as observing Fujiko's every move since childbirth.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Goemon singlehandedly prevented the assassination of the leader and his grandson heir of a small European country and took out the two missiles that were supposed to start World War III via the Cold War.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Lupin's fake blood pump prank on Zenigata in "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore".
  • Bullet Time: In the Goemon vs. Jigen battle. Forget just bullet time; Goemon used katana time. The slow motion shows how Goemon slices every bullet from Jigen.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Along with the owls, butterflies keep appearing during certain scenes, serving as added symbolism to the Fräulein Eule mystery.
  • Cable-Car Action Sequence: Lupin is trying to escape from Fujiko with his "treasure", riding an empty cable car with Jigen and the "treasure". Fujiko chases after them and they force one of the cars to drop, with her in it.
  • Call-Back: In "Master Thief vs. Lady Looter", Lupin is looking to steal the hallucinogenic treasure of the Fräulein Eule. In "Ghost Town" it turns out he was forced to steal it for Count Luis Yu Almeida and Glaucus Pharmaceuticals.
  • Calling Card: Lupin leaves one on Fujiko's thigh in "Master Thief vs. Lady Looter", as well as sending one ahead for the mask in the opera house.
  • The Cavalry: Zenigata and his troops at the end of "Master Thief vs. Lady Looter".
  • Chekhov's Gun: At least one per episode
    • "Master Thief vs. Lady Looter": The Dizzy-Dizzy
    • "The Lady and the Samurai": The Duke's belt
    • "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore": The bees
    • "Blood-Soaked Triangle": The mummy
    • "Love Wreathed in Steam": The pistol from the carnival
  • Circus of Fear: Fujikoland is an amusement park created from the obsession that Aisha, the main antagonist of the series, has for Fujiko.
  • Classical Mythology: The mansion of Glaucus Pharmaceuticals contains a statue of Minerva, goddess of wisdom and medicine. She is also represented by the owl.
  • Cold War: The setting of at least "Music and Revolution", which features expys of Fidel Castro, JFK and Nikita Khrushchev. Though with the series so full of anachronisms and playing with time in general, it's hard to tell if the whole series is set within the Cold War.
  • Collective Identity: "Aiyan" is actually both the original Aiyan who switched places and a member of the prop crew, who is the one officially performing by the time of the series. All this is disguised by the mask she wears.
  • The Comically Serious: Goemon is just as stone-faced as ever, which highlights how ridiculous his adventures tend to be.
  • Compressed Adaptation: It's not an adaptation of any specific work, but you could call this a mix of old and new Lupin III media. The sketchy art style, crude humour and nudity brings the manga by Monkey Punch to mind. However, it's a lot less nonsensical than the manga, and the stories are more like the anime series and movies (which a lot of fans are more familiar with).
  • Contract on the Hitman: Happens to all four, by various organizations.
    • Fujiko, whose past is revealed in the climax, is spoilered: (Aisha sent several women out with replaced memories, and Fujiko was the only one to avoid suicide. When Aisha figured out that Fujiko had blocked the implanted memories, she became obsessed with punishing Fujiko.)
    • Halfway through the series, we find out that Lupin was contracted to "steal Fujiko", but when he started to learn too much about her, Count Almeida and his subordinates started trying to kill him.
    • In the second episode, Jigen was contracted by a Mafia boss to serve as bodyguard. After the boss was killed by his own wife, Jigen told her to use a Zero-Approval Gambit, telling everyone that Jigen killed the boss, while he goes to a rival gang. She later contracts Fujiko to bait Jigen into a trap. Naturally, Jigen is able to perform some Assassin Outclassin' in order to escape. which is what she really wanted in the first place.
    • In the third episode, Goemon has been hired to kill a King preparing to retire. Another man was paid to make the train wreck, killing everyone aboard. Once Goemon figures out that he is being targeted to die as well, he feels this voids his contract, and saves everyone.
  • Cool Plane: In "Music and Revolution", there is a dogfight between what appear to be a MiG-15/17 and some F-4 Phantoms.
  • Cutting the Knot: When corned by a trap or obstacle, Jigen simply shoots it.
  • Darker and Edgier: Played straight and quite literally in the animation. Fujiko's Femme Fatale tendencies are cranked up, and Lupin is a much more devious criminal. As far as villains go, Count Luis Yu Almeida is hands down one of the most devious criminals in the Lupin III universe, easily trumping characters such as Pycal, Scorpion, and the Count of Cagliostro.
  • Death Seeker: Cicciolina in the end, to Jigen's bafflement.
  • Deconstruction: Of the entire Lupin III universe, which strangely occurred after this Prequel.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Subverted since the first fight between Lupin and Jigen actually ends in a stalemate. Later episodes will have the two teamup, effectively showing the origin of their longstanding bromance.
  • Dirty Cop: Surprisingly, it turns out one of our favourite characters, Inspector Zenigata, was one in the past. However, seeing Oscar protecting pride when he was a kid from bullies, caused him to realize his mistake, informed his superiors, and was demoted before working his way back up the honest way.
  • Dirty Old Man: The cult leader from "Master Thief vs. Lady Looter" is able to have just about any woman he wants, and he doesn't stop at one. He even tries to kiss Fujiko after having her executed!
  • Disney Acid Sequence: In "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore", when Fujiko steps into the River of Oblivion. Again in "Prison of Love".
  • Double Entendre: The last scene features Fujiko kissing a screw from Lupin's car. She screwed him again!
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Cicciolina subverts this by switching from a death wish to trying to kill Jigen for the murder of her husband. But it gets double-subverted, when she reveals that she was trying to get Jigen to kill her.
    • Out of all the experiments Count Almeida did, only two avoided suicide. Aisha couldn't suicide, and Fujiko refused to. This includes the women who were victims of Aisha's implantation experiments, because they couldn't take the sheer sorrow of Aisha's memories.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady:
    • Oscar, to the point you would think he was a woman if it wasn't for his name.
    • Goemon, of all people, in the two part finale. This was strictly Played for Laughs.
  • Dunking the Bomb: In episode 11, Lt. Oscar removes the bomb from underneath the bridge and jumps into the river below. The explosion is muffled and the parade is safe.
  • Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: Oscar, who hates Fujiko with a passion, because she had sex with Inspector Zenigata. Spittoon.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: A pretty major plot point in "Prison of Love".
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: Since this is a prequel series, one of the goals was to introduce every character of the cast to every other character of the cast. Since Fujiko is the central character of the series, meeting up with the other four happens in the first four episodes; Lupin, Jigen, Goemon, then Zenigata. By the end of the series, Jigen - Goemon meet, but don't know each other, while Lupin - Goemon and Zenigata - Goemon haven't met.
  • Fake Orgasm: In Season 4, Episode 4, Zenigata knows that that Fujiko faked an orgasm while they were having sex and points this out to her afterwards.
  • Fanservice: Fujiko's body is much more on display for this series. Every episode has at least one scene of a woman (usually Fujiko) topless if not completely naked.
  • Film Noir: Episode 2 has many of the textbook elements.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Fujiko has what appears to be one in episode 6 after being knocked out by Oscar.
  • Freak Out: Several by Oscar in "The Feast of Fools".
  • Gag Penis: According to Fujiko, Jigen doesn't have one:
    No worries. He isn't a Magnum down there at all.
  • Ghost Town: When the town of Eulenspiegel is in an episode titled "Ghost Town", that's what you expect.
  • Heist Clash:
    • The first episode, appropriately titled "Master Thief vs Lady Looter", has both Lupin and Fujiko infiltrating a cult to steal its sacred treasure - a powerful drug which the cult's leader uses to keep his followers obedient to him. The two thieves are caught in the act and both blame the other for their plans going awry though they both manage to avoid execution. In the end, the drug is destroyed when it is spilled into the sea and the cult leader is arrested while both Fujiko and Lupin escape.
    • In "Blood-Soaked Triangle", both Lupin and Jigen sneak into an unearthed Egyptian pyramid to steal a jeweled peacock statue. The two not only have to contend with each other for the peacock but also have to avoid the various traps set up by looters.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After Lupin is nearly finished on defusing the bomb under the bridge in "The Feast of Fools", Oscar takes the bomb and dives into the river. The bomb explodes just as the fireworks were launched. Zenigata's Oh, Crap! face tells us he's aware of it.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Compared to the other anime series; the opening alone can be considered this.
  • How We Got Here: The series as a whole shows how Fujiko met Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick/Reckless Sidekick: When he appears in an episode, Oscar is the one who makes the detailed battle plans and goes into the trenches to take out Fujiko Mine. Inspector Zenigata is portrayed as the laid-back type who doesn't focus on Fujiko and even goes so far as to have sex with her. This ultimately unravels Oscar's plans in "Prison of Love", in which he's a little too gung-ho in his sexual encounter with Fujiko and the taunting afterwards. He's not nearly as level-headed as the inspector, leading him to charge into situations he hasn't fully comprehended.
    • This eventually leads to Oscar's near-death experience in "The Feast of Fools".
  • Ignore the Fanservice: Jigen's Origins Episode has a scene where he at first pretends to be accepting her offer of teaming up (naked), then grabs the knife she was concealing and threatens her with it. He's also shown ignoring Ciccolina in his flashbacks.
  • I Just Want to Be You: A very twisted version. Aisha to Fujiko.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Fujiko in "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore". Thankfully it was faked.
  • Interrupted Suicide: During "Love Wreathed In Stream", main character Fujiko tries to shoot themselves in the head, but the gun Lupin had dropped was a water pistol.
  • Kick the Dog: Once Fujiko finds out that Aisha toyed with her memories, her revenge consists of: ripping her off of life-support (ensuring that she will die), kidnapping her, dragging her out to the beach and then taunting her by making her watch Fujiko enjoy simple pleasures like wading around in the ocean (which Aisha can't enjoy). Even Lupin finds this a bit excessive, claiming that it would have been better just to kill her straight off.
    • However, this is up to debate on whether you see it as a cruel action or not. It can alternatively be a Pet the Dog moment given that she lets Aisha die free and peacefully and enjoy her pleasure without going against her will. See the YMMV for more details.
  • Kill It with Fire: In an extremely dark moment for Lupin, he tries to kill Jigen with traps of fire while in the pyramid in "Blood-Soaked Triangle".
  • Large Ham: Cho as the Cult leader from the first episode. The way he yells out 'Keisatsu!' is a good indicator.
    • Yuki Kaji as Oscar, gives a performance worthy of Jun Fukuyama, and sounds a lot like him too.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: Technically, it's second to last...but on the other hand, it is its finale, so there goes.
  • Love Hurts: Poor Oscar.
  • Madness Mantra: From "Ghost Town", "Fräulein Eule".
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Glaucus Pharmaceuticals. The name refers to genus Glaucidium, the pygmy owl.
    • Fräulein Eule = German for Miss Owl.
    • Isolde Brach, who tries to strike up a Forbidden Romance with Fujiko.
  • Mind Screw: "Ghost Town" rivals The Mystery of Mamo and Green vs. Red in terms of the bizarre.
  • Motifs: The series is rife with symbolism, though the three that symbolize Fujiko the most are the owl, the flower, and the butterfly.
  • Mugged for Disguise:
    • Fujiko knocks out a guard in "Master Thief vs. Lady Looter" to switch places with him.
    • Lt. Oscar takes the clothes of Isolde Brach during "Prison of Love" in order to impersonate her.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Oscar seems to think that Fujiko poses a threat to his and Zenigata's future happiness.
  • Mushroom Samba: Lupin III in "Ghost Town". The Fräulein Eule is responsible for him meeting Dr. Kaiser.
  • Mythology Gag: The male gender symbol (♂) appears in a sex scene at one point, in a nod to a Running Gag in the original (manga) Lupin III, as well as the female gender symbol.
  • Neck Lift: In "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore", Oscar gabs the neck of a subordinate police officer, picking him up and holding the poor guy against the wall for listening in on Fujiko and Zenigata having sex. Oscar threatens to kill the officer if he doesn't do his job properly.
  • Never Found the Body: One of the conditions of Oscar's "death" as stated in "The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (Part 1)". This laid the groundwork for his return as a servant of Count Luis Yu Almeida.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Dr Fritz Kaiser's wife, after Lupin and Fujiko unmask her ruse.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Countries are pretty much never referred to by their real names. Hell, the "Fatlantic Ocean" even makes an appearance.
  • Ominous Owl: Owls are a reoccurring motif in the series, often blink-and-you'll-miss-it-moments in the background, and humanoid owls appear in Fujiko's Flashback Nightmare. The opening features quite a few as well.
  • Only Six Faces: All of the women, including Fujiko, look almost exactly alike with the exception of hairstyles and eye color. Lampshaded in "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore", before being pulled to a creepy and ridiculously illogical level in "The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (Part 1)". The limited body types actually causes one episode to have a scene where it appears that the officer who presents Zenigata with a Lupin notice is Lupin himself, but nothing happens after that to confirm or deny that.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: Cicciolina demands to have Jigen tricked into coming back, telling Fujiko that no-one else is allowed to kill Jigen. Actually an Inverted Trope, as Cicciolina has decided she wants Jigen to kill her, and this was all an elaborate set-up to do just that.
  • Origins Episode: This series as a whole is another retelling of the gang coming together.
    • Lupin IIIS 4 E 1 tells about Lupin's introduction.
    • Lupin IIIS 4 E 2 tells about Jigen's introduction.
    • Lupin IIIS 4 E 3 tells about Goemon's introduction.
    • Lupin IIIS 4 E 13 finally tells us Fujiko's backstory, which doesn't actually reveal much about her actual past - she was a thief and seductress who got caught and had false memories implanted in her by her captors as an experiment and then let loose to see what would happen. At which point she promptly repressed the implanted memories and went back to being a thief and seductress.
  • Phony Psychic: Shitoto in "Dying Day" claims to be able to predict when his clients' last days will be, but it turns out that not only are all his clients former victims of Lupin, but their deaths are arranged through various means to fall on the date Shitoto choose. At the end of the episode Shitoto claims he once had genuine psychic visions but lost them... and then gets them back just long enough to see his own imminent death and Fujiko promptly electrocutes him.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Goemon from Fujiko in "The Girl and The Samurai".
  • Prequel: The show explains how the main characters met each other from Fujiko's point of view (or at least, how Fujiko met them, Lupin and Goemon never interact and only coincidentally happen to be in the same place at the same time in two instances). It's not the only prequel story though. See also Origins Episode.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The OP, "New Wuthering Heights".
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Oscar's backstory is shown, where Inspector Zenigata rescued him from the gutters. Afterwards, Oscar became very dedicated to helping him.
  • Repressed Memories: Fujiko is able to repress any bad memories in order to live her life the way she wants. It becomes a sort of Chekhov's Skill in that that skill helped her from being consumed by the implanted memories of Aisha.
  • The Reveal: "The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (Part 2)".
  • Seinen: Like nobody's business.
  • Scars are Forever: Aiyan burns herself so that she could leave her stage life and be with Da Renzo. And in the finale the fact that Fujiko doesn't have any scars on her foot from where Almeida branded her with a hot iron is key to her realizing that the memories she's seeing aren't actually hers.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: In "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore", Lupin uses the swarm of bees on the rooftop of the opera house as a way to trick "Aiyan" to take off her mask.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Scooter-Riding Mod: One of the many styles of Fujiko throughout the show.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Oscar, who's gay as springtime, but only for Zenigata.
  • Spy Catsuit: Worn by Fujiko in episode 9, underneath a big, concealing robe.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Between Isolde Brach and the titular protagonist in the 6th episode, subverted when it's revealed "Isolde" wasn't Isolde at all, but Lt. Oscar in disguise to reach Fujiko.
  • Temple of Doom: The pyramid in "Blood-Soaked Triangle", complete with several Death Traps.
  • Theatre Phantom: "Vissi d'arte, Vissi d'amore" centers around one. He turns out to be the boyfriend of the opera singer Aiyan, who is living underground with him since people wouldn't approve their relationship.
  • Title Drop:
    • The OP does this for the anime's opening theme "New Wuthering Heights":
      Like Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights", to steal and steal again is my greatest carnal pleasure, and I stake my life on it.
    • Lupin finally does it in Episode 5, albeit a variation of it:
      The woman named Fujiko Mine is a peacock wherever she goes.
    • Goemon said the title in "The Feast of Fools" after listening to the radio story covering her.
    • The last two episode titles were said title, parts 1 and 2. Fujiko title dropped in Part 2.
  • Truer to the Text: Out of all the Lupin adaptations, this one is the most faithful in tone, spirit, and content.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: No one questions why or seems freaked out to seeing a person with an Owl for a head.
  • Useless Protagonist: While she can still kick ass, Fujiko can be seen as acting overly passive at times, as such behavior is part and parcel of being the Femme Fatale. Upon "Dying Day", she gets some Character Development to remedy this.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • It is never revealed what happened to Oscar in the last episode after he drove a fuel tanker truck into the castle. On closer inspection, he jumped out before it exploded, and observed the fire. But after that, it's a mystery as to his subsequent whereabouts.
    • It isn't revealed what happened to Isolde after Oscar stole her clothes and impersonated her.
    • On a less serious note, averted to humorous effect with the battle between Jigen and Goemon in the finale. The episode shifts focus away from the fight midway through, and then near the end cuts back to them deciding finally to call it quits, implying that they'd been duking it out the entire time, even well after the main conflict of the episode had been resolved.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Fujiko casually blows away two security guards - three episodes later, Oscar goes out of his way to frame her for murder.
  • William Telling: In ".357 Magnum", Jigen Diasuke demonstrated his incredible skill by firing a bullet through a cherry Cicciolina was holding between her lips. Jigen lampshades this when presented this.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Fans who have only watched Lupin may be taken aback by the extremely angular build of most of the characters. However, those who have read the oldest Monkey Punch manga know that the design in this anime is similar to their very first manga designs.