Fujiko is a 2015 psychological thriller-drama miniseries distributed by Hulu and J:COM. Based on the novel Satsujinki Fujiko no Shōdō by Yukiko Mari, the show stars Machiko Ono as renowned serial killer and death-row inmate Fujiko Uehara; Mitsuki Tanimura as Michiko Takamine, a young prize-winning journalist with a past of her own; and Kyōko Maya as Shigeko Shimoda, Fujiko's hospitable aunt and a member of a mysterious religious cult.
Three days after the suicide of a daughter of "Fujiko the Killer," Michiko receives the daughter's manuscript for a biography of Fujiko in the mail, and is subsequently tasked with writing a biography on the killer herself. Judging the manuscript to be biased by its author's perspective, Michiko interviews the mass murderer herself to corroborate the facts. As Fujiko's origin story begins to unravel, so do family secrets and the workings of yet another killer.
A J:COM/Hulu original series, Fujiko was adapted to television by Izumi Takahashi, comprising six hour-long episodes co-directed by Shōsuke Murakami (Train Man, One Week Friends) and Kazuyuki Iwata (Yo ni mo Kimyō na Monogatari, Fukuie Keibuho no Aisatsu). Composer Yutaku Yamada (Tokyo Ghoul) wrote the musical score, while the closing-credits song, "Cinderella," is performed by Kazuyoshi Saitō.
Tropes associated with Fujiko:
- Abusive Parents: Fujiko and Hideki Uehara, who deprecated and beat the daylights out of their elder daughter Sakiko (as well as each other).
- Also Fujiko and her first husband Yūya Tsujimura, whose neglect kills her first child, Minami (despite Fujiko's genuine efforts to care for her).
- Ambiguous Ending: Michiko's Uncertain Doom. Multiple circumstances suggest either that Michiko was killed by Shigeko, or that Michiko is living as Miyako Uehara but has "killed off" her identity as Michiko Takamine.
- Becoming the Mask: Michiko Takamine, having abandoned her identity as Fujiko Uehara's daughter Miyako long ago. Subverted later on, when Michiko reassumes her former legal name to continue visiting Fujiko in prison. Possibly subverted further by the Ambiguous Ending.
- Berserk Button: Fujiko's is her plastic surgery. Shigeko has one for any suggestion, however well-humored it may be, that she start a religious sect of her own. Coincidentally, both of them involve how either spends her money to gain favor among her peers.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Fujiko has been living by a moral code based not on good and evil, but on what/who she believes will make her happy or miserable.
- The Water of Heaven cult. See Religious Horror.
- Cliffhanger: Leading up to the Ambiguous Ending.
- Defusing The Tykebomb: This happens gradually to Fujiko as Michiko unearths her Dark and Troubled Past.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: See sub-entry for Even Evil Has Standards.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Fujiko, a regular abuser of Sakiko, intervenes when Hideki abuses and concusses her.
- Shigeko exemplifies this as well. Though the final episode reveals her to be The Man Behind the Man and have a not-so-benevolent agenda, her many upstanding acts towards her family retains a large amount of the audience's sympathy. She took both Fujiko and Sakiko in and raised them as if they were her own, for example. She also defends Sakiko's daughter's worth aside from her looks; and still believes in and checks in on Fujiko at prison, despite the latter's persevering rejection, her many grave crimes (especially against family), and decades of unprofitability.
- Evil Matriarch: There are three of them. Four if you count Fujiko's mother, who gets the bridge dropped on her rather quickly, and whose salacious crimes never come to light.
- Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Although Fujiko insists (and firmly believes) that "the children of scum are scum," the reason Fujiko tried to kill Sakiko years ago was to spare her the very Face–Heel Turn she experienced years ago. She also imparts "good" advice to both Minami and Sakiko that they'll never be happy unless they become beautiful. Furthermore, she hopes to protect adult Miyako/Michiko from the family drama, telling Sakiko not to involve her in the body of the manuscript.
- Fujiko is another object of this. In a flashback, her dying mother, also implied to have been a murderer, has just enough strength to reassure Fujiko that—despite Hatsuyo Kosaka's insistence otherwise—Fujiko can turn out better than her.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Hatsuyo...though there is an even greater villain than her.
- Magic Plastic Surgery: Fujiko, who was taught by a co-worker that the key to happiness was to be more beautiful than anyone else, so she saved up for operations to get "a new face for a new start."
- Ironically, Sakiko also got her face operated upon, but to look just like her mother. As her husband reveals, Sakiko was trying to be happy as best as she could, but she had no sense of her own distinct identity. Urged by Water of Heaven in order to bring in potential recruits, Sakiko changed her appearance to look like "Fujiko the Killer".
- The Maiden Name Debate: When Michiko is debating whether to go by “Michiko Takamine” or “Miyako Uehara,” Haru interjects: "What about ‘Miyako Wakamura’?...Or ‘Michiko Wakamura,’ of course."
- Mystery Cult: Water of Heaven, a cult to which Shigeko, Hatsuyo, and later Sakiko have belonged. Their doctrine is largely unknown, but the Hindu-Buddhist concept of karma seems to be among its principles.
- Never Suicide: Sakiko and Hatsuyo.
- Religious Horror: By technicality...though it deals not with the canon of the faith but with Fujiko's victims and parents' murders, along with Sakiko's mental health issues, funding the cult and buying their guardian's peers' reverence. Also, killing fellow believers is apparently not frowned (enough) upon in the sect, either.
- Repressed Memories: Fujiko's, from previous "resets."
- The Sociopath: Fujiko; as well as Hatsuyo, probably Fujiko's mother, and arguably Shigeko.
- That Man Is Dead: See Becoming the Mask.
- Til Murder Do Us Part: Fujiko has killed Hideki and her first husband Yūya. Both Michiko and Sakiko greatly fear doing the same to their own husbands in the future.
- Trauma Button: Hatsuyo Kosaka, who killed Fujiko's parents and later received her dues...or did she?
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: This is how Fujiko has repeatedly tried to "reset" her life: by offing the deadweights in it and marching on.
- Hatsuyo meets this end, with Shigeko's forging a suicide note attributing to her all of their murders.