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Lupin the Third, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine Episode #01 Anime Review

3 min read

We finally have a Lupin anime that might rejuvenate the franchise with entertaining action, comedy, and character development. Oh, and nudity.

What They Say:
Fujiko Mine, the devastatingly sexy lady thief who’ll stop at nothing to make her steal, has her sights set on a religious cult’s secret treasure when a new man waltzes into her life: Lupin the Third. Has our luscious looter finally met her match?

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Even ardent fans of the Lupin franchise would admit that it has grown stagnant. The annual specials are now formulaic, lacking the excitement found in the earlier works. It needed to do something new, something fresh to revive interest. Remarkably, going with the concept that "Everything old is new again" provides the spark that might get Lupin fans burning with passion again.

People expecting to see the fun loving, goofy Lupin of Cagliostro are in for quite a shock. As the opening credits roll, you will notice the artwork is drastically different; oh, and there is nudity… quite a bit of nudity. Both the art style and nudity harken back to the original Monkey Punch manga. Keeping with that trend, the series reboots the franchise back to a point before the familiar cast has banded together.

The series opens on a remote island populated by a cult leader and his followers. The leader is able to produce a magic powder from his skin; this powder causes a delirious dizzy sensation in its followers. Lupin is secretly watching a wedding unfold and proclaims the bride to be a stunning beauty. This beauty is none other than the titular character, Fujiko Mine. The remainder of the plot has Lupin and Fujiko racing to find the stash of powder somewhere on the island. It is an irrelevant MacGuffin designed to ignite the rivalry between Lupin and Fujiko.

Lupin has become bored with thievery and sees a challenging rival in Fujiko. She is sexy and knows how to use her body to her advantage. However, she proves to be more than a body; she is intelligent, able to handle herself in a fight, and is willing to do what is necessary to achieve her goal, even if this includes killing someone.

Zenigata makes a brief appearance along with a foppish sidekick named Oscar. Zenigata is back to his manga roots – a strong minded, strong willed detective rather than bumbling comic relief. The battle for the powder ends with neither Lupin or Fujiko as a clear winner; however, the attraction between the two has begun. Lupin will not rest until Fujiko is his, and Fujiko, though she would never admit it, is starting to find Lupin’s skills and charm alluring.

In Summary:
When the initial teaser artwork was released for Fujiko, I was overjoyed to see it return to the style of the original manga. I was even more excited once the ending credits rolled on this first episode. We have also returned to characters closer to the manga; Fujiko is no longer a sexy body that seduces Lupin, betrays him, and then ends up a helpless captive. She is her own, independent woman able to survive and thrive on her own intellect and non-nudity related abilities. We still get the slapstick humor and action all of us know and love from the franchise, but we finally get great character development also. Sometimes, a franchise reboot can be a good thing; with this reboot, Fujiko appears headed for great things.

Grade: B+

Streamed By: FUNimation

Review Equipment:
24” iMac booted into Windows XP Home, using IE8.