Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna – 13 (End) and Series Review

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That was certainly… an ending.

[sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_13_[720p][10bit][6F9CAF8C].mkv_snapshot_01.46_[2012.06.29_17.24.32]I’ll give a lot of credit to TMS for the work they did on this updating of the Lupin III franchise.  The soundtrack (produced by Watanabe Shinichiro) was superb, and the visuals were quite unlike anything I’ve seen in the last couple of years.  But taken as a whole, I have to rank the series as a disappointment considering the number of talented people who worked on it.  I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but the episodes personally written by Okada Mari all seemed to suffer from the same problems – and pairing her with a similarly talented but undisciplined and fetishistic director in Yamomoto Sayo was probably a bad idea.

[sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_13_[720p][10bit][6F9CAF8C].mkv_snapshot_03.11_[2012.06.29_17.26.18]I will say again that I’m not such a fan of the Lupin franchise that I’m particularly offended with Okada taking her usual liberties with convention – that’s license, more or less.  And I enjoyed most of the first 9 episodes pretty well – it was a bit of a rollercoaster, but most series are.  It’s when we got to the ponderous and silly (even by Lupin standards) plot that Okada crafted to tie it all together that the series pretty much checked out for me.  There was some fascinating moments watching Okada psychoanalyze herself on screen during the final arc, and some of the psychedelic imagery was pretty haunting.  But even for a poser to the franchise like me, the whole concoction didn’t feel remotely Lupin.

[sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_13_[720p][10bit][6F9CAF8C].mkv_snapshot_03.58_[2012.06.29_17.27.05]I’m sorry to those of you who’d like a little deeper analysis, but I think it’s kind of a zero sum game.  The folks who liked the way Okada handled the series aren’t going to be convinced by the likes of me, and I don’t find it especially fun to heap criticism on a series (unless it’s one I truly despise, like Blood-C).  I just feel sad that the mind that gave us the likes of AnoHana and the Hourou Musuko adaptation (with a lot of help in both cases) seems so caught up in chasing her own tail that all sense of perspective seems to have gone missing from her writing.  Writing is a personal thing, I’m certainly not denying that – but what Okada is doing comes off more as masturbation than writing.  It’s not all about respect for the franchise – though I don’t think that should be totally discounted – as it is placing your own niche interests as a writer in some context with the universe you’re writing about. 

[sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_13_[720p][10bit][6F9CAF8C].mkv_snapshot_04.18_[2012.06.29_17.27.25]In any event, Lupin is more than Okada – to the extent that any modern Okada series can be – so full credit to the excellent cast and animation directors, who really did give us some memorable moments.  It was a lot of things, but Mine Fujiko was never boring and always interesting to the eye and ear.  It’s also a great set of characters, when they’re allowed to behave like themselves.  This show has also kindled an interest in me to go back and look at some earlier Lupin material, to see how it plays for me now that I have many years of watching anime under my belt and this incarnation to judge it against.  I’ve changed a lot since I watched a Lupin series (or the Ghibli efforts) and I’m sure I’d perceive the material differently now.  Judging from the ratings it seems that interest in this series has dropped off dramatically in the last few weeks, but hopefully there are others who have the same reaction – I’d like to see Mine Fujiko end up as a net positive for the franchise as a whole.

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  1. S

    The best part of this finale for me was the fight scene between Jigen and Goemon. Though I wish Goemon wasn't in drag, and they both didn't see each other as owlheads. I found it funny how a Japanese GLaDOS turned out to be the final boss.

    In the end, Lupin never met Goemon at all, just briefly passed by him. It was a good series, I like the art style quite alot, but I wouldn't want it to get a sequel.

    Though if a new Lupin series came out, that didn't star Fujiko and was directed by someone else, I'd definitely check it out. But please no Oscar or any other original characters like him. I really hope Oscar doesn't show up in future Lupin specials or series.

    Also, this is the first Lupin anything I've seen.

  2. D

    I loved the art style. I loved the soundtrack, especially the OP which just grabbed my attention from the start. And I loved the way things got tied together in the last two episodes.

    And I would love another series with this kind of style and vision.

  3. N

    "And I would love another series with this kind of style and vision."


  4. M

    Unfortunately, this show had to go with the dreaded EXPOSITION END. It came off as somewhat of an ass pull too.

    Oh, well. At least Koike's visuals were unique, as always.

  5. A

    Imma buy this show on blu-ray, bitches.

  6. A

    I would rather watch Okada masturbate (as you call it) than watch another lame excuse for an anime like Hourou Musuko.

  7. A

    It's great Lupin never met Goemon. This made the series true to the original one. By not having them meet at all.
    This series as pretty fun to watch. Although, it really would have been better if there was no Oscar.

  8. N

    I don't know. Putting restraints on creative and artistic expression would be a form of censorship. The episodes of Sailor Moon SuperS that were handled by Toei staff, rather than Ikuhara himself, were incredibly bland.

  9. B

    Man everybody likes to heap criticism on Blood-C. But I think if you look at it as one of the most expensive intentional mass trollings in history it's pretty brilliant.

    Of course if they were being sincere then it's complete shit but I like to think better of people than that and assume it was all intentional.

    As for Lupin, yeah, I don't hate Okada like you do but the last several episodes of this series were pretty obviously not on par with the rest. It's hard to say whether that's because Okada took a more active role towards the end, as you seem to believe, or if they simply ran out of ideas and had to do an asspull for an ending, or what, but consistency was clearly not this show's primary strength.

  10. Okada wrote 2 of my top 4 2011 shows…

    I don't hate Okada. But I didn't leave her behind – she left me (and her sanity) gagged & unconscious by the side of the road.

  11. s

    For the better I might add.

  12. It's not a question of believing she took a more active role – she's personally credited with writing the last three eps. Whatever you might think of those eps, she factually took a more active role.

    Going from AnoHana and Hourou Musuko to her 2012 catalogue is for the better? If that's what you feel, then you have a lot to be happy about.

  13. s

    Aside from Mine Fujiko, I'm oblivious to anything else she's worked on this year. I'm not really up to play with who writes what and more concerned with ideas and style.

  14. s

    I like Penguindrum and Ikuhara as well for similar reasons.

    Have you seen Utena?

  15. J

    The first 3 episodes were great, 4-9 were a mixed bag, generally with bad pacing and some really awkward plotting. That's where I left off. And from the sounds of it, doesn't sound like i was wrong to drop it either.

    Really liked the initial style (almost like a Bebop version of Lupin) but then it just got out of control.

    Unfortunate because it was one of my favorites at the beginning of the season, but now i wouldn't really recommend it to anyone.

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