After 27 years of hiatus, Lupin the 3rd returns in a new series titled, “A Woman Called Fujiko Mine”. The producers of this series advertised that the atmosphere of this series would harken back to the days of the 1967 manga-and boy they weren’t kidding! The 1:55 a.m. timeslot speaks for itself. Content-wise, there is a lot of nudity, violence and borderline graphic sensuality throughout the entire first episode. This is one Lupin anime that is not recommended for the younger demographic.
The first episode titled, The Master Thief vs. The Phantom Lady Thief revolves around an island that is home to a mysterious cult whose leader uses a hypnotic drug composed from a type of ash cast off his body in order to control his followers. Fujiko Mine, disguised as a bride, tries to poison the cult leader in order to steal drug’s source. However, her plans are thwarted by a certain master thief, none other than Lupin Sansei, whom has the same idea.
Both Lupin and Fujiko end up captured and planned to be executed the following morning. While in their holding cell, both Lupin and Fujiko form a rivalry and spend the remainder of the episode trying to outdo one another to see who gets the prize first. In the end, neither claims the victory, but end up getting more than they bargained for.
The episode’s climax includes a brief appearance from Inspector Zenigata and his feminine male assistant, Oscar. Fujiko escapes empty-handed on a motorcycle, recollecting her series of recent events, only to find a message from Lupin written on her inner thigh. The episode ends with Lupin looking on and commenting about how his life has become less boring.
The look and feel of the animation is different than the usual anime formula. It is detailed, yet sketchy, with a strong Western feel to it, resembling the early chapters of Monkey Punch’s original manga. This is little surprise since Monkey Punch in turn was heavily inspired by Mad Magazine. While unique, the animation is exceptionally fluid.
Yuji Ohno’s score is absent from this series. This is perhaps just as well given its serious nature. The opening is somewhat classy, but somewhat unusual for the Lupin franchise. The background music, while not Ohno, has a fitting jazz sound and rather enjoyable. The ending song is just jarring to listen with a blaring saxophone sound set to female Japanese vocals.
Nudity/Sexual Content: Nudity everywhere! Those who enjoy fanservice will not be disappointed. Fujiko nudity can be found throughout the majority of the episode from intro to ending. There are also tons of sexual overtones that are just short of gratuitous.
Violence: What Lupin anime would be without at least a bit gunfire and explosions? The new series is no exception. There is quite a lot of blood, especially during the decapitation sequence.
Kurita Kanichi reprises his role as Arsène Lupin the 3rd. He delivers a solid performance as usual, and comes through in portraying Lupin with more serious, edgy feel. The new actors for Fujiko and Zenigata also deliver excellent performances thus far, but time will tell how they measure up.
Lady Lupin’s Two Cents
All I can say is wowzers! Now this is what Lupin the 3rd is all about. As much as I loved Shin Lupin Sansei, the 1st TV Series remains my favorite. AWCFM favors it the most, only amplified to the extreme. Even though Lupin closely resembles his manga counterpart, there is still enough of the charming pervert from the red jacket mixed in. The characters, story and animation come through strong in this first episode, but I will reserve my full opinion until it progresses further. I would like to end with so far I am impressed!