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Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is good to almost the last drop, but is let down by the ending.

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Presentation

Part 2 is superbly presented and my comments about Part 1 are still valid. The imagery is taken from the closing credits this time.

The Style

There is less comedy to leaven the darkness in the last five episodes, but otherwise my comments about Part 1 continue to hold.

The Ending

LAST MAJOR SPOILER WARNING

Fujiko Mine spends 12 episodes building towards a revelation of Fujiko’s dark and traumatic past and… it was all a dream [1]?

Seriously?

Oh, there was some bad stuff done to Fujiko to set up the “dream”, but all of the real darkness belonged to other characters.

Characters who are only revealed in the final episode, and one of whom is featured in the closing credits. I’ll grant that this is a nice piece of misdirection (since I thought it was a younger Fujiko when I wrote the review of part one).

I think that this is at least partly due to Fujiko Mine being a prequel. As Grant Watson observed in his review of Monsters University:

Part of the problem is its setting: this is a prequel, so we already know where the characters will ultimately wind up.

Fujiko Mine needed to end in a way that was consistent with the Lupin the Third franchise. This could be achieved making Fujiko Mine a story that:

  • Doesn’t really matter in the long run; or
  • Provides an internal explanation for the externally observed characteristics of Fujiko.

The latter would have been both much harder to pull off and much more satisfying to watch.

The former is what happened, and left me feeling somehow cheated, and the excellent build up to the finale only made the feeling worse.

The Verdict

Fujiko Mine was a contender, it could have been one of the all-time greats.

Instead, and like so many anime before it [2], Fujiko Mine stumbled at the last hurdle. I would still call Fujiko Mine a series worth watching at least once, but I’m not sure it is one that I’ll revisit.



[1] Another spoiler: not so much a dream as implanted false memories. The effect is the same.

[2] I have no doubt that this will be true for many more anime still to come. Such is life.