Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Tale of a Mighty Fine Lady

The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is a fun and intriguing anime. For not only does it capture the style and humour of the original Monkey Punch manga,  it also takes some terrible cliches and drops them on their heads. And i feel it is worth mentioning the director and the overseeing writer of the series are both women.

Going in, i knew absolutely nothing about this series, other than it focused on Fujiko Mine, the trailer i posted above, and the art in the first episode on youtube were enough to sell me on it. i mean, how goregous is that art style? How fantastic is that soundtrack?

The gist of the story is bringing the gang together and getting to know them, and mostly learning the story of Fujiko.Which basically turned out to be that of sexy lady thief in the 1960s.

Hi-diddle-dee-dee, goddamn, a pirates life for me.

However, it started taking some questionable turns and i started getting worried. At some point we find out about some mysterious Count that wanted to test Lupin to see if he was "good enough" for Fujiko, and Fujiko herself keeps getting glimpses of memories or nightmares of being tortured and molested by owl people. No really.

Seriously though, the owls are not what they seem.

However, i was willing to see it through, i mean, look how surreal and beautiful that shot of the owls is.

It goes on until we find out this Count was the head of a large pharmaceutical company that was working on mind control,  and this ties in to the first episode, a cult that was using drugs to control its followers. So of course that was just a front for the company, and it even turns out Lupin was hired by the Count to steal Fujiko in the first place, not the drugs he claimed to be after. Growing up Fujiko was one of the favourite test subjects of the Count, and now he wants her back. And if this is sounding a bit ridiculous, well, do remember i mentioned how this story turns all this on its head.

You told me this would be a happy house!

So after all the players fall into place, and there's a confrontation between Fujiko and the Count, Lupin reminds her that she's a damn fine woman, and she's stronger than this. She agrees and shoots the Count, only to discover he's already dead. Lupin, having figured out the truth after digging through the company's records, then takes Fujiko to meet the real villain of the story.

Would you like to read my fan fiction?
It turns out it was never Fujiko that was abducted and tortured by Count Owlface, it was a girl named Aisha, daughter of two of his scientists. After the Count died, she saw her own life as wasted, she couldn't move, and could only write with futuristic anime eye scanning technology, so she decided to continue his work. She would write her memory into other girls and then set them free, to see if they could live an exciting enough life for her to enjoy vicariously. But one by one, they all went insane. That is until one day a maid named Fujiko Mine showed up at the manor. After the false memories were implanted in her, she went out and lived an exciting life of thievery and wanton sex, and this pleased Aisha, until she realized Fujiko had blocked out the false memories of the Count.

All the events of the show had been orchestrated by Aisha as an attempt to get Fujiko to remember everything implanted in her.

At this point in the story Fujiko absolutely crushes Aisha by revealing that she'd always been into sex and crime, it had nothing to do with the false memories, she was only posing as a maid to get info about the mind controlling drugs. She didn't need a tragic backstory to be who she was. She buried the false memories not out of fear, but through sheer will.

They then take Aisha out into the real world, and Fujiko flaunts that she is who she is, and she will never be anyone else, regardless of what happens.

She dances on the sand.

And really i think that's all pretty groovy.  She does crimes and has sex for the same reasons Lupin does, it's damn fun.

It's shown that the idea of dark and troubled pasts, the ideas that female characters being raped somehow makes them interesting, the odd idea that a character can't just be lighthearted, or a woman can't be into sex... are really just the musings of a disturbed shut-in too afraid to live.

And yes, i know Aisha herself was raped and tortured by the Count, but it didn't make her interesting or relatable, or whatever. It's not that there are certain topics that can't be touched upon in art, because that's bullshit, it's that, topics shouldn't be misused. It's a commentary on lazy motivations and hackneyed fan-fiction. Aisha isn't the villain because what was done to her, it's what she chose to do.

So if any of this sounds appealing, and you don't mind some Monkey Punch style juvenile titillation.

The scene with the conspicuously clothed Zenigata having sex with a symbol is better.

i would recommend this show, it's a fantastic Lupin III adaptation, Goemon and Jigen provide some great comic relief, and i can't mention enough how beautiful and fantastic the art is. And there's really a lot of other clever stuff going on, so much could be said of Fujiko comparing herself to Wuthering Height's Heathcliff, the episode on the painted girl, or the one about the Cuban missile crisis. A mighty fine series to be sure.

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