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DVD Review

DVD cover

Lupin the Third
The Woman Called Fujiko Mine


Starring (voice): Daisuke Namikawa, Kanichi Kurita, Kiyoshi Kobayashi and Miyuki Sawashiro
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 16 September 2013

Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (2012) is a thirteen episode serial set in the Lupin world. The serial was directed by Sayo Yamamoto, the first female to do so, the story’s task was taken up by a number of writers.

Lupin is a master thief, which in this release is more of an aside. This story concentrates on Fujiko Mine, one of the characters from the previous Lupin shows. I suppose titling the story after the central character might has alienated Lupin fans, before they got a chance to watch it. There is little in the way of an on-going story, mostly we follow Fujiko as she takes on various missions. Lupin does appear in the show, but rarely does he take the role of the central character.

Some things haven’t changed, including the character design, with the elongated legs and the general look of the characters. The animation style differs from the previous show, utilising heavy black lines to represent shadow. It looks rough, but works surprisingly well. Innovation does not stop there and the show mixes styles, at times introducing elements of psychedelia.

The show is more explicitly sexual than the previous Lupin series, with a sort of Barbarella nudity plastered all over the opening titles and a Shades of Grey voice over; only written better. That said, even the objectification of Fujiko ends with a strong feminist message. It’s not really fan service, as such, and if we are to accept the creators pushing the boundaries of the animation we should expect that they would likewise do this with the show's content. The show is probably not suitable for a young audience, being aimed at a more adult demographic.

Whilst there are boundaries pushed in terms of sexuality and style, the actual story format is fairly traditional with Fujiko taking on one case per episode, whether it is infiltrating an opera house or a school. This then becomes the frame around which the slapstick comedy is grown.

The show is presented on a two disc DVD set with audio options for both Japanese and English Dolby Digital 2.0, with optional subtitles. Both audio tracks work well and it’s not a real problem that the audio is only 2.0, it’s not the sort of show which would have been able to do much with a 5.1 track. Disc two contains extras in the form of the clean opening and closing title animation and trailers for six other shows.

The show is likely to divide opinion; I’m sure that there were those who tuned in hoping to see another wacky Lupin show, only to discover something else. That alone should not put you off giving the series a try. It doesn’t always succeed in what it’s trying to achieve, but it’s refreshing to watch a show that has higher ambitions than the usual fight of the week fare.


Charles Packer

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