Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Friday, April 25, 2014

Damn It I Hate When I'm Wrong on the Internet (A Revisiting of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine)

Okay. My big problem with  The Woman Called Fujiko Mine was the ending, which to me seemed to excuse all the male pandering of her character. Because of that I was in a head space where I felt nothing the show could say about that male pandering could be valid, and I turned my brain off.


I was sooooooooooo wrong.

The story was directed and written by women. That's not to say that automatically makes everything the story says is right, but that that information did reboot my brain so I knew where to look.  And by god is it there.

When you realize that this is the first time.. how did I put it, "The Mae West of anime" has actually been in the control of women, the themes of the show start to fall into place,  and things I didn't pay attention to or thought were.. stupid all of a sudden seem brilliant.

Transgendered Themes
Okay last time around I said I was getting a Silence of the Lambs vibe.   And I was. I have conflicting feelings about Buffalo Bill or any character ... influenced by him. He is the nightmare of anybody icked out by transgendered themes. An embodiment of all that fear.

He's creepy as all hell though so eh good villain. But I groan a little any time I see anybody wanting to do it again. You have to earn your lady-skin coat damn it! And in retrospect this show (and Monster) does.

Well any writter who's a dude and is writing female characters is Buffalo Bill in a way. And a character like that can easily be used as a metaphor especially for a legacy character like Fujiko.

Keep in mind this is the guy she's making out with in the Catholic school girl scene which has the male gaze all over it. Also turning Lupin's playful flirting into creepy lechery touche.

There is an episode or two where this guy is running around as her, doing stuff she wouldn't do, all while, "the authorities" are blaming her for this crap.

That says something about control of the female image in media. I'm keyboard to heading it right now so I'm not sure what. But damn how did I miss that.

This character eventually repents but is forced by the system back into this role of "being Fujiko"


Legacy Characters
This is going to be heavy. There are lots of Fujiko's running around in this thing. And all of them have something to say. I just described one.  Let's talk about "the many"

In an attempt to rescue Fujiko our protagonists find a room filled with Fujiko "dolls" people some of whom are men dressed up to look like her. Going meta yes there is more than one Fujiko. As I hinted at in my original review there is a lot of Lupin the Third media out there. I know of at least 4 TV shows and like 10 movies/specials. And you could argue that each one features a different Fujiko.

That's an important idea. But the not counting, "Bill Fujiko" the show concerns itself mostly with the interaction of two and this is going to get complicated.

We find out that Fujiko has implanted memories. In a way the Fujiko the story follows is not the original Fujiko, IN STORY.

Well then.


Do go on.

The original Fujiko, who's not quite Fujiko either trippy, was tortured and brainwashed by her Dad. For really complicated reasons she decided to carry on that stuff in the hopes of creating a sort of vicarious successor, implanting her memories into the stories Fujiko.

From that point the question becomes how much of Fujiko is Fujiko and how much is just the ephemera of the past.

Like having to write a character with 40 years of baggage while trying to make this incarnation of her seem independent original and fresh.

Furthermore the "Original" insists on keeping the dead visage of her dad around even though he's basically a rotten out corpse. And the entire reason she is a villain is her inability to let go of his plans. Like say the inability to let go of the original direction a legacy character was going until stagnation set in.

The past memories didn't keep though. This Fujiko barely remembers all that stuff. Like a writer who due to the shear amount of a content on a legacy character probably won't be able to go through all of the back issues or remain consistant with every single appearance over the course of said character's history.

And the original get's jealous that Fujiko gets to be Fujiko without (most of) the drama. There is something about gender politics there but I'm not touching it. Though it could also be read as the "originals" feeling uncomfortable that someone else gets to build off work.

The big thing is that the ending explains that this Fujiko who the story treats as the authentic Fujiko (the current one written by actual women)  says that she is who she is because it's her nature. Not because of her implanted back. This Fujiko isn't who she is because 50 years of accumulated continuity (again often written by dudes who watched too many Bond movies) but because of choices of her current writer and director.

Bravo and I am a stupid stupid idiot.

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