Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ohhhhhhh. THE Woman Called Fugiko Mine

Let's rewind.

I saw a recently made adaption of one of my favorite Japanese franchise, Lupin The 3rd entitled The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. I dismissed it. While I now think it's brilliant, as a textual literal adaptation eh it's kind of boring.

I went in thinking "Oh my God there going to tell us everything about Fujiko. Right on. Let's do this." And they are but THE woman called Fujiko isn't this Fujiko Mine, at least not literally.

So after one and half posts of calling this show stupid,

I found out it was the first time the character of Fujiko mine in her long history was primarily written and directed by women. That knowledge gave me the clue I needed to stop thinking literally and start thing metatextually.

This show isn't about THIS Fujiko Mine or even A Fujiko Mine but THE FUJIKO MINE. The one that exists independent of text.  The one who we're talking about when we have our little powwows about who is the hottest women in anime. THAT Fujiko Mine.

Almost every female/feminine character in this thing can be called some sort of metaphor for that Fujiko Mine. I still don't know what to make of Goemon in drag though.

Anyway. And by thinking too literally I missed the biggest, most obvious, sledgehammer to the face ohhhhhh that's what we're talking about version they could have given.  The painted lady.

So let's talk about her.

So episode, 9 is the episode that kicks off the Fujiko is maybe not who you think she is plot. And I should have been paying more attention.

So the "score" here is a painted woman, a living canvas.  A work of art that "exists only for the pleasure of its audience" at those words my eyes should have been opened.

She exists only as a canvas for her male artist, auctioned off to the highest bidder. He even painted her tongue obsessed with her beauty robbing her of her ability to speak and in some fundamental way interact with the world.

Through out the episode Fujiko is on a mission to seemingly steal the thing but 2/3 of the way in we realize it's deeper than that. She relates a bit too much to the living canvas and wants to destroy it, and she's doing all of that without really understanding why. It's just instinctual for her.

That contrasts to her later statements about being and always have being her own woman. Which statement is really true. There is a dissonance there. I don't know how to reconcile it though.

The painted lady is a Fujiko Mine. And she relates to THE Fujiko Mine, and even this story's Fujiko Mine.

Once this Fujiko stops and thinks about her actions. Thinks about just destroying the painted lady and realizing that she was going to do so because of her own insecurities she stops and has a mild mental breakdown.

The next episode is pretty much devoid of Fujiko as Lupin and Zenigata try to find and understand Fujiko's past.

I pretty much turned my head at that moment. In my mind the show had robbed Fujiko, "The Mae West of anime" of her own will and then rather than letting her find it again just had the boys goofing around. I AM SOOOOOOOOO SORRY.

But that entire trippy episode does feature Fujiko. It's the trippy trippy drug induced story of the "original" Fujiko, in her infancy.

The show eventually makes her the bad guy by having her attempt to force this Fujiko (if you haven't caught on I'm using "this" to indicate the story's Fujiko) into conforming to her identity and at the slightest hint that she's grown past it kill her but it also paints her as a victim, the result of her father's torture and the anguished guilt of her impotent mother (who in a way is also Fujiko though this is getting long).

This Fujiko isn't the only one who's had her mind messed with. But this Fujiko is also the only Fujiko that survived past that. How is she special? How is she more "authentic" than the rest?

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