Those who read me may know this about my tastes: I am not a fan of “old school” anime. This is a bit odd because in most entertainment—movies, art, music, literature—I love time-honored classics. And, while I am not always well-versed in the canon of different media or genre, I often fancy myself a nostalgia romantic. Curious, then, that I have such a strong bias against older anime. 
Lupin the Third is an old franchise, but more importantly, a classic from an era past. Its most recent run, Lupin III: The Woman Called Mine Fujiko, retains the old-fashioned aesthetics despite the anime’s release just this spring season. The character designs give the anime an (out)-dated look that harks straight from the Sixties and Seventies, a look that I usually actively avoid.
Yet, I loved The Woman Called Mine Fujiko.
So what makes Mine Fujiko special, enough that I can overlook my unreasonable distaste for anime passé?
Sex, of course, as always.
Mine Fujiko is a sexy anime. And, it is not just sexy; it is loud and bold about its dripping eroticism. It leaves little in reserve and has no qualms about revealing what needs to be revealed—but nothing more. Sensual and powerful, Mine Fujiko is indeed a direct assault on the libido. More impressively, the presentation of fan service delivers more than mere raw physical reactions unlike that of, say, Queen’s Blade. The series somehow has a hint of culture and—dare I say it—class. “Old school” class.
The cold open in the first episode reminds strongly of the famed James Bond gun barrel sequence in its emphasis on visuals and sexuality. Granted, Bond and Mine Fujiko have significantly different elements. Still, the use of symbolism, the simple color palette, fluidity of cuts, and femme fatale are comparable in the two. Further, much like the Bond movies past and present, Mine Fujiko pays tribute to Lupin III’s roots from half-a-century ago.
Though the anime immediate takes the audience back to a time when animation is rough and faces look comical, Mine Fujiko somehow avoids evoking such images. Instead of imagery of Gundam and Astro Boy, Lupin III conjures up atmospheres more suggestive of Casablanca and other classic films.  Maybe it is in the Bond-esque opening or the use of grainy black-and-white, or perhaps even the sex; whatever it is, Lupin III through Mine Fujiko’s lenses is a departure from my myopic view of older anime, a view distinct enough from the western, Hollywood-driven film industries.
Furthermore, Mine Fujiko embodies the sexual desires of both Japanese anime and Hollywood circa Seventies. In her curves, we see proportions accentuating the female secondary sexual characteristics: a slender form and thin waist accompanied by a voluptuous bosom and round, bodacious hips. Though no longer in vogue in today’s media, these sensual lines were once much lusted.
Moreover, the sexual context of the first episode is also characteristic of the decades surrounding the Seventies. Carnal desires and sex are often glorified with decadence, orgies, adventure, luxury, and most fascinating, exoticism. (Think Jason and the Argonauts or perhaps the more popular Princess Leia next to Jabba the Hutt.)   Likewise, the premier episode of Mine Fujiko is set in a cult ripe with those extravagant, exotic—seemingly Hindu or Buddhist—flavors. This context gives the anime a perfect, fashionable environment for adventure, nostalgia, eroticism, and a reason for Mine Fujiko to use her charms.
Indeed, Mine Fujiko—sex—is my bridge to the nostalgic past. 
- Admittedly, I am not that familiar at all with older anime.
- Released in 1942, Casablanca is a stretch, although the romance and mood are nice fits. It is but a mere visual cue.
- Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), while near decades apart from Lupin III’s original run, are close in terms of fetish trends.
- While one could consider the nudity in Mine Fujiko to be a homage to sexploitation and grindhouse films—also of the Seventies—I find Mine Fujiko to have too much subtlety and class.
- This post is written in response and draws references from vucubcaquix and ajthefourth’s colloquium on a similar topic (also a brilliant further read).
The post is also a belated promise to Sei.
Confidence is sexy!
I’m so glad you picked it up. Seeing these delicious images from the opening once more make me fall in love again with the series.
From what I understand you haven’t finished the series, right? I’m curious about your opinion after you’ve watched it as a whole.
I’ve watched Casablanca and I have difficulty understanding why it’s loved so much… I digress though; what is Casablanca’s connection to Mine Fujiko exactly?
Haha, yes. I checked out some posts, and I knew I had to give this a chance. I’m glad I did. Unfortunately, I don’t know if my schedule allows me to watch the entire season rather than just the first episode. I treated this experience more as just that—an experience. A one-shot visual pleasure. If I do watch the whole thing, I’m sure I’ll have much more thoughts.
As for Casablanca, perhaps it wasn’t the best title for that particular point. I mentioned it only for the visual and mood cue (black-and-white and nostalgic romanticism). It was also the film I had on my mind when I wrote it. The connection to Mine Fujiko is indeed tenuous at best. The post is edited with brief footnotes now with this point.
Thanks for the comment, Ayame sweetie. ^ ^ Love ya!
As a visual experience Mine Fujiko indeed delivers. Up to a point the stories deliver, too. Towards the end I have to say I felt a bit confused and not that satisfied, unfortunately.
I asked about Casablanca, because I could only associate Bogard with Lupin but not the female leads. As I reread my comment, I think I might have come across as presumptuous, which wasn’t my intention, really.
You are welcome. You are amiable, Yi-chan 🙂
Is that so? That’s unfortunate. I guess this one episode will suffice for my foray into Lupin then, especially now that school’s about to start, and I’m increasingly busier. Still, I do appreciate the gorgeous animation and the atmosphere, even if I have no plans to finish the series.
“As I reread my comment, I think I might have come across as presumptuous, which wasn’t my intention, really.”
Not at all! You’re fine, darling. ^ ^
This entire series is available with official English subtitles on Hulu!
Thanks for the link!
Unfortunately, I’m region blocked here in Taiwan. 😦 But this will be wonderful for many. ^ ^
I’m really glad that you are giving (have given?) the series a shot, regardless of the initial “old-school” design barrier.
I didn’t even think Bond films from the opening, but that’s a great connection.
I am giving/ haven given this a shot. I don’t know if I will finish the series or simply watch this single episode as a one-shot kind of experience, but in either case, I enjoyed Mine Fujiko immensely—both the series itself and the discussion/ feeling it inspires.
“I didn’t even think Bond films from the opening, but that’s a great connection.”
Danke schön! And thanks for your wonderful post and strong recommendation early in the season. ^ ^
I don’t know why, but I will probably believe Mine Fujiko will be that one anime that I can actually recommend to people and say, “See, this is the type of fanservice that actually has a point and is tasteful.”
Just making sure, you’re currently on the first episode of the show, or you haven’t finished it yet?
“Those who read me may know this about my tastes: I am not a fan of “old school” anime”
Aw. Not to say all old shows are great or good, but dang…
I think that’s totally fair and justified. There are quite a few anime with fanservice that I’d consider “classy” (e.g. Hanasaku Iroha), and Mine Fujiko definitely is on that list. It has little wonderful nostalgic flavor to its eroticism that elevates it.
Thus far, I have only seen one episode. I’m not sure whether I’ll continue with it though due to time constraints.
It’s true. My bias towards old school anime is undeserved and unreasonable. But I just can’t seem to get used to a lot of them. I think it has to do with my aversion to Gundam and mecha, and its association to an older era.
Cheers, Justin. ^ ^
Love the anime graphic really beautiful, finished watch this last month although I don’t have strong memory about Lupin III series hey i love the “old school” and femme fatale theme
Yea, the femme fatale certainly makes this much much more enjoyable. In fact, girls-with-guns has always been one of my favorite genres. And, the anime graphics are really beautiful indeed. ^ ^
I’ve heard quite a bit about Mine Fujiko from fans of the series. It does sound very sensual, but I’m not a fan of old-school animation.
but from what I see in those pics It doesn’t really look that old I think ..
The coloring and animation is modern, but the style, aesthetics, tone, and look are reminiscent of older anime. ^ ^
We have similar tastes in animation aesthetics. I’m not too big of a fan of such looks either, but Mine Fujiko manages to bring something to the table to charm me. ^ ^
wow o.o; ….. …… wow again …….
so, uh … is it yuri?
Nope. Not from what I know of the series.
aww, too bad. I’m still going to give it a try though ^^
I hope you enjoy it. ^ ^
there is just one episode that has an all-girls school setting and of course some yuri flirting
thanks Ayame ! I’ll be looking forward to that episode X3 !!
Perhaps I should watch the series in its entirety after all. ^ ^
I love the old Lupin and the new Lupin. Fujiko did great to revive the series and the sex appeal definitely kicked things up a notch, as well as the animation style and delivery. Overall, this series just blew my mind. But I still love the classic original Lupin for what it’s worth.
Frankly, I have not seen the old Lupin III, so I can’t say for sure whether I’d like it. I simply have this bias. Still, I did enjoy Mine Fujiko. The sex appeal definitely made me love it a lot! Perhaps even enough to watch classic Lupin. 😉
Cheers, Persocom. ^ ^
Like so many commenters before I’m most happy that you’ve overcome your hatred for old school anime, Yi, and given this series a try! It turned out to be my favourite of this year’s quite strong spring season (well second favourite, actually, but Kuromajo-san is not quite comparable).
Usually I’m more into AA cup anime heroines but Mine Fujiko indeed is super sexy and alluring! If I may add one thing I loved about her it’s her voice, in particular the pitch of her indignant “Hah?!” when she was protesting against Lupin’s brash comments and advances.
I don’t want to spoil anything but imo ep. 1 was not even close to being the best one of this series (the ending is a bit weak, though, as Ayame pointed out above). If you should consider watching just one more ep, given the topic of your blog you might enjoy (or not enjoy but have an opinion on) episode 06.
Besides Mine Fujiko’s character all episodes were also a visual treat for me and I would have thouroughly enjoyed the series just for the visuals. Just take the opulent half chinese half art nouveau interiors in ep. 2 – I could almost smell the aroma of exquisite orchids, incense and opium through the screen!
Haha yea. Her voice is seductive as hell too! It’s an interesting phenomenon, isn’t it? How–even though we are both not a fan of super busty anime-enlarged bosoms–we can grow to enjoy and perhaps even find Mine Fujiko sexy because of context and all the other things going on.
Visually, this really is an experience. It hits all the sweet flavors:
“opulent half Chinese half art noveau interiors… aroma of exquisite orchids, incense and opium”
You have me convinced to watch a few more!
p.s. Are the episodes mostly stand alone a la the pilot? Particularly episode 6 and the one Ayame mentioned.
Re your p.s.: Until about episode 9 I thought the episodes were standalone. Then I realized (no doubt much later than many an experienced anime connoisseur) there was actually a plot building up and in hindsight it turned out that every episode had its place in the grand scheme of things. That applies to episode 1, too!
As my focus was more on the visuals than on the plot it didn’t matter that much to me, though. I think all episodes except 10, 12 and 13 can be watched stand-alone without significant loss of enjoyment. They felt to me very much like stand-alone episodes until the main plot is revealed.
Oh, one more thing: I also loved Mine Fujiko’s outfit at the end of ep. 8!
Ahh icic. Thanks for the information. I’m more interested in the visual as well, but knowing that there is a grand plot pushes me toward watching the series in its entirety rather than select episodes. Plus, it seems like Mine Fujiko is gorgeous in all of them!
I’ve read this post a few days ago, even though I hadn’t watched the anime. But you’ve made me curious about it and already watched 3 episodes. That actually is my first anime from the Lupin III franchise ^^, at first I was honestly shocked by the outdated look of the animation style, but I got used to it quite quickly. Its actually not bad and the characterdesign is appealing, the more mature look without cute without big anime eyes is really nice. Mine Fujiko is an especially fine women, I love her confidence, she has the same voice actress as Ayane from Kimi ni Todoke which I think was a great decision.
I really like the setting of the 60’s and 70’s with the look and style, the outfits are very cool and there are no mobiles and all that crap from today 😛
I was surprised how sensual this show is. Compared to other skin revealing shows this looks way more elegant than in these shows which are aimed torwards a younger audience
You have to watch episode 3 where Fujiko is just wearing a big belt, soo nice XD
I’m glad you decided to give the chance after reading my post. That makes me feel super giddy! This episode was my first anime from the Lupin III franchise as well, and for a taste test, this certainly passed with flying colors. I got used to the outdated look surprisingly quickly, and even loved how Mine Fujiko looks! It sounds like we had very similar experience watching this!
“Ayane from Kimi ni Todoke which I think was a great decision.”
Ooh I did not know this! And yes. Love her voice actress, and love that sexy confidence.
Elegant sensuality is the best sensuality. And yea, definitely have to watch more of Fujiko after reading the comments!
Thanks, Wieselhead for your thoughts. ^ ^
I keep putting this anime off and I really shouldn’t be. Maybe when I clear out my backlog (haven’t watched anime in ages and I’m only just starting to come back to life), I’ll peek it.
When you get around to this, I hope you enjoy it. ^ ^
Anyways, I’m in a similar slump with regards to anime. I’ve probably seen about two episodes in the last month… And they were unfortunately Yuru Yuri.