Fujiko Mine

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Fujiko Mine
Lupin III character
FujikoMineManga.jpg
Fujiko drawn by Monkey Punch
First appearance Lupin III chapter 3: "Death Blues"
Created by Monkey Punch
Voiced by See Actresses
Portrayed by Eiko Ezaki (1974)
Meisa Kuroki (2014)
Profile
Nickname(s) Fujicakes (English anime)
Aliases Margo (Toho/Frontier dub of The Mystery of Mamo)
Rosarie (TMS subtitled print of The Castle of Cagliostro)
Nationality Japanese[1]

Fujiko Mine (Japanese: 峰 不二子, Hepburn: Mine Fujiko) is a fictional character created by Monkey Punch for his manga series Lupin III, which debuted in Weekly Manga Action on August 10, 1967. She is a professional criminal and burglar that regularly uses her attractiveness to fool her targets. Unlike the rest of the Lupin III cast, Fujiko's physical appearance changes for most installments in the franchise. Her name means "mountain peaks of Fuji" in Japanese, a pun on the size of her breasts, which is usually the only thing consistent in her various designs.

She is the star of the fourth Lupin III anime television series, 2012's The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, making it the first not to star Arsène Lupin III as the protagonist.[2]

Creation[edit]

As the Lupin III series was to be published in a magazine targeted at adults, Fujiko Mine was created to add a female presence. Her name was inspired by a picture of Mount Fuji, Monkey Punch added the -ko female suffix to create her first name, and chose "Mine" for her family name because of its meaning as "summit". She was developed from the intention to fulfill a "Bond girl" role. Creating a new female each week was too difficult for Monkey Punch so she evolved into a single character. At the beginning of the series, many of the women Lupin encounters are all named Fujiko, but are treated as different characters from chapter to chapter. This concept was later changed to make Fujiko a single character who changes style frequently.[3][4][5] Monkey Punch believes the characters of Lupin and Fujiko are similar to the characters of D'Artagnan and Milady de Winter, and describes them as "Not necessarily lovers, not necessarily husband and wife, but more just having fun as man and woman with each other".[6]

Personality[edit]

While Fujiko is not part of Lupin's gang, she often participates in their exploits either as a partner or a competitor. Her principle tactic is to stick with Lupin and company until the plunder is made available then double-cross her colleagues. Frequently, she finds it necessary to betray Lupin to get close to the enemy, then after ingratiating herself into his trust will acquire the swag and escape (rarely, she will help to extricate Lupin, Goemon and Jigen from capture or any deadly trouble she put them into, as if to atone). Fujiko is also known to provide Zenigata or other law enforcement officers with information and assistance in order to gain her own freedom .[7] At one point, Fujiko was made Zenigata's replacement on the ICPO's Lupin operation, however this was a cover for her to get into a secret vault.[8]

Of this two-faced nature Lupin is surprisingly forgiving. In the 1995 movie Die! Nostradamus, Lupin carefully treats the amnesiatic Fujiko, hoping she gets better as he "looks forward to her betrayals".

Fujiko is an excellent markswoman, her favorite weapon being a Browning M1910, typically holstered in her garter. Later, she's revealed superb martial arts skills, capable of rendering an attacker twice her weight unconscious with a single blow. She is very good at disguises as well as accents and apparently can speak dozens of foreign languages in addition to her native Japanese. Like the other members of Lupin's team, she is able to pilot virtually any land, sea, and air vehicle, with her personal preference being a conventional Kawasaki motorcycle. She can be very promiscuous when necessary to complete a job, and has kissed and even had sex with different men for information or to escape a situation. The 2012 anime series implies heavily that Fujiko is bisexual.[9]

Daisuke Jigen despises Fujiko and sees her showing up as a sign of rough times ahead, although despite this, in the original manga he was still one of her suitors. Goemon Ishikawa XIII, who had a brief romance with Ms. Mine, has been known to work on capers with Fujiko independent of the other gang members, but can be equally distrustful of her when he thinks she is manipulating Lupin. Still, in the Lupin the Third Part II anime Jigen and Goemon are seen working together numerous times with Fujiko, trusting their lives on her, and vice versa, with them having a sibling rivalry of sorts. In the anime, Fujiko also displays at times a more frivolous and care-free personality, which sees her pranking Lupin, whenever she can.

Lupin is completely infatuated with Fujiko, and will do anything for her. While Fujiko is aware of this and always uses it to her advantage, she never gets Lupin into trouble where he cannot escape. Monkey Punch has said that the two "enjoy each other", and are quite content with their bizarre yet amicable relationship, comparing it to his own marriage.[10]

Although she is more willing to contain her feelings, Fujiko does have a love for Lupin. She rarely wishes to fully reveal her affection except if she thinks one or both are dying. On occasions where Lupin appears to have died, she grieves and considers him the most important person to her.[11] However, her not-altogether-hidden feelings submerge again when she finds him alive.

Ms. Mine usually dresses in the height of fashion, with formal gowns and fine jewelry her trademark; when informal, she typically wears outfits that accentuate her robust figure. Fujiko's favorite pastimes appear to be shopping, attending social functions, disco dancing, horseback riding, and dating wealthy gentlemen. She enjoys champagne, fine wine and has been seen more than once consuming a martini; she also smokes cigarettes and occasionally uses a kiseru.

Background[edit]

Fujiko as seen in Alcatraz Connection

Fujiko made her first appearance in chapter three "Death Blues" (死んでゆくブルース, Shinde Yuku Burūsu),[12] thus being the first of Lupin's three associates to arrive. She initially appears as a con woman attempting to worm her way into the fortune of a rich family, whose heir has hired Lupin as security. Immediately upon arriving, she recognizes Lupin through his disguise, and by the end of the arc, Lupin has sided with her to rob the entire family.

Due to the episodic nature of the manga, many of Fujiko's appearances treat her and Lupin as meeting for the first time, even after the incident where Lupin kills her father. Many of the stories feature her trying to capture the same object as Lupin, usually being bested by Lupin, only occasionally being the one who gets the prize. It should also be noted that unlike his anime version, Lupin is a ladies-man in the manga, with he and Fujiko having slept together numerous times.

This is the opposite in the anime adaptations (excluding the fourth series), which often has Fujiko betraying Lupin and for the most part denying his flirting. Fujiko's background includes organized crime in partnership with the notorious Killer known as Pun. The couple was famous for carrying out contract killings without failure. However, the partnership ended abruptly when Pun's employer ordered him to kill Fujiko after she made a mistake. Pun could not face being asked to kill Fujiko and she disappeared. Fujiko claims to suffer from amnesia and cannot remember anything prior those events, however she recognises Pun when he arrives looking for her.[13]

Actresses[edit]

Miyuki Sawashiro has been Fujiko's voice actress since 2011.

Fujiko Mine was first voiced by Eiko Masuyama in both versions of the 1969 pilot film for the first anime.[14] Although, Yukiko Nikaido was given the role when the first anime was actually produced (1971–72). However, Masuyama would return to voice Fujiko for the second anime (1977–78) and continue to do so until her retirement in 2010,[15] with one exception. Due to budget concerns, TMS decided not to employ the regular voice cast for the 1987 original video animation The Fuma Conspiracy,[16] with Fujiko voiced by Mami Koyama.[17] The 2011 TV special Blood Seal – Eternal Mermaid marked the first appearance of Miyuki Sawashiro as the character and she continues to voice Fujiko Mine to this day.[18] Masuyama did return to the role once more for the 2012 Lupin Family Lineup short original video animation.[19]

Due to a lack of localization credits on any known prints, Fujiko's English voice actress in the 1979 Toho dub of The Mystery of Mamo, where the character's name was changed to "Margo", remains unknown.[20] Edie Mirman (1992-5, Streamline). Michele Seidman (1995, AnimEigo). Toni Barry (1996, Manga UK). Dorothy Fahn (2000, Animaze/Manga). Meredith McCoy voiced the character for Funimation Entertainment's dubs of several TV specials and theatrical films between 2002 and 2005.

Michelle Ruff voiced Fujiko in the Phuuz dub for Pioneer/Geneon's release of the second anime between 2003 and 2006, before reprising the role for Funimation's 2013 dub of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine,[21] and Discotek Media's 2017 dub of the fifth anime.[22] Cristina Vee voiced Fujiko in the Bang Zoom! Entertainment dub for Discotek's 2015 release of the Jigen's Gravestone film.

In the realm of live-action, Fujiko is portrayed by Eiko Ezaki in the 1974 film and by Meisa Kuroki in the 2014 film.[23] In the 2015 musical adaptation of Lupin III performed by the Takarazuka Revue, Fujiko was portrayed by Seshiro Daigo.[24]

Reception[edit]

Popularity[edit]

In 2007, Oricon polled readers on which characters they would most like to see in their own series. Fujiko appeared in the seventh position among female voters, and fifth place overall.[25] The company also asked their readers in the very same year who they believed is the most beautiful woman in manga. Fujiko Mine was crowned the title by scoring first place overall with high rankings from both male and female voters.[26] She was listed as the second most iconic anime heroine by Mania.com.[27] In 2012, in a Japanese poll on which character's voice actor should never change, Fujiko came in second among males and third amongst females.[28] In 2013, eBookJapan polled its female customers in their 20s and 30s on which manga heroine they felt had the ideal body. In the poll that considered their sexiness, physical fitness and health, Fujiko was the first place answer.[29] A 2015 Charapedia poll, which asked fans to list their favourite "cool" women in anime, had Fujiko Mine placed seventeenth.[30] In a 2017 survey that polled 12,000 Japanese, Fujiko Mine was voted the Most Splendid Heroine of the Shōwa Era and the third most of the Heisei Era.[31]

Critical reception[edit]

Dallas Marshall of THEM Anime Reviews called Fujiko one of the most iconic female characters in anime history and referred to her as "the sexy glue that keeps Lupin and his merry band of misfits together."[32] Crunchyroll's Chad Landon Smith wrote that "mysterious" is Fujiko's defining character trait and that being "born of the femme fatale stereotype, her intentions and motivations are never meant to be clear."[33] Rob Lineberger of DVD Verdict described Fujiko as "The 70's answer to Lara Croft".[34]

In his review of the first anime, Chris Beveridge of The Fandom Post enjoyed that while Fujiko has a bit of a "sexpot feel about her here, she's the one that's the most conniving here and does it all with a wicked grin and a smile."[35]

Anime News Network's Mike Crandol reviewing the second anime felt that while Fujiko's main function is "eye candy in the best Bond tradition," her "double-crossing nature keeps Lupin and company on their toes and the plot-twists twice as much fun."[36]

Reviewing The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Jacob Hope Chapman of Anime News Network wrote that Fujiko never has an answer for what she does, "but is always overjoyed to continue that life, making her fun to watch, but also an intriguing mystery to be solved." He also stated that "surprisingly, Fujiko's constant objectification culminates in one of the most feminist-positive anime to come around in years."[37]

Of Meisa Kuroki's performance in the 2014 live-action film, Matt Schley of Otaku USA commented that the actress comes as close to Fujiko "as any real human female can, I suppose."[38]

Legacy[edit]

A manga called Lupin Kozō (ルパン小僧) starring Fujiko and Lupin's son ran in Weekly Shōnen Action for 18 chapters starting in 1975.[39] A spinoff manga of Lupin III, titled M.F.C (Mine Fujiko Company) (M.F.C 女泥棒会社峰不二子カンパニー), follows three young female thieves who work for Fujiko. It was written by Suzuki Izo and published in two volumes on September 28, 2009.[40][41]

Fujiko was a source of inspiration for the characters Yukiko Fujimine and Vermouth in Gosho Aoyama's Detective Conan manga; Fujimine representing the good side of Fujiko and Vermouth the bad.[42] The former's name is a combination of Fujiko Mine and the first name of Fujiko's former voice actress Yukiko Nikaido. In the manga Azumanga Daioh by Kiyohiko Azuma, Tomo Takino is a fan of the Lupin III series and admires Fujiko. She constantly makes references to herself as Fujiko Mine, despite the fact the two are totally different in looks and personality.[43] In the Aria the Scarlet Ammo light novel series, the character Riko Mine Lupin IV is the daughter of Lupin and Fujiko.

References[edit]

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  3. ^ "Manga Mania" (20). Manga Publishing. March 1995: 6–9. ISSN 0968-9575. 
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  5. ^ Surat, Daryl (February 2013). "Otaku USA". 6 (4): 86. ISSN 1939-3318. 
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  8. ^ "The Sweet ICPO Trap!". Lupin the Third Part II. Episode 38 (in Japanese). June 26, 1978. 
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  43. ^ Azumanga Daioh. Vol. 2, chapter July