Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
|Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine|
North American Blu-ray set, by Funimation
|LUPIN the Third ～峰不二子という女～
(Rupan za Saado ~Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna~)
|Genre||Adventure, Drama, Crime|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Sayo Yamamoto|
|Produced by||Seiji Okuda (executive producer)
|Written by||Mari Okada (series composition)
Itsuko Miyoshi (ep 2)
Dai Satō (eps 3, 7, 10)
Shinsuke Ōnishi (ep 5)
Junji Nishimura (ep 8)
|Music by||Naruyoshi Kikuchi|
|Original run||April 4, 2012 – June 27, 2012|
|Directed by||Takeshi Koike|
|Produced by||Yu Kiyozono|
|Written by||Yuuya Takahashi|
|Music by||James Shimoji|
|Studio||Telecom Animation Film|
|Released||June 21, 2014|
|Goemon Ishikawa's Spray of Blood|
|Directed by||Takeshi Koike|
|Produced by||Yu Kiyozono|
|Written by||Yuuya Takahashi|
|Music by||James Shimoji|
|Studio||Telecom Animation Film|
|Released||February 4, 2017|
Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (LUPIN the Third -峰不二子という女- Rupan za Saado Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna) is the fourth incarnation of TMS Entertainment's long-running anime television adaptation of the Lupin III manga series written by Monkey Punch. Directed by Sayo Yamamoto, it aired on NTV from April 4, 2012 to June 27, 2012. It focuses on the franchise's heroine, Fujiko Mine, as she undergoes various missions and encounters the rest of the Lupin III cast for the first time. Unlike the franchise's previous three televised anime, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is more sexually oriented in order to capture the "sensuality" present in the original manga as well as darker and more serious. It is also the only installment in the franchise to be directed by a woman and the first in which Lupin is not the protagonist.
VAP released the anime on home video in four-disc DVD and Blu-ray box sets on September 19, 2012. Funimation simulcasted the series, with English subtitles, on their website and Nico Nico for North American audiences as it aired in Japan. They released The Woman Called Fujiko Mine in Blu-ray and Blu-ray/DVD sets on August 20, 2013, including an English-language dub. Manga Entertainment released a similar set in the United Kingdom on September 16, whereas Hanabee released it in Australasia in two parts, on October 16 and November 20.
Background and production
In April 2011, it was reported that a new Lupin III animated television series would air in the fall on NTV. However, NTV then said the project was only a TV special (Blood Seal – Eternal Mermaid which aired in December), not a series. In 2012, Toho Cinemas announced that a promotional video for a "new television series premiering in April" would be shown at a Lupin 40th Anniversary event on March 18. Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine was announced a week later as a thirteen episode serial. The series was part of the 40th Anniversary of the Lupin animated series, and the 45th Anniversary of the original manga.
The series was directed by Sayo Yamamoto who was given full creative control. Yamamoto wanted to use the original Lupin III manga and its adult themes as a basis for the series. Takeshi Koike was the character designer and animation director and Yamamoto requested he use the original manga character designs as a starting point. The visual approach to the series has been compared to Valkyria Chronicles.
Mari Okada was the main writer of the series, although Itsuko Miyoshi (ep 2), Dai Satō (ep 3, 7, 10), Shinsuke Ōnishi (ep 5) and Junji Nishimura (ep 8) served as episode writers. It was reported that the series would capture the "sensuality" present in Monkey Punch's original Lupin III manga in its "daring interpretation" of the franchise. The promotional video first shown at Toho Cinemas began being streamed by TMS Entertainment on YouTube on March 26.
The music of Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine was composed by Naruyoshi Kikuchi, leader of the Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden band. Shinichirō Watanabe, known for directing Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo and who collaborated with Yamamoto several times in the past, served as music producer.
|Fujiko Mine||Miyuki Sawashiro||Michelle Ruff|
|Arsène Lupin III||Kanichi Kurita||Sonny Strait|
|Daisuke Jigen||Kiyoshi Kobayashi||Christopher Sabat|
|Goemon Ishikawa XIII||Daisuke Namikawa||Mike McFarland|
|Inspector Koichi Zenigata||Kōichi Yamadera||Richard Epcar|
|Lieutenant Oscar||Yūki Kaji||Josh Grelle|
|Count Luis Yu Almeida||Kanji Kodate||Bill Jenkins|
|Owl Head||Katsumi Chō||Kent Williams|
|Dr. Fritz Kaiser||Binbin Takaoka||Jerry Russell|
|Aisha||Sanae Kobayashi||Stephanie Sheh|
The series was broadcast for thirteen episodes on NTV between April 4 and June 27, 2012. The opening theme song is "New Wuthering Heights" (新・嵐が丘 Shin Arashi ga Oka) by Naruyoshi Kikuchi and Pepe Tormento Azcarar feat. Ichiko Hashimoto, while the ending theme is "Duty Friend" by NIKIIE. Funimation licensed the series and provided an English subtitled simulcast of the series on both their website and Nico Nico.
In Japan the series was released by VAP as DVD and Blu-ray boxsets on September 19, 2012. In North America Funimation originally announced a date of July 30, 2013 for the home release of the series, with an art book included with a limited edition. However the art book was later cancelled and the release rescheduled to August 20, 2014 on Blu-ray or DVD and Blu-ray combo pack. Manga Entertainment licensed the series for the United Kingdom and released separate DVD and Blu-ray boxsets on September 16, 2013. In Australia the series was published by Hanabee as two DVD and Blu-ray combo sets on October 16 and November 20, 2013. They later released a four disc Blu-ray and DVD box set on December 3, 2014. On December 12, Jason DeMarco on Twitter said that Lupin III: The Legend of Fujiko Mine was considered to be aired on Toonami, but they could not make it work due to the show having too much nudity for their censors.
In March 2014, it was announced that The Woman Called Fujiko Mine's animation director and character designer, Takeshi Koike, was directing an animated film that serves as a "continuation spin-off" to the TV series. Yu Kiyozono also returned to produce the film, Lupin the IIIrd: Daisuke Jigen's Gravestone (LUPIN THE IIIRD 次元大介の墓標 Jigen Daisuke no Bohyō), that focuses on the character Jigen and tells how he and Lupin became partners. Koike's fellow-Redline creators Katsuhito Ishii and James Shimoji served as adviser and music composer respectively. The film was split into two parts and had a limited screening at the Shinjuku Wald 9 theater from June 21–27, 2014.
It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 28, 2014, with an art book included in the limited edition. The 30-track soundtrack to the movie was released on December 10, 2014. On December 21, 2014, Discotek Media announced their acquisition of the North American distribution rights to the film, which was retitled Lupin the Third: Jigen's Gravestone for the American market. Their Blu-ray and DVD of the film, released on April 5, 2016, includes the company's first original English dub, which was produced in cooperation with Bang Zoom! Entertainment. TMS Entertainment made the dubbed and subtitled versions of the film available for viewing on Hulu on April 25, 2015.
|Arsène Lupin III||Kanichi Kurita||Keith Silverstein|
|Daisuke Jigen||Kiyoshi Kobayashi||Dan Woren|
|Yael Okuzaki||Akio Hirose||Taylor Henry|
|Fujiko Mine||Miyuki Sawashiro||Cristina Vee|
|Queen Malta||Marika Minase
Beverly Staunton (singing voice)
|Mamo||Kanji Obana||Kirk Thornton|
Goemon Ishikawa's Spray of Blood
A follow-up to Jigen's Gravestone by the same staff, entitled Lupin the IIIrd: Goemon Ishikawa's Spray of Blood (LUPIN THE IIIRD 血煙の石川五ェ門 Chikemuri no Ishikawa Goemon), was released on February 4, 2017. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 26, 2017, with an art book included in the limited edition. Goemon confronts the mountain of a man Hawk who fights with twin axes after he failed to protect the Yazuza boss that he had been hired to protect.
Goemon is hired as a bodyguard by Yakuza boss, Makio Inaniwa, who runs a gambling boat and is being threatened by internal factions. At the same time, Lupin attempts to steal the proceeds of the gaming vessel and meets Fujiko who had the same intention. Lupin and Fujiko decide to divide sales proceeds, but suddenly the boat explodes. Goemon heads for the engine-room and encounters the huge and powerful Hawk or "Bermuda ghost" with his twin axes who is seeking Lupin. While Goemon is fighting Hawk, Inaniwa dies in the flames, abandoned by his men. To avenge his father, Inaniwa Jr. sends Goemon to kill Hawk. Goemon finds Hawk but is easily beaten, and undertakes a punishing ordeal to understand why he lost. He returns to Inaniwa Jr. to take his punishment, but explodes at his men's insensitivity and brutality, and attacks them, leaving only Inaniwa Jr. standing. Goemon eventually finds Hawk again as he is pursuing Lupin and Daisuke. Goemon intervenes and confronts and defeats Hawk in a final bloody battle.
|Arsène Lupin III||Kanichi Kurita|
|Goemon Ishikawa XIII||Daisuke Namikawa|
|Daisuke Jigen||Kiyoshi Kobayashi|
|Fujiko Mine||Miyuki Sawashiro|
|Inspector Koichi Zenigata||Kōichi Yamadera|
|Makio Inaniwa||Takayuki Sugō|
|Inaniwa Jr.||Atsushi Miyauchi|
Several different pieces of merchandise based on the series have been produced. Figures of Fujiko and Lupin from the show were created, while one of Jigen from the Jigen's Gravestone film was released at the end of 2014. Fujiko's and Jigen's came in different color schemes depending on the retailer. An artbook featuring original drawings of the TV series selected by Takeshi Koike was published as well.
The Woman Called Fujiko Mine won the rookie award at the 16th Japan Media Arts Festival, and was named one of the best anime of 2012 by Otaku USA, who called the animation the most innovative of any series that year. The Japanese DVD release of the series was the fifth best-selling Japanese Animation DVD of its first week having sold 1,404 copies, while the Blu-ray version was the ninth best-selling on its respective Oricon chart with 2,802 copies.
Kotaku's Richard Eisenbeis hailed the series as "one of—if not 'the'—most beautiful anime ever made." Rebecca Silverman of Anime News Network (ANN) wrote a mostly positive review of the anime. She praised its darker tone and the tragic past of Fujiko, but particularly the overall plot; "Simply put, this is a series that has been very well planned, right down to the last scene." She notes that if the viewer is only familiar with the North American Geneon release of the second televised anime they will be surprised; "If you're going into this expecting wacky hijinks or crazy exploits, you will be disappointed. Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is a mature, slightly dark take on the franchise, and it succeeds in bringing new life to it while still remaining faithful to Monkey Punch's original." The only negative aspects she wrote were on the series' odd title opening and the amount of unjustified nudity. However, her colleague Jacob Hope Chapman disagreed with this, believing that the audio stands out in the opening and that the sexuality is completely in-line with the show's "aesthetic and never seems excessive or ill-fitting." Dallas Marshall of THEM Anime Reviews gave the series 4 out of 5 stars, praising the series for being closer to the original manga's style in both story and animation.
Reviewing the Jigen's Gravestone film, Paul Jensen of ANN had strong praise for the animation; stating that the film is worth watching at least once for the visuals alone. His biggest complaint was that the plot is essentially a cat-and-mouse game between the heroes and villains, with little else, but said "I'll take simple and focused over sloppy and complicated any day." In his review, Matt Schley of Otaku USA wrote that it "feels a bit restrained compared to the psychedelic madness that was [The Woman Called] Fujiko Mine." While he said the film is a "competent Lupin tale with more flair than the average Lupin TV special," he felt as if it was simply going through the motions.
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