The Consulting Analyst: An Introduction to The Woman Called Fujiko Mine

Those who’ve found themselves hanging around this blog for a while (or for more than a few minutes, really) are generally made aware of two things: I’ve got that English major itch to analyze, whether it’s putting work in a new context or just bringing out a mad tweak of meaning in something; and I can talk a blue streak about the long-running and venerable franchise Lupin III. For a beautiful moment in 2012 these two things came together on a grand scale, resulting in the gorgeous to all, baffling to many, and beloved to me series titled The Woman Called Fujiko Mine.

wuthering-heights

Give me a minute
I’ll be back as soon as I finish swooning over the art design

To say that this series is divisive is like saying the comics industry is male-dominated and often exclusionary – it’s true, it’s unfortunate, and it leads people to write off something that (by my estimation) could be a positive addition to their lives. So, two years out from the series’ debut, I thought it was time to add my two cents into the ring. Welcome to the new Friday, folks.

Now, The Consulting Analyst (it gets its own title, because there are other shows lined up for this treatment down the path) will work a bit differently from my usual recap posts. Rather than walking through the events of the episode and interspacing commentary with summary, each episode post will be divided into sections. In the case of FM, it’ll be these:

Episode Specifics: What’s going on, what sort of storytelling interests its drawing from, and how the piece functions as part of the whole. In other words, this is all the basics.

Lupin Lore: the makers of the show loved the franchise dearly – you can’t walk two feet without finding a nod to one of the franchise’s many works. I’ll point them out as I’m able and talk about what it adds to the story. References are nice, but they’re even better when they works as meta-text. A concession: while I know a thing or two, I’m far from an all-seeing expert, so it’s likely I’ll miss a few of the nods (and to those who find them, I’d love to be informed).

Suddenly Owls: (or FUCKING OWLS, depending on which episode we’re talking about) While the audience might not know it until the end, there’s certainly a unified conspiracy going on in the background. We’ll talk about that here. And rage a little bit, too.

Oscar Watch: As the series’ only reoccurring character that doesn’t come from the franchise proper, Oscar’s in a bit of a delicate position. He’s also, shall we say….polarizing, whether it be his personality or his necessity in the show itself. He gets his own essay at the end of all this, so I’ll be working to contextualize his importance as we go through.

Themes: AKA the one without a catchy title. This is the closest bit to what I was doing with Green Jacket – meta text and deep readings about the characters and narrative, and general blather about narrative purpose etc. In other words, this is the ASK ME WHAT IT MEANS part.

homeless

I see Jigen also spent some time as an English major

A few general advisements: because The Woman Called Fujiko Mine deals with a lot of mature subjects, sex and sexuality among them, these posts will contain nudity. I’ve also designed them from the standpoint of someone who has seen the series at least once – while anyone is welcomed to read along, there will be MAJOR SPOILERS from the word go. For those who want to catch themselves up, you can watch the series on Hulu, Youtube (regrettably, this is only the first two episodes – I believe Funimation has the rest on their website), or pick up the (really nifty) box set on Amazon.

You can’t really go wrong with either language option – both are well acted, with veteran role performers on both sides (though Josh Grelle’s turn as Oscar may be my favorite thing on either track). The only downside of the dub is Lupin himself – Sonny Strait obviously loves the character and wants to do right by him (and I enjoy him a heck of a lot in Funimation’s Red Jacket dubs), but he’s not quite right for this particular interpretation of the thief (a bit too forced when he’s threatening, and never quite menacing enough when he’s friendly). Not bad, mind, just nowhere near the affinity to the role (in all its tones) that Kanichi Kurita’s had time to hone.

All of this is something of a grand experiment, so I’d love more than ever to hear back from readers as we go along. As a writer I want nothing more than to help people think deeply about art….and as a critic I sometimes wind up too lost in my own head to phrase it properly. We’re working on that. Hope to see you there!

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6 comments on “The Consulting Analyst: An Introduction to The Woman Called Fujiko Mine

  1. tcexect says:

    I’m on board. I found this series fascinating and enthralling, and was a bit saddened by the critical hostility it got for subverting expectations.

    • Vrai says:

      Well welcome! It’ll be a fun journey, I think. I’ve had…too much time with this series, what with using it as a prime ‘show to all the vaguely anime-positive friends’ tool.

  2. I’m somewhat a rarity among English speaking Lupin III fans in that my interest begins with my interest in the original Lupin. Sadly the older (many now PD) Arsene Lupin translations are very flawed. Fortunately I highly recommend the Translations made by BlackCoatPress.com though I should warn they are not being translated there in any particular order. 813 isn’t out yet but it’s coming.

    I recommend every they do in fact, especially the works of Paul Feval. Feval is very Meta in his latter works in a way kinda similar to Utena.

    I’ve developed a great interest in19th and early 20th Century French popular literature, and what I feel is it’s often overlooked influence on modern Genre fiction. And that include it’s influence on Anime. There is no the creators of Rose of Versallies weren’t familiar with Alexandre Dumas, and I don’t mean just his 2 most well known English works, he also had novels depicting that exact same time period.

    Speaking of Dumas I highly recommend the Penguin classics version of the Count of Monte-Cristo It does not censor the Lesbian story-line like the original English version does.

    • Vrai Kaiser says:

      Here I hadn’t even thought to worry about censorship in modern literary translation. How naive of me.
      I’m rather surprised (…okay I’m slightly smug, given how difficult Leblanc and his estate made it for those of us in the west to get Lupin III) that there’s not much availability of the original stories – they’re one of the earliest formations of the “gentleman thief,” after all

      • Depends how you define modern, I”m referring to translations made before 1940 as having problems. I’ts the New ones I”m praising.

        Their available, their just not great, all pre 1923 books have translations, which can be possible be found online free or in real cheap volumes. But I”m recommending only what BCP has done.

        In France all of Leblancs works are PD now, in American copyright law only what’s after 1923 is difficult to discern. But both novels Translated in BCP’s Aresene Lupin vs Countess Calgiostro are post 1923 novels, and they seem to not have gotten in any trouble of it.

        Hence why the past complications of getting Lupin III in the West no longer exist.

  3. […] my Fujiko Mine series I talked about the Charlotte Perkins Gilman novella Herland, a bit of early 20thcentury feminist […]

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