The Fanfic Called Fujiko

It starts with naked breasts. It continues on for 24 minutes with about 19 of those featuring more breasts.

But it’s not a new installment of Queen’s Blade. It’s Lupin III, and the breasts are Fujiko’s. In fact, Fujiko’s breasts occupy slightly more screen time than Arsene Lupin III himself. What would Hayao Miyazaki, one of the more famous folks behind Lupin anime adaptations, say? Probably something inscrutable about how Gameboys are like masturbation and how you need to get off his lawn, but I digress.

My first thought is one of American comics, video games, and movies. I’m sure this has happened in anime before as well, but for some reason western properties, spurred by popular titles like Death of Superman and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, seem exemplary when it comes to “amped-up” reboots. Edgier, meaner, grittier, sexier, more “adult” somehow. Capitalize on the aging fanbase — who haven’t really aged all that much, but don’t have parents censoring their purchases — with something that might tempt their more “adult” tastes. I find it to be a risky proposition that’s become enough of a cliché at this point that it’s been sufficiently parodied. But with the 40-year sexual tension between the main characters of Lupin, “adult reboot” here logically means lots and lots of Fujiko’s breasts. After all, it’s what we’ve all been dying to see for a long time, isn’t it?

And there’s the rub (har har). The tension between Lupin III and Fujiko isn’t the only thing that’s been raging under the surface (of my pants) for 40 years. This is the cork popping on a well-aged otaku fantasy. And that becomes the second potential problem with Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko. I believe it was Cabrera that called Imagawa’s Shin Mazinger Z the ultimate piece of fan-fiction, and that’s good assessment, but if something was going to surpass that, wouldn’t a Lupin III series focusing on a sexed-up, often-nude Fujiko be the perfect candidate?

The crew of huge names behind Woman Called Fujiko (Sayo Yamamoto, Takeshi Koike, Mari Okada, Dai Sato, Shinichiro Watanabe) should be enough to make you think that even the most wank-driven fanfic would have some audio-visual value, but part of the appeal of fans’ fantasy may be in leaving them unfulfilled. It’s the real of our private fantasy to turn the relatively family-friendly (despite what the famous Manga dub that a lot of us are familiar with would have you believe) series into wank fodder. And when I say “our private fantasy,” I mean “yours,” ok, you sickos? For a younger, western parallel, imagine a Ninja Turtles reboot where Donatello walks into a strip bar to find April O’Neil recreating the Jessica Alba dance scene from Sin City movie. Or something. It’s just… a bit off. Not quite “wrong,” but off.

That said, the spirit of Lupin — ridiculous gadgets, a couple truly insane getaway scenes, and of course Lupin’s crazy grin — seems to be intact. Koike’s designs are crazed but very much in touch with what made Monkey Punch’s characters unique and lovable to begin with. I can’t wait to see some Daisuke and Goemon, and of course more foiling of Inspector Zenigata. Regardless of what happens to reinforce or destroy my image of Lupin, it’ll probably be a fun ride, and at the very least a stylish one.

Fuck these (16) Comments.

  1. digibro says:

    Wait, what? Weren’t Fujiko’s tits always part of Lupin? And sex? and boobs in general? I remember reading a few volumes of the manga and Lupin got laid graphically in every chapter. I also remember episodes on TV where most of the women wore see-through shirts. I also know Monkey Punch was known for insanely perverted stuff.

    Did we not see the same Lupin?

    • otou-san says:

      I don’t remember any of these see-through shirt episodes, no. But I didn’t see a lot of the 90s Lupin if that’s what you’re referring to.

      As Brian of Awesome Engine put it, “James Bond is the analogy you’re looking for,” and with I suppose my lack of knowledge on the Lupin manga, I can concede that that might be the case.

      I guess another good parallel is Tim Burton’s first Batman, because while it may look quaint compared to Nolan’s, it was quite the shocker when it came out. Burton’s goal was to get back to what Batman was before the Adam West TV show changed everyone’s perceptions of him to be a campy do-gooder rather than a madman who worked only in the shadows etc.

      So maybe I’m just one of the people who only knew of Batman through the TV show and thought “what the hell’s going on around here?” But as was the case with Batman, even those kinds of reboots aimed at “getting back to the roots” and reclaiming the character from family-friendly TV tend to go overboard.

      Have you watched it yet? I’m curious if this is what you’re saying before or after viewing the actual episode… Regardless of any other points, the creators have indeed stated their intentions of making a more erotically charged Lupin, and whether there are see-through shirts or a perverted sense of humor in Monkey Punch, my overall impression is definitely of a hugely ramped up, sexed up energy here. And it still feels as much like an homage as a reboot.

      • digibro says:

        This is me writing before seeing the episode. But yeah it I guess happens that my experience with Lupin has been with a dirtier side of it. I don’t know enough about Lupin to know which you saw. Where did you watch it? I only ever saw the show on Adult Swim, where I’m pretty sure they’d started with Part II (1977—1980). I have no idea what the 90s Lupin is, unless you mean the movies?

        It’s entirely possible that I overestimated how dirty the show was because when it was on, I was young, and also aware of the manga. To me, Fujiko’s giant tits and Lupin’s constant pervertedness made it feel dirty regardless of sex actually happening. Meanwhile my cousin had volumes of the manga which ramped that all up a notch.

        • otou-san says:

          I don’t know about the 90s stuff, awesome_engine mentioned it. I haven’t seen any complete series, but a healthy amount of the first one and a lot of Part II (also on Adult Swim), and a couple movies.

          It’s entirely possible that I overestimated how dirty the show was because when it was on, I was young, and also aware of the manga

          Yeah I think that might be possible :3 Adult Swim could never get away with something like this. And your point about it feeling dirty regardless of sex happening, yes that’s a fair point. And a counterpoint could be made that everything just kinda being “out there” and on display is a little less clever. I dunno. I wouldn’t personally make that point because it sounds prudish.

      • Ryan A says:

        I watched episode one of series one last night, and was not all that surprised. It was still pretty damn shocking, but there is one primary difference, which I may write about.

    • kuromitsu says:

      Yeah, I’m pretty surprised at the “What?! Boobs in my Lupin III?!” reactions. I’ve read a number of volumes of the manga way back, but the only anime adaptation I’ve seen was Castle of Caligostro – all the while I was like “OK this is cute but what happened to the violence, the snappy and crude humor, the boobs and naked women (lingerie accepted), Lupin’s libido, and people being casually dicks to each other?”

      Sure, in the manga the boobs weren’t so blatantly in-your-face (the size certainly matches…) or the nipples so ahem, prevalent (those were different times…), but they were oh so there.

      • digibro says:

        When I think of the manga, I always think of this one sex scene in the second volume where there’s just a naked woman and text telling you to “use your imagination” to determine what Lupin is doing to her.

        • otou-san says:

          that’s pretty entertaining. I don’t think there’ll be much imagination-using in the new one.

          And I think kuromitsu a good point, even if it’s in a parenthetical: those were different times. Maybe it’s just an update for our times. I don’t know. Seems that people are still talking about it as if it’s A Thing though.

  2. Ryan A says:

    The one small gripe I have is if they were attempting to give the show a more adult feel, nudity is a shallow gesture. Instead of adult, I feel the creative staff is looking to give the show a feel of overflowing sexuality. And that may work.

    • otou-san says:

      Yeah, I think that’s definitely the case, and is confirmed by the few sound bites I’ve heard from Koike and co. There seem to be two camps of original manga fans: one side says “what? it’s always been dirty!” and the other seems to think this is a different kind of dirty. I’m probably not gonna escape this without buying some and judging for myself so I feel a little less like an idiot.

  3. Balloon_Thief says:

    I think that you have just convinced me to give this a go. For one reason or another I wasn’t really looking forward to it. Should be fun to see how he’s portrayed. It will be an adventure.

  4. animekritik says:

    This totally bored me. Hopefully next episode will be more exciting, have more riveting dialogue, or a different set of boobs or something.

    • otou-san says:

      Even when he surfed away on the rocket-powered statue?

      The dialogue wasn’t what I would consider Lupin-level, but with the obviously mysterious air they were trying to conjure up, it felt more like a precursor to the show than where the real action starts.

  5. Emperor J says:

    I didn’t particularly have a problem with this episode. I don’t think a reboot like this can really spoil what the series is about anyway. It takes numerous attempts to reboot and pander to an entirely different audience to really do that.

  6. Taka says:

    Funny story about your comment about Ninja Turtles: Michael Bay is planning on doing a gritty Ninja Turtles reboot where the turtles are aliens.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/26/michael-bay-ninja-turtles-movie-teenagers_n_1380548.html

  7. *narrowed eyes* Wait… was that a G Gundam reference?