Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today we’ll be returning to the sensual thievery of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, and hopefully discovering what the heck is going on with Fujiko. Though she prides herself on her independence, it’s clear that she’s still running from the scars of her childhood, and at least partially defining herself in opposition to the wishes of Count Armeid. The lingering influence of that trauma was made clear in her reaction to the tattooed woman, as she nearly destroyed herself in her attempts to obliterate this shadow of her past.

This shouldn’t have come as a surprise; at the beginning of every episode, Fujiko herself warns us of her urge for “beautiful destruction,” a seduction that leaves both participants as hollow as she believes herself to be. Embracing thievery seems to be a way for her to redefine her fundamental “emptiness” as a strength, a weapon – but ultimately, it seems that framing Armeid’s influence in this way has only tightened his grip on her psyche. Fujiko has taken the insults thrown at her and sewn them into luscious finery, but for Armeid, only total rejection will suffice. Let’s hope her Samurai Friend can help her back to her feet then, as we storm towards the climax of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine!

Episode 11

This week in “let’s analyze one frame of the OP to the point of oblivion,” I’m holding on the shot of Fujiko collapsed, draped over a television that is itself broadcasting the image of Fujiko collapsed on a television, recursively on into infinite. This sequence is accompanied by the line “it is a prison of sexiness from which she cannot escape,” referring to her identity as a thief. This combination seems to basically embody her relationship with her past; she is attempting to define herself in opposition to Armeid, but through this process, she keeps resummoning the painful memories of her childhood. And as she performs this circular loop of flight from a past that keeps resurfacing, the external audience of Armeid sees all, as represented by the ultimate pan back to a full wall of televisions

“Its psychological foundation is unknown.” At this point, this feels like an overt lie – Fujiko understands the root of her feelings, and her coy denial of this fact, framed in less ornate language than the rest of this speech, and accompanied by a snide shift of the eye, is completely intentional

And of course, right after that, the owl appears to accompany questions of “Who is the slave? Who is the master?” Fujiko is lying to the audience, and perhaps also lying to herself

I’m frankly not sure how I feel about Fujiko’s story resolving into the consequences of sexual abuse as a child. I feel like Fujiko herself would find that to be an old-fashioned, possibly even condescending framing of her choices – in fact, it fits neatly into the worldview of the “women must be protected by men, the true possessors of agency” attitude that she’s generally so quick to exploit. Fujiko wouldn’t want to be thought of as someone who exploits sexuality as a weapon purely because she’s scarred by the past – she’d much rather be thought of someone who’s promiscuous because sex is great, and fuck you for judging me for enjoying it. On the other hand, her situation certainly isn’t unrealistic, it just maps pretty well to a conservative perspective of sexual agency. I’ll be interested in seeing how the final episodes grapple with this tension

We pan down on rich oranges and yellows in some European city. It appears we’re getting Oscar’s backstory

Absolutely loving these layouts already. Every other frame in this show feels like an illustration from some ornate fantasy fable, fused with Yamamoto’s keen eye for cinematic presentation, like in this multilayered composition stretching out from Zenigata’s boot to the far end of the river. Like her mentor Watanabe, Yamamoto is a student of film as much as animation, and her shows benefit from the cinematographic instincts of someone thinking in terms of actual physical spaces

As Oscar leaps, we shift more towards the storybook/fantastical end of this show’s presentation, presenting his dive into the river as if he’s floating through the night sky

The show frankly stretches a little beyond its visual means for this still-remarkable sequence, as our perspective flips to reveal Oscar floating above his city

“The one that shone the brightest was a black gem.” Zenigata

“I want to protect him. The jewel that’s mine alone”

Our title is “Feast of Fools”

Goddamnit, does this mean we’re still not going to check back with Fujiko? Damn you, Okada!

Zenigata is currently tracking Fujiko, who’s been stealing “gaudy and low-class objects”

“I’ve been put in charge of Fujiko. Until I catch her, I can’t focus on Lupin. I can’t waste my time on a pawn like Fujiko.” Zenigata has a master’s degree in underestimating Fujiko

Okay, good. We do indeed catch up with Fujiko, who’s hiding out with Goemon in a remote cabin

Fujiko tosses his offered food aside. “What is this? Are you trying to take care of me? If you want to have sex with me, don’t beat around the bush!” Fujiko can’t believe in unconditional kindness, and why would she? She’s certainly never been offered any before

“At least for the sake of my swordsmanship, I must find out the truth about Fujiko Mine.” This show doesn’t really exaggerate Goemon’s goofy mannerisms, but in the context of everyone else’s behavior, he still comes across as an adorable man-child. Fujiko’s preeminence of perspective shades everyone somewhat differently than the Lupin default; Lupin’s playfulness has a strong tinge of menace, while, lacking normal Lupin’s reverence for cool sword stuff, Goemon comes off as a child

A tiara is stolen, but neither Lupin nor Zenigata see the theft as Fujiko’s style. Her thievery is practical, based around extorting maximum value, not making an impression

“This is definitely a crime committed from within the police department.” So it seems Oscar has been inventing Fujiko crimes

Trust Oscar to totally misinterpret Fujiko’s crimes. Because he despises her embracing of sexual agency, he also assumes her crimes must be garish and performative, designed for an audience. But like with her sexuality, Fujiko’s crimes aren’t meant to impress an audience – they’re just the way she survives

“Maybe he’ll change his attitude if Fujiko Mine kills someone.” When Fujiko refuses to be the monster Oscar wishes her to be, he creates that monster himself

Armeid’s owls find Oscar. “If you wanted Zenigata to chase you, you should have dressed up as Lupin. Why did you dress up as Fujiko Mine? You wanted what Fujiko received from Zenigata in that interrogation room.” Oscar is consumed by passions he is unwilling to name, and hates Fujiko with such intensity precisely because she embodies and has claimed what he wishes for

Appropriately, Oscar/Fujiko’s final target is a bridal dress, embodying the transformation he hopes for

The real Fujiko hears of “her” crimes on the radio, where the mention of a tiara triggers memories of Armeid’s electric shock torture. Her memories are much closer to the surface at this point

“I have to kill Fujiko Mine.” And as she says this, the camera pans back to a viewscreen, from which one of Armeid’s agents is surveying her. The OP’s metaphor has become explicit

As Lupin and Goemon gear up for war, Zenigata reveals he knows Fujiko isn’t behind the recent string of incidents

Excellent use of silhouettes and filters for this explanation of Armeid’s plans, with the overall effect evoking the sense of cut-paper silhouettes captured in decaying film strips. It’s actually quite reminiscent of the flashback sequences from Hanamonogatari

The plan is to blow up the bridge. Lupin and Goemon get to work undercutting it, with Goemon delaying the parade while Lupin deactivates the bomb

As Zenigata reflects on how Oscar taught him to value his pride over his career, Oscar realizes he’s traded in precisely what he was desperate to protect

“If you say that you’ll believe even a person like me, then I’ll protect those feelings of yours.” Oof, what a brutal, poetic end. In order to protect Zenigata’s image of him, Oscar sacrifices himself to destroy the bomb, echoing the moment that connected him to Zenigata in the first place

And Done

Boy oh boy. So ends the story of Oscar, a young man so paralyzed by fear of what he wanted that he turned his feelings from love into hatred, and from hatred into false righteousness. Desperate for Zenigata’s affection, he diverted all his repressed hopes into scorn for Fujiko Mine, who seemed so effortless in her ability to claim what he wanted. Just like Fujiko herself, Oscar was entrapped and defined by society’s chains, transformed into someone who sought only to enforce on others the restrictions that bound him as well. In a better world, Fujiko and Oscar might have been friends; here, the social scorn each of them suffered ended up pitting them against each other, with Fujiko’s proud defiance making her the enemy of Oscar the collaborator. A suitably tragic end for this show’s most misguided villain.

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By admin