Thursday, 26 April 2012

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna - Episode 4

It's time for a night at the opera as Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna hits its fourth episode, and with Fujiko herself seemingly having been captured by Detective Zenigata it seems that she's going to be working for the right side of the law for once.

Her mission this time around is, of course, to help Zenigata get his hands on Lupin III, who in turn is looking to get his hands on a bedazzling and jewel-laden mask.  The mask belongs to a much vaunted opera singer named Ayan Maya, who has worn the mask ever since an incident with an over-exuberant fan left her face with horrific burns.  Thus, Fujiko takes a place within the company of this rather odd opera house, complete with bee hives, unexplored catacombs and a seemingly magical river which runs through it.

In true opera tradition, it seems that the building also has its very own phantom, and it's the appearance of this supposed spectre that puts paid to Lupin's first efforts to snatch Ayan's mask.  Now that his presence has been exposed, he's going to have to play even smarter to outfit both Fujisko and Zenigata, while other incidents unravelling themselves around him and his plot threaten to put paid to any plans of thievery altogether...

The result of all of this is another terrifically enjoyable episode of Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna, that manages to combine clever plot twists with less clever ones (the reveal of our "ghost" might as well have come straight out of an episode of Scooby Doo), and a serious backbone to the story, which includes the briefest of glimpses into Fujiko's mind, with some great humour and the odd moment of utter slapstick as Zenigata chases Lupin around the place.  While it must have been tempting for this new animated take on Lupin III to simply rest on its laurels and let its animation style grab all the attention, it's certainly proving to be no slouch in the story-telling department either, and as long as it continues to make such marvellous use of its characters and their desires then I don't see that changing any time soon either.

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