You can't have a proper, old-fashioned circus without a freak show, and it's just such an event which is the focus of Lupin for this week's Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna. Hell, he's even brought Daisuke Jigen with him, not not just because he wanted somewhere to share a day trip with.
Instead, our master thief's attention is focused upon a rather unique member of this freak show - a woman raised and used as nothing more than an artist's canvas, with a body that is quite literally a work of art. Needless to say, this is no normal treasure, and as a result Lupin isn't the only one with designs towards it - lo and behold, in no time at all Fujiko herself is soon on the scene in an attempt to snatch this precious woman for herself.
Or is she? Compared to her normal cunning strategies, this Fujiko seems hurried and manic as she gives chase to Lupin and Daisuke, and as her pursuit progresses she becomes more and more violent. Does Fujiko really want to steal this woman, or kill her, and why? The answer, once again, seems to stem back to Fujiko's own disturbing past, and by the end of this episode she seems to be left a broken woman in the face of Lupin's blunt but precise psycho-analysis of past and its effect on her current actions.
Despite having already sat down to watch so many great episodes of this series, this week's instalment of Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna is quite possibly the best yet - extremely simple in its premise, but wonderfully delivered (the show's animation style doesn't really make for great action sequences, but it still proved effective on this occasion) and with both the soundtrack and background to really make the most of Fujiko's despairing, crumbling psyche as the episode progresses from standard madcap robbery into something far deeper and more pronounced. This instalment was one of those rare occasions where you find yourself so lost in a story and its fast-paced progression that the episode is over before you even know it, leaving you with no recourse but to sit back, take a deep breath and mull over what you've just watched for a while. It takes something special to do that, and at this point this take on Lupin III certainly seems to qualify for that "special" category.