By simplifying Fujiko’s character, they’ve made her a far more interesting character than any convoluted, dramatic back story.
Turns out that all of those flashbacks and dream sequences weren’t Fujiko’s memories. They’re the memories of another woman who was the subject of Cold War experiments, and they were implanted into Fujiko so that she could become something of a surrogate for this bedridden, broken woman. In a way this woman is living vicariously through Fujiko, believing that her mental suggestions are causing Fujiko to live the life she wants to live. At the same time, this woman is still carrying out the demented schemes of the scientists who “created” her. This experiment was created to somehow stop the Cold War, and Fujiko’s actions seem to have had far-reaching consequences (The whole US/Cuba thing, for one.). I’m sure Violence Jill have more to say about that particular character and her connection to all that Gothic lit from the 1800s, especially with how the mother/daughter relationship pans out. That’s not my realm of literary expertise, and that dynamic wasn’t what interested me the most about this ending, so I’ll just leave it at that.
What really struck me is what this says about Fujiko herself. We’ve been led to believe that she’s at the center of this grandiose, convoluted conspiracy. Not only did it seem like she was some kind of Frankenstein created to not only bring an end to the tension between Communist and Capitalist nations, the series also seemed to be creating this elaborate mythology behind her existence. Lupin and Goemon have literary equivalents, and that prior fictional baggage carries some weight on the way their characters are portrayed. By crafting this Cold War fairy tale origin story for Fujiko, I thought the series was giving Fujiko such an elaborate history to be used for future reference.
Instead, we learn that Fujiko is Fujiko. As far as we know, there’s no myth behind her beyond the very mythical mystery of her persona. She’s not a construct of history. she’s simply a thief who’s really good at what she does and loves doing it. But what makes this cool is that, by having her face all of these false memories, she’s able to reaffirm that, yeah, being Fujiko is fucking awesome. She doesn’t need a tragic past and an elaborate history in order to be a complete character. All that matters is that she’s Fujiko. She isn’t defined by what’s happened to her or what others deem to be her destiny, she’s defined by what she does and who she is.
It may make her a less “complex” character, but that affirmation permanently puts her on par with his c0-stars. She doesn’t need to explain herself. She doesn’t have to feel bad for doing what she does. She isn’t just some sex object to ogle. That’s what I got out of that ending: Fujiko giving the audience the proverbial finger for ever doubting her as a complete character.
What I’m not totally sure about is Oscar. As in, what’s his place in the larger Lupin mythos?
Is he someone who can be slotted into the cast in a future series? Even with the revelation made at the end of the series, I doubt his grudge against Fujiko is going away. If anything, knowing that it’s Fujiko’s inherent nature to be “like that” may make Oscar hate her even more. Everything that she did, including sleeping with Zenigata, is exactly what she would do regardless of who is in control.
But would Oscar make an interesting recurring antagonist like Zenigata? Would it be cool to see him in a more lighthearted adventure like those from the second Lupin TV series or the more recent specials? Would he only work in certain types of stories? Should he remain Zenigata’s assistant, or should he be used as an independent nemesis? Basically, should Oscar become a part of the greater picture, or is his role too specific to this particular series?
I think he would. The guy seems to be capable of more than brooding and the like. He didn’t get to show it much, but based on those dream sequences of his with the shadow puppets and whatnot, there seems to be enough fancifulness and “fun” within him to play to the different styles of the Lupin franchise. If they can make Zenigata more hardboiled for this series, they can pull Oscar in the opposite direction if need be.
Yeah, I really hope he ends up being used in future Lupin stories.
But all that said, my favorite part of the last few episodes has to be the showdown between Jigen and Goemon. Those guys didn’t get to do that much in the series, so it was awesome to see them facing down. It hit all the right ridiculous buttons, what with Jigen going full on gunkata and Goemon slicing up ever bullet coming his way. I guess you’d have to call their fight something of a consolation prize, but it was a hell of one at that.
So yeah, when’s the next Lupin series?