Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine 04 — Va, Tosca!


So this week’s Lupin III/Fujiko show turned out to be Phantom of the Opera. Sure, operas are classy and this iteration of Lupin III is fairly classy, so why not? Well, it turns out the opera they used is one of the few that I had actually studied (to some degree) back in high school music. The opera is Tosca, by Giacomo Puccini, and is apparently near the top of the list of famous operas. That said, I think it’s safe to say that anime is near the bottom of the list of places I expected to hear an aria or something and make me go “Wait, this sounds awfully familiar”.

Tosca is about a famous singer, Floria Tosca, her lover, a painter by the name of Mario Cavaradossi, and Baron Scarpia, the chief of police and a guy who really, really wants Tosca. Basically, Tosca and Cavaradossi are in love. Cavaradossi also happens to be helping one of his Republican friends escape from the police. Conveniently, these two things make Scarpia hate Cavaradossi a lot. This causes a lot of trouble for the lovers. Spoilers: Tosca ends in tragedy.

There are two pieces that were used in this episode.

Tosca Divina

Part of this piece was performed on stage when the spotlight fell on Ayan. Just like in the episode, Scarpia arrives and is looking for Angelotti, the guy that Cavaradossi helped escape. Obviously, with the spotlight dropping on them, they had to improvise, but the first two lines that they sing kinda don’t make sense. After that, though, is pretty much what happens at the end of that scene.

The scene in context is basically Scarpia tricking Tosca into thinking that Cavaradossi is cheating on her with the lady he’s drawing in the painting. Tosca’s line about being a prisoner of royal celebrations (è prigioniera dei regali tripudi) is the end of a bit about her coming to the church to tell Cavaradossi that they wouldn’t be able to meet that night. Scarpia’s line after that, about his poison working (Già il veleno l’ha rosa!), doesn’t make sense without the context, because it’s about him thinking about how she’s buying into his bullshit about Cavaradossi cheating.

Basically, Tosca is pissed. She talks about how their beautiful nest is soiled with slime (Oh mio bel nido insozzato di fango!) and then basically says she’s going to kill that cheating bitch (so to speak) who isn’t going to have Cavaradossi tonight (Vi piomberò inattesa! Tu non l’avrai stasera, Giuro!). Scarpia goes “In church!” (In chiesa!) because they’re talking in a church and Tosca saying how she’s going to totally murder that lady is probably something she shouldn’t do in a church. That’s okay, replies Tosca, “Dio mi perdona”, or God will forgive her, presumably because the cheaters deserve it.

So Scarpia successfully gets Tosca pissed at Cavaradossi. After the singing from just above, Tosca goes off to find Cavaradossi and Scarpia gets a guy to trail her. This, of course, leads to all sorts of unfortunate things later on. For now, though, Scarpia gets to sing about how much he wants Tosca with the undertone being that he’s super evil and all this happens juxtaposed against a church procession and the act ends.

It’s not obvious in this part of the episode, but there are a few interesting parallels that we can extract from this if we maybe read too much into this. Obviously, Fujiko is Tosca and Zenigata is Scarpia. I’ve never seen much Lupin before, but here, Zenigata seems like a terrible person, what with molesting Fujiko and all. He really seems to despise Lupin, much like Scarpia hates Cavaradossi, and he uses Fujiko to try and get to him. And after this the analogy breaks down, but, oh well.

Vissi d’arte

This is probably the aria that Tosca’s known for. It plays on the record player in the hideout when Ayan is explaining the reveal to Fujiko. At this point, Scarpia has Cavaradossi taken away to prison after having revealed his Republican loyalties. He takes advantage of this situation and offers to free Cavaradossi if Tosca gives herself to him. As he waits for her answer, she starts singing this aria, which is basically her crying out to God asking why she has to go through this.

The opening line is “Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore”, which is “I lived for art, I lived for love”. It could be fansubber cleverness, but Fujiko outright says that she gets Ayan “lived for love, but…” I think there’s more to the use of this piece in this part of the episode than there was with the first part. Here, Ayan talks about how all she wanted was to be with Darenzo but no one would accept it. Of course, the trial she has to go through isn’t as bad as Tosca’s and definitely ended up much better than Tosca did.

Actual spoilers for Tosca follow if you care about that kind of stuff. Shortly after Tosca finishes Vissi d’arte, Scarpia ups the ante by ordering Cavaradossi to be executed. Buuuuuuut, if Tosca gave herself to him, he’ll make it a mock execution. Tosca ends up agreeing, Scarpia gives the order, then Tosca knifes him. Everything works out, except that Scarpia is a pile of dicks and actually ordered the execution for realsies. Tosca throws herself over an edge in grief and to avoid the guys who just found Scarpia’s body.