Samurai Flamenco – 03

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Mega Evolution for Omanyte confirmed.

Two bloggers…one series…who is the fake one?!?! Okay, so the fact Kyo and I are covering this doesn’t really bring up an exciting story (there is no fake), but the world of superheroes is a little more cut and dry. No sharing there! The battle between the two Flamencos makes for a nice change of pace to eating curry and getting drunk in restaurants. However, to quote Goto,”there’s already a fake Flamenco?”.

Despite being the prettyboy hero of the show, Hazama leads a rather dreary existence. He sucks at his dream job of being a hero since citizens regularly complain about his antics and he’s not very keen on his day job as a model. He does his job well when it’s just a point-and-click photoshoot, but put him into anything that requires an ounce of any other skill and he’s like a fish out of water. His manager makes it very clear that she had to move mountains just to get him recognized as more than a pretty face. The modeling industry can be brutal – especially if you have no other talents to speak of. It comes off as a very shallow and unfulfilling job because he has to cover up his true personality to get by. It seems like most of his success comes from sitting there and smiling and his agent working her ass off. The way she tells him he isn’t special just makes it even more demeaning.

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The fact that he’s hiding his identity is likely going to get him in a lot of trouble eventually. Ishihara isn’t an idiot, and if it took just one toy axe and a bogus poll to make her so acutely suspicious then he could very well blow his cover. The fact he’s good-natured enough that his stereotypical “traumatic past” is stealing an umbrella means he’s not the best liar either. I was pretty shocked he managed to pull a straight face while standing up to Ishihara – especially when we see him unable to contain his excitement whenever chat shows discuss Samurai Flamenco. To be honest, I really just want him to go public so we won’t have to deal with all of these misdirections and fakes. I don’t get why Ishihara doesn’t see this as a chance to make her model crazy popular. If they find out he’s Samurai Flamenco then he’d be an instant hit! Who wouldn’t love to find out that their beloved, neighbourhood superhero is actually a hot guy (and not a giant, burly man with a double chin).

But for now, he must stay in the shadows. Unfortunately, that gives the media all sorts of opportunities to take advantage of the situation. They used the former Red Axe to become a fake Samurai Flamenco for money and more viewers. Once again, this show uncovers just how slimy (and powerful) the media is and how they can easily distort information. Despite having a completely different build, skintone and voice, not one person questions that the Red Axe isn’t the original. It’s a little depressing to see how the audience is essentially spoonfed everything.

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He looks pretty cool until you notice the bicycle helmet

Thankfully, the fake business doesn’t last very long. I thought the fake was going to be in on the gig to get cash, but it seems like he just really likes superheroes. I’m convinced they called him on the phone one day and asked him to dress up as Samurai Flamenco and he was just so goddamned hyped to do it he agreed without even thinking about publicity. He’s just an all-around great guy, despite being hella creepy and accidentally beating up the staff of that variety chat show. That was a nice touch to his first entrance to show how much of a brute force he is and how violence is basically a Pavlovian reaction thanks to his long, arduous career of jumping off of motorcycles and speeding cars. To be cliche, I’d say he has brawn and no brains. He’s a big, goofy action hero who doesn’t care about money or “reupdating his image.” Like Hazama, he just wants to bring justice to the world. I guess there are more vigilante dorks in the world than I thought. He’ll be an interesting addition to the Hazama-Goto combo. Goto will have to tsukkomi twice as much!

As much as I like the realistic approach this show takes to the modeling world, the media and being a superhero, I often find that same realism is what makes the show not so exciting. Modeling is so de-glamorized that it’s a really boring facet of Hazama’s life – especially knowing how much he doesn’t like it. The way superheroes are treated like commodities to make money is also a bit distasteful. I get that they’re trying to show how the media will take advantage of any star to try and get more viewers and money – even supposedly “pure” people like heroes. However, Hazama has been getting screwed over so much that it just makes the world seem terrible. This is likely what would actually happen if a man in an outrageous outfit ran around trying to help people – no one would listen and they’d get beat up all the time. And that’s depressing!

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The beauty of super sentai shows are that they indulge you in an illusion that the hero is popular and always wins. The hero is always right. The hero always triumphs over evil. You get to whole-heartedly swallow these sweet lies because we know that in real life, this is not always the case. Samurai Flamenco doesn’t sugarcoat anything. Hazama is a friendless geek with no talents who runs around at night and gets beat up by teenagers. He eats instant curry every night while re-watching super sentai shows, while receiving zero credit for his efforts. He’s trying to improve society, but he’s only praised for his looks. The cut and dry way they present real life is certainly…real…but that’s not always what is the most interesting. I kind of wish they’d lie to me more. Tiger & Bunny managed to include the commercialism of heroes while remaining light-hearted and fun.

I’m still not sure what to expect from this show. Will it continue down the earnest route with Hazama trying to accomplish things without any powers, or will Hazama suddenly get superpowers? The structure of the show has been decent, but it often tones things down so much that it becomes forgettable. Would you rather watch two guys awkwardly punch each other in red outfits, or two superpowered guys using their all in a fight-to-the-death? Samurai Flamenco is doing okay, but it really needs more oomph to set it apart. Right now it’s just a concept piece of “haha what if heroes were real, wouldn’t that be swell?” without much weight to carry it places.

On the bright side, it’s pacing itself well and does manage to make some cute jokes (the dollar rangers made me chuckle, and I loved when Kaname Joji started beating up innocent people). There’s a lot of care being put into this show, but it needs to let loose!

Bonus Screenshots: Show ▼

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The three stooges


A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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5 Responses to “Samurai Flamenco – 03”

  1. Kyokai says:

    Hey partner, it would be bad if people get disinterested in this series. Ack, why did Omori had to go for the slow start….

    At least, I liked the twist of a sensei for Masayoshi even if it sprouted from him posing as a fake. It seems as if limelight will play a major role in this series.

    • Overcooled says:

      It’s definitely not a heavy-hitter but it’s not bad. Just kinda riding the “average” wave right now.

      Can’t wait to see what his “training” consists of. I can’t see this guy as anything but a cheesy joke character.

      • Kyokai says:

        Well yeah, but there’s still potential, damn it!

        I don’t think the training would comprise of mountain climbing and samurai way but who knows, what the old jiji cooks up.

  2. Highway says:

    I expect this show will never tread into magical realism. It’ll stay pretty much just like it is: a guy who’s decidedly *not* super perhaps inspiring others to live better, or at least to not just let bad things happen. Other people have pointed out that there really aren’t ‘bad guys’ in Japan these days, at least none that your average person is going to run into. At most it’s punk kids, umbrella thieves, and trash violators.

    I actually think Hazama is a pretty dull character. I don’t really care for his reactions to anything, they either seem like he’s a dullard (anything not related to heroes) or like a 10 year old (anything related to heroes). He’s definitely not an adult character, and that’s a lot of why Ishihara has so much free reign to boss him around.

    • Overcooled says:

      The OP is the main thing making me suspicious. Not the best basis but it still makes me wonder what else could happen over a 2-cour show about nagging drunkards and jaywalkers. I never even thought about the cultural differences. With the low crime rate there I’m even more confused with how the story will progress (if they take that into account).

      All of the characters so far are exceedingly simplistic, with maybe the exception of Ishihara. I’m not too fond of any of them. Goto gets a pass just because I like sarcastic know-it-alls – but that’s about all he’s got going for him. I’m hoping we get some development because the set-up has potential.

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