Living the magical girl thug life.
|As much as anime is a huge part of my life, fitting it into my hectic schedule has been tough. I’ve got labs I’m working overtime in, homework to do, pokemon to catch, and right now I’m in a maid outfit for a reason I completely forget. Honestly, I don’t know how these Samumenco kids can juggle life as a hero and life as an idol. Props to Mari for writing like a bazillion songs while stomping on guy’s junk in the middle of the night.|
Even women aren’t safe from Mari’s fury
It’s only now that I’m starting to really get into Samurai Flamenco. The introduction of Mari last week was exactly what this show needed to shift things from just two dudes complaining on the couch while watching cartoons. I’m really enjoying the chemistry between the three and how this episode gave us a nice, even split of screentime. Even better, they can carry scenes on their own instead of just bouncing off of each other. If you isolate a character and they’re utterly dull without someone to be the boke or tsukkomi, then there is a problem. In Samurai Flamenco, everyone has their own issues that they need to overcome by themselves. Masayoshi loses his faith then rediscovers it all on his own, Mari decides to recruit her girlfriends all on her own, and Goto takes the initiative to try and forge a truce with Samurai Flamenco when the rest of the cops are just coasting.
It’s actually kind of refreshing to see such mature characters who don’t need to be explicitly told what they’re doing wrong before they change. There is a push, but it’s very subtle compared to…say…Monogatari where one character will begin a long, extensive monologue pointing out the various flaws their friend has and how to go about fixing it. Our trio get info that could be interpreted in various ways, and they choose to rise to the occasion. For example, I’d be pretty pissed if I got a text from my significant other saying they didn’t want to see me just because I was sad (which is literally the worst reason not to see someone considering cheering your lover up is kinda part of the job) but Goto soliders on and uses that energy to do something productive. He uses what could have been something bad as an opportunity to grow and become happy.
Goto has been on the edge of the hero action for a while, so this is an interesting way to keep him involved. Now that he’s part of the vigilante unit he can effectively cover for his buddy. I quite like Goto, even if he is a bit plain. He’s the neutral good to keep things balanced between Masayoshi’s endless trust in the world and Mari’s violent justice. It’s clear he wants the best for the city and will go over and above what the average cop does. He’s just not as insane about it as Masayoshi, who will go against social norms and anything remotely resembling common sense. Yeah, he’s a pretty boring dude, but I feel like he’s a very important character. I’m more fond of the concept of him – a guy with a long-distance relationship trying to be a good cop without standing out too much. The execution is just a little flat in comparison to someone like Mari who has enough personality to flood an Olympic swimming pool.
If Goto is the rock to really ground things in reality, then Mari is…well, she’s a manic magical girl with a taser wand. I don’t know exactly what you’d call that. She adds a more traditional super sentai vibe with her flamboyant outfit, superhuman strength and crazy weapon. I’ll never get tired of watching her wallop criminals with it before she gets to dick-crushing – her favourite hobby. It balances out the almost tedious realism of the show really well. She’s got this unshakeable optimism and effervescence that goes against a lot of the cynical vibes present in the rest of the world. In a show where heroes are actually interrupted when they give dramatic speeches and cops just want to catch their next paycheque instead of a criminal, it’s easy to lose your sense of awe and wonder. Everything is just kinda…dreary. But not Mari! She’s a ray of ball-crushing sunshine.
At first I thought Masayoshi was the extremist, but now Mari seems to be way out there in a totally different way. Her alignment is chaotic good, as she does good deeds – but only at her own whim. It’s not out of duty or a pure love for helping people. She says it out loud too that she really isn’t all too sure about the meaning of justice, in case you were questioning whether her brutal hero act was just a mistake. Mari likes doing good deeds…but mostly because it satisfies her own needs. She likes people praising her for her efforts, being flashy, and letting out her frustrations by beating others up.
I’m really impressed they gave this kind of motive to a girl, who is usually allocated to either a meek role or some kind of seductress. Mari is anything but ladylike in her rambunctious ways, and it really makes me like her a lot. She’s clearly misguided and I imagine she’ll learn more about justice as the series progresses, but you gotta love a kickass girl who goes out there are just gets what she wants through brute strength. Both her hero life and idol life is flourishing because she works damn hard. I can’t wait to see how her friends contribute. I loved the twist of her suddenly including them into her group. Things are really picking up now!
Last but not least is Masayoshi, who goes through a bit of a slump. He’s stuck as Mari’s slave, he realizes the director he admires just wants money, and he gets tricked by criminals greedily baiting him for his “bounty.” As optimistic as he is, he can’t stay strong in the face of this grim reality. He is lawfully good, and wants everyone to be a perfect person no matter the situation. This inflexibility causes him to question himself when he realizes other people (such as Mari and the director) don’t meet his rather naive standards. Fortunately, he gets a boost in morale. I’m actually surprised how subdued that whole package receiving scene was and wish we had gotten a bit more drama out of it. This a game-changer! He’s living a legacy now!
The realism in this show can be a curse and a blessing. This week it’s more of a blessing. Reality basically slaps everyone in the face this week in the form of all sorts of cynical things that would get in the way of vigilante heroes if they ran about in our society. While it hinders them, it also gives them a chance to overcome them and grow. The world cannot be magically fixed by a guy running around in goggles and a bike helmet, and the directors of Samurai Flamenco want to convey that these heroes have to work for it. I was worried society would be so oppressively cynical that Masayoshi would be chasing cutpurses forever, but now it’s pushed him and Flamenco Girl to evolve.
I feel like this show is going to be very satisfying in the long run. The attention to detail (despite the budget) is impeccable. There are lots of visual gags you can miss if you blink, such as the new cop staring down girls he sees on the street while talking with Goto. The attention to these details really make me feel like all of these story aspects will come together in a perfect way by the end. If there is that much of a unified vision for the show then I’m comfortable we will be in for quite a nice ride. It took a while for me to gain confidence in the show since things were a bit TOO real at first, but now it’s great and actually kind of funny. Red Axe randomly crashing Masayoshi’s place just so that he can watch old movies of himself is probably going to be my favourite running joke. So much for being an important rolemodel for Samurai Flamenco…
Bonus Screenshots: Show ▼
I guess Kyuueby got a lot of business done that night…