I like how none of these electrodes/tubes are touching any skin and one is expected to work through a thick breastplate.
|“Where is Kyokai?!” you ask? She was busy doing boss lady stuff so I’m doing double duty to cover for her. Not that blogging about Samumenco is a duty. I actually feel pretty darn lucky to have picked this show for blogging. I was so tempted to drop it because it was so bland but with this new plot twist…well, there’s no way I could turn away when things are getting this heated!|
Using cellphones and social media outlets to track down people through city-wide searches isn’t really new. It’s been done in Durarara!!, Gatchaman Crowds, and Higashi no Eden (that last one is a bit iffy because lol magic powers but whatever). No matter how many times it’s done, I love watching it each and every time. It’s just so neat to think that we could use current technology to become united in a way that lets us collaborate with total strangers towards a common goal. In a world where you feel unnerved if someone just smiles at you in a friendly manner or get uneasy when a stranger tries to talk to you, this is a rare event. But it sounds nice if it could work, right?
However, the goal humanity works together for is to earn mad cash by turning in a local superhero. It’s a totally selfish use of a system that’s usually used for the power of good. That makes the concept of abusing social media all the more terrifying. It can go either way. Imagine strangers tweeting every time they saw you, causing mobs of people to chase you down in the streets. That’s a game of hide of seek you can’t win, especially when you’re wearing a bright red suit with goggles.
Hero or not, people will do anything for money. I get the impression that Samurai Flamenco is no longer just a shady guy who ruins people’s day, but a celebrated paragon of justice. He keeps people in line, and the general public like him. He’s popular! But no one is popular enough to withstand the wrath of having a big, fat bounty placed on your head. There’s a lot of cynicism in how society is driven by personal gain, but also a lot of hope. The guy Masayoshi saves lets him go when he realizes the error of his ways. It’s kind of shocking just how little time you have to spend around Masayoshi before that goody-two-shoes-ism rubs off on you. It’s more contagious than the plague.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
But really, any mildly serious commentary I could make on money turning society into a slobbering pack of hyenas is overridden by the stationary weapons. They are weapons made from office supplies. Yes, I know you all watched the same thing as me and are well aware that staplers, pens and erasers constitute as office supplies; but I want you to know. Know that they are the very same things sitting probably no more than a metre or so away from wherever you are sitting. I am surrounded by everything Samurai Flamenco used to take down part of a roughneck gang at this very moment. For a show that used to be so caught up in reality that Masayoshi couldn’t even say his catchphrase without being punched, I love the gradual departure into the absurd. The concept gives rise to endless opportunities for whacky weapons (the stapler-chucks are my favourite) and peaceful battle solutions. The appearance of a hero fanatic willing to develop nonlethal, legal weapons for Masayoshi is beyond convenient for the story…but I’ll take it if it means he gets to keep stapling tough guys together like a lenient Senjougahara Hitagi.
It was a pretty cute and fun episode, all around. In addition to the new weapon stuff (which was fantastic), there are a lot of dopey moments with the girls. Mari training her friends in the art of mahou shoujo and cruising around in their obnoxiously pink van was adorable. Her creepy attempts to seduce Goto were painful to watch, but very amusing. There’s flirting, and then there’s slipping euphemisms for sex into everything you say while pushing your boobs into the wardrobe malfunction warning zone. Mari does the latter. But more on how Mari reacts to failure later, because I really like all the ups and downs she is going through over the span of episode 6 and 7. She may not be the centre of attention any more, but she’s really holding her own as a well-written female character to be remembered. Even her rather predictable lady friends are growing on me!
It’s like someone tried to put together Ikea furniture at a zoo and it went horribly wrong.
First of all…let me address what you’re all thinking. Yes, that episode was like being hit in the face with a ton of bricks. Although the OP had hints of a more supernatural element (superpowers, monsters, robots, and usual super sentai fare) I didn’t expect it to be incorporated so suddenly. I suppose I expected a magical being to come and grant Samurai Flamenco his powers, or that box he got somehow contained a powerful elixir to awaken his latent Flamenco abilities. I did not expect a guy to transform into a talking gorilla with a torture device fused into his stomach during what was supposed to be a routine drugs bust. It was at the end of episode after a supposedly big revelation too, so I figured that was this week’s final kick at the can. I haven’t been this genuinely shocked by the outcome of an anime in ages. Perhaps the last time I felt like an anime genuinely tricked me with a clever plot twist or genre switch was episode 3 of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica and one episode of Heat Guy J where they were erasing the identities of people. It feels good when a plot twist is pulled off so well that you can’t even believe it’s happening even as it is happening.
The only thing is…I have no idea how this will fit in with the remainder of the show. Part of me wonders if the whole place was just laden with hallucinogens, and in trying to capture the drug dealers they inhaled a massive amount of terrible, terrible things. It’s unlikely but I’m still so dumbfounded that I don’t know what to make of the events. It’s like shellshock. I’m just blubbering at you with wide, frightened eyes from under a blanket, trying to make sense of it all. Anyways, if this is real and not some hallucination (by either the cops or by me) then this show is going to either get really good or really confusing.
Maybe it’s just the tequila talking.
Since I thrive from this kind of cheesy drama, I get the feeling I’m just going to love this show even more. For those of you who are understandably put off by chimeras of torture devices and zoo animals, it might be a bumpy ride. This ridiculous plot twist could make things very, very sloppy if there is no rhyme or reason behind it. I like to think there’s an underlying message to be told through having villains like this that couldn’t be told using just regular civilians. Samumenco had already lowered crime rates by a significant amount, so there was no room left for him to grow. This gives him something new to fight for. Really, I can’t judge if this was a good decision or not until I see episode 8. Is there a direction with this? Will they abandon all of the past momentum about the realism of how a hero would operate in our society? Will the cute dings and donks when the Flamenco Girls jump on crotches be replaced by decapitations and gratuitous violence? Will there be a dog whose torture device is a Fool’s Puzzle in a surprise Phi Brain crossover? These factors and more will decide if plunging right into the realm of fantasy is a good route for a show that – until now – has been firmly rooted in the confines of reality.
Alright, the elephant in the room has been dealt with. It’s easy to just leave it at SENSATIONAL WEREGORILLA ATTACK and just ignore everything else, but I actually found some other stuff to be worth discussing as well. Masayoshi’s big plot twist about his parents is just to throw you off guard for the REAL plot twist. It’s a rather inconsequential piece of information, and Masayoshi treats it as such. Just like a normal dude would. Again, this show is painstakingly confined within the lines of logic – even for a hot-blooded character like Masayoshi. So Masayoshi instantly gets over that and nobody really even cares about this new, dramatic backstory. Meanwhile, Mari is stewing on the sidelines with an interesting little sidearc that is endearing me to her more and more with every appearance.
Mari is a prodigy. If not a prodigy, then a genius. She has succeeded as an extremely popular idol, songwriter, and hero. Thus far, she has achieved everything she’s wanted. Her natural talent is so high that everything she dabbles in works out. She wasn’t satisfied being a world famous idol, so she delved into the world of masked heroes (a subject AJthefourth covers with more depth and eloquence). Surprisingly, she excels at both. Most girls are told they can’t have their cake and eat it too, but Mari is able to maintain two lifestyles at once. Even her friends immediately agree with her to take on the dangerous and time-consuming job of running around the city at night to catch criminals. She is a very capricious person, and just about everyone goes along with her whimsical needs. Even her managers just wave off her fluctuations between manic and depressive symptoms as Mari just being “eccentric.” Eating flowers in a meeting or not showing up without warning is unprofessional, but they let her do it because she’s a genius. Geniuses are weird, and they just let her do her thing as long as in the end she makes up for it.
On a side note, the picture in the ED song is hanging on their wall. How meta!
For one of the first times in her life, Mari is facing resistance. Masayoshi openly defies her version of “justice”, and she lets him work alone. Goto rejects her advances, and she (reluctantly) gives up. The city becomes devoid of crime, and she…well, she really doesn’t like that. I’m impressed that being romantically rejected was not why she became depressed, but because she couldn’t fight criminals anymore. It’s nice to have a female written in a way that implies her whole life isn’t defined by having a man notice her. Mari only responds negatively to failure when it has to do with her new job – being a hero. Mari has a sadistic streak, so not being able to exert control over villains really stresses her out. Remember, she’s not doing this to make the world a better place, but because she thinks it’s a fun way to let off some steam. She also loves the attention she gets from the people she saves. It’s another selfish outlet for Mari – a girl who does whatever she wants and gets mad if she is prevented from doing that.
Now, I have no idea where monsters will tie into fighting off her boredom, but I expect good things from Mari. She’s a girl who goes out an gets what she wants. She becomes an idol…and when she’s bored of that, she chases a new dream and becomes a hero. Once she succeeds in becoming a hero and vanquishing evil, then what? Mari achieves everything she wants too easily, and this is why she is bored enough to do all of these outlandish things. Without any challenge, she can’t grow. Despite being leagues stronger than Masayoshi, I’m hoping she’ll face some real challenges soon with these monsters and finally learn what it means to struggle and fail. Until she learns what it is to struggle, she won’t understand what it means to persevere.
I have no idea what will happen next but maybe…just maybe…it’ll be great.
The quality of the show also increases with the amount of fujoshi baiting =w=