Samurai Flamenco 06-07

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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!

Episode 6

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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.

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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!

 Episode 7

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The quality of the show also increases with the amount of fujoshi baiting =w=

About

A mad scientist with a third degree black belt. The combination of these two things lead to blog posts combining a love for anime, psychology, and watching boys cry.
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21 Responses to “Samurai Flamenco 06-07”

  1. JPNIgor says:

    When that gorilla appeared, I kept expecting until the end of the episode that he was dreaming or having allucinations… There was so much heads flying… so much blood. I just couldn’t believe.

    But it was a nice plot twist for sure. Things got serious and I expect a lot from the next episodes. I just hopes it won’t get anywhere near other hero animes.

    • Overcooled says:

      It went against pretty much everything the show set up these past 6 episodes. I just…wow. Everyone’s freaking out!

      I think Samumenco will continue to be unique, even if monsters and superpowers come into the mix.

  2. arcanes says:

    I still won’t accept that it was real. No way. Personally, I love the show. I think we have enough Fantasy shows and to me this show is a breath of fresh air. Please let it be a dream please.

  3. Joojoobees says:

    This show has been good enough that they can pull a stunt like that and I’ll give them a chance to make it work. They still need to convince me that it fits in with the rest of the show, but I’m willing to hear their explanation.

    As for Mari, I hope she finds a way to capture Goto’s affections. First, his excuse is BS — his girlfriend dumped him, so he *is* available. Second, I agree that she needs to overcome a real challenge, and a relationship with Goto wouldn’t be interesting if she could knock him over in an instant, but if she really did something that got through to him, I think it could be a triumph for her character — and no I don’t mean baking him cookies.

    • Overcooled says:

      It is rather nice that a show can pull out a screeching, guillotine gorilla and still have us convinced the writers know what they’re doing. I feel that we’re in good hands so however they explain these events, it should be good.

      It could work, for sure. I’m just not a fan of that pairing. I actually kind of like seeing Mari stay single since she always gets what she wants. Plus, long distance couples are a rarity and I think it’s pretty cute. I’m pretty sure they’re still together anyways. She just fought with Goto, saying she’d see him again when he was less gloomy and preoccupied with his job. A pretty mean thing to do to someone you want to support lovingly, but not an official break up.

      I wonder if she’ll keep hounding him down or she’ll give up and move onto another guy.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I said I’d go through the episodes I missed because things were getting interesting but during the process, I was really tempted to drop it again until this particular development showed up.

    Just when I was fully getting used to the corniness about justice from this show because of Masayoshi, the last 5 minutes of episode 7 happened. Gore and blood? That was like a slap to the face after everything I’ve seen and now I have no idea how the remaining 15 episodes are going to play out. It’s true about being careful what you wish for. Masayoshi wanted to fight mutants, evil organizations and such so he could be a hero. Well, it looks like his wish was granted.

    As cruel as it is to say this, Masayoshi not feeling anything over his parents’ death is natural given how he was raised. He’s never met them so there’s no attachment to cause any pain of loss. You can’t mourn someone you’ve never spent any time with.

    • Overcooled says:

      People who wrote this show off are going to regret it. This is “moment of the year” kind of memorable.

      The gruesome deaths were just as shocking as the gorilla beast. They replaced Mari whacking criminals with a GIANT MACE and not doing any heavy damage with a gorilla chopping off someone’s head. Yikes.

  5. sadakups says:

    Masayoshi just became THE FUCKING BATMAN.

  6. skylion says:

    Why is it that we want something so absurd on so many levels to work out so well? Is it because the show slowly drew you in and kept things simple, real, and somewhat expected, only to foist moments of awesome on you? The Mari Storm?

    I just watched the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who last night. Same solution, slap some absurd upon the absurd and call it crazy awesome…

    And Guillotine Gorilla sounds like an awful figure Todd MacFarlane would have made nearly twenty years ago. So, it fits right into this stuff.

    • Overcooled says:

      There really should be no reason to think they could coherently incorporate Torutre-device related monsters into a realistic show, is there? And yet, I believe! The writing has just been so good that I feel like they can make it work. Plus, this sort of ridiculousness makes me happy.

  7. HannoX says:

    Ep.6–I got the feeling that Mari wanted Goto to spank the bad girl.

    Ep.7–I don’t like the turn it took at the end. I’m hoping and hoping it turns out to be a dream sequence or hallucinations from the air in the drug lab, although the latter is unlikely since none of the criminals were wearing gas masks.

    This show was slow at first and I was about to drop it until Mari showed up and started doing her thing. And that spurred Masayoshi to get better himself. I was fine with it continuing along those lines. And I don’t think there were no challenges left for Masayoshi to face as a hero. Yes, they said several times that crime was down in the city, but given the types of crimes he and Mari faced so far I believe it was mostly petty crime that had taken a drop, although assault and rape certainly aren’t petty.

    But obviously drugs and I imagine racketeering are still ongoing. And the city has to have more than one drug lab in it. Even if there was only one, a new one would quickly be established by criminals. There’s money to be made illegally in the city and new criminals always appear to take the place of ones eliminated by the forces of the law.

    Rather than devolving into another superhero show with Masayoshi battling a super villain and his minions, I’d have rather seen it remain more-or-less grounded in reality. The show could easily be about Masayoshi, Mari and a reluctant Goto slowly learning of the criminal organization running the city’s underworld and the layers they have to work through to get to the big boss. No need for the supernatural or super villains here.

    This show’s now on shaky ground with me. But I’ll give it another 2 or 3 episodes to win me over to the new storyline, if it has taken the turn shown at the end of Ep.7.

    • Overcooled says:

      I’m surprised she didn’t even mention handcuffs. That escalated very fast!

      It seems like the gorilla was a hit or miss. I’m personally okay with the fantasy route, but it runs the risk of undermining everything the shoe stood for. Realism, normal people working hard to make a difference using whatever they could find, and using social media to make an earnest name for oneself. It was sweet.

      And yes, there was still a lot of crime – probably just not happening out in the open where Samumenco does his usual rounds. It could have very easily filled up the whole series with more normal crime investigations, but I think the supernatural route gives them more room to really play around with it. I’d be fine with it either way, really. Superpowers or not, I think it would be a good show.

      Now we just have to see what the heck is going on and if that gorilla was just a big troll. The next few episodes will decide if a lot of people drop or continue this thing.

  8. Kyokai says:

    Thank you for covering for me, Cools. <333

    Omori definitely put a number on us with this one. It’s like a hidden punch but I’ll keep at my theory of somehow this becoming a TV show for Masayoshi. But really, any of the above theories can become the explanation. Let’s hold our horses and wait for the next one.

    • BlackBriar says:

      There’s a whole stable of horses to hold and they’re being unruly. ;)

    • Overcooled says:

      Any time, Kyokai-sama!

      Yeah, I read the TV show thing as a possible theory and it sounds kinda legit too. Right now I just wanna see what happens since there is literally no context to tell what the heck happened. The next episode comes out soon though! Very soon!

  9. Roben says:

    “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matetr. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

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