|My turn at the wheel with Samumenco just happened to coincide with the week I have all of my final exams. Joy. So I’m a little stressed and probably a little more cranky than usual. Excuse me if I put a little more heat than usual on this week’s episode – it’s either my lack of sanity or the genuine fact that this new direction just isn’t working out. (Probably the latter *coughs*)|
Kyokai and I are not big fans of this change of direction from a more down-to-earth super sentai spinoff to what is basically just a (bad) modern super sentai show. The monsters pop up endlessly and Masayoshi dispatches them without even breaking a sweat. It’s boring. Of course, you can argue that this is the entire aim of having these dull battles – to show how people will eventually treat something as crazy as monsters as old news. In the same way just about everyone watching had a coniption fit over the Guillotine Gorilla and then proceeded to not give a damn about any other monster, the citizens in the world of Samurai Flamenco have become bored. Now the regular attacks by evil monsters are so dull that it’s mentioned in passing alongside he weather forecast. Hello, there is a 60% chance of rain today and oh, I suppose an evil fish monster blew up somewhere. Back to you, Todd.
And now he can watch himself fight villains on TV instead of Red Axe
While I appreciate the attempt to make a scathing jab at how society moves from one fad to the next for even the most extreme of events, that doesn’t really make the fighting any less boring. It makes a point, yes, but it doesn’t entertain. That’s the most important part! If you are sacrificing enjoyment and good storytelling just to make a point then you are wasting the viewer’s time. Story first, your clever commentaries about how fickle society is after.
Thankfully, there is some good from having these lame monsters. Usually the minions get stronger – not weaker. As such, the types of reactions you see from Masayoshi and Mari to this trend are actually kind of fun to witness. It’s an interesting change of pace. For example, Mari is bored to tears and completely gives up. With no ties to doing what is morally right, she can choose to ignore any villains she deems as being inferior. Her main goal is fun – not justice – so she’s free to pick her fights.
She could just give up and live it up as an idol, but instead of being complacent she tries to find a bigger challenge by calling out King Torture. Yeah, it’s a reckless move, but I love a woman with that kind of hunger to move up in the world. She’s driven, and she gets really upset when Goto tells her to give up. It’s never explicitly stated, but I got the feeling he wants her to stop because he sees her as a weak girl. Compared to Masayoshi she’s a much better fighter, and her wonky morals don’t matter when the enemy is a snake on wheels. There is no good reason for telling her to stop, yet enabling a scrawny manbaby like Masayoshi to play superhero.
He can defeat any monster with his weapons. But without them? Err…
On the other hand, Masayoshi is totally into this. He’s the hero he’s always wanted to be, with monsters to protect the city from all the time. He’s become so caught up with this that he’s starting to ignore some glaring details. He sees nothing wrong with the monsters being so weak and pathetic, nor does he question why they explode any more. The way he’s so stubborn about how important his role is, so desperate for fame (he won’t admit it, but he totally is), and so downright bitchy to Goto is quite hard to watch.
To be quite honest, he really got on my nerves. He expects everyone to have the same interest in his crime-fighting and the monsters, so he gets a short fuse when things happen to contradict his view that “omg I’m the best person ever saving the world, everyone should pay attention to meeee.” So when the cops just kind of let him do whatever because he’s doing all of their work, he gets pissed. They arrive late because there is no urgency in just cleaning up a pile of black soot and filling out forms. Masayoshi is being ignored, and he’s not enjoying it one bit.
For a model, he has questionable fashion sense.
Watching him act like his old, childish self was infinitely frustrating. Goto fighting back was frustrating as well. We don’t need melodrama, please stop making Masayoshi fight with everyone he sees! Fortunately, we’re freed from the terrible drama once King Torture starts kidnapping people. The dark turn feels realllly forced, especially for a show with so much comedy, but it does spice things up. King Torture kidnapping Flamenco Diamond was the best thing that happened. It may be another dumb twist (I get the feeling we’ll be seeing tons of dumb twists in the future) but hey, it’s interesting! Samumenco pedaling furiously to the final boss battle was pretty amusing, given the tone. Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or not. At this point, I’m just going to treat this as a huge parody and laugh at everything.
Next week should be…wow, I don’t even know, you guys. Samurai Flamenco will use his new, ultimate weapon to fight against King Torture and save Flamenco Diamond, I suppose. King Torture will probably reveal why he sent all these weak-ass minions after Samurai Flamenco as well. My guess is that the otherworldly residue they supposedly leave behind is a set-up for something. It’s either a pathogen, something explosive, or a magical kind of particle that can be used for other evil-related shenanigans. Whatever it is, King Torture purposely let his minions die for his greater goal of evil. The fact he’s following TV logic is also probably another important factor to his plan, likely to lower everyone’s guard.
My optimism was misplaced: I do not like this new direction. On the bright side, it provides new surprises each week. The fluctuations from humorous to dark to wtfgorilla are unpredictable and crazy. I have no idea what this show is going for. There are tons of messages to pick up on, but the whole theme of the show remains rather disjointed. At the very least, this show is getting a lot of people talking.