Here is the second post for this week regarding some posts I collabed with other people about. If you remember a certain April Fool’s Day post on this anime with Irina, yeah. That’s why it’s here now. I only wish that I could have swallowed a bit of that waiting pride and actually talked about it earlier because this show is only available illegally now. It left Crunchyroll at the end of May and I wish more people were able to watch it. Is it unusual? Well yeah, it is. It is very unusual. First, it’s a mixture of a Tokusatsu and Super Hero parody show and then it becomes something else when it moves faster. That something is first what throws away some people from it, but I can’t really help but I enjoyed every single moment of it for a lot of the reasons why later on. For now, let’s discuss what Samurai Flamenco is about so there is much more context.
The most interesting thing I learned through watching Samurai Flamenco and other tokusatsu adjacent anime series I watched is that they are completely compatible to western super hero kinds of stories. The main difference are the costumes and how each series categorizing the heroes. In western super hero media, everyone has their own costumes that are severely different from each other that match their super hero powers or their personas while characters in super sentai series seem to have similar costumes with different colors and other little flourishes from what I’ve researched and have been shown on my twitter feeds quite often. (Please tell me if I am wrong.) So obviously, there is enough similarities that the story understood by a lot of areas on Earth into one and Samurai Flamenco does that. It feels like American super heroes are individuals while Super Sentai are in groups and Flamenco has both. I feel my restraint against watching Tokusatsu weakening as a result. Regardless, that connecting point, and watching Japanese media for years, is why I was able to connect to it so much.
So, lets discuss the story finally. One day it happened. One day, a male model super hero wannabe by the name of Masayoshi Hazama was found in the middle of changing in a back alley by the cop with the name of Hidenori Goto. What happened not only change the fate of one wannabe super hero with the name of Samurai Flamenco, but forged an unbreakable friendship eventually. First, this started with a curious cop investigating a tokusatsu otaku who doesn’t know how to be a hero. Over time with some dedication, some training, and some tech help, Hazama is able to fully realize the power of being a super hero in a world that everyone wants him to with help from Goto to maintain his own journey. This journey is also one for queer people as well which is exciting in its own right.
The first half moves so naturally. I love how the cast just grows through Masayoshi’s model business because it feels organic. Especially when his model business success and his afterlife merge in terms of its cast. First is the appearance of the very interesting Flamenco Girl who is a genius idol by the name of Mari Maya in the 3M group during her day life. First Samurai Flamenco and her form a partnership, but after her masochism, the two separates with Flamenco Girl creating a super hero group with her idol coworkers. Masayoshi also teams up with a former Tokusatsu Star, Joji Kaname and is mothered by his very good manager Sumi Ishihara who is my favorite character in the show. She’s so strict yet supportive.
That’s when the discussion of escalation comes in. Since this is the first part still, the main story is how Masayoshi’s Samurai Flamenco dream slowly becomes real. One day, he’s getting beat up by school kids for them not following minor rules, yelling at an old lady for putting her trash out at night that is meant to be taken by the garbage man the next day, and other petty crimes. Then he starts taking down actual criminals. Normal criminals are not large enough threats which leads to the appearance of King Torture and his minions that explode in fireworks when defeated. All of this led to an examination of what it means to be a hero from how Masayoshi lives his life like the very monster otaku King Torture and through Mari’s own exploration through her teammate Moe who would gladly sacrifice herself for Mari’s own sake. A true hero conclusion and story. All very well done.
What people don’t seem to like is the second half due to its super-fast escalation and/or examination of all sorts of genres of super hero and tokusatsu kinds of stories. Something I disagree with myself honestly because I love that sort of escalation if it makes sense. I am a JoJo and Golden Kamuy fan after all and if a show calls for chaos, then it calls for chaos. I feel like Samurai Flamenco was definitely calling for more of it. Would Samurai Flamenco be satisfying if it ended with the end of its first cour? Probably. I mean, that is a satisfying ending for some people and not satisfying for other people who can’t see some connections as well. Mari would be stuck in her stupor forever, we would never know the reality behind Goto’s girlfriend, and Masayoshi’s own arc wouldn’t be fully understood if the second half wasn’t “insane”. All of which doesn’t make a lick of sense because everything is decently set up and it all does cool down in a good, romantic conclusion in the end. It’s a very it begins where it ends kind of story and I like those.
So, what are the escalations that watchers don’t seem to like. Well, they come in a few arcs. The first one is a very super sentai arc with Samurai Flamenco joining the Flamengers Sentai Group to fight against Beyond. That one involved Masayoshi taking the mantle of red flamenger and learning teamwork with his unique team mates with their own story. Eventually, FROM BEYOND invades Japan and with their help and the help of tokusatsu actors who are actually just tokusatsu people, they save Japan. There is also the lone hero running away from the law arc which leads to him facing maximum power vote prime minister and eventually god. Finally, there is the de-escalation arc where Masayoshi has a seemingly normal life but it’s ruined by some tension in his heart. You see, all of this happens anyway due to his push to want to be a hero so bad.
Why do I like the second half of Samurai Flamenco despite its exposition growth? I already stated that I liked crazy things and that’s the first part, it fit the bill. Otherwise, it fills a very good emotional journey for Masayoshi. It’s pretty much the arc of asking for an interesting life because you never know what happens when it comes to you. Despite all the craziness, Samurai Flamenco never forgets its characters either. Masayoshi never feels too out of reach despite his craziness and his completely bare confession to Goto makes sense to him because they have been together for forever. The relationship between Masayoshi and his manager never breaks either. Same with the throuple idol love story with 3M joining together after their own fallout with more love than before. That’s why it all makes sense for me in the end. It’s all so good. Chaos with good character relationships that maintain themselves works for me.
What stuns me is how Samurai Flamenco is able to do that when the production values behind the show are not very stellar at all. Well, the character designs are very good and expressive, there are tons of settings, with some solid animation here and there, but there is a lot of stillness and flatness to everything too. For all the insanity on display, the show feels very flat for me. For every good action scene, there is another three or four where characters sit and stand while walking or something to create a good sense of character. That fight with god didn’t last very long and just kind of happened out of nowhere and resolved itself just as quickly. So, all the action scenes that happen are pretty short in length as well. So, Samurai Flamenco is a very effectively animated and written show.
So yes, Samurai Flamenco is a solid on my list. I enjoyed the whole experience. The chaos, the character drama, the relationships, and everything else. There are some flaws from the storytelling and its execution, but I honestly don’t care. My opinion in general is that it’s a very good show that just isn’t understood by a lot of people for some reason. Apparently it also crashed too despite all the ideas and creativity behind it. I suppose it came out at the wrong time for super hero media like Tiger and Bunny as well of which both of the shows are similar in a lot of ways. Maybe that is why this worked with me as well as it did. Regardless, it’s so fascinating. If it sounds like your thing, you know what to do.