There was this kid whose name I forgot because I haven’t thought about him in about a year. He once talked about how he should try and plow through a 26 episode anime a week, every single week. I told him he was crazy, but he was one of those people who really loved Sword Art Online so his points are objectively false(joke). I forgot my point already, but I am back in the game with a 22 episode series reviewed within two weeks. So yay for finding a series I knew nothing about other than how it is insane but eventually ties itself together really well, although I’d say that is very much debatable.
Samurai Flamenco Review
Availability: Subtitled on Crunchyroll
Samurai Flamenco focuses on a hero of the same name, or more specifically, Masayoshi Hazama. A young male model who spent his entire life idoling the… Tokusatsu heroes of his youth, desiring to bring their existence into reality. Somewhat like what I heard Kick-Ass to be, although I’m guessing Zebraman is more appropriate here. And following what I believe may be a formula for these sorts of stories, it begins with the main character being a rather embarrassing hero, but as the series goes on he expectedly learns the true meaning of justice and becomes an idol through videos people took on their phones. With gadgets and other super heroes thrown in for good measure, along with a police officer to serve as the Hazama’s friend. Though that is only up until the seventh episode, when the show decides to take the fairly grounded scenario and throw it up into the sky.
The best way I could describe the change in tone is by comparing it to if a man does a long jump, manages to not only break a supposed world record but keeps on soaring until he is out of the stadium, is smashed into some birds, flies through some clouds, and eventually defies Earth’s gravitational pull until he not only left Earth, but managed to jump through the moon, leaving a hole in it. Only to then land right where he should’ve, but still falling down face first. Naturally one would have a variety of questions about how such a feat was by any stretch of the imagination was accomplished, and answering all of those questions is a daunting task if I have any frame of reference. But when it comes to answering the questions, I’d say that Samurai Flamenco certainly does try very hard, but its problem does come from its pace.
I mentioned the 22 episodes, which is something of an oddity from what I’ve seen, and it certainly did feel as if the show could have benefited from additional exposition, answers, and in some cases simple character development. As the cast almost instantaneously adds four members for no reason other than how a team must be assembled. At first I thought they were some form of accessory characters, but their continued investment and simple lack of depth actually came across as rather jarring when the show does try to end on a more thoughtful arc than one would assume it to. In fact, the addition of gratuitous nut stomping, mild gore, and psychological disorders the show introduces do make it rather puzzling how the show wants to be viewed when you consider there is a monster who is a coffee can.
I actually do respect these shifts when trying to raise the stakes as the show advances, but even then the amount they are raised every time is wildly disproportionate. Same goes for the amount of investment each arc the series hold with the space arc spoiled by an episode titled Flamenco In Space being wrapped up in its first episode. Afterwards, the show tries to explain a lot of the… oddities boasted in the world to a degree nearing the line of satisfactory, but came across to me as a little bit too clean cut while failing to explain some questions along the lines of how this or that happened.
It almost makes the show’s conclusion look oddly polished in comparison, as it introduces a very well foreshadowed antagonist who is probably the most original and compelling aspect the show has to offer, and Samurai Flamenco does make the most of them. Granted, the foreshadowing around an aspect very important to a character’s behavior near the end left me more than a little confused as a certain exploited trait is blown out of proportions in comparison to everything that came before it. Just like the weirdly included homosexual undertones brought forth by a pro-lesbian anti-homosexual male female character… Yeah, the show is weird.
Yet with weirdness does come a lower budget, which I am assuming Samurai Flamenco had as it rarely stood out visually for anything beyond a few scenes and doodle-quality designs. Its more realistic look does work well with its starting tone and nothing about it looks visually poor or all that poorly animated, even if some tricks are played when things do get heavy in regards to action. However, it not being the main priority of the show, anything bad I can say comes from more in depth analysis when the show likely wants to be judged on its story above all else, which is a bit of a problem.
Going back to my comparison from earlier in this review, Samurai Flamenco does indeed survive its massive leap into insanity while still not succeeding anywhere near perfectly. From loose plot threads in a show that is very clearly meant to be self contained, questionable progression, and pretty much everything that can happen when you are driving the plot like a train trying to break the sound barrier by floating off of a cliff, assuming that makes any sense. It is a series that I can safely state that I enjoyed through and through, but in regards to its actual craftsmanship, I am far less generous with my compliments. It is something of a blast if you think with your emotions and not your brain.