The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Samurai Flamenco

Title: Samurai Flamenco
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Aniplex/Manglobe/Fuji TV
Format: 22 episodes
Dates: 11 Oct 2013 – 28 Mar 2014

Synopsis: Hazama Masayoshi dreams of becoming a superhero like those in the television shows he saw as a child. Despite not having any super powers, insane wealth or secret techniques, he takes to the streets to fight crime and bring justice to evil doers. On one of his excursions, Masayoshi is uncovered by Goto Hidenori, a police officer. Instead of taking the protagonist to an insane asylum, Goto tries to reason with Masayoshi and upon failing helps him by letting him play his superhero antics in such a manner that he doesn’t get killed.

The Highlights
Plot: A comfy slice-of-life series cut brutally short by a train of insanity.
Characters: Distinctive and likable.
Animation: Perfectly fine when the series focuses on drama but falls apart in action sequences.

When I look back at my review, I wonder if I’m justly rewarding audacity or wantonly promoting stupidity. Samurai Flamenco is probably one of the most unusual anime I have ever watched. It starts of rather benign slice-of-life drama involving a young man who wants to become a superhero befriending a police officer. The show enters a kind of comfortable groove where the main protagonist somehow makes his idiotic delusions somewhat sustainable through sheer willpower and under the careful watch of his police officer friend. Then… the show goes thermonuclear.

Without spoiling too much, there is an incident I will code name the guillotine gorilla incident where the show changes direction rather drastically. So drastically that I dare say that the whiplash could cut a head clean off. The nature of the show completely changes and it actually becomes rather difficult to read what the show is even about. Superficially, the show basically becomes a super sentai series akin to Power Rangers; however, the implementation is wonky and the series continues to twist itself into knots that makes it hard to decipher what in the world the series is trying to do.

There is a part of me that honestly believes that the creator of this series looked at Madoka Magica and said “you want deconstructions? I’ll put your deconstructions within deconstructions within deconstructions.” Either that or he looked at Evangelion and said “yeah, I can totally make that more convoluted and incomprehensible.” The show introduces the kind of plot insanity that makes the mind blue screen out due to all the mental errors it creates.

The ultimate point of the show seems to be a constant escalation of ideas for the sake of escalation, but I can’t tell for certain. The show actually does warrant a second viewing to get a better grasp of its ideas, but the show is production wise so poorly constructed that it’s not entertaining enough to rewatch. Though the slice-of-life elements are handled well, a lot of the superhero hijinks are extremely poorly realized. Furthermore, I fear a second watch is more likely to cause the show to crumble into a mass of stupidity than uncover any deeper message.

Samurai Flamenco is a rare example of a writer going completely and utterly crazy with his scripts and the rest of the staff further fanning the torrents of his madness. The production quality is low so it’s clearly more of a genuine experiment than any kind of focused effort. Typically, a piece of media that introduces something truly unique is hailed as “art,” but I’m not confident enough to give the show such praise. However, if there’s one I’m certain of, it’s that this show is sure as hell not average.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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