[Anime] Samurai Flamenco: Dream or Delusion?

Sunday, November 10, 2013 Laura Fitzgerald

Standing for truth, justice, and making a difference no matter how small, it's SAMURAI FLAMENCO!

Brief Synopsis: Hidenori Goto -- a blase and unambitious local cop -- has a run in with an unfortunately dressed costumed vigilante by the name of SAMURAI FLAMENCO! Okay, so Flamenco isn't actually "unfortunately dressed" when he first meets Goto. In fact, he is quite naked after a small mishap ruins his super hero duds. This was not Flamenco's first screw-up as an amateur superhero, and it most definitely won't be his last. Goto and Flamenco (real name: Masayoshi Hazama) soon become friends while Flamenco continues to fight small-time crime (jaywalking, littering, etc.) with Goto as his witness/occasional rescuer. 

Although my summary is Goto-heavy, the first handful of episodes are Hazama's origin story -- sweet, small, naive Hazama, who just wants to make the world a better place. He's spent his entire life idolizing the superhero dramas of his childhood, and, he now has a successful career as a male model, which affords him the time and money to finally bankroll his dream. What dream is that?  His dream of being a masked crusader of justice of course! 

To be honest, I kinda wrote this show off initially when the trailers and synopsis first went up. The Super Sentai genre has never really appealed to me, and the whole "ordinary man tries to become a real-world superhero but falls flat on his face initially" isn't exactly new material. Samurai Flamenco quietly won me over. The show does an excellent job of balancing the bonkers with some really thoughtful moments. It's absolutely charming.

Thus far Episode 3 has been my favorite. I watched it last weekend and had "all the feels" about it. However, since no one that I know is watching this show, hey Internet, I'm going to blog about it at you. In it, Hazama's secret identity is almost revealed to the world on live television, but thankfully (perhaps?) an impostor steps in to claim the title of SAMURAI FLAMENCO! (If you haven't caught on yet, Samurai Flamenco is impossibly fun to shout. Go ahead. Try it. I'll wait.) What's more, that impostor turns out to be none other than one of Hazama's childhood heroes whom Hazama is meeting for the first time! Yay! 

This next bit gets a little spoilery. So if I've already convinced you to give Samurai Flamenco a try, watch it on Crunchyroll now.

Highlight for episode review/spoilers: Sure it's a relief that's his secret is still safe. Maybe even a little bit gratifying to learn that Hazama's good deeds have made such a big impression on one of his most cherished idols; however, Hazama is obviously feeling conflicted about a great many things. You just want to give him a teddy bear as he has his sulk after the broadcast. It's never easy meeting your hero and realizing that they aren't all that heroic in the flesh...that's rough. For a true fan, it's the worst feeling ever, but it's even more complicated than that for poor Hazama! His hero is not only kinda a jerk but also in direct competition with him for the Flamenco job. So who is more deserving of the hero label? This is Red Axe we're talking about here! This is the man who in Hazama's mind, where fact and fiction don't always separate cleanly, single-handedly defeated scores of evil villains. "Real" villains and the not middle-school aged children that real Flamenco so recently tangled with. That kind of doubt is crushing for the newly minted hero, and Hazama has some choices to make. Does he give up and let a "real hero" take over the role? Or is Bruce Wayne wrong? Are our heroes just symbols or is there a more personal, individual quality to the men and women behind the masks?

This all sounds so severe, but don't worry, Samurai Flamenco never takes itself too seriously for long. The episode still manages to have a lot of fun and will leave you smiling.

Samurai Flamenco is Kickass without the violence. It' Super Sentai with the cheese-factor dialed back just a little. It's awesome and you should be watching it. (But only if you like fun.)