Samurai Flamenco is about a naive young man who decides to become a superhero. A few people have compared this to Kick-Ass, and some of the setup is quite similar. If you haven’t seen Kick-Ass, it’s about a loser male lead becoming internet famous as a superhero by getting random magical powers and kicking ass that was supposed to be intended as a modern day take on superhero stories but is instead a pile of crap that is actively unpleasant to watch, managing to be bad in all the ways superhero stories usually are and adding in several more bad aspects all on its own (I thought I was alone in thinking Kick-Ass was horrible until the sequel came out and a load of people said “eurgh not more of that thing” which I was hugely relieved to see).
Oh right, this is supposed to be a review of Samurai Flamenco, not of Kick-Ass.
The superhero wannabe is kind of adorable in his own hopelessly naive way. When God was assigning skill points for him, he put all his points into beauty and none into pretty much anything else. I like that they make a point of showing how skilled he is in anything else. He’s a model, but as a model he mostly just stands there and looks pretty. He can’t sing or act and feels mildly ashamed of this fact. It’s this general feeling of being unable to do much that lends to his naive belief that he can save the world from his privileged fancy apartment position.
What makes it work is the contrast between fancy pants and the policeman he befriends. The policeman is more a reflection of the realities of adulthood and realising you can’t save everyone. The dialogue doesn’t outright state as much, but does a very good job of working around it with amusing conversations about whether Kamen Rider’s mask counts as a helmet. The dialogue is great in that it infers a lot about the themes of the show. It works better when you take the story from the perspective of this policeman finding this slightly eccentric naive fashion model and discovering through his enthusiasm what it was that made him become a policeman in the first place.
To drop a sort of overlying story-type over Samurai Flamenco, it’s a mid-life crisis show. All right, the policeman isn’t particularly old, but the same boredom of his current life and position is shining through quite strong. It takes a kid jumping in with wild ideals to wake him up and start to remind him of what he valued when he was younger. Despite its superhero motif, the tone is quite chill, with the muted colours and the fact half the episode was the two main characters eating curry and watching cartoons together. It’s supposed to be set in a real world, so it suits, but I’m guessing it does start to expand its colour palette and energy when the cop rediscovers his youth and does the classic midlife crisis thing of powering an intergalactic super laser with his electric guitar.