24 CommentsSamurai Flamenco / By Scamp /

Samurai Flamenco episode 10 – It’s OK because it’s meta

Samurai Flamenco - 10 - Large 11

All right guys, it was fun while it lasted. The Guillotine Gorilla moment was genius in its complete unpredictability and I felt thoroughly entertained for a brief while. But I think I’m happy now to call it a Jump the Shark moment. A true, almost definitive shark jumping moment, to the point that I can’t think of a single other anime that has that absolute clear a moment that completely shifted tone and content with once such an easily identifiable moment. I haven’t seen Happy Days that the phrase comes from, but I’ve done extensive research into it (I read Wikipedia and TV Tropes) and the key difference here is Jumping the Shark is supposed to be for a show that was starting to lose appeal and did something audacious to try mix things up. To pull a Guillotine Gorillla your changing moment has to come out of fucking nowhere. Otherwise, to quote from wikipedia:

For a show that in its early seasons depicted universally relatable…this incident marked an audacious, cartoonish turn towards attention-seeking gimmickry.

Seems to do a pretty good job of explaining SamFlam too.

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Does it even count as meta superhero anymore? Samumenco doesn’t appear to be making any commentary on superhero stories anymore or trying to relate them to our lives. It just is a superhero story now. Having King Torture capture the lady character and torture her in ways that rip off her clothes and mention that she’s only here as bait for the male main character is the kind of thing shitty superhero stories do. You don’t get forgiven for doing this if the villain says “this is what villains do”. That only means you should know better. The only explanation here would be that the writers on Samurai Flamenco actually think these stories are good, in which case I can call the writers a load of idiots.

But hey, maybe it’s just me and my usual dislike of superhero stories when they start taking themselves so seriously. You know like how that Ironman movie was really cool when it was just a rich man in his house mucking about with machinery before a completely stupid villain came in with ridiculous schemes that made no sense whatsoever and resulted in battles that were completely stupid and had no tension whatsoever. Oh wait, maybe I’m talking about Samurai Flamenco there. Don’t worry though, it’s META! That means we can do all the same things in exactly the same fashion and nobody can criticise us, even if our meta commentary isn’t actually saying anything at all.

I’m still waiting for the camera to pull out and for a director to say “aaaaand cut” because right now that’s about the only explanation I’d be happy with for this arc. Either that or you’ve got to get even more ridiculous and become a completely different show altogether all over again. The monsters are from space and they try invade the earth so they build a Samurai Flamenco mecha and it eventually turns into Gurren Lagann. Now that I could possibly accept.

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  1. TheVoid
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    King Torture is just as big of a nerd as Masayoshi, but he didn’t have the balls to put his evil schemes into action until after a Superhero appeared. So ultimately it was Masayoshi who allowed him to live his dream of being EVIl!

    Also, King Torture doesn’t even consider Mari a true hero and showed contempt for her doing it solely for attention, which I think is part of his motivation for capturing her and using her as bait.

  2. Johnny Joestar
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    A shame that you don’t seem to like it, as I found this episode to be the best one so far. Then again, I haven’t had much exposure to superhero-realated media at all, so I can’t really tell what’s cliché and what isn’t.

    Looks like the theory about King Torture being a villain fanboy got confirmed.

  3. Gan_HOPE326
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    The thing I found appalling in this episode was the graphic violence. King Torture crushing a young girl’s finger with pincers, then severing his own arm? And all the impalement business? The tone was all over the place. And are we supposed to believe that a simple tokusatsu nerd could develop genetic engineering to turn humans into monsters and raise enough money to build a rocket? Why would his torture boys even be this devoted to “evil”? Who are they? Do we get a glimpse into their lives? The more I think about it, the more I feel like this was staggeringly idiotic. I am still expecting… I don’t know what, something? that will reveal everything to be more complex and to make more sense than it seems to. It just seems incredible that the same people who wrote the first six, genius episodes now are writing… well, this.

    • Cirith
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

      Well it’s supposed to have 22 episodes so there is probably a true big bad who supplied the technology or something like that.

  4. Nagisa33
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    I’m digging this. I like how KT was cut from the same cloth as Menco. I suspect the real villain is in the background. The part where Mari was singing was disturbing and dark. I’m curious to see where they go from here.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      After thinking about the shift, it’s not as fun as it used to be. I enjoyed SF more when Goto and Masayoshi were chilling on couch, eating curry, and watching Tokusatsu. It was funny when Red Axe jumped from a car, to another car, and then on a horse (all with explosions in the background). It was ridiculous when Flamenco Girl was crushing balls and taking names. That feeling of excitement and joy has been replaced with reactions of “Holy guacamole!!!” to all the unexpected or darker moments. SF isn’t as funny or laid back as it was before.

  5. Lin
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Great post. The series really did jump the shark. Now it’s just a generic tokusatsu show. Being aware of its own nature doesn’t change that fact. Unfortunately, many seem to believe that being meta means the show is doing deep social commentary and exploring relevant themes and whatnot. Lol, what a joke. The series is playing all the tropes of the tokusatsu book so straight the whole thing is just wish-fulfilment for man-child now. Heck, they even added the misogynistic element. They can try to justify it however they want, but the fact remains they had the female character humiliated and used as bait for the male main character to play hero. That’s bullshit not matter how you slice it.

    Anyway, I’m glad I’m not the only one who can see this show for what it really is.

  6. Posted December 14, 2013 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    More than anything else, I wonder if we were supposed to laugh at the ED song or feel sorry for it.

  7. Cirith
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    To be honest while watching episode 10 I started expecting again that the episode would end with them declaring it to be a show in a show.

    It didn’t go in the direction I expected at all, I suppose it could still do that and still have payoff for some things I expected to have payoff, but getting rid of King Torture and his Henchman so soon without actually doing something interesting with them was a surprise.

    Well I will continue to watch , I don’t know where they are going and I want to find out. Even if their goal is a total train wreck.

    Also i didn’t like the finger crushing, that type of violence just makes me uncomfortable.

    • Cirith
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 2:17 am | Permalink

      Also, I didn’t like the finger crushing, it made me uncomfortable.

  8. luffyluffy
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    You didn’t think being impaled on his own statue of a super hero which he cut and made sharp himself was serious? I for one couldn’t stop laughing throughout the entire episode. Maybe it’s because I’m sick as hell, but this was Samumenco’s best episode yet.

  9. Fifteenth
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Normally, I’ll be disappointed with Samurai Flamenco by now. But I’ve already invested with the characters enough, Goto mostly, that I’m not that bothered with the nonsense the show is throwing at us, as long as there are decent character development. Although I rolled my my eyes so hard at that torture scene.

    One other thing that doesn’t sit right with me is how normal Goto and Masayoshi acted after Goto saw what happened to KT after Masayoshi attempted murder. They’ve brushed this topic about death casualties several times but never actually bring it up so I’m not really sure how I should interpret this scene. Maybe the last 3 episodes tried to tell us that killing villains are now acceptable, or maybe the staff just don’t give a shit.

    But yeah, I’m still liking it. Subjectively.

    • Gan_HOPE326
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      That is another issue. They just handwaved entirely the fact that these were supposed to be real people, and still they are killed in the dozens by Samumenco and nobody gives a shit. I don’t think I can suspend my disbelief much longer.

      • TheVoid
        Posted December 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        King Torture did mention them being human to Masayoshi. No one else was around, but he doesn’t seem to mind since they’ve all embraced a life of EVIL! Torture even mentions they all did it willingly too. Even the henchmen are proud of being evil.

      • Gan_HOPE326
        Posted December 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, but evil or not, Goto is a policeman, and the law doesn’t exactly exempt you for killing someone just ’cause he’s self-proclaimed evil. Even if it’s in self-defence, there must be at least a formal investigation to ascertain that fact.

  10. MJ
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    This show is fantastic.

  11. Freshsushi
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Scamp looking down on Superhero stories makes me sad, since I’m an avid fan of DC Comics (the movies not so much). Seeing as how Scamp hates Superhero stories, I would love to see how he would react towards Watchmen.

    • Cirith
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      My main contact with superman comics is reading vs discussions, which convinced me that the multi writer system of comics is just horrible at keeping him at a consistent power level with consistent strength and weaknesses instead of being always as strong as the writer needs him to be.
      But maybe that is because such discussions bring out the worst fanboys.

  12. Posted December 14, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Are we supposed to believe in the reality of the first six episodes where SamFlam was concerned about publicity stunts and viral youtube videos, or this new reality of sentai heroes and villains that casually murder and torture each other and involve giant monsters and alien technology? It’s not a case of liking or disliking superhero stories; this show is two very different hero stories whose conventions of reality conflict with one another.

  13. Ken
    Posted December 15, 2013 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    I refuse to eat food when it goes bad. I’m no longer watching this for the same reason.

  14. Posted December 15, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Looks like we’re finally in agreement about this show, Scamp.

    I’d also like to mention the casual misogyny this episode brought with it. Let’s torture porn Mari for being a woman and daring to try to be the main character. Yeah yeah, she’s a bad person in-world, but this just begs the question of why the writers chose the female to be the insincere sociopath, and the male to be the lovable naive hero.

    Seriously, fuck you, Samurai Flamenco.

  15. stushi
    Posted December 15, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Dammit I was so hyped for the new show that was getting made by the creators of Baccano. It turned out different from what I expected but still great and with likeable characters.
    But now? I don’t even like anything other than Goto, and that’s probably just because they made him attractive on purpose :P

  16. Raiphin
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:00 am | Permalink


    Seriously. That next promo: “From Beyond”?

    Totally aliens.

    I’m now watching because I like trainwrecks.

  17. Sigfig
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    It’s actually not a superhero story. It’s a social commentary. Or did you not catch how heroes and villains fighting to their deaths turned into 6 o’clock news about USA’s next war, or what vile shenanigans North Korea is up to this time. Sure, some people still take it seriously and try to make a difference, but the masses could care less unless something radically different catches their fancy. This is one of the main points the show points out. Ever notice how all the super heroes were CELEBRITIES? And the masses always pay attention to whom? Etc.

    Things go deeper than that, but in short, the show is a commentary on our idealized or envisioned concepts of good and evil vs how they would really come to pass in reality. Some come to fruition. Goto does a job he needs to or else people die; good law enforcement does exist, yes. But the chief of police and Goto’s companions don’t care, it’s just a living for them. Not how police tend to act in super hero stories, where they seem to get super-involved, is it? Likewise,, Masayoshi really does possess a well intentioned and sincere heart; ‘good’ people willing to give at their own expense for the greater good do exist in rare numbers. But his peers, even his teacher? Heck no, they’re all opportunists (except for the doc, he’s legit). The majority of people that do good usually only do it out of convenience, or personal benefit. Like I said, the show is a social commentary above all else.

    So to summarize, as Samurai Flamenco transitions through stages of good vs evil mentality by diving deeper and deeper into a world of good vs evil, it exposes more fallacies and makes more criticism of the society that rather hypocritically spawned these ideas to begin with, while at the same time pushing reality into the equation: the super hero fought the pointless climactic battle, but it was an unnoticed, underpaid and unappreciated working man that did the best he could in an emergency, and he was the one that managed to save the world, not really out of a desire or anything, but a sense of responsibility. Shit, Goto may have been the main character all along.

    As for the end credits of episode ten, dat self-pity. Hate to say it, but that girl represents us day-dreamers that just want to be cool. Her reaction is what would happen if the crushing reality were thrust upon us and we had still held onto our delusions even until then. I mean, I think it would make anyone cry to be revealed just how broken they are.

    But hey, feel free to argue differently, these are just my observations.

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