12 CommentsSamurai Flamenco / By Scamp /

Samurai Flamenco episode 12 – Power Rangers

vlcsnap-2014-01-11-08h34m53s86After the 3 week break, I get the feeling a whole lot of people will have jumped back into Samurai Flamenco and realised “holy crap I do not care about a single thing that is going on anymore”. Funnily enough that is what happens when you set fire to your original script a quarter of the way through the show and arbitrarily decide anything and everything can happen. You do start to lose emotional investment. I know I have. The entire story feels artificial now. Which they are doing something with and making commentary about in some interesting ways I will grant them that. It’s just hard to care.

vlcsnap-2014-01-11-08h35m05s197I did quite like Masayoshi’s trip to his old police buddy’s house. It, and the scene where he berated a dude on the street, helped do at least the tiniest bit of connecting what happened pre-Guillotine Gorilla to post-Guillotine Gorilla. They have a human conversation with grounding in reality. They had worries and dreams which they spilled out over a cup of tea together. Masayoshi asked a dude on the street to put out his cigarette because he was in a no smoking area. This was the Samurai Flamenco I originally started watching. It was a little bit funnier maybe, but it felt like the genuine struggle of a guy who just wants to make a difference. Now he’s starting to make a difference as this is him wondering if he’s making the right kind of difference so going back to his friend for advice. It’s a really nice scene and gave me a tiny bit of hope for the future.

vlcsnap-2014-01-11-08h32m47s109The actual superhero-ing though still feels like its operating in a different world. If it’s meant to be a funny parody of these super sentai series then it’s doing a terrible job of it. Welcome to Poe’s Law, where the parody of something is indistinguishable from the real thing. There’s no real jokes here. Just a power rangers anime. Let me break it down for you here. I’m going to be real. The realest: Power Rangers is a terrible show. It was always a terrible show. I never liked it as a kid, never liked shows inspired by it. I didn’t even like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is another super sentai team cartoon. Nor have I liked these series as an adult. So when Samurai Flamenco is basically being Power Rangers, it’s boring and stupid and completely divorced from the reality of pre-Guillotine Gorilla.

This is why, in spite of Guillotine Gorilla being so long ago, part of me still holds onto the idea that this is a TV show. Nothing that happens here appears to have anything to do with the real world. They are just TV stars, appearing on daytime talk programmes and being recognised in the street. They’re actors whose actions have no relation to reality. That’s why Red Axe is here. It’s a TV deal he sprung up on his trips to ‘Africa’. That has to be the case. It has to be. It goddamn has to be!

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  1. Posted January 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I suspect the artificial feeling is intentional on the producer’s part. Right now Masayoshi is still blinded by the after-effects of seeing his childhood dreams being fulfilled but even he will eventually realise how hollow the whole scenario is.

    Everything is commercialzed to no ends (does Hazama even get his share of the profits made from all the Flamengers merchandise?) which couldn’t be more far from his essential concept of justice.
    The smoking man he meets doesn’t stop because he got convinced that he did something wrong but because Hazama is now a celebrity. His fellow powerrangers don’t actually share his sense of righteousness and are only in for the glory and other superficial reasons (“What does this battle mean to you?” – “If I write an autobiography, it’ll be a best-seller.”)

    The current state is presented as an ultimately meaningless MECHA-DICK may are. This week’s monster’s declaration of how Samumenco is betraying his prinicples by engaging in an unbalanced fight can be seen as a hint in plain sight that Hazama is gradually losing his way.

    Actually I’m just waiting for the next narrative shift (the journalist who’s showing up from time to time seems to agree) in the vein of Guillotine Gorilla because of the lack of emotional investment you mentioned that results from this choice of narrative direction. And because there’s a limit to how often I’m willing to put up with that enormously stupid catchphrase “Flamenger Period”.

    • Posted January 11, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Oops, accidently deleted part of my comment:
      “The current state of events is presented as an ultimately meaningless scenario no matter how flashy Flamenger’s gimmicks aka Mecha-Dick may are”

    • Scamp
      Posted January 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Gawd, Flamenco period. When they said that the first time they had a giant red goopy mark on the front of their robot and I did not like what they were getting it.

      I see what you’re saying, but there’s such a disconnect between the amount of damage they do and the impact on the world. It’s really like a superhero TV show is taking place.

  2. Nagisa33
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I expressed my thoughts on Menco and Pals before but here’s that wonderful gif that cements my feelings. If you continue to blog SamFlam I’m going to follow it and see how things turn out. Don’t force yourself if you aren’t getting anything out of it though.


    • Scamp
      Posted January 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      That gif continues and always will be amazing

      • KaiserMagus
        Posted January 12, 2014 at 2:04 am | Permalink

        What anime is that from, anyways?

  3. Posted January 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Can’t blame you for not liking Power Rangers. I find how the robot/monster fights are completely separated from reality with no consequences endearing in a cheesy way, but then again, I don’t usually like stuff that tries to get me emotionally invested these days. Part of why I couldn’t stand Captain Planet and Transformers as a kid.

    But yeah, I’m not expecting this to change back anytime soon. I saw the Zebraman movies (sentai films) recently and they did the same thing. First movie starts in the real world where our main character suffers from family problems and retreats to his old favorite sentai show for guidance, even wearing the costume from that show. But then these creatures come out of nowhere and he suddenly gets superpowers when he puts on that costume because…they don’t give a reason for it. He even gets to fly in the end for no reason. All in all, I loved it.

    And then the second movie continues on by having the entire planet be conquered, Stalin-style, by a bunch of masked zebra freaks and there’s this female that spawned from him and all. Basically, they go further into making it all sentai and you just have to roll with it. I didn’t like the film as much as the first b/c it felt very sequel-y despite the enjoyable cheese.

    Apparently, this is how tons of Japanese super sentai are like. Start real-world like, but then introduce sentai elements and make them “normal”.

  4. Johnny Joestar
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Yep, I feel you. I also find it hard to care about Samumenco at this point. The reason I didn’t mind the King Torture arc was because I thought the pre-gorilla episodes were boring and too Kick-Ass, but it definitely feels like a dried-out well after another five episodes.

  5. Posted January 11, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see who’s right. I mean, there are a lot of people who argue pretty hard that everything we see is intentional.

  6. shytende
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    MMM34 is without a doubt a parody. They even refers themselves to AKB48 at one point.
    I still think it’s some kind of tribute to the genre, though.

    The fight aren’t important on themselves. It’s just a way for the animators to have fun, but the main points are still the same : What does it means to be a hero ? Can you stay close to your ideals until the end.
    The sentai settig allows to treat the problem of team work and leadership.

  7. TheVoid
    Posted January 12, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    As someone who watched it as a kid I find the Ranger bits amusing. I heard that this was all planned from the beginning, though I’m not completely sure myself.

  8. Posted January 12, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    TMNT is hardly comparable to most Super Sentai shows and its relatives aside from a few key tropes in regards to the “team formation”.

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