16 CommentsSamurai Flamenco / By Scamp /

Samurai Flamenco episode 5 – We are the Trombone Heroes

vlcsnap-2013-11-11-11h56m43s149I love silly little graphical details like sticking the time in the top left corner to signify the type of show we’re watching. Namely it’s an early morning, children targeted silly superhero show. As seen in other early morning children cartoons like Precure and Gurren Lagann. It’s a bit weird to look back at that and realise Gurren Lagann aired in a timeslot with a target audience under the age of 8. To be fair that was who super robot shows of old were targeted at too, even with Yoko’s boobs flying about the screen. It’s awfully strange to watch my own Gurren Lagann dvds and not see the little digital clock in the top left corner.

vlcsnap-2013-11-11-12h05m54s51Samurai Flamenco feels a teeny bit aimless with its broader theme at the moment. I don’t know what it’s trying to do with hero stories. Its focus appears to be on how your image of the heroes you saw on TV isn’t as shiny as your nostalgic mind remembers, which doesn’t necessarily tie in with what the rest of the show has been doing. However I don’t mind this at all when the show is being as consistently funny as it is. The main draw of the comedy is translating superhero cartoon logic into the real world. The jolly colourful, cleavage-tastic magical girl tasering dudes and whacking them over the head with a wand with giant spikes on the end like a mace as blood flies from them. The magical colourful explosions caused by actual explosions that do genuine damage. It reminds you that behind the wanton destruction superheroes cause in their wake, there are a thousand insurance firm employees responding to calls about whether their health insurance covers magical girls.

The other side of the humour is introducing more and more weird characters and elements to the show and watching them clash. I’ve been hugely impressed with this side of the show so far. Between the introduction of Red Axe, watching his own superhero movies and constantly disappearing off to movie festivals, and the idol trio and their possible sexual tension between the group, every character introduced so far has been hugely entertaining. The writers have done a great job foreshadowing each of these elements just enough so that it doesn’t feel like its pulled these twists out of its ass. Although I said the show felt aimless with its theme, part of the reason why I’m not so worried about that is the writing has been so solid on foreshadowing and dialogue that it feels like its in safe hands anyway. We’ve got these small things building in the background, like the sleazy journalist’s advances on miss manager, or the police officer’s non-existent girlfriend. I’m dying for her to appear because I want to see those sparks fly between her and the idols.

If this girlfriend exists, which as I’ve said before I’m not convinced. He’s probably just texting Cleverbot.

vlcsnap-2013-11-11-11h58m56s223The animation, on the other hand, doesn’t really live up to the writing. At all. There were a fair number of derp faces this episode, and I swear its rising each week. Note that none of these pictures are between frames, which doesn’t count because everything looks derpy in between frames. They held these poses for a few seconds.

vlcsnap-2013-11-11-12h00m40s243This one’s my favourite. It’s like something went horribly wrong at the point where the shadow of his hat hits his face. It looks like like that’s not a shadow but instead his head actually consists of two different heads glued together, with the top half coming from a darker skinned man, but they didn’t glue it together properly or get the proportions right.

vlcsnap-2013-11-11-12h00m57s152That dude there is pointing his thumb and going “errr guys, shouldn’t one of us take care of that girl having a stroke behind us?”

vlcsnap-2013-11-11-12h05m04s64Nothing wrong with this one. I just found it amusing that apparently Lupin III has joined the police force.

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  1. Pusswookie
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Gurren Lagann was originally targeted towards child audiences?
    From Apr 1, 2007 to Sep 30, 2007, and possibly a couple months thereafter, there must’ve been a lot of grandstanding on the school playground.

  2. Nagisa33
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I too was imagining that the policeman was fooling himself. If that happens it’ll be quite the twist. There’s a lot of kookie people in this show, it can’t hurt in adding another!

    • Scamp
      Posted November 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      The policeman is supposed to be the one ‘normal’ guy in the show. The one with the level-head throughout all of this. Not that he’s been doing that though, standing up on buildings dressed as Samurai Flamenco going “dude this is awesome”

  3. BwackNinja
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    I managed to catch up on this, and I’d say that the focus seems to be more on how you have to be extra hammy for a strong stance on umbrella stealing to even pretend to make sense, despite how obvious it seems that hurting other people at your convenience isn’t something society should accept. The contrast with the superheroes of lore is that what needs to be fought comes from within society, not outside of it.

    The superhero far more represents that you need passion to even be relevant – to even start to change the world around you for the better – because everyone is stuck on “that’s the way it is” rather than working consistently towards how things could be. Whether flashy or lame, you need to be pretty super to be even a minor hero.

    Then we have Flamenco Girl, who from even her introduction pushes us towards thinking she’s doing it wrong and Samurai Flamenco has it right. She’s more effective at achieving the same goals, but there is an impurity about it because she’s so focussed on beating the bad guys rather than helping the innocent or being a real change in society. The only real hope for her character is the fact that she knows of Red Axe, and the influence that the superhero side brings can fundamentally change her for the better. Magical Girls fight the evil in the shadows and they nor that evil is revealed to the public. Superheroes on the other hand are a symbol of hope for a better world and fight the evil in plain sight.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Hammyness will save the world! Or at least save their umbrellas, which is a start

  4. Posted November 12, 2013 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    This series has basically one possible thematic thread that interests me – the difficulty of finding the passion and purpose of childhood in the context of the sacrifices and compromises of adulthood. So, basically, Goto’s story.

    But I’m greatly enjoying the series for the same reasons you are – the humor is great, the cast is diverse and endearing, and the writing is strong. It’s very sturdy entertainment.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Goto’s story is the most interesting to me too, which is why I really want to see his girlfriend show up. A clash of values would be great for his character

  5. Shikamaru
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    I have the same problem with this series that I had with Kick-Ass. It’s slowly turning more and more unrealistic and I don’t like that. I mean, I really enjoyed Kick-Ass but it could have been way better. I really like the idea that somebody just decides to become superhero in a real world and fight crime. I have seen so many superhero movies and cartoons with superpowers and supervillains that I need something different.
    The first 2 episodes were really great but sadly it’s slowly turning into a real superhero series.

    For example, how does that spike wand work? And it has tasers too? Fuck you! That wand alone takes all the realism away. It’s really annoying. Also, why are the police okay with Flamenco Girl swinging that mace and breaking skulls left and right.

    It also has many things that are too common in superhero series. How exactly Flamenco finds all these bad guys? Why don’t the bad guys gather up like 10 guys and beat up Flamenco. Why don’t they use guns? Why doesn’t somebody just take off the helmet? It’s not that hard you know. Why doesn’t nobody have any clue who Samurai Flamenco and Flamenco Girl are?

    It’s a superhero series, I get that. But we have seen this countless times. Give me something new. Something realistic. This series and Kick-Ass both had really refreshing beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I still love this series. I just would have liked that it would have taken different direction.

    Last few things. This series has great sense of humor. Kaname especially is hilarious. I like the long term relationship that Goto is having. What I have read it’s not apparently rare at all in Japan. I might be wrong of course. This is going to be pretty long series so I would like to see some romance. Personally I think 11-13 episodes would have been better length. This has huge potential to be the best superhero series I have ever seen.

  6. Someone Else
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    …Gurren lagann is shown at a timeslot aimed for kids???!?! That quite doesn’t explain why there are nipples on the movie version. Bouncing boobs are fine but full nudity is completely something else. How is this possible!!!???

    Also Cleverbot is best girl. She has some nice topics to talk about

    • Scamp
      Posted November 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      It aired in early morning timeslot that’s usually reserved for kids shows. Not sure if that’s what the crew had in mind for the audience. Plus Japan doesn’t care so much about nudity

      • Pusswookie
        Posted November 12, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Then why is their porn censored?

      • Scamp
        Posted November 14, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        That completely fucking baffles me too mate.

  7. Wodes
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been watching this through the “lens” of Don Quixote, and viewing it from that perspective the issue of “themelessness” isn’t really a problem (as you yourself mentioned). The show is about a character who insists the world can have a place for superheroes and ropes in everyone around him to adhere to that vision. It doesn’t really have to have a clear message (I know I couldn’t find anything defining as a message out of Don Quixote). It just builds this world and let’s the stories naturally evolve.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      I guess I’m just a big ‘theme’ guy and like that stuff in my stories. It doesn’t necessarily need one, but I always prefer it.

  8. Posted November 13, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    You know that there in marvel comics there is an entire super team whose job it is to clear up property damage? Their name is Damage Control, and they go on wacky adventures cleaning shit up after the other heroes trash it.

    Once the crystler building becomes sentient, and they defeat it by talking it into staying in it’s current position with a one month vacation in August, since no one is in New York in August.

    Basically, I really do wish that those guys would be the clean up crew for Flamencgirl’s messes. In fact I wish they were in more of anything.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 14, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      That does sound pretty great.

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