Hello, friends! It is a hectic time in the life of our Great Anime Overlord, Scamp; lately, he has time only to write about the deadly serious subject of which anime waifu is his favorite anime waifu, so at least for this week, I will be stepping in for Big Boss in our coverage of this season’s Anime That Has Bewildered the Most People. (Or is that Kyousougiga? I am way out of the loop when it comes to fan reaction to things, so I’m not certain which show confuses people more.)
Many have been caught up in the “What is going on??” aspect of Samurai Flamenco since That Episode hammered at many expectations, but I don’t think the general direction of the series since then has been all that confusing. (Whether it has actually been done well or is interesting at all is, of course, a different debate entirely.) There was a commenter (well, a couple of them, actually) at the end of our previous Samurai Flamenco post that hit on a pretty solid idea that this episode expands on and directly comments on: the world has broken down and become nearly indistinguishable from fiction, such that after the initial uproar, the sentai creatures and such are treated like any other problem that society pays attention to for a week or two and then mostly ignores other than a minority that actually cares about the issue.
For anyone who works in media (like me — please, save your hatred and/or tomatoes for after the post) or pays attention to it at all, the pattern of the past couple of episodes (and the series as a whole where Samurai Flamenco himself is concerned) is familiar. You’ve got “OH SHIT THAT GORILLA HAS A GUILLOTINE AND IT DECAPITATED A COP” followed by “WOW THEY BLOW UP WHEN THEY DIE” and then “lol these guys suck this is boring.” There’s no danger or thrill anymore, so nobody cares. (It doesn’t help that the monsters are so pathetic now. Passing out poisonous tissues? lol) There’s so many things competing for their attention that they can’t care unless it affects them personally. Everyone has moved on aside from the news people who are desperately searching for yet another local angle to tie into the larger story. So many have stated that this seems weird and unbelievable, but this is the process of consumption for many horrific stories the world over. We see it play out all the time on social media, Internet, TV, etc.
And what of the people who really should actually care about all this? Flamenco Girl and her posse are off doing their thing because the monsters attack in the same pattern each week and it’s boring (an amusing meta joke). The police don’t give a shit because Samurai Flamenco is doing their work for them, so they commit as much as is needed to mop up afterward and no more, probably because they have a budget to think about. Even Masayoshi is getting restless. I think he still legitimately cares about helping people, but he’s also obviously caught up in his tokusatsu hero fantasy. His face lights up at the thought of a Samurai Flamenco figure. He’s thinking about things purely in terms of the logic of this genre. “As long as I have my weapons, I can beat anything they use.” Masayoshi is plugging away, but it’s obvious that Flamenco Girl isn’t the only one who wants things to escalate further.
Just remember how long the camera lingers on FINAL BATTLE. Masayoshi is scared for sure, and he wants to save Flamenco Girl, but the story is developing to the point where he gets to be the hero in a climactic clash between superhero and supervillain. He even gets an Ultimate Weapon conveniently delivered to him before the battle by his scientific cohort. Masayoshi has grown a bit, but in many ways he’s still the silly, giddy little kid in an adult’s body he was at the beginning of the series when he initially cobbled together his dorky costume and chased around jaywalking middle schoolers. At least he hasn’t forgotten his roots and still uses his bicycle like a responsible person who cares about the environment and physical health.
What will happen now that Masayoshi will get to take the next step in his Cool Hero Sentai Sugoi Fantasy? We shall see! I keep thinking the series will go down some darker path, but it has kept up its comic, satirical nature even after a gorilla became a cop killer and spilled a bucket of blood, so hey. King Torture is going around doing what he does best, but I’m still hesitant to say that, yes, the show is going to be all dark and stuff now.
Also, I hate to be yet another person harping on this, but god damn, it’s so disappointing that this series looks like hot garbage each week. At best I could laugh it off and be like “oh it’s a tribute to how cheap sentai shows are lol,” but I can’t even do that because bad art makes me sad. It probably makes the actual animators very sad, too. FREE THE PRODUCTION TEAM!!