Samurai Flamenco – 07

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OK, raise your hand if you saw that coming.

Under normal circumstances you don’s start an episode post by talking about the end of the episode, obviously.  But it seems to me that it would be pretty silly to even attempt to focus on anything else first when all anyone is going to be focused on is the last three minutes.  Me included – and who could blame anyone for feeling that way?  I’ve seen some hairpin turns in anime, but this one is going to rank up with the sharpest of them, for better or worse.

So which is it?  I think the only thing I can possibly do is withhold judgment until we know more than we know now – which ain’t much.  My initial reaction- well, let me preface that by saying my real initial reaction was that this was a cleverly disguised dream sequence, and either Hazama or Gotou was about to wake up and we’d all have a good laugh.  That’s how much the ending of this episode seemed completely out of left field – and character – for Samurai Flamenco.  I suppose it’s still possible that could be the case and we just won’t find out till next week, but that doesn’t seem real likely to me.

Once the credits rolled and the shock abated, my gut reaction is that I’m not a big fan of this dramatic change of tone and reality shift.  I personally think there’s plenty in what Samumenco set up in the first six eps to carry the series for two cours – plenty of potential in the character arcs, plenty of space for the plot to grow and virtually endless possibilities for the series to comment on modern Japanese society.  I liked the idea of a hero series where the enemy was apathy and diminished expectations, and everyone more or less obeyed the laws of physics.  Needless to say, assuming what we witnessed isn’t a dream that’s pretty much out the window.  But it really is too soon to judge – the writing has been so good with this series that I really need to see where they take this new development.

So let’s take stock.  We have a situation where crime is way down all over Tokyo (in reality it doesn’t have that far to drop) to the point where heroes and cops alike are bored most of the time (the cops I see certainly seem to be in reality).  Gotou’s task force is about to be disbanded, and Mari is so bored that she’s about to go out on tour just to try and find somewhere with more potential victims (I thought the scene where she was terribly disappointed when a woman wasn’t assaulted, but simply had her handkerchief returned by a shinsetsuna otoko was a brilliant portrayal of just how messed-up she is).  Harazuka-san has joined the bachelor circle at Hazama’s apartment, and everyone gets loaded on a bottle of tequila Jouji brings back from his U.S. tour (I wish we’d seen that happening, actually).

The most interesting development of the episode before the nuclear option was deployed was the revelation that Hazama’s parents were, in fact, murdered – and that his hero-loving Grandpa had lied about it for Hazama’s entire life.  Very clever, this, because a more cliched superhero plot twist you could hardly ask for, and that was the whole point.  It’s more than just being meta, which every other anime and its uncle is doing these days – it’s the fact that Hazama was himself apathetic about the news. This is the ultimate identity crisis for a superhero – he’s handed the perfect setup on a silver platter, and he can’t bring himself to perform the role that’s expected.  The scene where he reveals all this to Gotou is the best of the episode – especially when Gotou tells Hazama that he’s only human and a freak, not a hero, and “As a fellow human, I’m more inclined to trust freaks than heroes.”  Truer words have rarely been spoken.

Then the bomb drops.  It comes in the guise of a publicity stunt by the cops, a “Chief For a Day” event with Samurai Flamenco, where he joins the police on a drug bust and poses for pictures.  I can’t even begin to say how surprising the next part was – the perp (trying to get to some pills which will presumably prevent what’s about to happen) turns into “Guillotine Gorilla” – quite literally a giant armored gorilla with a guillotine where it’s stomach should be – and starts howling and chopping cops’ heads off.  His rampage is about to add Samumenco and Gotou to the casualty list when Gotou manages to blind him (with cocaine from the bust) and the two of them push the gorilla out the fourth-story window.  After he picks himself off he declares “Viva Torture” – and the presumed top boss reveals himself in spectral form.  It’s King Torture (Hayami Show), the “source of all evil”.  And nothing will ever be the same.

A game-changer?  Hell, yeah – if that’s what Kurata-sensei was after, he certainly pulled it off.  And if he was going for the element of surprise, he could hardly have asked for a more surprising turn.  But those things are actually easy to do in a vacuum – the hard part is to do them in a way that makes sense with the story you’re telling, and it’s too soon to know whether he’s managed that trick.  It’s hard to go wrong with Hayami Show as a supervillain and this twist opens up a world of possibilities – they just seem like different possibilities than I thought this show had at the 18-minute mark of this episode.  I’m still on-board, but it’s going to take a while for all this to sink in, that’s for sure.

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Samurai Flamenco - 07 -16 Samurai Flamenco - 07 -17 Samurai Flamenco - 07 -18
Samurai Flamenco - 07 -19 Samurai Flamenco - 07 -20 Samurai Flamenco - 07 -22
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Samurai Flamenco - 07 -26 Samurai Flamenco - 07 -27 Samurai Flamenco - 07 -28
Samurai Flamenco - 07 -29 Samurai Flamenco - 07 -30 Samurai Flamenco - 07 -31


  1. Z

    It looks like Buddy the Gorilla got a new gig.

  2. R

    For now my bet is that Gotou and Hazama accidently sniffed in some of the drugs, and right now they are tripping balls.

  3. j

    you have no idea what cocaine is

  4. R

    And that is something I will always be glad for

  5. S

    … I have some real reservations behind the directorial intent. At first I thought the sequence at the end was a metaphor or dream sequence… But the way they executed it made it seem like it was apart of the canon of the series. I do not want to judge the development yet, but I must say I am not gun-ho about it. I loved what was being delivered in the 'first part' of the series – it was essentially a critique of the Japanese society, and also provided insight into the real becomings of a true hero in the modern day society. It was this premise which was lying behind the superficial layer of plot, that I loved about this series.

    However, due to this well… shocking development, I was shocked that you, Enzo, did not speculate about Gotou's girlfriend in your post. Within my stomach, (normally I speak/write of it like its my brain) I got the vibes that Gotou's girlfriend is indeed dead, as you have been hypothesising in your posts. However, in this episode, Gotou's guarded exterior to Hazama's questioning and also his insights to Hazama, where he provides knowledge about the feelings of Hazama, makes me come to the conclusion that Gotou's girlfriend was also murdered by criminals. Technically, I loved how the directing cast used the reveal about Hazama's parents death, to be a catalyst not to survey Hazama's reaction but rather as a means to expand Gotou's characterisation.

    Here is to hoping that the concluding development of the episode will turn out well in the future, but we still have the same directing cast, so the execution skills should still be there. So I have faith that the director will be able to make this a fun ride for the next cour-and-a-half.

  6. Indeed, I fleetingly had a notion at the time that Gotou's reaction might reveal something about his girlfriend – especially when Hazama asked "why did you become a cop?" – but the freak-out at the end pretty much knocked all thoughts of it from my mind.

  7. e

    Well that was edgy.

    I'm tring to keep neutral about the final part (although I do appreciate the possible little Karloff-Frankestein hommage with those screw metal thingies on the gorilla mutant [?] 's head. And I'd trust the creature with my freshly picked cabbages ) but I do remember thinking 'now that's a candidate worth of Mari's taser' and expecting her to bust in this dream sequence-not at any moment.

    I definitely like what happened before. Hentai no chikara.
    On the comedic bits I had some laughs at Masa's musings of 'nothing to do. Could it be this is the last episode? ' , then at the anticlimatic assault-not – and aw <3 the 'kerchief rescuer and the woman were walking side by side aftwerwards. I smelt an anime romance flag right there and given Mari's Weltanschauung plus the timing of her frustrated rant it was sort of hilarious – .
    Kaname's souvenirs are funny. And I can't rule entirey out the possibility he was never on tour abroad and just brought those as fake evidence. But really the comedy would work either way.
    Last but not least in the middle of the hero's dramatic backstory reveal – smells like Batman and Barnaby Brooks – we also find out how much and how deep grandpa was a flamenco nut. Loved that bit. Olè. Where are my castanets?

  8. A

    I'm still going for dream sequence where the whole gorilla thing was concerned.

    The line "My parents were murdered, that's the best backstory a hero could have" line was hilarious, though.

  9. K

    Enzo, what you're feeling is exactly what I'm feeling. I'm in shock- seriously! I can't make head or tail out of this one.


  10. S

    I really do hope that that end was one big dream sequence otherwise it has the potential to ruin the whole show. It just seems too wacky to be real. The whole point of Samurai Flamenco is that he is just a normal, if somewhat stupid guy and there are no superpowers. To introduce a mutated gorilla that chops off heads would just be strange.

  11. t

    that was…surprising.
    2 major events occurred this ep. but before, come on, how lovely was it to watch the all 4 flamencoes waiting for their chance, but in the end, one intimidating man ended up being so lovely!

    now for the two major events:
    1. Hazame discovery over his parents. I must say it didn't surprise me that much. it wasn't that lame (and of course not that surprising) was…I guess some cliché that every superhero series is needed. but I did like the implications over Masayoshi. it was intriguing. something I did expect SF to do well, and it came out good. but I guess it's not the end of the story.

    2. the bizarre ending. first thing first – hasty. it was in the last 3-4 minutes of the ep, and something went off a bit. it took Masayoshi a long time to react. why?
    and a lot happened -fighting, cops ended up dead, the mega-change to Gorilla, the "torturer" and so on. they should have make that scene for about 10 minutes, not 3-4, and still keep it intense. at least IMHO

    now let's get into details.
    first – the gorilla and the organization-of the "king torture" – I don't like it. all of sudden it is the big tremendous change of this ep. and it's a bit too far. I am OKAY having an enemy, archenemy or whatever, but why break so much, not the physics, but the essence of the world(aka biology). engineering people to Gorilla with some mutations and all of it..and all of a sudden?let's keep it in the comics/manga section for the complicated worlds (like X-men or SSY with the mutations). samumenco world is our world. and it's better to leave it that way. now you can say – what about those Gadgets of samumenco?for me it's still OK, but this?too far IMHO.
    they can simply make an archvillian in the character of some crime-family or Mafia cartel and make it complicated enough. it would serve a lot better for samumenco world, which is so far reflected our world.

    second – cops are dead. definitely not something I was expected in samumenco. but I guess it's the risk in being a cop. I wonder how will it affect on Masayoshi, especially since he was in charge for the whole operation.
    as spiderman(actually uncle Ben) said – with great power comes great responsibility.
    and it's true not only for physical power. but being in charge is to be in a position of power.

    third – after this ep, I would not be surprised if Masayoshi parents' death was not a simple robbery. if his grandpa was really mad-scientist and his parents were somehow involved with samumenco and the bad guys…

    finally, well it was a big big surprise. not the kind of thing I was thinking.
    it's still very intriguing to see which way samumenco is heading to – the way of good vs evil like hardcore superhero stuff, or samumenco will manage a balance with what we've seen so far – reflecting to our world without mega-power.
    I guess they'll try to maintain balance with reflection to our world, but considering what we've seen to far, I wouldn't be surprised if this goes all out for the path of heroes (red-axe, flamenco-girls, samumenco and Hidenori) like super-sentai or Kamen rider stuff.

    Hidenori – once again very interesting character.
    he isn't revealing his motive about being a cop, yet he says Masayoshi is a freak (LOL). I didn't forget how he said back there in ep 2 or 3 "it feels great in that suit".
    I am sure we will see him in one 😛

  12. e

    'Hidenori – once again very interesting character.
    he isn't revealing his motive about being a cop, yet he says Masayoshi is a freak (LOL). I didn't forget how he said back there in ep 2 or 3 "it feels great in that suit".
    I am sure we will see him in one 😛 '
    Indeed Gotou's screen time is quality time and all this sneaky hints about him have been handled well so far script-wise.
    Ohoh I'm totally rooting myself for him to unleash his hentai potential —> suite route. Also because imagine Mari's reaction at that :ppp.

  13. N

    I don't think that we shall necessarily know if this is a dream sequence or not by next week. This might go on a bit longer before turning back to realism (up till now the writers knew far too well what they were doing for me to expect that they could do something this stupid), though I expect that the "dream sequence" might hold some hints of what is going on in real world (like how grampa's story about what makees Flamenco was shown with him building a robot or Masayoshi reading his grampa's notes was shown like them two arguing in a scientific lab)

  14. i

    Yume-ochi. I really hope that happens as I feel this twist will lead straight to a trap. SF hasn't had great ratings, even for a none-mainstream Noitamina show so maybe this was done to up that but as a result I think it will lost some of its uniqueness. However should this be a real thing then maybe it could be interesting. Manglobe needs to steady the ship if they're treading unknown waters.

  15. A

    I was sure that the episode was going to end with leaving Japan and traveling the world to fight crime- It seemed like the logical progression of things based on the previous episodes, and felt cemented with the revelation that Hazama's parents had been murdered. But then, that bombshell hit… I'm still reeling from it. I don't think it's a fake sequence, but I really hope the show can continue to balance its previous themes and character development somehow if it continues down this route.

  16. s

    Yeah, the ending of the episode definitely came out of nowhere… but did anyone notice that after Masayoshi saves that old man in the park from getting beat up, Goto picks up a packet of something from the man that Masayoshi tied up. That scene leads directly into the police's drug bust and the little packet of whatever (hallucinogenic drugs?) is never addressed. So! I'm just saying, they could still potentially explain away the last few minutes of this episode as it being a dream sequence.

    Having said that though, a small part of me is sort of curious about the possibility of the ending being real because if they could somehow explain it and manage not to make it seem completely absurd… well, that would be really amazing in its own way.

  17. That could be a keen observation there.

  18. f

    So you're saying that they're both hallucinating? That would make for an arc that falls perfectly in line with the theme of the previous episodes, if the focus is on how samurai flamenco got caught on drugs and the public's reaction to it…

  19. s

    I'm not saying anything exactly, just that a case could be made that it's Goto's hallucination (he's the one that picked up the packet after all). Also, the end card of the episode was "Watch again, beep beep!" which may be a hint to re-watch the episode rather than simply taking things at face value and/or freaking out.

    Of course this may just be me reading too far into things and perhaps Samurai Flamenco really will be taking a dive into sci-fi/supernatural territory! Whatever the case may be, I just find these observations and alternative interpretations interesting to consider.

  20. Y

    If I was going to synthesize this episode into a single word as you like to do, I'd choose: "WTF?!" 😉

  21. K

    I think the last scene was simply a movie set, and I was waiting the whole time for a "CUT!!!" to be yelled out. The whole thing definitely came out of left field, but I'm still of the opinion that this is all a setup , and that the producer of the magazine is trying out a new publicity stunt, since the Samumenco hype died out fast.

  22. j

    It could be a lot of things. But there are 22 episodes, and many more superheroes to be introduced (look up samurai flamenco pictures online).

  23. G

    I'm thinking its more along the lines of Puella Magi Madoka. The 1st 2 episodes were all cutsey and then in the 3rd the shit got real with the decapitation. The makers of SF might have been luring us into thinking this was a light slice of life comedy about heroes. The OP shows the MC having actual powers wearing armor with powers. Maybe that is really going to happen now.

    If this series is 2 cours thats a long way to go with just a slice of life series about guys who think they are heroes. Add to thsat the mad scientist Grandfather and the murdered parents and that leans towards it being a more serious seriesd then what we have seen up until this week. Guess we will find out in the coming weeks,

  24. R

    On one hand, I have all the reservations about this twist as Enzou does

    On the other hand, it has been so long since I've had a serious WTF moment happen in a series and stick to it that I'm almost hoping it WASN'T a dream sequence. In a morbid curiosity sort of way

  25. Z

    I'm really hoping this is real now.

  26. n

    I think the OP song already teased something like this will happen. We just dimissed it because after that sequence Masayoshi was sound asleep and we all thought those are just his dreams. If we're to abandon that thinking… then we can say that the OP's a foreshadowing since that's the purpose of OPs anyway. So, Masayoshi was fighting whateverthatis and doubles as a model protecting his identity.

    If this is just a dream sequence, it'd suck for me. I really hate "it's just a dream" trope.

    If the writer can pull this off, VERY GOOD. But yea, still too early to judge. We need the next episode. Also, I think King Torture is the girlfriend. She might be murdered/tortured and she want to take revenge and she became King Torture. The masculine voice? Well, that's a disguise so that Goto wouldn't know.

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