NoitaminA is going into its normal winter hibernation and Samurai Flamenco will be back on the 9th of January, but I’m not so sure I’ll be back with it. For all the on-screen theaterics I think the equation for this series has become a pretty simple one – either you laugh or you don’t. I can’t imagine anyone taking it remotely seriously at this point (nor do I think they’re supposed to), the turn in the series has rendered any character development pointless and surely no one is watching for the production values – so it really just boils down to whether you think it’s funny. And right now, I really don’t find it especially funny.
Another part of the issue, I’m sure, is that this started out as a show for which I was right in the target demographic, and it morphed into one that gives me a pretty wide miss. At this point we seem to have officially moved past the way-station of toku into a full-on super sentai series, and that’s a genre I honestly don’t much care about one way or another. The parody is largely wasted on me and, generally speaking, I think there’s a larger problem here – the genre is so ridiculous to begin with that parodying it seems almost pointless. I think there’s an element of parody in every super sentai and pretty much always has been. Is there something especially necessary or clever in taking it on the way Samumenco seems to be doing? Unless you have the sheer brilliance of a Mitsudomoe this comes off as pretty impotent – and Mitsudomoe was smart enough to figure out that one episode was just about the longest you could milk it for.
If this is still working for you – or working better than ever – great, more power to you. Given the usual inverse relationship between my tastes and commercial success as far as anime goes I wouldn’t be surprised if Samumenco’s popularity has ticked up as a result of its complete transformation. I could see a big fan of super sentai appreciating this for ironic reasons, and picking up all the references and such. It just isn’t doing anything for me and I don’t see much point in repeating that over and over, so I’ll leave it to those of you for whom that’s not the case.
I will watch at least one more episode, hoping to be surprised and won over. And I will say again, for the record, that I hope someone makes the series this one started out looking like it was going to be because I think that’s a series that needs to be made. It would be nice to see a series use a character like Gotou as a main character and not an afterthought, because there seemed to be real potential there. And if nothing else, Samurai Flamenco scores points for distinctiveness – I can’t think of another show that’s so thoroughly fooled me (and most everyone, I believe) about what kind of show it was going to be.