As always, one should get into this series with the proper mindset if he expects to enjoy it. The premise and first episodes can be a bit confusing regarding what the series is supposed to be going for, so let me spare you the trouble and spell it out for you, right off the bat. Samurai Flamenco is (to the most part) not a deconstruction of the superhero formula, nor it a parody of power rangers. It is a laid back slice of life comedy. Noitamina timeslot shows are always laid back and despite having some really cool premises, they always go about it in a very light in presentation way.
This is where the first culling should start, since the premise may make it sound as if it will be something completely different. Let’s say, heavy on action, or with very strong character growth. After all, it is about a zero trying to become a hero and protecting the world from evil. Well, SURPRISE it doesn’t have much action and although there is a lot of character growth, strong is hardly a proper word to describe it. If you are waiting to see another Sunred or One Punch, you won’t get one.
Many have already made this comparison and so will I. Despite the set up being way similar to the Kickass western comic book / movies (they even share some plot twists) Samurai Flamenco is simply not aiming to be over the top in action and violence. The battles are short and to the most part bloodless, while the villains have no personality or charisma at all. Furthermore, the daily lives of our heroes are filled with lots of silly moments one would expect to find in a shojo romance and not in a coming of age teen story. Which I guess makes it cute rather than angsty but still trashes something that could have been its strongest asset.
After you settle with the idea the show is not going to be over the top, you would perhaps enjoy it for being down to earth and plausible regarding how superheroes would really be like in real life. Of course and it is embarrassing to have a guy dressing like a clown and going around preaching to people how to behave properly as if they are still in the kindergarten, and of course most wouldn’t take him seriously and try to kick his ass. Of course and the media or the police would try to unmask and ridicule him as a troublemaker. All that felt at place in the first episodes and you were made to think that, well, it may be not exciting but at least it is trying to depict how ridiculous it looks to try bringing lame idealism in a cynical world.
But nope; it couldn’t focus much on that either, as soon afterwards it starts to get over the top even when it didn’t need to. Lots of things just become absurd and unrealistic, as if the show ran out of stuff to show and headed for random fantasy bits. First you have some girls becoming mahou shojo and going around beating up criminals, when in real life they are just typical pop idols with no superhuman power or any motivation to risk their careers for this silly business. Then harem and lesbians happen. Then you are introduced to Batman-like gadgets the hero is using, made from everyday tools that seem to work way too well for their durability. And then you are introduced to an organization of mutated freaks who want to take over the world in the name of evil. Just because.
Despite the gradual change from a real setting to Power Rangers, I still find it very hard to care. The action never manages to be exciting, the jokes are always juvenile, and don’t get me started on how cringe-worthy harems and lesbians are. The whole thing is ludicrous and never extreme enough for me to accept it as such. So by the end of the day it is nothing more than a time waster and a shadow of what it could have been.
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