With Twitch airing that Power Rangers marathon and the new Power Rangers movie recently released, I was in a very super hero mood lately. Samurai Flamenco easily covered all the super hero genres in one season. This series though was very polarizing, so much that people were unsure if it was absolutely brilliant or the absolute worst. I personally feel Samurai Flamenco is one of the most under appreciated anime in recent history.
To start, the series begins with quite possibly one of the best hero origin stories ever. Masayoshi Hazama, a model by day, decided to take it upon himself and become the titular character Samurai Flamenco to fight crime. At first the crime he fights is the basic purse snatching, shoplifters, the common kind of criminal. This part is agreed upon by many to be the best arc of the show mostly because it stays rooted in reality and the characters are very normal. Other characters make an appearance that fill other super hero tropes, such as Mari’s squad of “magical girls” that violently dish out justice rather than Hazama’s peaceful/self-defense approach to justice.
Then the Guillotine Gorilla appears.
Episode 7 was the where the tone shifted heavily from how it began. Since there’s no source material, this was a major shock to literally everyone. Some people dropped it immediately and never looked back, while others like me embraced the tone shift and rode it out. From here on, the monsters just got more and more ridiculous. But that’s not the end of it, the genre shifts again to a more power rangers/super sentai show, complete with giant robots and all, and even in the end elevates to aliens running the show.
This show is honestly the best watch for people who enjoy the Japanese hero genres. The Kamen Rider and Super Sentai fans would all definitely enjoy this show. The more western oriented super hero fans fit with the few that dropped the show after the gorilla. You could look at this as a deconstruction of the super hero genre, but in my opinion it’s more of a massive exploration of the entire genre considering each phase has all the typical tropes of the super hero show they’re imitating. The writing definitely is not the best, but it is all wrapped into the god “fulfilling Hazama’s wishes.” Suspension of disbelief helps with the overall enjoyment of this show.
Samurai Flamenco is a 22 episode series currently available on Crunchyroll. It’s a lot to go through but it was definitely well worth the watch. If I could forget everything that happened and rewatch it, I definitely would. Definitely pick it up if you’re a fan of Japanese super hero shows.