Samurai Flamenco Episode 2: I Want to Ride My Bicycle, I Want to Ride It Where I Like
Another week of Samurai Flamenco, another week of crazy antics courtesy of Masayoshi. Masayoshi continues his attempted clean up of the streets of Japan, targeting “crimes” like putting trash out too early, or not throwing a can in the bin. While doing so, he catches the attention of local residents, who report this “crazy freak in tights” to Goto’s police station. Concerned by this, especially by the fact that one woman said Samurai Flamenco tried to look up her skirt, Goto advises Masayoshi to stop. Masayoshi refuses to listen, and so Goto asks him if he’s ever done anything wrong, and if so, how can he lecture others?
This gives us some background on Masayoshi. As a child, he stole an umbrella because someone stole his, and a child in his class ended up getting very sick because he had to walk home in the rain. Masayoshi still feels guilty about this, and wants to end the vicious cycle in which small crimes perpetuate small crimes until it becomes a way of life. Goto rebuffs his claim, but quickly comes to share Masayoshi’s point of view when his girlfriend’s umbrella is stolen (although, Goto is drunk at the time). Samurai Flamenco’s retrieval of the umbrella is videoed and uploaded to the Internet, where it gains attention on the TV. One particularly savvy news reporter thinks it sounds like Masayoshi, but his agent rebuffs the claim.
Another interesting event is Masayoshi’s television appearance with the idol group MMM. Nervous about it, Masayoshi sings the theme song to a superhero show, Red Axe, under his breath. One of the idols, Mari, hears this and gets very excited, and at the end of the episode, is shown singing this while watching Masayoshi on TV.
Again, this week’s episode continues with the silliness of the first and was again fun to watch. It’s hard not to root for Masayoshi when he’s so enthusiastic about becoming a hero. Even if he is slightly misguided and his acts are not likely to really “eliminate evil”. Apparently putting your rubbish out at 11:30pm on a Thursday night when your rubbish day starts at 12am Friday is the most heinous of crimes. How exactly Masayoshi plans to “level up” and take on gangs and the like by himself, I don’t know, but watching him attempt should prove to be entertaining. Masayoshi also revealed that apart from Goto, he has no friends. Was he alienated at school because of his superhero obsession? I feel kind of bad for the guy. Masayoshi probably takes it all in his stride, making himself out to be a “lone soldier in the fight against evil” or something, but given how he’s clinging to Goto, you can definitely tell he’s been wanting a friend. I really hope Goto comes to see that, and maybe he’ll use that as leverage to help Masayoshi out with his current approach to superherodom.
On the flipside, Mari could be someone who encourages Masayoshi to continue his work as Samurai Flamenco. She reacted very strongly to the theme song of Red Axe, and was again singing it at the end of the episode. Is she a fellow superhero fan? Given the amount of screentime she’s had, you can’t really say for sure. But her role in the series will definitely be quite interesting.
The message of this show is about “adults who don’t want to grow up”, and I think we really see that communicated through Masayoshi, who refuses to accept the adult notion that superheroes don’t exist. I think as well, this refusal to give up on becoming a superhero also holds a deeper meaning. As adults, we have a tendency to accept the world as it is. Much like Goto says that umbrella stealing is just a part of life, there are plenty of things in our lives we blindly accept and don’t attempt to change. As children, though, we have a very different view of world. I know when I was younger I definitely thought I would be able to change the world; that I’d help cure cancer or something big. But as we get older and learn more about the world, we resign ourselves to the fact that we probably can’t make a huge impact. We’re more likely to just be a minor ruckus in the world, so why even bother? Masayoshi refuses to grow up because that would mean giving up his childhood dream of ridding the world of evil, and I think that at the end of this episode, Goto is beginning to come around to Masayoshi’s way of thinking. At the very least, he’s gaining an understanding of Masayoshi’s point of view, and perhaps he’ll become much less jaded and enthusiastic about his work as a policeman.
Samurai Flamenco definitely has some cool ideas to play with, and the cast is quite dynamic and fun. Joining them as the series explores its views on justice and what it means to hero looks like it’s going to be very entertaining, especially since there are currently a number of paths the series can take. I’ve been won over by Samurai Flamenco’s charm, and I think that no matter what path it takes – whether it’s following Masayoshi being a dork, or him actually becoming a superhero – the results will make for great viewing.