Samurai Flamenco Episode 4: Girl Power
Masayoshi’s efforts as Samurai Flamenco have received a huge boost thanks to his training with Joji. He’s now able to actually take on opponents without getting his butt kicked, and has garnered quite a following. However, in his attempt to stop a group of thugs breaking into a car, he winds up kidnapped. Just when it looks like Samurai Flamenco’s identity is going to be revealed, a car screams into the shed, and out leaps Flamenco Girl. Flamenco Girl takes the assailants out quickly, and saves Masayoshi.
Turns out that Flamenco Girl is actually the idol, Mari, who is also a superhero enthusiast, but of the magical girl variety. She proposes she and Masayoshi work together (and I use the term “work together” loosely) to combat crime in the city. They do this by having Samurai Flamenco “run into trouble” only to be saved by the very enthusiastic and gutsy Flamenco Girl. However, their more extreme tactics cause a police memo to be issued, prompting Goto to talk to both of them about their actions. Flamenco Girl knocks Goto out and runs off, to Masayoshi’s annoyance. He forces Mari to apologise to Goto, but Mari winds up flustered over how good Goto looks in a uniform.
Definitely the best episode so far! This episode really pushed the plot forward, while also delivering some great laughs. Masayoshi and Joji’s relationship is hilarious, especially their extended “MASTER! STUDENT! MASTER! STUDENT!” exchanges. Flamenco Girl is also hilarious, and most of her antics made me laugh madly. Especially her crazy driving; apparently she’s failed the written test 7 times, which would explain her erm, unique driving style. Samurai Flamenco is definitely doing humour right, and compared to some other shows this season, is managing to do so without exploiting its characters.
It was great to see Masayoshi fighting crime and actually being effective in doing so. He’s so pleased with himself, and after three episodes of watching him being not-so-successful, you can’t help but be proud for him. The city’s residents also seem to be really embracing the idea of Samurai Flamenco, and he’s become something of a celebrity. It seems even a little bit of training pays off!
Mari’s Flamenco Girl is also an interesting development. Masayoshi now has someone to help him out, and she happens to be extremely competent. Not only that, but she shares Masayoshi’s passion for justice. However, her methods are much more extreme, and we can see Masayoshi’s apprehension of working with her. Mari is much more violent than Samurai Flamenco, continuing to attack criminals after she’s neutralised them (although the fact she insists on delivering at least one groin kick to every assailant is quite funny).
How is Masayoshi going to deal with Mari’s less-than-respectable way of dealing with criminals? I don’t think it matches up with his perception of an ideal hero, which could provide us with some interesting conflict in upcoming episodes. Will he be able to reign in Mari? Or will he begin to practice her brand of justice? It comes down to the notion of when does heroism become vigilantism? And when does vigilantism become villainy? Obviously there’s a fair degree of subjectivity associated with deciding exactly when one becomes another, and it will be interesting to see if perhaps Masayoshi and Mari do indeed act in a manner unbecoming of a hero, justifying the means with the ends.
However, I don’t think we’re going to go down that darker path. Masayoshi has thus far demonstrated he is very committed to his vision of what a hero should be, and it would take a lot of work to get him to deviate from that. Mari being a more capable combatant also sets up a power dynamic between the two, and subverts the usual trope of having the female hero need saving, which is great. I’m sick of seeing a helpless girl made out to be a badass, but only so she can be put in a helpless situation so the male hero can showcase how he’s even more badass (coughstrikehtebloodcough).
An interesting piece of information that Mari revealed was that her weapon was custom-made, and included a lot of cool features. This bodes well for the Flamenco Suit outcome I’ve been wanting to happen from the outset. Hopefully the person responsible for Mari’s staff will agree to construct a super suit for Masayoshi to boost his crime fighting capabilities. Whether or not this will be in response to an imminent threat or just because Masayoshi wants to be a true hero, we can’t say. But I really hope it eventuates; imagine how thrilled Masayoshi will be!
Also related to the supersuit is the OP, and how closely linked it is to the direction of the series. Is it foreshadowing, or merely a pipedream of Masayoshi’s? It’s hard to say, especially since it appears to be a dream Masayoshi is having. However, the suit appears at the very start of the OP, too. Additionally, the lyrics seem to foreshadow the events of the anime. One line I find particularly interesting is, “Our true enemies remain unseen”. Could this be what prompts Masayoshi to seek out a supersuit, to give him a way to combat our “unseen enemy”?
Samurai Flamenco continues to entertain me every week, and I’m finding myself looking forward to each episode more than the last. With the introduction of Mari as Flamenco Girl, there has also been the introduction of another new dynamic between Masayoshi and Mari to explore.