Samurai Flamenco Episode 9: Challenge
Masayoshi has a falling out with Mari over her increasing disinterest in fighting the monster of Viva Torture. In response, Mari performs an interview as Flamenco Diamond and issues a challenge directly to King Torture. Goto warns her to be careful, but Mari disregards his warnings. Meanwhile, Goto expresses his frustration to Masayoshi that he is becoming more arrogant as Samurai Flamenco, leaving all the dirty work to Goto, while he runs around having fun and doing as he pleases.
King Torture, in response to Mari’s challenge, kidnaps Akira Konno, and convinces him to bring him Mari in exchange for endless entertainment. King Torture then issues one final challenge to Masayoshi; defeat King Torture so that he can save the badly beaten Flamenco Diamond.
So watching Samurai Flamenco after Kill la Kill was probably a bad idea, seeing as though that was endlessly amazing and Samurai Flamenco has been going through a bit of a funk recently. This trend continues, but I must say, I enjoyed this week’s episode more than the previous two.
King Torture remains as enigmatic as ever, however we do gain some insight into his motivations. He seeks entertainment, and wants to satisfy that desire through the clash between good and evil. The attacks by Viva Torture have been designed to mimic a superhero show; they were the grunts preceding the final battle between the two paragons of either side.
This revelation sort of explains the feeling I (and many other viewers) have had the past two episodes; that I have in fact been watching a superhero show from my youth. The monster-of-the-week vibe I got was revealed to literally be one monster per week, and indeed, Masayoshi has been hurtling towards the final battle.
I think we can safely assume that the concept of structuring the show itself to feel like a superhero show has been deliberate given what we’ve learnt this week. However, it has definitely alienated a lot of viewers because there was no real indication that this was what the writers wanted to achieve. Extended speculation was the only way to actually come to this conclusion before today, and even then, it felt like wishful thinking on my part. It really did just feel as though Samurai Flamenco was suffering from poor writing. I do hope that with the resolution of the King Torture arc (which will hopefully happen next week?), we can get back to the character driven narrative Samurai Flamenco did so well in the first five episodes.
Also of interest is the fact that King Torture offers Akira the chance to join him as a monster. Has everyone Masayoshi defeated up until now been human at one stage? And only became monster becauseKing Torture converted them? That should elicit an interesting reaction from Masayoshi. The full details of King Torture’s offer are also yet to become apparent; by the sounds of things, there’s some sort of transformation involved.
One thing I didn’t particularly like is how Akira suddenly decided to take King Torture up on his offer. Despite being torture horribly, he refused to give up Mari. But he chose to give her up with the offer of endless entertainment.That seems to me to be a strange motivator, and makes sympathising with Akira difficult.
Masayoshi also became a little less sympathetic this week, too. He has slowly become more confident to the point of arrogance. He doesn’t deign to assist with clean up or paperwork, nor does he react well to Goto calling him out on this. This worries me, as this could very well be his undoing when he faces King Torture. I don’t think Masayoshi himself is going to personally suffer (e.g. defeat or lasting injury), but Mari is in real danger.