Samurai Flamenco Episodes 15-16: What are we fighting for?
First off, apologies for not blogging last week. I was out of the country for Lunar New Year celebrations, and didn’t really catch up with anime till much later in the week so I thought it’d be best to just lump 2 episodes together into 1.
Also, the past 2 episodes have been absolutely amazing for Samurai Flamenco. For everyone that dropped this series because super sentai isn’t good enough for you, please watch as I laugh in your face. I’m going to justify this rudeness in my post. (No recaps this week, just lots of thoughts on the developments of the past 2 episodes)
Last week, we saw the ‘defeat’ of From Beyond and the supposed ‘final boss’ of this extraterrestrial evil organisation – Hazama’s ‘twin’. As From Beyond is defeated, we hear some pretty interesting words from Beyond Flamenco himself,
” As long as there are humans, they will find causes to start wars. … I’ve given up on this world. One day you will be defeated.”
Let’s put what Beyond Flamenco said into perspective – when he said that one day Masayoshi would be ‘defeated’ it’s clear he didn’t mean it literally, but that he would be ‘defeated’ by his eventual pessimism and cynicism towards mankind itself.
Yes, it’s clear that Masayoshi’s still a kid, he’s been a superhero while acting on the thought that mankind is inherently good, even though some people are evil, that’s okay. And we see that the show thus far has set up From Beyond, literally evil FROM BEYOND to show this. Everything Masayoshi has been fighting for thus far is an external threat to mankind, but after the defeat of From Beyond, we start to piece together what Beyond Flamenco meant when he said Masayoshi would be ‘defeated’ – the government itself actually set up From Beyond to fool these superheroes for their own benefit – for public approval. This is the form of the supposed defeat that Masayoshi will face, the understanding that humans may not be worth saving.
And what an interesting development that has been. I know this show has been unpredictable – but the twists and turns they make in this series are just so ingenious. I can’t see them coming, but anything and everything new that the writers bring onto the table are almost guaranteed to be great. I mean, who could have expected it – the monsters were a scam all along? So what now, guillotine gorilla haters? The series is clearly going back to its roots – Masayoshi’s managed to escape the government (for now, but we all know he won’t be caught) but he’s now become a wanted criminal, returning to the alley where he once hid as Samurai Flamenco back in episode 1. Not exactly a triumphant return, but the story has come full circle.
In this week’s episode we see Hazama escaping from the public. He’s got nowhere to go, no one to turn to, as all his friends and acquaintances are being questioned, followed even, all in the government’s efforts to capture Masayoshi to complete their evil plan! Diabolical! We see some more of Beyond Flamenco’s words coming true – Masayoshi /will/ be defeated. We actually see him so hurt, so betrayed, and desperate to a point where he even considers stealing bread for sustenance. His lofty ideals are being challenged week after week after week. It’s almost painful to watch (nah it’s not I love this anime too much)
We also see a fallout between the MMM girls, Mari being the jerk she is finally revealing her true feelings about the incident with King Torture, lashing it out on the girls, before heading back to King Torture’s lair to try and face her fears, only to end up wallowing in fear and self-pity (and puke), before she meets with the girls again and they make up in lesbian threesome fashion.
Back to Masayoshi. It’s clear he’s reaching his breaking point. He’s tired, starving, completely hated by the general public for basically existing…but we all know good will prevail in Samurai Flamenco. Because while it sets up a good (the heroes) vs the ‘bad’ or basically those practicing this ‘pragmatic evil’ (the government), it is also an inherently Japanese series, reminding us why we need heroes in our lives, because who else is able to save mankind from mankind itself?
And who are these heroes, now that all of those in the flashy outfits and the giant robots have been captured by the government? We turn back to our everyday heroes – the poor man that helped Masayoshi, Samurai Flamenco himself…the people that do a little good in their everyday lives and make society a better place. And who else is a better representation of these forgotten heroes in Samurai Flamenco than Goto himself? Masayoshi himself too realizes this: He’s been treating Goto as a reliable friend, but not as the hero he is. But as he goes to finally ask for Goto’s help, it’s clear he remembers where he comes from: the group of everyday heroes trying to make the world a better place with little good deeds.
Samurai Flamenco has been a ridiculously bumpy ride, but unless the writers pull a ‘it was all a dream’ trick I doubt it’ll be outside my list of favourite series of 2013, and it’ll be a ride I won’t forget.