Back before the rise of From Beyond, and way before the brutal and hilarious death of that nameless officer at the hands of Guillotine Gorilla, there existed a struggle to how heroism can be applied to modern society. There existed Japanese Kick-Ass.
Where the fuck did that go?
How might this:
Turn into this:
…within the span of ten episodes? It could be because the writers are on crack. Another, more plausible reason is that we as an audience want this to happen.
There is this constant undercurrent of Masayoshi wanting more out of his heroism, which grows exponentially with each episode. He starts out as this dweeb in a jumpsuit. Then he is allowed to display his heroism for Goto by rescuing his umbrella. Then he starts training with a stuntman. Then he runs into Flamenco Girl. Enemies start to act like goons in a tokusastu show, countering Flamenco Girl’s fearsome ballstomp with their own heavy-duty thongs. Some senile old man gives him dangerous stationary for “experimentation”. He becomes capable of convincing complete strangers that his brand of heroism works. And then GUILLOTINE GORILLA. AND THEN KING TORTURE. AND THEN GIANT ROCKETS.
AND NOW THERE’S A MOTHERFUCKING MEGAZOID RAMPAGING THE STREETS OF JAPAN.
Thinking back on how Samurai Flamenco has panned out so far, this universe is slowly and surely revolving around Masayoshi’s ideals. There are definitive forces of evil, and as such there exist definitive forces of good. A complacent modern society is not evil enough to satisfy him. Having competing ideals for caped crusading does not compel any debate for good and evil. Simply rounding up common criminals and keeping peace in the status quo is not exciting in the slightest. So, how does the anime correct this? Simply by answering his wishes.
We’re given Guillotine Gorilla, which initiates the quite real threat of villains killing people. When that became too easy for Masayoshi, King Torture adds the threat of killing loved ones, and then immediately after imposes the threat of killing entire populations of people. Now, the stakes are raised even higher: a shadowy organization named From Beyond threatens to wreak havoc to the entire region. These blatant excuses to raise the tension are but a byproduct of Masayoshi’s ideals and values being tested. Yet, since he keeps succeeding, the show has no choice but to make each successive episode crazier and crazier.
As a result, we see aspects of Masayoshi’s naive idealism in the world of episode 11, as opposed to the one where he’s beaten to a pulp in episode 1. Flamenco Girl, a “hero” of questionable motives and methods, and one that Masayoshi disagrees strongly with, is forcibly taken out of the spotlight because the main villain does not see her worthy of being the main protagonist. His idol, Red Axe, happens to be the leader of the Flamengers, and every single one of his team members are trained under the brand of Samurai Flamenco. Hell, they even let him take the coveted spot of Red Ranger! Is there anything that he cannot accomplish?
I hope so. That’s half the reason I will keep watching this show.
- BUT DAT ED THO