"A hero will never give up, never hide, never be defeated, never accept evil."
Samurai Flamenco is a Japanese anime television series by Manglobe. Directed by Takahiro Omori, it began airing October 10th, 2013 under Fuji TV's noitaminA timeslot.The story revolves around police officer Hidenori Goto and Masayoshi Hazama, a male model who is determined to become a hero of justice despite having no superpowers at all. At first Hazama goes through wacky hijinks while trying to clean up minor crimes, and eventually becomes famous after a video of his antics go viral. Another vigilante fancying herself a Magical Girl shows up, calling herself Flamenco Girl later accompanied by Flamenco Ruby and Flamenco Sapphire, making them the Flamenco Girls.The show is mostly a slice of life comedy, and a very realistic, light-hearted Reconstruction of super hero tropes in general. The anime strings you along believing this for about six episodes, until the first genuine Monster of the Week, an honest-to-god transforming cyborg-gorilla, shows up in episode seven and murders several SWAT officers before Masayoshi and Goto defeat it. It is at this point that the series' Big Bad appears, a bona fide super villain, King Torture, who personally challenges Flamenco with the whole world watching. From there on it becomes much closer to a traditional sentai show.The anime series has been licensed by Aniplex USA in North America.Has a character sheet that Needs More Love.
Accidental Pervert: Poor Masayoshi is so tired from a night fighting crime, he winds up falling asleep next to a dumpster... where he rolls out into the street and winds up looking up a woman's skirt. She isn't happy.
All According to Plan: Flamenco's continued victories against his monsters and the lack of casualties they cause is all apparently part of King Torture's plans. How this is, we're not sure of, but we are sure that he has it in for Flamenco—enough to have countless dummies of him that he can torture.
All Love Is Unrequited: Mari has a crush on Goto. The moment Goto realized she likes him she shoots her down and reveals he has a girlfriend. Moe's crush on Mari also seems one-sided.
Ambiguously Bi: Mari offhandedly kisses Moe and develops a crush on Goto.
Ambiguously Gay: In the following episode, Moe is shown eagerly awaiting another kiss, and becomes visibly disappointed when it doesn't happen. In later episodes she states she doesn't mind being used by Mari, and even tries to convince Mari to let her sleep in the same bed as her.
He later comes across an aspiring inventor who tells him outright that he'll get killed unless he has the right tools, and provides him with some custom made gadgetry. While more primitive than something you'd expect Batman to use, we're still treated to said inventor looking at the footage of Samurai Flamenco and his new weapons and becoming giddy at the thought of his tools actually being used to fight crime.
Bad Ass: Masayoshi once he gets some judo training from an experienced Sentai actor who did his own stunts. Goto was already experienced in the martial arts and a great marksman. Special mention goes to Akira for holding out against King Torture's literal torture of him.
Big Bad: Averted. Masayoshi likes to think the world runs on tokusatsu logic, and so he's constantly looking for some great evil to fight... which doesn't exist. At least, until King Torture shows up...
Blood Knight: Flamenco Girl AKA Flamenco Diamond doesn't fight because she hates evil, she does it because bad guys are the most fun to beat up. Obviously, this does not sit well with Masayoshi.
Body Double: Near the end of episode 3, Goto has to stand-in as Samurai Flamenco during the news feature as Masayoshi goes back to Ishihara in order to fool her that he and Samurai Flamenco are not the same person. Amusingly, Goto seems to enjoy it though Mari noticed the difference.
Brainless Beauty: Masayoshi is not terribly bright, and admits that his practical skill-set consists entirely of looking pretty in front of the camera.
Later subverted as he becomes more experienced in crime-fighting.
Broken Pedestal: When Joji-san claims to be Samurai Flamenco, it looks like it's heading in this direction for Masayoshi. Then it turns out Joji did it for Masayoshi (though Goto seems to think Joji's just claiming that to save face), and Joji becomes his new Secret Keeper.
Playeds traight when Masayoshi meets a famous tokusatsu director who turns out to not have the same love for the material that Masayoshi does.
Cerebus Rollercoaster: At the end of episode seven the first Monster of the Week appears, a cyborg gorilla with a guillotine for a stomach, and it's treated with the utmost seriousness. It even manages to kill several police officers. However, after that, King Torture's monsters don't manage to kill or hurt anyone for several weeks, and they're seemingly getting progressively weaker. It's the same way for the first half of episode nine, until we see that King Torture can and will live up to his name and also starts becoming Dangerously Genre Savvy.
Chekhov's Gun: In episode 2, Ishihara accidentally picks up the plastic axe from one of Masayoshi's toys. It happens to fall out of her folder right after she watches the internet video someone took of Masayoshi retrieving Goto's stolen umbrella...
Cleavage Window: Flamenco Girl's attire is a strange combination of practical and stylish. On the one hand, her "magic wand" is a terrifying multi-weapon; on the other hand, she decides to cut one of these out of her frilly magical girl outfit.
Clark Kenting: Averted, big time. The moment the video of Samurai Flamenco goes viral, people start to suspect Masayoshi. It doesn't help that he'd recently been in a video with the idol group MMM, either.
Played straight with Mari as Flamenco Girl or Flamenco Diamond, as she's later called. She's a mega-popular idol, far more popular and well known than Masayoshi, and the only thing hiding her face is a small mask, slightly larger than a pair of glasses, yet no one recognizes her. Even Masayoshi, sitting right next to her, doesn't realize it's her until she takes off the small mask, and he has seen her close up before, and spoke to her. The orang-ish wig she wears might help with this.
Clothing Damage: Masayoshi confronts a drunk but gets a one-sided beating that ends up with his suit being ruined. Then it's set on fire by Goto.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Masayoshi seems to believe he can actually adopt a tokusatsu persona and fight evil organizations in real life. Also counts as Determinator as he's aware of how unrealistic it is, yet still tries to become a superhero.
Let us not forget flighty, delusional Joji. He seems to be stuck in his Red Axe days.
Code Name: Masayoshi's code name is Samurai Flamenco. It's even printed on his costume which got accidentally burned by Goto.
Cold-Blooded Torture: After an episode and a half of King Torture being completely harmless, we see that he's captured and brutally tortured Akira in order to force him to lure Masayoshi's manager into a trap. We don't see the actual torture, but we do see his severe injuries and the bloodied implements they used to make him more cooperative.
Decoy Damsel: An attractive woman fakes being mugged so that she can unmask Samurai Flamenco and claim the reward for his identity. Flamenco Girl shows up just in time, leaving the woman Bound and Gagged for her troubles. The fake muggers don't farequite as well.
Defeat Equals Explosion: Flamenco Girl starts employing stage pyrotechnics to mark her victories. Presumably this is to keep with the magical girl theme.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: King Torture's minions are all themed in various torture devices, but many of them are also commonly used for BDSM. The mooks even have shibari ropes and mouthpieces resembling ball gags.
Kaname Joji is essentially an exaggerated Hiroshi Fujioka in cel form, complete with doing stunts himself and samurai status (Joji being called "a modern samurai", while Fujioka is a self-proclaimed samurai with a dojo and all).
He Who Fights Monsters: Originally, Masayoshi abhorred hurting the Monsters of the Week, and especially felt bad about them possibly being brainwashed. By the end of Episode 8, however, he has become eerily complacent with the deaths of the monsters, and even seems to enjoy himself.
Heroic BSOD: Played for laughs when one of Masayoshi's idols tries to take credit for being Flamenco. He just lays around the floor of his apartment being depressed. He gets over it once he finds out that said idol had reasons for doing so.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: Goto, winds up playing this role to Masayoshi whenever he gets dragged into Masayoshi's "heroics."
Flamenco Girl is far better prepared, and far better equipped, for the vigilante business than Samurai Flamenco (though her thrill-seeking mentality doesn't do wonders for Samurai Flamenco's otherwise successful attempts to actually help people). However, she's angry about being considered Masayoshi's sidekick just because he happened to get noticed first.
Improbable Weapon User: Thanks to Jun Haruzuka, an R&D scientist working for a leading stationary company, Samurai Flamenco serves as a field tester for office supplies which he can use as nonlethal weapons, be it an ink erase launched from retractable pen, a nun-chuck stapler used to staple his foes clothes, or a tape measure which he can use to swing from a building.
Instant Web Hit: The video of Masayoshi tracking down the man who stole Goto's umbrellanote Umbrella theft being a minor yet apparently endemic crime in a country where umbrellas are typically stored in public containers outside offices and stores reaches 900,000 views in a week.
Just in Time: When Masayoshi is injured and can no longer defend himself in episode 6 Goto shows up and saves him.
Keet: Masayoshi is a very excitable Adult Child, though interestingly he tends to be far more serious in costume.
Legion of Doom: The climax of Episode 5 has Flamenco Girl ambushed by a group of previously-unrelated criminals, each of whom had been defeated by her in the past.
Like Reality Unless Noted: As per it's deconstructive, slice-of-life style, akin to Kick-Ass. This is why the introduction of a drug-dealer who transforms into a Nigh Invulnerable robot-gorilla with a guillotine in his stomach, his phantasm of a boss, and their decimation of a police squad after six full episodes of realism is so...surreal.
Though considering that they apparently go out on dates, Goto's girlfriend may just be The Ghost separated by an incompatible work schedule.
Magical Girl: Flamenco Girl's outfit is modeled after shows of this genre.
The Man Is Sticking It To The Man: Masayoshi's self righteousness is fueled by his distaste for the police, who he considers to be too lax on "lesser" crimes. Nevermind that he's a Teen Idol whose existence is funded by his modelling agency, or that he gets most of his best advice from a beat cop.
Mistaken for Gay: The moment Goto tells Mari he's not interested she asks if he's into Masayoshi. Then she states that he is at the end when she sees him and Masayoshi.
Monster of the Week: In-universe. When King Torture appears, his minions show up and start wreaking havoc once a week.
Mundane Made Awesome: Masayoshi practically lives on this trope, as his "heroic" acts tend to revolve around such things as stopping jaywalkers and retrieving stolen umbrellas. His gadgets end up being (heavily customized prototype) office supplies.
The opening sequence makes it look like this anime will be a traditional action Toku series, simply animated. However, the first episode reveals a much more slice of life style anime with enough ship teasing and unintentional homoerotic subtext to convince some viewers that it was going swerve right into the yaoi genre.
The ending animation goes the opposite direction; it's cutesy and somewhat Fanservice-y compared to the show itself, and showcases the girls from MMM.
Played it straight when episode 7 rolls in where the Monsters of the Week appears and beheads people which caught the viewers off guard.
Parental Abandonment: Masayoshi's parents died when he was two years old. His grandfather's notes revealed that they were mugged and killed while vacationing abroad. However, unlike a certain superhero, Masayoshi doesn't feel any desire for revenge since he never knew his parents very well.
Police Are Useless: Subverted. They're not actually useless, it's just that they tend to overlook many smaller crimes (like jaywalking and smoking in public) because it takes time from dealing with more serious crimes.
This is the reason Masayoshi has taken up the Samurai Flamenco costume- he can deal with the criminals or minor crimes that the police can't, or won't, deal with themselves.
Reality Ensues / Reconstruction: There's no job-market for superheroes, and the only reason Masayoshi didn't get arrested by Goto for "defending" society from drunk jaywalkers is because he never got a punch in. However, things have yet to take a particularly tragic turn. The events of episode seven may mean a change to this.
After Masayoshi and Samurai Flamenco start appearing on TV, a lot of people instantly suspect that the former is the latter's true identity, though part of that is from Masayoshi outing himself as a Samurai Flamenco fan before Samurai Flamenco was particularly popular.
Flamenco Girl's fighting style, which would be cute and colorful in most Magical Girl narratives, is instead depicted in a realistic and brutal manner. During her debut, one of the thugs she attacks is visibly terrified of her after seeing her violently dispatch his comrades.
When the first Sentai-style Monster of the Week shows up, the show takes on a completely different area of realism. The monster murders several police officers, and it doesn't wait for Masayoshi to finish his introduction before tossing him aside and nearly killing him.
When Mari directly challenges King Torture, he stops using ineffectual villains and actually manages to capture her, and he doesn't treat her the way you'd expect your typical dainty Damsel in Distress to be treated either.
Properly Paranoid: Goto tries to convince Mari that it wasn't a good idea to directly challenge King Torture. Then at the end of the episode she's been captured, badly beaten, and is being used as bait to lure Samurai Flamenco to King Torture.
The Reliable One: Ishihara, Masayoshi's manager, is the person responsible for making sure he gets up in the morning and gets to his appointments on time.
Goto: Would you say Kamen Rider operates a motorcycle without a helmet? Does the mask count as a helmet in this case? If it doesn't, he's a law-breaking superhero.
When Masayoshi tries to talk down the Torture Boys, he explains that King Torture wants Flamenco to come to him anyway, and asks why they would bother trying to fight him if he's going what their leader wants? One of the Torture Boys explains that they're aware of how they're the Redshirt Army, but that they don't care because they're fighting for something they're passionate about (evil) and will do everything in their power to promote it as possible.
7th Episode Twist: The climax of episode 7 has a gorilla beheading people and the villain appearing to challenge to Samurai Flamenco. And no one saw that coming.
By episode 7, Flamenco Girl (or Flamenco Diamond, as she's now called) is ready to give up the job because it's gotten to be too boring and predictable. Even the emergence of King Torture doesn't manage to hold her interest for very long.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Brutally implemented starting in Episode 7, when Masayoshi suddenly graduates from catching drug dealers to fighting a giant ape with a guillotine in its stomach.
Soundtrack Dissonance: Episode 7 still ends with the cutesy ED by the MMM. It can be very jarring after the gruesome events that took place in the last 5 minutes of the episode.
Squee!: When Masayoshi meets Kaname Joji, the actor who played Red Axe, one of the inspirations for Samurai Flamenco, he nerds outhard.
It helps that Joji was wearing a Samurai Flamenco costume at the time.
Stating the Simple Solution: Goto is quick to ask why Masayoshi he doesn't just get an actual job in law enforcement, like as a cop or prosecuting attorney. Masayoshi claims that it's just not the same.
Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. Masayoshi will start to give little speeches about justice while dressed as Samurai Flamenco, only to have the person he is trying to stop interrupt him. The only time this doesn't happen is in the first episode when he gives a "World of Cardboard" Speech to a group of teens. They wait until after he's done to beat him up. When he gives them another speech after beating him up a bit they wait until after he's done with that one to continue beating him up.
In addition, he meets MMM, a group of Idol Singers, during the second episode. Mari notices him singing the Red Axe theme to himself, and reacts quite surprisingly.
Tempting Fate: At the beginning of episode 7, Masayoshi notes that crimes are becoming lesser as if it's the final episode. Then, a weird gorilla beheads a bunch of policemen.
Took a Level in Badass: Despite his distinctly unglamorous start, after getting training from Red Axe's actor (who is also an exceptional stuntman) Masayoshi becomes a competent fighter. He's able to take on most muggers and minor criminals and becomes somewhat respected by the general population for making significant strides in fighting crime. By the sixth episode, he's able to easily outrun or outfight the dozens upon dozens of criminals and civilians who assault him over the course of several hours, while at the same time making sure he doesn't cause any significant harm to any of them.
Teens Are Monsters: Masayoshi spots a bunch of teenagers bumming around at night, and tries to appeal to their better natures so they'll go home and stop making trouble. It doesn't work.
Wham Episode: After six episodes of lighthearted hijinks and minor criminals, the climax of episode 7 introduces the first genuine Monster of the Week, who proceeds to violently decapitate a group of police officers.