Animini: Samurai Flamenco – Episode 18 – Flamenco in Space

Samurai Flamenco has always been a show that had hits and misses for me .. though it had more hits.  Now this episode does something I haven’t really experienced yet, it made me feel conflicted. On the one hand this is a stellar episode that concludes the story of Samurai Flamenco beautifully!  It could have been the perfect final episode… except… this isn’t the final episode… and it isn’t perfect either……. Had this been the final episode I would not have minded the imperfections and loved it to bits and would it not have been for those weird imperfections I would not have minded that there was more to this story still. 

The Summary

We pick up where we left off in the last episode with Samurai Flamenco and his allies standing outside  the government building staring at the flying saucer of Alien Flamenco.  The group discusses their action plan when the Alien shows up and shows them a vision. Our favourite Gadget guy recognises this as a vision.. which makes the Alien impressed. He invites Masayoshi over to his spaceship to  discuss the fate of the world. For this he summons a door that will lead the crimson hero into the spaceship! This is it the final fight!   The group discusses whether or not this is a trap , for some reason even including the Prime Minister in this debate. Eventually it is Goto who says that the fear of death never stopped Masayoshi before and it should not stop him now.. he is the only person who can save earth right now as he is the true hero!  This prompts Masayoshi to indeed go inside the alien spaceship and  soon he finds himself sitting at one of those typical Japanese Waterfronts.. you know green hills, a canal and a bridge in the distance.. the one you lay in to think about life with a sprig of green in your mouth!

Alien Flamenco reveals he wants to assimilate humanity inside himself.. he is actually 5 billion people that have evolved past the point of needing a physical body as such and his goal is to bring peace to everyone by evolving them beyond a need for violence, only then will there truly be peace. Masayoshi is given a stone .. the same he ripped from King Torture and it is told that it can make him evolve.  All he needs to do is focus on evolving and him and humanity will be at peace and be assimilated by Alien.  Of course our hero refuses this which prompts the spacemenman  to try and kill him. Masayoshi finds the evolution stone he tossed earlier and doesn’t use it to evolve but to grow giant. The two  Sentai then have a space battle.. on the moon. Which seems to have Masayoshi critically injured. However he realises why the offer of Alien Flamenco did not sit well with him.. Humanity needs to grow and learn.. not to evolve.. with this he gains a new special attack and Uppercuts Alien Flamenco away.. seeming dying himself on the moon. He then wakes up in Sunshine Sentai’s house who reveals he is not Sunshine.. but the will of the Galaxy! Offering some deeper insights and offering Masayoshi a choice. New enemies for the next billion years.. or going back to normal life. The hero chooses the later saying his job was not to fight evil but make the world a better place.. and he can still do that. He gets sent back to earth and tells Goto he went to the moon!

The Positives

This would have been one of the best show endings i have seen in a while.. so obviously it means it also is a great arc ending/ episode ending. There is no doubt about that right?!  I am not sure really, the epsiode does some VERY amazing things that is for sure.  The way everything ends up full circle.. King Torture, From Beyond,  and Alien .. they all are linked in a manner I did not really find intrusive or forced even. It felt earned.  The journey of Masayoshi up to this point is explained and it has left me very impressed. The way things spiral out of control from simple to galaxy breaking reminded me of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, my favourite anime of all time so that never is bad.  There is so much good writing in it, even now still reminding me of Tarintino’s way of writing dialogue.. and since this episode is so dialogue heavy  that really makes it shine! Even the joke that Flamenco is eventually nothing special.. it is just a word that has a 0,00000002% chance of granting a wish…but mostly it’s something like the town Eromanga in Australia. Something that has a different meaning in another language and thus becoming something it is not.. that was pretty funny.

The sound design of this episode was stellar. The sound that plays when the group is talking under the saucer felt completely unworldly and sold  the whole space theme and strange  threat of the situation so incredibly well. Masayoshi’s voice acting this week also made an impression. He has to convey a very difficult emotion .. he has to disagree with someone..with a passion.. but not being sure why he disagrees. He just knows in his gut that what is being said is wrong. It comes out excellent, I don’t speak Japanese but I could still hear both the fire in his heart and the doubt in his mind. Truly excellent work. The use of colour underneath the UFO also really impressed me , giving everyone a bit of an unreal glow with a light that doesn’t fully seem to match with what we see making it even less feel of this  world.  The final attack, the little cues it for the most part was amazing. 

The Negatives

I hate that this is not the last episode though, I already had assumed it would go beyond this as I did not think they could drag out Alien Flamenco for more than a few episodes.. but this had me very conflicted. I felt so strongly about it that I even considered dropping the show at this point and not watching the final four episodes.. because no way in heck the show is gonna top this. So this leaves me a bit bitter and having lost confidence in the future.  It is a weird gripe to have that this episode is basically just too good to be in the middle but it is the truth.  Imagine adding the first 55 seconds of Queen’s Best friend at the end of Bohemian Rhapsody and making that the new Rhapsody.. it would not nearly be in as many hitlists then!

I said there were a few gripes I had with the episode as well and it all has to do with Alien Flamenco.  Taking Masayoshi to a japanese canal felt really out of place for me.. using a trope that is relevant only in Japan.. while he already has the entire rest of the world. I don’t buy it.  The setting isn’t even used that well.  Yet what is more annoying is Alien Flamenco’s constant use of Engrish..  “Sit Down”  .. “Listen to me” . Why?!  He did not do that before.. I mean sure he was using the American hero  as a disguise but even then he did not really do that. It just felt so annoying. Take Jojo’s adventure for example who also make Jospeh use a lot of English things.. first of all he is genuinely english unlike Alien.. secondly those moments are played for comedy and not during heartfelt talks where dialogue is super important.  I never cringe but this one made me do it.. to a point at the first 7 minutes that I thought.. well they compltely ruined this episode with that shit…. but then the show picks up and becomes one of the best episodes yet….. 

The Score

So honestly I am not sure what to do with this score. It both had some of the weakest and some of the strongest moments in the show.. and normally I deem an episode is good or not based on how much I want to see the next episode! I very much want to NOT see the next episode… but not because the episode was bad. This is complicated! The show genuinely made me feel.. and I do kind of want to see if Goto’s girlfriend will ever reveal her face.. but I am kind of done with Masayoshi’s story. I would have given this episode the benefit of the doubt if the Alien Flamenco dialogue wasn’t so cringe worthy. I actually hated that.. and I normally kinda enjoy Engrish in anime.

In the end I will base my grade by comparing this episode by comparing it to a very delicious and clear broth.  It is a very flavourful episode and it’s very clear as well, we see everything that is inside and how it relates to each other. This is a star quality soup! However it has been garnished with stale croutons. Something added to just to give it a little playful element floating in between backfires and makes it just annoying to fish those weak bits out.  It’s a bit of a hassle  but I might be able to forgive that still.. however the Soup is so good that you know in advance that chicken cordon bleu that is coming next will disappoint you.  It might not taste bad.. but it has less room to be amazing based on what it is.. thus the soup might not really fit the menu.. despite it being so tasty! If I had judge the menu.. the soup would be the odd duck out and I would mark it down for it.. and  that is why .. this episode is just fine…despite being amazing.

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