Samurai Flamenco

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Samurai Flamenco
SamuraiFlamencovolume1.jpg
Cover of the first DVD and Blu-ray of the series
サムライフラメンコ
(Samurai Furamenko)
Genre Superhero, comedy-drama
Anime television series
Directed by Takahiro Omori
Written by Hideyuki Kurata
Music by agehasprings
Kenji Tamai
Studio Manglobe
Licensed by
Anime Limited
Network Fuji TV (Noitamina)
Original run October 10, 2013March 27, 2014
Episodes 22 (List of episodes)
Manga
Samurai Flamenco Another Days
Written by Seiko Takagi
Published by Square Enix
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine G Fantasy
Original run October 2013 – ongoing
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Samurai Flamenco (サムライフラメンコ Samurai Furamenko?) is a television anime series directed by Takahiro Omori at Manglobe. It started airing on Fuji TV's noitaminA block on October 10, 2013.[1] It focuses on Masayoshi Hazama, a young adult who aspires to become a superhero despite having no superpowers to fight. In doing so, he meets several people who support his cause. The series has been licensed in North America for streaming and home video release by Aniplex of America.[2] A manga series by Seiko Takagi is also being published by Square Enix.

Plot[edit]

Male model Masayoshi Hazama decides to become a superhero, despite having no superpowers or the technology to create a high-powered suit. He becomes the hero Samurai Flamenco and begins to fight crime in the name of justice. Police officer Hidenori Gotō finds out about Samurai Flamenco and his real identity by a twist of fate, which leads to him getting involved into lots of trouble, especially when they come across enemies that were not thought to exist outside of fiction. Nonetheless, these two young men will come face to face with hardships of being crime-fighters while discovering what it truly means to be a hero of justice.

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Masayoshi Hazama (羽佐間 正義 Hazama Masayoshi)
Voiced by: Toshiki Masuda
A male model who decides to follow his childhood dream of becoming a superhero known as Samurai Flamenco (サムライフラメンコ Samurai Furamenko), which is often mockingly shortened to Samumenco. He has a love for tokusatsu shows since he was a child, which came from his grandfather, who invented Samurai Flamenco. Originally confronting regular thugs in his alternate persona, Masayoshi starts fighting real monsters from the "Torture" organization when they start threatening the city. After Torture's defeat, Masayoshi is recruited to lead the "Samurai Sentai Flamenger" (サムライ戦隊フラメンジャー Samurai Sentai Furamenjā) as Flamen Red (フラメンレッド Furamen Reddo) against another evil cadre, known as From Beyond. After defeating From Beyond, Masayoshi becomes a fugitive of the government, becoming Samurai Flamenco once more, and soon learns that a being calling itself Alien Flamenco has been orchestrating events from the very beginning. When not fighting, Masayoshi has a shy demeanor, thus he is usually dominated by other people such as Mari and Joji. He is 20 years old.
Hidenori Gotō (後藤 英徳 Gotō Hidenori)
Voiced by: Tomokazu Sugita
A policeman who is diligent in his work, but doesn't have a strong sense of justice. He finds out who Samurai Flamenco is one day, and his daily life has become busy and troublesome since. He claims to have a long distance relationship with his girlfriend, and routinely refuses jobs centered around Masayoshi's activities. He eventually comes to understand and respect Masayoshi's idea of justice, even though he does not completely agree with it. He is 24 years old.

Mineral Miracle Muse / Flamenco Girls[edit]

Mari Maya (真野 まり Maya Mari)
Voiced by: Haruka Tomatsu
One of the members of the female idol group Mineral Miracle Muse (ミネラル★ミラクル★ミューズ Mineraru Mirakuru Myūzu), who serves as the composer and lyricist. Her talents and bright, energetic personality makes it easier to get along with everybody. She becomes a magical girl called Flamenco Girl (フラメンコガール Furamenko Gāru), later Flamenco Diamond (フラメンコダイヤ Furamenko Daiya) of the Flamenco Girls (フラメンコガールズ Furamenko Gāruzu) and knows that Masayoshi is Samurai Flamenco. As opposed to Masayoshi's traditional sense of justice, Mari uses a more brutal, vengeance-based method of taking down criminals. Mari has a fetish for men in uniform, as she begins to blush whenever she sees Hidenori wearing his police uniform and tries to get him to dress up for her. After being kidnapped and tortured by King Torture, Mari develops a distant, angry personality and a hatred for superheroes, living in hiding with Hidenori. She later explains to her companions that she went into hiding out of shame and feelings of inferiority towards Moe, reconciling with her friends and taking up the Flamenco Diamond identity once more. She is 18 years old.
Mizuki Misawa (三澤 瑞希 Misawa Mizuki)
Voiced by: M·A·O
One of the members of Mineral Miracle Muse, she serves as the leader, taking care of the group and others until she is recruited by Mari to join her superhero team as Flamenco Ruby (フラメンコルビー Furamenko Rubī). She is 19 years old and is from the Kansai region. She was later poisoned before a concert by Haiji as part of his agitation on Masayoshi.
Moe Morita (森田 萌 Morita Moe)
Voiced by: Erii Yamazaki
One of the members of Mineral Miracle Muse, she later becomes Flamenco Sapphire (フラメンコサファイア Furamenko Safaia), the third Flamenco Girl. She is a high-school student with a reserved, yet carefree personality. Moe is attracted to Mari, who often kisses her in moments of passion. She is also a native English speaker. She is 17 years old. While kidnapped by King Torture, she offers for him to take her and let Mari go free, getting her finger crushed in the process. After finding Mari in hiding, she learns that Mari ran away because of feelings of inferiority towards her. The two reconcile with a kiss and the Flamenco Girls become heroes again. Like Mizuki, she was also poisoned by Haiji.

Flamengers[edit]

Anji Kuroki (黒木 闇児 Kuroki Anji)
Voiced by: KENN
Recruited by Joji to be one of the "Flamengers", he joins the team as Flamen Black (フラメンブラック Furamen Burakku), number V, and acts as the team's weapons specialist. In his spare time he farms with and cares for his sickly grandfather, who was attacked by Haiji later on to agitate Masayoshi. He is 24 years old.
Sakura Momoi (桃井 桜 Momoi Sakura)
Voiced by: Yukari Tamura
The only female member of the "Flamengers", she joins the team as Flamen Pink (フラメンピンク Furamen Pinku), number III, acting as the team's public relations official. She enjoys knitting despite considering it an overly feminine hobby and joined the team because of her crush on her "darling" Joji Kaname, which causes constant friction with Kaname's wife. She hails from a rich family, but was disowned because of her obsession with Kaname. They accept her again after the world-threatening danger is over. Momoi is incredibly proud of her long hair, and is traumatized when Haiji Sawada cuts it.
Soichi Aoshima (青島 蒼一 Aoshima Sōichi)
Voiced by: Showtaro Morikubo
Joji's friend from 10 years before, he joins the "Flamengers" as Flamen Blue (フラメンブルー Furamen Burū), number II, acting as the team's second-in-command and strongest fighter. He originally rejected Masayoshi's position as the leader, wanting to be Flamen Red himself due to his friendship and dedication to Joji, but eventually grows to respect Masayoshi. Despite looking very young, he is the oldest member of the team at 28 years old. He has been friends with Kaname for about 10 years and eventually works with him, acting in superhero shows as the hero "Neo Axe." Haiji later used Soichi's fandom as a premise to trash his apartment and destroy any Red Axe memorabilia in order to agitate Masayoshi.
Hekiru Midorikawa (緑川 碧 Midorikawa Hekiru)
Voiced by: Toshiyuki Toyonaga
The stoic member of the "Flamengers" who becomes Flamen Green (フラメングリーン Furamen Gurīn), number IV, the team's strategist and tactical analyst. He is 22 years old, having a sister and young niece in town. When he later goes to graduate school after the defeat of Alien Flamenco, he acquires a number of female fans, who cause him constant annoyance. Midorikawa is passionate about learning and cares deeply for his young niece, weaknesses that Haiji Sawada exploits along with shredding and destroying his book.

Other characters[edit]

Joji Kaname (要 丈治 Kaname Jōji)
Voiced by: Jūrōta Kosugi
An action actor who was the star of the hero TV show called Red Axe (レッドアックス Reddo Akkusu), he now likes to travel all around the world visiting his fans. He once claimed that he was Samurai Flamenco, but later becomes Masayoshi's combat trainer after he claims to the media that Samurai Flamenco is his pupil, inspired by Masayoshi's strong sense of justice. Joji is rarely around to train Masayoshi, however, due to his travels. After the fall of King Torture, Joji reveals that he is a member of a secret organization and recruits Masayoshi and four other youngsters to become the "Flamengers," explaining his frequent absences and flighty nature. He also eventually reveals that he actually is Red Axe, and has been really fighting monsters alongside other tokusatsu heroes like "Harakiri Sunshine" in secret for years. He is 43 years old. His wife is also a tokusatsu hero, "Lady Axe." He is critically injured when hit by a truck in an event orchestrated by Haiji Sawada. He eventually recovers and later becomes the director of a museum dedicated to heroes.
Jun Harazuka (原塚 淳 Harazuka Jun)
Voiced by: Tōru Ōkawa
A middle-aged man who works in the development department for the stationery company, Monsters Stationery, who provides Masayoshi with "legal" weapons disguised as stationery to assist in his crimefighting work. He is 48 years old. Harazuka habitually wears a protective garment of his own design under his clothing in the event of an assassination attempt, something that helped him escape grave injuries after being pushed down the stairs by Haiji.
Sumi Ishihara (石原 澄 Ishihara Sumi)
Voiced by: Chie Nakamura
A competent, strict manager for the entertainment production company Caesar Pro. She is Masayoshi's employer and despite suspecting that he is Samurai Flamenco, she works hard to protect his identity until he reveals it to the public. She is 28 years old and dislikes Konno's attentions towards her. After being saved by Samurai Flamenco, she becomes nicer. She suspects that Gotō and Masayoshi are dating, and encourages Masayoshi to talk to Gotō whenever he has problems. She eventually reveals to Masayoshi that she had known he was Samurai Flamenco long before he publicly outed himself.
Akira Konno (今野 明 Konno Akira)
Voiced by: Satoshi Mikami
Manages the website High Rollers Hi!, a news website, he takes an interest in Samurai Flamenco and schemes to discover his true identity. He is 31 years old and has an interest in Ishihara despite her rejecting his advances - he asks her to marry him when he's in the midst of being tortured. After being tortured by King Torture, he leaves the country to recuperate. He films the video of challenge that Mari sends to King Torture, and also films the battle of the Prime Minister versus Samurai Flamenco.
Totsuka (戸塚 Totsuka)
Voiced by: Masayuki Katou
First name unknown. Gotō's co-worker at the police box, and the section chief. He prefers to keep his mind on work. He knows that Gotō cares for Masayoshi/ He was watching them when Masayoshi first returned Gotō's shirt from dry-cleaning to the police box, and has been present many times when Gotō was researching Samurai Flamenco on his laptop.
King Torture (キング・トーチャー Kingu Tōchā)
Voiced by: Shō Hayami
King Torture is a criminal who loves torturing his victims. All of the monsters he sends to Japan are hypnotized by him. He was a boy who was taken with superheroism just like Masayoshi, only in his case he was taken with the evil side instead of the just. Upon death, King Torture's monsters will shout "Viva Torture."
From Beyond (フロム・ビヨンド Furomu Biyondo)
From Beyond is an alien organisation that provided Torture with the power to make monsters. From Beyond often sends monsters to the Earth which are confronted by the Flamengers. Upon death, From Beyond's monsters recite the oath "From Beyond to Heaven."
Shintarō F. Okuzaki (尾久崎・F・慎太郎 Okuzaki F. Shintarō)
Voiced by: Kōji Ishii
Prime Minister of Japan. He spearheads an anti-vigilante campaign in order to raise his approval rating to 100%. He possesses a special suit of armor that grows stronger the higher his approval rating. The "F" in his name stands for "Flamenco," a quirk that makes Masayoshi realize that the word appears everywhere. He was later ousted after unknowingly telling the public (thanks to Konno's streaming of the battle between Masayoshi & Goto and the Prime Minister) that he spearheaded the anti-vigilante campaign to boost his approval rating and not even caring about the citizens.
Haiji Sawada (澤田 灰司 Sawada Haiji)
Voiced by: Suzuki Haruhisa
A grey-haired kid in a group of middle-school delinquents who were advised to return home instead of staying out at night, in episode 1. He later appears after the defeat of Alien Flamenco, setting off an explosive that destroys Masayoshi's apartment and revealing that he had been repeating the word "flamenco" to himself over and over ever since their first meeting as well as being the person responsible for uploading the video of Masayoshi's initial campaign as Samurai Flamenco. He admits to being obsessed with Samurai Flamenco, and to wanting to look special in Masayoshi's eyes, going so far as to turn evil "for him" by attacking Masayoshi's loved ones. Officially he died of illness one year ago, a ruse perpetrated by his parents, a fact known and told by Konno, who had tracked them. Sawada is an expert at staying under the radar, causing Masayoshi to initially suspect that the boy only exists in his mind. However, near the end, Kaname (who heard Haiji with his Axe Ears moments before being run over) and Hidenori (who encountered him during his capture by the boy) also saw and know of his existence. His goal for agitating Masayoshi and his targeting of his loved ones is to turn Samurai Flamenco into a dark hero, something he planned to fulfill by having Hidenori kill him in order to "scar" Masayoshi into becoming such a dark hero. That ultimately failed when Masayoshi refused to put on the suit and eventually, he was beaten up by Mari (as Flamenco Diamond) for poisoning her friends. For his crimes, he was placed into either a juvenile facility or a mental ward for his crimes and though he vowed that he will go after Masayoshi again, the latter welcomed it, provided he doesn't target his friends again, putting Haiji somewhat at ease.

Anime[edit]

The series, directed by Takahiro Omori and written by Hideyuki Kurata, began airing on Fuji TV's noitamina programming block from October 10, 2013 and is being simulcast by Crunchyroll. The episodes are being collected in both DVD and Blu-ray volumes with the first being released on December 25, 2013.[3] The series is licensed by Aniplex of America in North America, Anime Limited in the United Kingdom, and Madman Entertainment in Australia.

For the first part of the series, the opening theme for the anime is "JUST ONE LIFE" performed by Spyair and the ending theme song is "Date TIME" (デートTIME Dēto Taimu), performed by Haruka Tomatsu, Erii Yamazaki, and M·A·O as their characters' band Mineral Miracle Muse. For the second part, the opening is "Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye" (愛愛愛に撃たれてバイバイバイ Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bai Bai Bai) by FLOW and the ending is "Flight 23-ji" (フライト23時 Furaito Nijūsanji) also performed by Mineral Miracle Muse, which will be released on a mini-album titled Koidama Cholesterol (恋玉コレステロール Koidama Koresuterōru).

Manga[edit]

A manga of Samurai Flamenco titled Samurai Flamenco Another Days featuring a new story is currently being written by Seiko Takagi. The series debuted in Square Enix's G Fantasy magazine in October 2013.[4] Its first tankōbon volume was released in Japan on March 27, 2014.[5]

Mobile phone game[edit]

A mobage of Samurai Flamenco was released on February 28, 2014. It works on iPhone, iOS6 and Android. The genre is RPG.[6]

Reception[edit]

"Samurai Flamenco has its ups and downs, and the production itself doesn't quite live up to the story it's telling, but there's a solid show here that ranks among the best of the year, and I know I'm not the only one who thinks that."

Joseph Luster from Otaku USA[7]

The series' early episodes have been notorious for its take on the lead character facing criminals without supernatural abilities and the episodes focused on the introducing the cast which have often been found likeable.[7][8] Although Carl Kimlinger from Anime News Network found the early episodes underwhelming, he noted the show became more entertaining the more episodes he watched.[9] Otaku USA's Joseph Luster compared these episodes with the films Kick-Ass and James Gunn's Super noting that Samurai Flamenco employed similar elements in its own fashion.[7] David Cabrera from the same site listed it as his favorite series from 2013 due to its transitions that allow for several events to happen across the series.[10]

Cabrera notes that ever since episode 7, Samurai Flamenco goes through a genre shift that surprised reviewers. Kimlinger commented that the new story arc "would qualify as a baffling train wreck, if only the arc wasn't so... good" highly praising the execution of its episodes based on the mixture between the character's actions and the sci-fi elements.[11] Luster had a similar reaction, commenting how this transition allowed further character development to Masayoshi and his friends as they had to deal with the new threat.[7] Despite enjoying these episodes, Andy Hanley from UK Anime Network feared the story might take itself too seriously resulting in unappealing episodes.[8] Kimlinger addressed the second half of the series by stating that "at first each new twist and bizarre addition is greeted with shock and bafflement. But as with any magic trick, the novelty eventually wears off, and the conspicuous lack of a real narrative payoff begins to weigh heavily on us, dulling our reaction to a kind of half-bored curiosity at what will come out next" criticizing the delivery of certain story arcs and describing some plot twists as nonsensical, while still giving praise to its sense of humor and lack of stagnation.[12] The series has also been criticized for its poor animation with Hanley finding episode 11 to be one of worst animated ones.[7][8][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Noitamina Reveals Samurai Flamenco Hero Anime". Anime News Network. July 5, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Aniplex USA to Release Superhero Anime Samurai Flamenco". Anime News Network. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Blu-ray&DVD 1" (in Japanese). Samumenco. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Samurai Flamenco Anime Gets Manga Adapation". Anime News Network. September 23, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ "サムライフラメンコ Another Days (1)" (in Japanese). Amazon.com. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ http://www.mbga.jp/_game_intro?game_id=12017177
  7. ^ a b c d e Luster, Joseph (January 30, 2014). "The Dance Goes on with Samurai Flamenco". Otaku USA. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c Hanley, Andy (December 24, 2013). "ANIME REVIEW: Samurai Flamenco - Eps. 1-11". UK Anime Network. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Samurai Flamenco Episodes 1-6 Streaming". Anime News Network. February 12, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Otaku USA's Top Anime of 2013". Otaku USA. January 28, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Samurai Flamenco Episodes 7-10 Streaming". Anime News Network. February 12, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Samurai Flamenco Episodes 11-22 Streaming". Anime News Network. April 30, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 

External links[edit]