Samurai Flamenco follows Hazama Masayoshi, a fresh-faced male model on the verge of making it big by day, and the hero Samurai Flamenco by night. Hazama has always been obsessed with Sentai hero shows. After the death of his parents, Hazama was raised by his grandfather who created the hero character of Samurai Flamenco, and uses this persona to fight low-level lawbreakers. Think litterers and petty thieves. After a particularly unsuccessful night of dishing out justice, Hazam is found by off-duty police officer Goto Hidenori, and the two become entwined in a series of increasingly bizarre twists and turns as Samurai Flamenco goes from small-time public nuisance to internet sensation to beloved hero and beyond.
Much like the show’s main character, Samurai Flamenco initially struggles to find it’s identity. From the first couple of episodes you’d be forgiven for expecting nothing more than bland yaoi-bait. Then, with the introduction of girl group Mineral Miracle Muse and their leader Maya Mari who become the Flamenco Girls to get in on the heroic action it starts to become something of a comedy of errors as Flamenco and the girls dole out their particular brands of justice and poor Goto has to mop up on the police end of things. At times it starts feeling like a low-end Tiger and Bunny knockoff that is grounded in reality rather than fantasy. Then episode seven rolls around and everything you thought you knew or were expecting to happen in this series will fly straight out the window and the show takes a crazy 180 degree turn and a whole different set of rules come into play. I struggled to care for the first few episodes, but stick with it – it’s a slow build to a very entertaining payoff.
We get introduced to a few more characters throughout the first lot of episodes as the show builds it’s world. Hazama’s strict modelling agency manager Ishihara. The sleazy gossip site manager Ishihara bent on uncovering the identity of Flamenco (and getting Ishihara to go out with him). Kaname Joji, a hero of old from Hazama’s favourite hero series Red Axe who becomes his mentor, but conveniently has to travel whenever a problem pops up. Harazuka Jun, an ageing stationary developer who creates a suite of very unconventional weapons for Samurai Flamenco. It’s an interesting cast, and when the series really kicks in to gear everyone has an important role to play.
Samurai Flamenco was produced by studio Manglobe who have since closed up shop, but the production is top notch with great animation and visuals throughout as you’d expect from them. It’s a shame they couldn’t keep the studio afloat, because they really did produce some amazing stuff in their time. This volume collects the first 11 episodes of the series in subtitled form, and extras are limited to textless songs. After struggling to find the motivation to watch early on in the series, it really finds its way on the second disc and I’m now quite enthusiastic about getting my hands on the second half of the show when it releases soon.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review