Samurai Flamenco – 04

sam4

With his crime-fighting skills improving under Joji’s tutelege, Masayoshi decides to patrol a more dangerous district, despite Goto’s warning, and gets beaten up and taken hostage. He’s rescued by “Flamenco Girl”, AKA Maya Mari, who had been preparing for her hero debut when Masayoshi beat her to it. She blackmails him into joining forces, forcing him into a subservient position and using more brutal methods. Goto receives orders from above to look out for the Samurai couple and be prepared to make an arrest should a citizen lodge a complaint. Goto tells them, but they refuse to give up, and Mari tazes him with her wand for which they apologize the next day, while promising to tone things down.

Well now, that was an interesting course of events. In four episodes, Sam-Flam has kept things fresh and moving at a good clip. Here we see Joji’s coaching having a positive effect on Masayoshi’s budding career as a hero, but because Joji’s also a bit of a flake, Masayoshi doesn’t have backup, leading to him getting in over his head, and then rescued by Flamenco Girl in extravagant fashion. Our first thought was of Death Note’s Misa-Misa, another idol who inserted herself into a guy’s life (and didn’t give him a choice in the matter). But Mari isn’t a copycat; she was planning to be a hero all along, and her demeanor is more of annoyance at him beating her to it than admiration. She’s not his admirer; he’s her fly in the ointment.

Where Mari and Misa are alike is in their complete lack of subtlety or discretion. From her giant pink Hummer H2 (we did spot one of those while in Tokyo) and her multi-function wand of punishment, to her repeated kicks to her captives’ junk, Mari is a loose cannon, one who’ll be looking at the wrong side of a jail cell if she keeps up her unsound methods. Fortunately for her (though she may not see it that way), her new partner knows a good cop. Masayoshi plays the submissive sidekick as long as he can, enduring the damage to his hero pride, but when Mari hurts Goto in a misunderstanding, he snaps out of it and reigns her in. If they’re going to do this, they’ll have to do it right.

9_superior
Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • Goto realizes Joji likely forgot Masayoshi’s name…again. But Joji’s unexpected “Don’t get cocky!” chest punch was even funnier.
  • While Masayoshi is a hero otaku, Mari’s into magical girls, desiging her persona accordingly.
  • Both Mari and Masayoshi spend only the briefest time at their “day jobs”, which they seem less and less interested in, which doesn’t bode well for Sumi, Mizuki or Moe.
  • Mari blushes when she first sees Goto in uniform. Look out, Goto’s nameless girlfriend!
Advertisements

Mirai Nikki – 01

Amano Yukitaru obsessively records everything he observes into a cell phone diary, while interacting with the rest of the world as little as possible. He then escapes into his imagination, where the god of time and space, Deus, grants him the future in the form of predetermined diary entries that foretell the future. When he reaches a “dead end”, he learns there are others with “future diaries” like him, including his classmate Gasai – and that the goal of Deus’ game is to kill all the other diary holders, in order to gain his throne.

A six-minute sneak peak of this show way back in December was enough to intrigue us. So, Future Diary is basically Death Note. When you have a future diary, your only threats are those with the same power as you. In Amano’s case, these seem to be people who aren’t just content to survive using their diaries as Life Cliff Notes; they want to become gods. Only one can, so there’s gonna be death. Of course, Death Note had a lot more setup, and it was a while before Light was aware of other death notes in existence; the pace of key revelations is much quicker here.

This episode purposefully got most of the technical stuff out of the way, set the stakes, and introduced the main players. Basically, Amano needs to Gorilla Glue his phone somewhere on his body, because it’s his life now. He’s been sought out by Gasai, who works with him to off a serial killer, but considering how creepy she acts around him and the fact she’s a rival, trusting her isn’t the best idea. I wonder how long their uneasy alliance will last. Shows that mess around with time in a clever and compelling way are always welcome. Here’s hoping this is one of them.


Rating: 3.5

Mirai Nikki OVA

Mirai Nikki is a scant six minutes and 45 seconds long, but it gets a lot done in that short period of time. There’s a decidedly Death Notey atmosphere as a kid comes into possession of a phone that tells his future. But in exchange for that precognition, the phone itself represents his life; if it’s lost, so is his life.

He also discovers he isn’t the only one with such a phone: his female classmate Yuno has one as well, and so does a deranged terrorist in striped kneesocks who bombs the school. Apparently they’re all of them participants in a game, and the last one surviving gets the “throne of god.” Now that sounds like Eden of the East…especially with the phones.

Overall, some nice ideas, and nice animation, but this felt like more of a teaser and set-up than an actual full story, but perhaps that’s just due to the brevity. Subsequent installments that delve a little deeper would be welcome.  Rating: 3