Hazama is fooled by a group trying to collect the reward for revealing his identity, but he’s saved by Mari, who once again uses excessive force. When Sumi gets him an acting gig, Hazama tells Mari he won’t be joining her on evenings forthe time being. An angry Mari goes solo and her terrifying brawls lead to the police setting up a Vigilante Counseling Unit to reassure the public.
Hazama is frustrated on the set of the superhero show, but he returns home to find a package scheduled to be sent to him on his twentieth birthday. In it is a letter where his late grandfather passes the legacy of Samurai Flamenco on to him. Energized, he bails out Flamenco Girl once more, but then they split up. Mari coerces Mizuki and Moe to join her, forming the “Flamenco Girls.”
Last week seemed to be pointing to a reigning in of Flamenco Girl’s reign of terror, but that wasn’t the case this week, as she’s as merciless as ever. Her idoling job has become secondary to her nightly vigilantism, and she derives almost too much pleasure from kicking her defeated foes when they’re down. Suffice it to say, her philosophy doesn’t jibe with Hazama’s more idealized brand of justice, and they both conclude that because of that, they can’t keep working together, or they’ll eventually become enemies.
That brings us to why Hazama is a superhero in the first place. When his parents died, his grandfather created the Samurai Flamenco cheer up and inspire him. Even when Mari’s antics and the jadedness of the hero tv set have brough Hazama as low as he’s ever been, his grandfather’s well-timed posthumous package is just the kick in the pants he needs to keep going, while ditching the oppression of Mari. No more sidekicking or baiting; he’s going to make grandpa proud. We’ll see if he can stick to that!
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- Kaname Joji ditches Hazama once more; but he does get Hazama thinking about how Samurai Flamenco was born.
- More trouble in paradise: Goto’s girlfriend rebukes him for cancelling on her – and talking about Hazama too much. Will Mari ever confront Goto about her feelings? Will we ever see his girlfriend?
- Did Sumi simply get that superhero acting job for Hazama because of the auspicious slot, or because she’s picking up on his love for that kinda stuff? Maybe a little of both…
- There was something kinda melancholy about Mari alone in her too-brightly-lit apartment, rolling around with her cop-pillow.
- Mari had to train her ass off to become Flamenco Girl, so when we first saw Mizuki and Moe flanking her, we wondered: will she be toughening them up as well, or just using them like she used Hazama?
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.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
- 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!
The police get several complaints about a man in a red costume harassing them. Goto warns Hazama to give his act a rest. Ishihara gets Hazama an extra role in the idol group Mineral Miracle Muse’s music video. He hums the Red Axe theme in order to stay calm, and MMM’s center Maya Mari notices. After meeting Hazama for dinner, Goto finds that his umbrella (belonging to his girlfriend) is missing. Hazama races after the man who stole it, and video of his peaceful confrontation goes viral.
At first, Hazama’s nightime “superheroism” is portrayed as nothing more than antics and petty scolding, which people are taking the wrong way. They’re so comfortable with the insignificant crimes they commit, that his unusual appearance and extreme moral stance lead them to report him to the cops as a deranged freak. It’s a hard, thankless job, but you get the feeling Hazama feels he’s making more of a difference sitting in the rain waiting for people to put out their garbage to early than he is appearing in music videos as a pretty man-prop.
Like the heroes he adores, he has Life Event That Set Him On This Path, which he reveals when Goto tells him the petty crimes he bothers people about will never end, but are simply a part of society. Goto is right, but only 90-99% of the time. Hazama fights for that 1% of cases where stealing someone else’s umbrella leads to the owner catching a cold…or the umbrella belongs to the owner’s long-distance girlfriend; not only Goto’s responsibility, but a valued reminder of her. That rare occurrence of anything other than the minor inconvenience of a stolen umbrella – that’s everything to Kazama.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
- We finally meet MMM…thankfully they’re not your usual idol group that is all smiles and rainbows on camera but complete bitches and tormentors to their underlings in real life. They’re actually quite pleasant.
- Hazama “singing” the Red Axe theme over the idol song…that was ingenious. Not that MMM is bad; we maintain that the ED is very nice. Catchy; but not annoyingly so.
- It’s also pretty cool when Hazama unknowingly attracts the attention of a fellow Red Axe fanatic, who just happens to be the idol he worked with. Something tells us he’ll be asked to worth with MMM again.
- That chase was awesome, but we’re somewhat doubtful Hazama could keep pace with a monorail on a bike in the rain while obeying all red lights.
- Hazama identifying his superhero persona on a tv quiz show…brilliant.