"'Brokedown Merry-Go-Round' Show of the Week," I discuss the week's best first-run animated series episode I saw. "Brokedown Merry-Go-Round," a two-hour block of original score tracks from animated shows or movies, airs weekdays at 2pm Pacific on AFOS.
Ever since Samurai Flamenco introduced Mari (Haruka Tomatsu), Mizuki (M • A • O, and yes, that's her actual, interpunct-y name) and Moe (Erii Yamazaki), the three members of the J-pop girl group Mineral Miracle Muse, I've been wondering why Mari has been behaving strangely and has gotten the most screen time outside of Hazama, Goto and Sumi, Hazama's manager. This week's Samurai Flamenco episode, "Idol Devastation," clears up the mystery that is Mari, who's been watching Samurai Flamenco's rise to fame like a hawk and correctly deduced last week that Goto's temporary stint in the Samurai Flamenco suit (which Goto seemed to be enjoying) was a ruse to throw off anyone's suspicions about Hazama's double life. Like Hazama, Mari believes she's found her true calling as a superhero, and when a trio of kidnappers abducts Samurai Flamenco and attempts to unmask him to nab a million-yen reward for uncovering his identity, she seizes the opportunity to make her debut as Flamenco Girl and rescue Samurai Flamenco.
That great little commercial shoot scene in "My Umbrella Is Missing"--Mari messes up her cue when she notices Hazama's singing to himself the theme song from Kaname's superhero show Red Axe to calm his nerves--makes a whole lot of sense now. Mari's a superhero genre fan just like Hazama, except, as we see from her shrine of superhero show memorabilia, she's more into the magical girl subgenre (you know, Sailor Moon), the basis of Flamenco Girl's costume and persona. As a superhero, Mari turns out to be much smarter and more physically aggressive than Hazama, who still gets overpowered by the kidnappers despite picking up a few moves from his new martial arts mentor Kaname off-screen. She correctly figured out that this inept male fashion model is Samurai Flamenco, and she easily defeats muggers and would-be kidnappers with swift and non-stop kicks to their crotches. The silly noises Flamenco Girl makes as she delivers those nut shots are the comedic high point of "Idol Devastation," which should be retitled "Jewel Devastation."
Instead of expressing gratitude to Flamenco Girl and Samurai Flamenco for helping prevent crime and making the streets safer for women at night, Goto's police department superiors circulate a memo to all officers, including Goto, to keep an eye on the duo's crimefighting activities in case any instances of excessive force from the duo take place. This, of course, is bound to put a damper on Hazama and Goto's friendship at some point in the future, but for now, Goto gently warns Hazama and Mari to not attract so much attention and to do their crimefighting when his colleagues aren't watching. Speaking of Goto, I'm starting to wonder about this girlfriend of his whose texts to Goto we frequently glimpse but has remained unseen. If this person's catfishing Goto, is it part of some sort of plot to bring down Samurai Flamenco?
Nick Andopolis-like heartbreak over his dreams being crushed by reality). If Samurai Flamenco keeps up the level of comedic quality it's shown in the first four episodes, writer Hideyuki Kurata and director Takahiro Omori's take on non-powered superheroes in the age of social media just might be the year's best new anime show.
* The '60s Batman-style score cue that accompanies Flamenco Girl's rescue of Samurai Flamenco is mad glorious.
* I'm not much into J-pop, but "Date TIME," the show's bouncy ED (a.k.a. end credits theme) performed by Mineral Miracle Muse, is the perfect musical bridge between the ending and the scene that usually follows the end credits. I kind of wish there was a post-credits tag this week (this episode lacked one). Last week's tag was a good one introducing Kaname's new role as Hazama's physical trainer.
* I don't care for nut shot gags. However, Samurai Flamenco may be the first show (not counting King of the Hill's "That's my purse!" episode) where nut shot humor actually made me laugh.
* Mari realizes she has a crush on Goto: "I didn't think he'd look so good in a uniform!"