Anime Review: Samurai Flamenco

You can either watch this Review as a Video on my Channel, or read it as text on this Blog! Which one you want to chose is up to you!

Once in a while, the Anime industry produces something so different or unique that it is bound to stand out from the masses of shows we get each season. Popular examples of that kind of show being Fooly Cooly, known for it’s ridiculously fast paced storyline, or the unique direction style of Akiyuki Shinbo he uses in shows such as the Monogatari series or the currently airing Mekaku city Actors. Of course those kind of shows don’t always go right and often enough backfire hard! The Anime that is today’s topic is a prime example for exactly this kind of show and while it doesn’t completely fail per say, the factor of it’s weirdness certainly.plays a huge role in how many people do like it. Today’s topic shall be the Super Sentai Tribute Samurai Flamenco!

Story:

While the show is incredibly realistic at first...

While the show is incredibly realistic at first…

The Story of Samurai Flamenco basically is an homage to every single Super Sentai or Superhero show that has ever aired! It follows Hazama Masayoshi, a rather normal but uprising model, that has an unusual obsession with Superheroes! He has basically watched any Superhero-show that seems to have existed and owns tons of figures. However, it does not end at him simply being a rather passionate fan, but he wants to be a superhero himself and because of that he often leaves his house at night dressed in a cosplay-like outfit, to help society to become a better üöace and help people in danger! Of course though, it is not as easy as that and he has a lot of problems in finding work as a superhero, so he mostly ends up getting angry over incredibly small crimes that have no meaning at all. The Anime shows his struggle as he tries to become more and more of a superhero and be accepted by society while at the same time keeping his identity hidden. A realistic interpretation of the Super Hero genre…sounds interesting doesn’t it?
Due to the shows nature, I will not be able to keep the following part of this Review completely Spoilerfree! However I will try to be as vague as possible so even if you still plan to watch the show, you should be able to go on without skipping!

...it throws that out of the window rather fast!

…it throws that out of the window rather fast!

Samurai Flamenco’s story is a weird one to say the least. It starts out pretty nicely, portraying a Superhero in a rather realistic setting and that is exactly the charm of it. The story is not too eventful at first and even though it does have some rather nice twists, it is this sense of realism and the well written characters that make it enjoyable! However SamFlam does something that noone would’ve ever expected it to…it completely solves every conflict that has ever been within this show and then proceeds to throw every single concept that had been going for it out of the window. The realism that had been the base of the show so far completely vanishes and the show quickly develops into a huge rollercoaster of Plot Twists.I usually would say that a show having a lot of plot twists is a good thing, but in the case Samflam, that just is not true! This show pulls it’s Twists out of thin air and there is no way to say what exactly is going to happen next and in this case that is nothing in favor of it! The Plot Twists for the most part make absolutely no sense at all  and even the explanation to everything that happened feels more like desperate try to finally get this show over with than an actual explanation that is supposed to be taken seriously. It gets more and more ridiculous every time to the point, where it even seems to escalate to Gurenn Lagann level and it happened several times while watching that I found myself questioning the minds of the writers of this show. In the end though, I also have to admit that the amount of ridiculous Plot Twists in this show ended up being it’s biggest fun factor and while I was really irritated by a majority of them, the level of escalation that it has did make it fun after all.  The show did go from it’s realism being one of it’s biggest charms to it’s escalation being one of it’s biggest charm. However this escalation factor wasn’t always big enough to carry the show on it’s own and only really is when it gets close to the end. It happens so, that the show falls flat on his face a lot and mostly after the biggest and most ridiculous Plottwists happen.
For a long time the show is not sure whether it wants to be taken seriously or as a mere joke. While some of the scenes and character interactions do seem very serious about the Superhero-theme, the fight scenes and monsters seem to have been written while the author was high. This leads to a rather large part of the show dragging on a lot and to it needing something else to carry it, good thing it has one more aspect it is good at!

Characters:

Gotta love this show :3

Gotta love this show :3

The character cast has exactly that kind of thing, that the story lacks for the most part! Realism…at least mostly! The characters for Samurai Flamenco do feel really inconsistent at a lot of points! While they are really well and realistically written for the most part, there are parts in the middle of the show where neither is really true!
Just as with the story, the characters start out as for this type of show unusually realistic and while some of the decisions taken by the main characters are questionable, the characters do get really well characterized and I did really enjoy basically every single one that was important! However just as the story, the characters do take the same turn and the character department developes into another part, where the show just doesn’t know what to do! Especially Masayoshi keeps going from extremely realistic to incredibly irrational several times and that’s mainly what I mean when I talk about the characters being inconsistent! The other characters however do often make up for that! While some of them feel a lot like Plot Devices and not all of them seem to be necessary, the majority of the characters are incredibly likeable and for a  long time were the driving force of the Anime and the thing that kept it alive! Most notably Goto! Goto is Masayoshi’s best friend and keeps helping him out, using his position as a police officer, even though he has a huge share of problems himself that get unraveled later on in the show! He is by far the most likeable character of the show and incredibly well written. Another noteworthy character is Mari. Mari is a rather popular Idol of the Idol Group MMM by day and a super hero trying to help Samurai Flamenco at night! She doesn’t do it out of love for Masayoshi though, but rather because she is a pretty self centered person and basically is addicted to attention. While not necessarily likeable, Mari is an extremely well written character and when the show puts serious attention at her, it happens more than once, that SamFlam suddenly has one of it’s most realistic points overall. She even is responsible for the darkest and one of my favorite episodes in the show. In total, SamFlam’s characters, while being inconsistent at points, are by far the best part of the show and what saved the middle part of the show from being absolutely horrible!

Sound:
The Soundtrack for Samurai Flamenco was composed by Kenji Tamai, who never really did anything besides this show and that certainly is recognisable! The OST doesn’t stand out in any way and even though it fits the tone of the show, it really is nothing special! In contrast to the actual OST though, the Openings for SamFlam are amazing, as they fit the show perfectly and are really good at getting you hyped for what is to come in the episode, even though the episode itself might be rather boring to watch, which is the case for most episodes in the middle of the show! They are rather fastpaced rock songs and as such are a perfect fit for the show itself and sounds really good as well! The Animation for the Openings however is not always the best, even though the first Opening and the second version of the second Opening do look okay in style and direction, I’ll have to talk about the first Version of Opening two! The Opening itself, seems like an extreme budget cut and has almost no new animation in it! Instead, they use already aired scenes from the previous episodes and throw in something that resembles a little bit of a slide show! Fortunately, they fix that a few episodes after it’s first time coming up, but it’s annoying, considering how the second Opening music wise is the better one! The endings of the show are the complete opposite of the Openings, as they are rather calming and usually serve as a nice outro to an episode that featured another extremely weird plot twist or some more incredibly ridiculous monsters. I wouldn’t say they are on the same level as the Openings but still are rather good!

Animation:
The Animation for Samurai Flamenco was produced by Studio Manglobe, known for their works on Ergo Proxy, Deadman Wonderland and Watanabe’s Samurai Champloo! While they do have some shows that are rather popular, SamFlam’s Animation honestly is pretty hit or miss! Some episodes can be pretty well animated, while others seem to be complete crap! The shows animation is pretty inconsistent, but that never really actively bothered me! Of course, I am not an expert in the field of animation and I surely am not the best person to judge it, but the when the animation needed to be fluent it was fluent enough to show us something to enjoy and when it didn’t necessarily need to, the show slowed it down! While in total the animation was not a lot better than average, it certainly did do it’s job and was good enough to sustain the series!

In total, Samurai Flamenco is one of the most memorable Anime to come out within the last year and even though it certainly is not for everyone, it is enjoyable enough for me personally to recommend it! If nothing else, Samurai Flamenco is an experience that has to be experienced by every person on it’s own, as there is nop objective way to say if one is going to like it or not! However, if you do enjoy Super Sentai or Superhero shows or Movies,  I would definitely recommend to check this one out! And even if you don’t, I still would definitely say it is worth giving a shot though, if nothing else at least to experience the sheer ridiculousness that is it’s plot!

With that, I hope you enjoyed this Review of Samurai Flamenco and I do hope it helped you! As always, if you did enjoy, remember to subscribe to my Blog or follow me on Twitter, for further updates! Also check out my Youtube channel for more content, such as Spring Seasonal Previews and further uploads! Thank you for watching and until the next time!

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Anime Review: Tokyo Ravens

Expectations are horrifying…They can greatly influence someone’s opinion on a show! If going into it with really high expectations, it can end up being way more disappointing! If you go into it with really low expectations, you might even end up enjoying it! I personally always try to watch with an open mind and try to not get hyped for a show too much so I can still enjoy it! For this particular show though, it is the exact opposite of my example earlier! This show did not end up being way worse than I had expected but the other way around! Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s topic shall be the Underdog of the Spring and Fall Season, Tokyo Ravens!

Story:
The story of Tokyo Ravens takes place in an alternate universe, that is rather similar to ours, except for the fact that there exist spirits and familiars. In this world there also exist Exorcists, who learn how to handle those spirits. They learn to summon them, exorcise them and even how to fight using them, for the sake of preventing a spiritual disaster. The main character is Tsuchimikado Harutora, a teenage boy that is part of the branch family of one of the most popular Onmiyou-Exorcist families in Japan. However, other than most others in his families, Harutora is not able to see Spiritual Power and thus can’t become an Onmiyou-Exorcist like most others he knows. That’s why he has lived a rather quite life up until now, simply hanging out with his friends Hokuto and Touji. That is, until he meets his old childhood friend from the main family, Tsuchimikado Natsume!

The Slice of Life Scenes were by far the most enjoyable part of the first half!

The Slice of Life Scenes were by far the most enjoyable part of the first half!

The Setting for Tokyo Ravens is rather interesting and even though this kind of supernatural thing is not really uncommon anymore, I do really enjoy those kind of shows! What Tokyo Ravens does really well is taking what it is given and turning it into something good! The show is really good at world building! Almost too good I would like to say…While the world is really well explained and it’s potential is used really well, that has a certain price attached to it! The show takes way too much time fleshing out the world, that it could have spent on it’s characters or bringing it’s story forward. Of course this is not necessarily a bad thing, as this makes the second half even more enjoyable due to the really well explained world, but the first half falls flat due to this! The characters are uninteresting, the pacing is all over the place while it is still enjoyable, the first half of the show is mediocre at best. However the show does pick up quite nicely around half of the show! With the first really big fight starting, the show finally shows it’s scale and just how badass it can be! From there on it seems as if I was watching a completely different show, as basically all the pacing problems get solved, the viewer is finally able to really get attached to the characters and the plot twists have a lot more impact that they used to have! Tokyo Ravens second half was one of the most surprising things that happened to me in this winter season and it even included one of the best episodes of this entire season! It got me surprisingly emotional, something that I wouldn’t have expected from this show as well! However there is one thing that I am not completely content with and that would be the ending! The ending for Tokyo Ravens itself was rather good and did leave a lasting impression, however it did not quite end the way I wanted it to end! The ending doesn’t really give any sense of closure and since there is only 10 Light Novels as of now, of which 9 got adapted in this TV Anime, there probably won’t be any more too soon! However hope dies last and maybe we will end up having a second season at some point in time…

Characters:

Tokyo Ravens Review CGI

Unfortunately the CGI doesn’t really fit in…

The Characters for Tokyo Ravens mostly suffer from the same problem that I mentioned in the story, the first half! The characters I would argue, while still being the best part of the first half, aren’t really well fleshed out! While the interactions are quite well written and I have to say that the more quite Slice of Life moments of the show definitely were my favourite parts of the beginning episodes, the characters don’t seem to develop at all! It kind of plays out like Index, just not as bad!

Tokyo Ravens Kon

Kon is the cutest thing ever :3

Harutora at first is your generic Light Novel Main protagonist, that stands up for his friends and doesn’t have much of a personality except that, but just as the story, Harutora’s character gets a lot better halfway through the series. While I can’t really reveal too much about that, due to spoilers, all I can say is that his character got a lot more conflicted later on. The second character to talk about is Tsuchimikado Natsume. She is the daughter of the Tsuchimikado Main family and as such has to go to the Onmiyouji-Acadamy in Tokyo, meaning she lives far away from her home. She also happens to be Harutora’s Childhood friend and also due to the family’s tradition has to go to school pretending to be male. She is a rather quite character at first, but soon turns out to be pretty strong herself as she is really good at judging a situation and acting in the appropriate way. If I were to go over the rest of the characters in detail now, this Review would probably just take way too long, so let me just say really quick, that most of the characters are rather interesting to watch. They may neither be the most original characters of all time, nor the most well written, but the show certainly has a good enough cast to be enjoyable! The only other thing that kind of bothers me, is that while the Slice of Life character interactions seem to be really interesting at first, they get a little more generic later on. That may be caused by the show not really having that many Slice of Life moments anymore, but it still is something that bothers me. The longer you watch the Anime the easier it is to get attached to everyone. The Anime also has a huge cast of Side characters, that are all somewhat interesting and that I would love to see more about. However the Size of the cast itself prohibits the Anime from digging deeper into them. All in all the characters are flawed but likeable. It doesn’t make the show a lot worse, but they don’t really do a lot to make it better either.

Sound:

With the OST being done by Maiko Iuchi, the same person that did the Soundtrack to shows like Railgun, the OST was sure to be somewhat good. While it was not a masterpiece and nothing I would listen to outside of the show, it perfectly fit the show it was attached to. It mostly consists of quiet Piano and Violin pieces, mixed with some rather intense fighting themes. My personal favourite at this point is the track “Dairenji Suzuka”, which plays every time Suzuka gets on screen in the early stages of the show, as the music makes her entrance really badass and fits her attitude perfectly!

For the Openings, both are rather good. Same as with the OST, they are not absolutely amazing and unskippable, but they set the tone for the show quiet nicely. While most people like the first Opening better, I personally do enjoy the second one just as much and honestly couldn’t decide which one of the two were better. However, the animation for Opening Number 1 is a lot more interesting and the Direction does look a lot better! That said, the second one by no means looks bad, the first one just looks better! For the endings it basically is the same, while I did not like the first ending as much, the second ending ended up being my favourite song of the show!

Animation:

Tokyo Ravens has been produced by 8bit, the same company that also did Infinite Stratos and Aquarion Evol and has been directed by Takaoki Kamasaki, the director of “Is this a Zombie?”. The Animation for the show is average at best. It’s not really fluent and doesn’t really have anything eyecatching about it. It is not abysmal, but it certainly is not good! I feel like the bad animation kind of makes the show a little less badass than it should have been and it really does not do a good job at complimenting the show! Another huge fault with the Animation of this show, is the CGI. It looks really out of place and honestly is some of the worst I have seen in quite a while. It is mostly used for some of the familiars and it really is painfully obvious.

Tokyo Ravens has been the Underdog of the season and by far the most surprising one to me in a while! The show has a good amount of action, likeable characters and a well paced story. In the second half that is! The show has huge problems at the beginning, but does solve them halfway through it’s run. It may start off as a rather boring show, but the later parts are definitely worth standing through the first episodes! I would definitely recommend it to basically anyone that is into Supernatural and Fantasy Anime.

As always if you liked this Review, don’t forget to follow me for more content, meaning First Impressions that are coming up soon!
You can also get in contact with me in the coments, on twitter (@korigaming) and on Hummingbird (Kori)! I hope you enjoyed reading this Review and I’ll see you on my next post, which should be my first impressions that are coming within the next few days!

Galilei Donna: First Impression

This first impression is still SPOILER FREE! It doesn’t go beyond the things said in the Synopsis! However I still would recommend to watch the episode before reading this since it will make things a bit clearer (I am not gonna give a summary!)

Galilei Donna First Impression Goldfish

This probably is the most badass Goldfish I have ever seen!

Due to a Synopsis that didn’t say anything about the show itself, I was pretty scared about what was to come out of this Anime, as it could’ve been anything, from an actionoriented shounen to a pure Slice of Life Anime and as I now watched the first episode, I am pretty sure that this is going to turn out a lot better than I expected it to do! From what we saw so far, there has been quite some action and there already are a lot of unanswered questions. The first half of this episode, was something that really impressed me! Ranging from a start that was confusing as heck over a decent Opening to some scenes that were incredibly intense to watch. The thing that probably helped that first episode the most, was the really well done atmosphere that I felt throughout the whole first 10 minutes. After that span of time, it went into something a little more lighthearted, which is not a bad thing, but I just hope for the intensity of this start to come back later. So far though, this show really gripped me and I am looking forward to see more of this!

Ore no Nounai: First Impression

This first impression is still SPOILER FREE! It doesn’t go beyond the things said in the Synopsis! However I still would recommend to watch the episode before reading this since it will make things a bit clearer (I am not gonna give a summary!)

Ore no Nounai First Impression Choice

I like how they integrated the choices into the world!

Damn…I guess I’ve come across something really weird again…Ore no Nounai is an Anime that I only wanted to watch, due to the Synopsis being one of the weirdest things I have seen in a while. Now that I have actually started the show I have to say that the weird concept of a boy having to face decisions in his head suprisingly works better than I would’ve imagined…Even though the Anime itself still is really weird. So far it feels a little awkward watching this show, the same way that WataMote felt while I was watching it, but this Anime’s humor is something that pleases me a lot more than WataMote’s. Still I thought that at one point the episode was really just dragged out and another problem is something that us people watching the sub would not be really important for, but the Soundtrack is way too loud, making it hard to understand people at times.

Kikou Shoujo wa Kizutsukanai: First Impression

This first impression is still SPOILER FREE! It doesn’t go beyond the things said in the Synopsis! However I still would recommend to watch the episode before reading this since it will make things a bit clearer (I am not gonna give a summary!)

Kikou Shoujo wa Kizutsukanai First Impression Dark Hair

Why would a european with black hair be that weird? I JUST DONT UNDERSTAND!

This Anime is something that I’ve been thinking over again and again and I was not sure if I should pick this up or not, since the concept itself seemed to be pretty cool but in total I just was not sure whether it would be good itself. Now that I have picked it up though, I am rather surprised by how well it worked and the thing that probably surprised me the most is just how well Kinji Yoshimoto (Director of Queensblade…) was able to handle the fightscenes. It was a lot of fun just watching them fight and I am pretty happy I decided to watch this, although the sexual undertones it has between Raishin and Yaya are a little…how do I put this? Weird…I guess…The Animation looked pretty good, something I wouldn’t have expected out of Studio Lerche, which was the same studio that did Danganronpa. Only some bad looking CGI at some points was a little annoying but in total this did a lot better than I thought it would!

Score: 8/10

Non Non Biyori: First Reaction

This first impression is still SPOILER FREE! It doesn’t go beyond the things said in the Synopsis! However I still would recommend to watch the episode before reading this since it will make things a bit clearer (I am not gonna give a summary!)

Non Non Biyori First Reaction Class ShieldSo here we go again with me telling you that: “Humor is subjective” and that I don’t really care what you think of this show but I freaking loved it! Well…ok…I guess I can’t say that I don’t really care about your opinion, but Non Non Biyori is once again one of the cooler shows for this season! I don’t even know why but this show already got me only by just how much I like it’s humor. It’s just the kind of Comedy that I loved shows like Love Lab or K-On for. I kinda can relate to it, as I live in the country myself and even though it’s not that bad for me I thought it was really cool! I am looking forward to the next episode!

Score: 8/10