Konichi-holy-doodoo! I did not expect this episode of Samurai Flamenco to go as dark as it did my dear Island guests.. I mean Digimon bummed me out.. but beaver-dam I did not see this one coming. I expected a nice slice of life episode with maybe some elements of boredom.. but this… eeek! Unlike Digimon I did end up enjoying myself more.. though I still feel the series should have ended after last weeks episode.. I mean I did get closure for that thing I wanted closure about earlier.. I just did not expect that closure to be sledgehammered in.
This episode starts with a 6 month time skip after the defeat of Alien Flamenco and Masayoshi’s encounter with the Will of The Universe. Like the latter said the universe has returned to normal.. or did it? The world is so peaceful that we are moving into some advanced negotiations for a joined “world” government. The one that enjoys the most votes to be it’s president is Masaysoshi himself.. even though he does not seem interested in the job .. Everyone else wants him to be the president of the world due to his heroic antics. While he is still training his combat skills, we see him discuss “settling down” with the rest of the cast. His agent and Mari in particular. With no more enemies to fight, the idea is brought up that Masayoshi should find a girlfriend, his agent should date Kono and Mari even suggest Masayoshi to date his agent himself. He doesn’t know what to do.. and he doesn’t want to be world leader so he goes to his best friend Goto. He sees on the calendar of the cop that it’s soon to be date night .. he finally goes to see his girlfriend.. whom he is in a long term relationship with. Curious Mari and Masayoshi plan to chase him to see if they can help.
This leads them to travel to Goto’s home town.. they lose track of him because they can not board the same train, but since Mari lived in his closet for a while during her great depression she snooped around and found his home address and remembered it. So she moves to the Goto family residence. Here they talk to Goto’s mother in the hope of figuring out where Goto went. Telling her he is on a date. The mother looks shocked and tells a story that Goto had a girlfriend only once in his life.. one day she disappeared while waiting for the bus. The bus was found empty with no driver.. evidence showed a single passenger had boarded the bus, leaving only an umbrella with a Takoyaki Tako strap behind. Goto’s girlfriend disappeared many years ago.. and he was never able to let it go. But who has been sending him these text messages then? Could it be some kind of trap?! Mari and Masayoshi go to find out.. Mari .. who feels a bit lovescorned, snatches his phone crossing the street when a bus blocks Goto’s path to find out who is responsible.. it turns out Goto had been pretending to be his own girlfriend all along.. unable to let her go.. he just imagined what she would text him back. Mari gets bummed out and invites the girls to stay with her at the inn she is staying at while Masayoshi wanders the streets.. bummed out he could not be there for his friend. A young boy shakes his head.. when suddenly an explosion goes off behind him.. This young boy.. seems to be A new enemy!
I feel conflicted about this episode again.. because jeesz the truth about Goto’s girlfriend hit me hard! I always had expected her to be the final villain or something and I am pretty sure this new guy will find out and abuse Goto’s broken hard someway later on.. the building blocks are fairly set up for that.. but this?! I was surprised and I think it was a very strong choice to make. It balances out the sugarry , morale victories Masayoshi had lately! That basically always involved him being such a great hero that the situation he would get himself in more or less resolved itself. We needed a taste of bitter.. but I did not expect it to leave me with this much of a bleeding heart. I do think this is a great engine to keep Masayoshi , Mari and Goto involved together so as far as continuations go this is actually a quite briljant way to pull it off. Goto finally got his little moment, even showing why he became a cop and why he bites so much onto mysteries. All the events basically take place in the same day, where the sunshine is being used for when everything is perfectly fine. The peaceful world that Masayoshi is going to be president off.. but as they discover someone they love is in trouble we transition into dusk! Not everything is as bright as we would like to believe .. and when they realise Goto can not be helped right now.. we move into night! Where a terror attack happens as well.. showing things have gone bad once more.. it is all quite beautifully done.
There are also some great character moments for basically everyone that was once relevant , we see where everyone is. Even the Flamengers. Even the pink ranger got accepted back into her home again.. but she has to deal with regret of never getting the love of her life. The other rangers all get a neat little reference to! Kono is bored with the news being so peaceful and our adorable , best dude, gadget guy has become super famous and successful for contributing to Samurai Flamenco’s success so much now becoming the most successful stationery producer, like now one ever was. The episodes manage to nail both the peace and conflict images very successfully and thus doesn’t leave as sour of a taste in my mouth as the Digimon episode! That being said there are some odd choices in this episode I can not really get behind.
While I really enjoy the episode overall, there are a few choices I do not really like. For one the whole “making Masayoshi world president while he doesn’t really want to” thing I find very stupid and not an interesting conflict. I do get WHY he would get a majority of the votes, as people would only vote for someone not of their country if it’s a symbol.. Yet at the same time we see Masayoshi is constantly being interviewed and he is very open about not being interested in becoming the President. So I do feel that whole plotpoint really isn’t going anywhere. If the world is so peaceful.. Why would you make someone president against his will? He makes a fair point that he is not fit for the job.. as he isn’t all that political .. or smart enough to get that done..which again.. is a fair point. Kaname would make a better ruler that way and he would be a much better choice.
The second issue is that this new villain person is something I find very iffy! It’s a bit as if Masayoshi would be the Tony Stark from the Marvel Universe.. and this new guy is Spider-man is he felt inspired by Tony.. but to go in the wrong direction.. we get a little but seemingly very brainy .. kid as a villain. I do like the idea of a final villain that is grounded more into a harsh reality.. bringing the series back to the hero in Masayoshi and not in Samurai Flamenco.. but to make it a kid?! It feels like it’s a bit overshot.. like saying Rallo or Rollo or whatever the guys name was from Geass would be the actual final enemy.. or have Selmin Bradley be the ultimate bad guy in FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood. The final thing that got me annoyed is that we do not see Moe react at all when Mari is feeling heartache that the cop she is pursuing dumped her for a figment of his imagination.. She is just supporting.. but she is clearly in love with Mari .. or she used to be at least.. why don’t we see any of that here?
For what it is worth, I am happy they went this route for the “epilogue” of the show, this first episode of the final four does show some very competent writing and offers an idea to close this show out on that is of substance enough to justify its existence. Outstanding plot points are being resolved, and they are doing this in a bold and exciting way. I really loved this concept of Goto being super broken and his best friends being unable to see it! He always seemed so composed. Politeness and etiquette prevented Masayoshi to dig deeper… he wants to follow the rules after all and that fits him so well! It really is a great twist and a legit established conflict. So basically everything that would go into the episode synopsis is very amazing.
It is the rest though that still makes me wish that the show ended last episode. I do not find the idea of Masayoshi becoming world president to be even remotely in character, I do not think the new enemy is as strong as I would like him to be. I think it should have been someone more familiar to the cast.. like Kono wanting to create news, or maybe even Kaname becoming a terrorist because his student pushed him from the spotlight. Heck even Flamen Pink because she blames Masayoshi for ripping her and Kaname apart would have had more of an impact. This new guy now has to be established in three episodes and I feel like I can’t take him all that seriously. Alien was not build up.. but he was strange.. otherworldly he did not need the build up. Same goes for From Beyond Flamenco.. but .. with a normal human… I feel like they will stumble in the end. I really hope that Mari and Goto don’t end up together either.. because poor Moe! All in all an episode with a very sweet core but a rough exterior.. and I have just the fruit for that.