Animini: Samurai Flamenco – Episode 18 – Flamenco in Space

Samurai Flamenco has always been a show that had hits and misses for me .. though it had more hits.  Now this episode does something I haven’t really experienced yet, it made me feel conflicted. On the one hand this is a stellar episode that concludes the story of Samurai Flamenco beautifully!  It could have been the perfect final episode… except… this isn’t the final episode… and it isn’t perfect either……. Had this been the final episode I would not have minded the imperfections and loved it to bits and would it not have been for those weird imperfections I would not have minded that there was more to this story still. 

The Summary

We pick up where we left off in the last episode with Samurai Flamenco and his allies standing outside  the government building staring at the flying saucer of Alien Flamenco.  The group discusses their action plan when the Alien shows up and shows them a vision. Our favourite Gadget guy recognises this as a vision.. which makes the Alien impressed. He invites Masayoshi over to his spaceship to  discuss the fate of the world. For this he summons a door that will lead the crimson hero into the spaceship! This is it the final fight!   The group discusses whether or not this is a trap , for some reason even including the Prime Minister in this debate. Eventually it is Goto who says that the fear of death never stopped Masayoshi before and it should not stop him now.. he is the only person who can save earth right now as he is the true hero!  This prompts Masayoshi to indeed go inside the alien spaceship and  soon he finds himself sitting at one of those typical Japanese Waterfronts.. you know green hills, a canal and a bridge in the distance.. the one you lay in to think about life with a sprig of green in your mouth!

Alien Flamenco reveals he wants to assimilate humanity inside himself.. he is actually 5 billion people that have evolved past the point of needing a physical body as such and his goal is to bring peace to everyone by evolving them beyond a need for violence, only then will there truly be peace. Masayoshi is given a stone .. the same he ripped from King Torture and it is told that it can make him evolve.  All he needs to do is focus on evolving and him and humanity will be at peace and be assimilated by Alien.  Of course our hero refuses this which prompts the spacemenman  to try and kill him. Masayoshi finds the evolution stone he tossed earlier and doesn’t use it to evolve but to grow giant. The two  Sentai then have a space battle.. on the moon. Which seems to have Masayoshi critically injured. However he realises why the offer of Alien Flamenco did not sit well with him.. Humanity needs to grow and learn.. not to evolve.. with this he gains a new special attack and Uppercuts Alien Flamenco away.. seeming dying himself on the moon. He then wakes up in Sunshine Sentai’s house who reveals he is not Sunshine.. but the will of the Galaxy! Offering some deeper insights and offering Masayoshi a choice. New enemies for the next billion years.. or going back to normal life. The hero chooses the later saying his job was not to fight evil but make the world a better place.. and he can still do that. He gets sent back to earth and tells Goto he went to the moon!

The Positives

This would have been one of the best show endings i have seen in a while.. so obviously it means it also is a great arc ending/ episode ending. There is no doubt about that right?!  I am not sure really, the epsiode does some VERY amazing things that is for sure.  The way everything ends up full circle.. King Torture, From Beyond,  and Alien .. they all are linked in a manner I did not really find intrusive or forced even. It felt earned.  The journey of Masayoshi up to this point is explained and it has left me very impressed. The way things spiral out of control from simple to galaxy breaking reminded me of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, my favourite anime of all time so that never is bad.  There is so much good writing in it, even now still reminding me of Tarintino’s way of writing dialogue.. and since this episode is so dialogue heavy  that really makes it shine! Even the joke that Flamenco is eventually nothing special.. it is just a word that has a 0,00000002% chance of granting a wish…but mostly it’s something like the town Eromanga in Australia. Something that has a different meaning in another language and thus becoming something it is not.. that was pretty funny.

The sound design of this episode was stellar. The sound that plays when the group is talking under the saucer felt completely unworldly and sold  the whole space theme and strange  threat of the situation so incredibly well. Masayoshi’s voice acting this week also made an impression. He has to convey a very difficult emotion .. he has to disagree with someone..with a passion.. but not being sure why he disagrees. He just knows in his gut that what is being said is wrong. It comes out excellent, I don’t speak Japanese but I could still hear both the fire in his heart and the doubt in his mind. Truly excellent work. The use of colour underneath the UFO also really impressed me , giving everyone a bit of an unreal glow with a light that doesn’t fully seem to match with what we see making it even less feel of this  world.  The final attack, the little cues it for the most part was amazing. 

The Negatives

I hate that this is not the last episode though, I already had assumed it would go beyond this as I did not think they could drag out Alien Flamenco for more than a few episodes.. but this had me very conflicted. I felt so strongly about it that I even considered dropping the show at this point and not watching the final four episodes.. because no way in heck the show is gonna top this. So this leaves me a bit bitter and having lost confidence in the future.  It is a weird gripe to have that this episode is basically just too good to be in the middle but it is the truth.  Imagine adding the first 55 seconds of Queen’s Best friend at the end of Bohemian Rhapsody and making that the new Rhapsody.. it would not nearly be in as many hitlists then!

I said there were a few gripes I had with the episode as well and it all has to do with Alien Flamenco.  Taking Masayoshi to a japanese canal felt really out of place for me.. using a trope that is relevant only in Japan.. while he already has the entire rest of the world. I don’t buy it.  The setting isn’t even used that well.  Yet what is more annoying is Alien Flamenco’s constant use of Engrish..  “Sit Down”  .. “Listen to me” . Why?!  He did not do that before.. I mean sure he was using the American hero  as a disguise but even then he did not really do that. It just felt so annoying. Take Jojo’s adventure for example who also make Jospeh use a lot of English things.. first of all he is genuinely english unlike Alien.. secondly those moments are played for comedy and not during heartfelt talks where dialogue is super important.  I never cringe but this one made me do it.. to a point at the first 7 minutes that I thought.. well they compltely ruined this episode with that shit…. but then the show picks up and becomes one of the best episodes yet….. 

The Score

So honestly I am not sure what to do with this score. It both had some of the weakest and some of the strongest moments in the show.. and normally I deem an episode is good or not based on how much I want to see the next episode! I very much want to NOT see the next episode… but not because the episode was bad. This is complicated! The show genuinely made me feel.. and I do kind of want to see if Goto’s girlfriend will ever reveal her face.. but I am kind of done with Masayoshi’s story. I would have given this episode the benefit of the doubt if the Alien Flamenco dialogue wasn’t so cringe worthy. I actually hated that.. and I normally kinda enjoy Engrish in anime.

In the end I will base my grade by comparing this episode by comparing it to a very delicious and clear broth.  It is a very flavourful episode and it’s very clear as well, we see everything that is inside and how it relates to each other. This is a star quality soup! However it has been garnished with stale croutons. Something added to just to give it a little playful element floating in between backfires and makes it just annoying to fish those weak bits out.  It’s a bit of a hassle  but I might be able to forgive that still.. however the Soup is so good that you know in advance that chicken cordon bleu that is coming next will disappoint you.  It might not taste bad.. but it has less room to be amazing based on what it is.. thus the soup might not really fit the menu.. despite it being so tasty! If I had judge the menu.. the soup would be the odd duck out and I would mark it down for it.. and  that is why .. this episode is just fine…despite being amazing.

It’s over meanie Villian! Top 5 Epic Hero themes

So weird as I am , I  have wondered about some big questions about anime. Like “what if characters realise they are 2d?” Would they fold themselves underneath girl locker room doors like Paper Mario could do? Another question I asked, would you be the most powerful character in anime if you just named your attack *0.5 second click noise*  or klk for those who want that written out? I mean you’d be A LOT faster than just about anyone out there. A third question leads me to today’s topic. “What if anime characters could hear the music playing’. I pity the villains who’d have to hear these five themes. Even with those first notes they can almost taste the fist they are about to receive in their face.

Theme Number 5: Tsuna Awakens
(Katekyo Hitman Reborn)

I considered Giorno’s theme for this spot but lately that has become a bit of a meme! It still does the job of convincing the hero will now proceed to be the bad guy but  when a villian hears this they might just think… man that is that overplayed thing. Tsuna the protagonist of Katekyo Hitman Reborn does not have that problems as this is one of the most slept on series I have ever watched. Most likely this has to do with the fact that the series is just 24 episodes or random slice of life  stuff.. with a naked angry boy before it actually starts to go anywhere and even then it’s a bunch of extremely wacky things going on. From Mafia’s that host some weird kind of tournament against each other, to time traveling babies. A young man takes over a little girl’s body and there are boxes with small animals inside that can fuse with main casts weapons. Well I say small animals, I am pretty sure there was a kangaroo as well. Weirdly enough it also all blends together! I really loved this show..after that false start in the beginning at least.

Tsuna Awakens is one of the more unique anime themes to me. It feels more akin to something you find in a Rocky movie than in anime. It has this beautiful eighties movie feeling to it as well and the classical, more western instruments make it a much more tranquil experience than most reversal themes. This gets you hyped without getting you hyper and I like it. When those first synthesiser notes hit, the villains could hear that something is wrong. They have their Nanda phrase to usher.  As soon as the trumpets hit they know they know they are trouble. The violins spell the victory flag for the hero definitely has been given. “BAKANA” is all they have left to shout before they are subsequently dealt with. There is no way this theme could ever fit a villain or more angry hero. There is a calm determination trough this song that just knows this hero will not make mistakes! Bye Bye Mister Villain.

Hitman reborn had such an interesting soundtrack and had some great heroic themes throughout its run. Flames of Resolution and Stand with Friends are great songs  as well but not feel as unique to this show as Tsuna awakens. If I had to give the song a colour it would be orange which both the tint of Tsuna and in some ways reborn. I love this song dearly and like the entire show to me is a different take on the genre’s tropes.I even want to watch the show again! *Fangirls on as we go to the next songs*

Theme 4: Passionate Duelist (Yu-Gi-Oh)

After my recent OWLS post my passion for Yu-Gi-Oh has been reawakened. During almost the entire post I listened to this song on loop, alternating with it GX counterpart Yudai’s theme. While even has more victory for the hero written over it this theme has that all important quality that Yu-Gi-Oh needs written over it.  Passionate Duelist is much more easy to talk over. “This is exactly the moment I have been waiting for, I activate my trap card PINK DEUS EX MACHINA” Now your turn becomes mine! Draaaaaw!

There is a flow in this song that is absolutely briljant.. that tranquility but swelling intensity will make your rival duelist thing “Shit .. epic card reveal… and oooh nooo there is a pause for explanation big plays will follow”  and right he is… after activating your trap you pull out an epic draw that allows you to summon Mary Sue MCGUFFIN : THE ULTIMATE HERO! Which has exactly the effect you need even if you never had such a card before in your deck or if your opponent is using an extremely niche tactic! This music tells your opponent that you will most certainly NOT be send to the shadow realm.. even if that is a dubismn and not real in the japanese version anyway. Even if you do not have the right cards in your hands.. when Passionate Duelist starts playing for you don’t even have to follow the rules.

When I play the Pokémon Trading Card Game with my friends or Cardfight Vanguard (Both a lot cheaper to get decent decks than Yu-gi-oh)  I play this theme and sometimes they even give up when it starts! I even managed to bluff my way to victory once! Such a great theme!
So let’s get your game on and be a passionate duelist as well because these card games are great!

Theme 3: You Say Run (My Hero Academia)

I rewrote this bit after first putting Ultimate Battle from Dragon Ball Super on this spot before. I love that show  a fair bit more than I love MHA. The latter is a great show and Ultimate Battle might even be the better song…but only if you watch the sub.  The Dub version of Ultimate Battle is absolutely trash, but hey at least we got plenty of very cool fan versions.
While I do not care about MHA all that much it did gift us with one hell of a hero theme in the form of You Say Run. The fact that I want to place this lower on my list but I actually can’t says enough on how good it is. It’s overplayed and a bit to casual for my taste but that is about all I can fault it for.


For all intents and purposes of this list when you say run starts playing it’s one of the biggest victory flags for heroes I have ever seen in an anime. Mostly because this show is literally about heroes versus villains in the purest form of the world but also the way the song is constructed. Starting slow for any dramatic reflection shot.. before going into some generic combat for the first few punches just to appreciate the hero’s getting more ground little by little. Most songs  and reversals are instant. Once the music starts playing villains are done for. You say run leaves some room .. as if it’s toying a bit with you showing some epic action still to also highlight the villains before slowly seeing the ground crumble beneath the enemy. When the song hits it’s full potential you know there is no escape for the villians and that our heroes WILL GO BEYOND!

This is one of those “goes with everything” songs like Guile’s theme and it is very much true. This song goes with everything, it is cleverly written to convey the victory emotion without needing any specific form of context. Which makes it one of the all time greats. Yet it is also why it will never go beyond a third spot for me. This might be the theme of My Hero Academia but it doesn’t feel tied to it. It would work just as well in Bleach or Shokugeki no Soma.. or that Handball anime thing people are currently very into.

Theme 2: Before My Body is Dry (Kill la Kill)

Kill la Kill is amongst my favorite anime ever. I mean look at how insane the story is. A girl’s father is killed with the other half of her scissors so she feeds blood to her school girl outfit to get more powerful.  She fights the head of the school and her mother who is the head of an evil clothing corporation. And when I say an evil clothing corporation I am applying the adjective to the word clothing and not to the corporation. Though I guess that is pretty evil as well.. so I guess it’s an evil evil clothing company.  Among the angry girls greatest rivals are great enemies like a Kendo Teacher, A Band Geek, A masochist and a one eyed insane ballerina, and a rainbow haired hag. Her greatest ally a secret spy organisation called Nudist Beach, who live up to their name mostly. Now that is great anim

(Hmm I wonder who my favorite character is…..)

Now we have established that trumpets are a weakness of the villains, electric guitars also oftenly get the job done.. and this song has the latter covered in spades. But there is one thing that will ALWAYS make an anime villain lose the fight.  It’s the power of Engrish. If you hear a song with Lyrics and it has Engrish in it then you know you are in the end face. This song is basically the anthem of Engrish. “In the dusty basement where we met , Me you surprise me much because you’re talking now’  While I get what they are saying it is hilarious! The song is clearly about Ryuko finding Senketsu so when she calls it sweetheart later on I am cracking up on the floor. Yet for some reason this theme is still so epic that each time it plays you shiver a little. 

The insanity of the show is perfectly reflected in this song and maybe the Engrish is intentional. It makes no sense.. just like this show! I mean they fight a ball of yarn, by having the deturgonist run in a huge hamster wheel while she wears a bancho suit! There are so many jokes about croquettes that I feel like them each time I see this. There are Mecha’s you entere in your swimsuit.. nothing makes sense and I adore it! We even see letters of attack names or organisation names crush buildings! Just for being spoken! A show as insane as this needs a show as bonkers as this.. oh andof course there is that one form Ryoko gets!

I feel something something….Initial D

Theme 1: Brave Heart (Digimon)

Those who only have watched the dub version of digimon might not have any idea what I am talking about when referring to Brave Heart. This track was the track that played at the digivolution of the digital monsters like Agumon, Patamon Biyomon and all the others. It comes into play at most transformations and in the vast majority of the Digimon adventures series.. if it plays for longer than the actual transformation you just know the fight is over.  Those bell like sounds the background give this song some magical qualities that made me fall absolutely in love with it. When I rewatched digimon in sub as research for digimon roleplay I hosted my heart pounded in my chest. I did not remember how good this show actually was! 

Would a villian digimon hear this song not only would the situation be resolved he would see a weird flying bunny pig transform into an angel, a little plant  grow into a cactus and later even a pixie ..or if we count Digimon Tri..i that same little plant thing could digivolve into a rosey dominatrix even. Nothing sells the fact that you are going to beat the frick out of your opponent than your formerly evil cat suddenly transforms into an angel. To bad that they used Butterfly when that angel than turned into a pink fairy dog dragon surrounded by rainbows or I could have used that one! I do like Holydramon  (or Magnadramon in dub) a lot! Brave Heart to me is that one song that symbolises that moment the hero comes back in so many ways. It comes together so nicely in such a jamming and iconic tune that to me it’s the greatest.

It is weird how this feels nostalgic even if I watched this in dutch originally, that’s just a testament to how right this feels. It feels Digimon, it feels unique and it feels powerful. That’s what makes this such a great theme and I will treasure this one as it holds both sentiment and some personal memories. What is your favorite “heroic turnabout”  song?
Let me know which ones you love and let’s love our favorite heroes!