Anime Vice News

SAMURAI FLAMENCO #17 Gets Political!

Episode #17 -- Watch & Learn. Who's that alien, really?

For a moment, it smelled like this episode was potentially leaning toward some larger point about American superheroes (and pop culture, by extension?) threatening Japan’s cultural identity. It leaned back off of that, of course, but if this is the world seen through the eyes of a personified Tokusatsu history, I suppose the yearly box office dominance of Marvel and DC flicks would seem a bit threatening.

The episode does end up throwing some direct criticism at politicians at large. I generally try to avoid getting into any political commentary here but, suffice it to say, this particular bit of satire was quite fun. I find it endlessly amusing how otherwise rational people simplify complicated debates and elections as if it they’re actually the kind of simple super-battle you’d see in one of these shows. The fact that prime minister gets wrapped up in poll numbers as if they actually mean anything was sharp touch, too.

Anyway, given how the design of Alien Flamenco is so… specific, I suspect there are a lot of specific allusions I’m missing here.

There’s another notable superhero story, KINGDOM COME, that was generally regarded as the major “reconstructionist” work of the 90’s. Basically, a middle-aged Superman comes out of retirement to rid the world of the crasser and more violent heroes who have succeeded him. It’s maybe not advisable to outside riders, because in addition to requiring knowledge of DC Comics’ superheroic pantheon, it also really requires you to know a bit about what was going on behind the scenes of the comics industry at the time.

I can’t help but wonder if these developments are similarly supposed to meta-fictionally mirror behind-the-scenes events in tokusatsu history that I’m simply not familiar with.

Watch “Ultimate Prime Minister” and decide for yourself, then read my comments about the previous episode.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
Marshal Victoryon Feb. 25, 2014 at 4:07 p.m.

Hmm did not consider the Kingdom Come angle at all. Tho its neat this show has made you ponder other comics in relation to the anime story wise.

The political jab may been more at Japan an its politicians. Actualy many anime seem to pick at them meta story wise.Note how the animation style changed again?

takashichea moderator on March 2, 2014 at 8:13 p.m.

I felt this episode just went off the deep end even the characters did a bit of 4th wall breaking. It got pretty ridiculous with the Alien Flamenco. I should check out Kingdom Come story.

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