Not even four weeks ago, when episode 7 of Samurai Flamenco aired, it seemed like another ordinary episode with heroes solving petty crimes… or at least attempting to. After a handful of episodes with Hazama as a costumed superhero, followed closely behind by a courageous trio of idols, the Flamenco Girls, the world of Samurai Flamenco found itself bored with its premise. In fact, the characters felt bored too, with the drop in crime, the reduction in activity and even a decline in interest from Gotou and the police. Something needed to shake up this series, right? And then came the big reveal. Yup, it was that one big moment in Samurai Flamenco. We learned that Hazama’s parents were murdered. The case was never solved. It was devastating. It was perturbing. It was going to be the biggest thing in Samurai Flamenco, shifting the direction of the series in a whole new direction. You figured nothing would top that, right? Right?
Yeah, it’s easy to forget but the unsolved murder of Hazama’s parents was the biggest thing to hit Samurai Flamenco at that point. The seventh episode was shaping up to be the most pivotal in the anime, switching the series from a nonsensical show about a young adult with an obsession about superheroes to one where he’d solve and resolve the mysterious death of his parents. It was going to be awesome. But it wasn’t even 10 minutes before the series took another, more shocking, more unforeseen twist that not only shifted the focus of the series again but pretty much blew up the foundation of the series and turned it into its grave.
Yup, it’s Guillotine Gorilla. And though Samurai Flamenco was silly at times before, the series was still grounded in reality. It’s characters weren’t able to do anything superhuman and the whole premise revolved around a simple guy with a fetish toward justice that could only be satisfied by dressing up in spandex each night and telling people what to do (how kinky!). The whole anime was focused on two friends having a robust discourse about their ideas of justice and contrasted the lifestyle of a police officer with a vigilante. It was solid as an anime and was even cerebral at times.
But then Guillotine Gorilla happened. And from his appearance onward, reality lost its meaning in Samurai Flamenco. It’s just gone now. What happened is irreversible. Having a human transform into a monster… and not just any monster, but a gorilla with a guillotine for an abdomen is just too ridiculous. Then having his superhuman strength defeat the police, decapitate an officer and then throw his body out the window. After shouting ‘what the hell?’ over a dozen times with each increasing in volume, you have to believe that what’s going on is a stunt or a dream or Hazama going insane. But no, when you realize you’re wrong, after defeating the monster and King Torture’s projection appearing in the sky, you realize the best part about this moment is… that the series presented it entirely in straight-faced. It was serious about this whole thing. The whole… damn… thing…
No, seriously, what the hell Samurai Flamenco? This has to be one of the most bewildering, unimagined and revolutionizing moments that I have ever seen in an anime. It completely changed EVERYTHING about the anime, even to the point where I don’t consider the two halves to be the same series anymore. And even though I wildly enjoyed the moment for its sheer absurdity and recklessness, it essentially destroyed the series for me. It’d be like spending all day constructing a magnificent sandcastle, only to Godzilla through it before adding the final finishing touches. What’s left is an enormous, catastrophic mess… one that you could certainly build another sandcastle from, but who would want to after experiencing the best moment when it all blew up and crashed to the ground? After all, it took seven episodes to build that sandcastle, so who would wanna sit through that again? And that’s exactly how I feel about Samurai Flamenco right now. Everything up to episode 7 was building this impressive and dazzling sandcastle, then Guillotine Gorilla demolished it and now everything thereafter is just the ruins that no one wants to clean up or work with. To say I love the Guillotine Gorilla scene would mean to say I love the aftermath… and I can’t bring myself to say I enjoyed seeing of my favorite anime of the year destroyed. However, when living in the moment, Guillotine Gorilla is undoubtedly one of my favorite moments of 2013. To say it isn’t would be to deny the complete exhilaration, sensation, puzzlement and chaos I experienced watching that scene and that alone makes it deserving of a spot in my 12 Days of Anime.