So now we come to Flamenco Girl. She too likes to fight evildoers, but she seems primarily motivated to do good only if it combats her boredom. To put it in a different way, goodness is a mere byproduct of what she does. Is that a harsh assessment? Maybe, but I get the feeling she cares less about the people she saves and more about kicking thugs in the balls (what does she do to female thugs?).
So when the evildoers are defeated all a little too easily by her colleague, Samurai Flamenco, she sets out to escalate things, i.e. pick a fight with King Torture. … Flamenco Girl–perhaps naively or stupidly–wants actual danger in her life.
So what is this anime trying to get at? Is there a point in the sudden shift tone and narrative pacing? I am reminded of the infamous shower scene in the movie Psycho. It is a common myth to believe that the knife never actually penetrates the skin, but regardless, the point is that a gruesome murder scene is, in actuality, not that literally gruesome. Nevertheless, the scene strikes a chord with the viewers because the editing makes it so that the camera itself represents the knife. It is the audience, staring at the silver screen in rapt attention, that’s guiding along the murder of Marion Crane. We desire to see her death–after all, we expect it–, and the first-person perspective thus makes us complicit with the crime. Well, that’s the popular theory in film analysis 101. It is safe to say, however, that this infamous shower scene wouldn’t work too well in our day and age. Our horror movies are now more like torture-porn. The abstraction of a knife penetrating a woman’s skin is no longer going to scare anyone. Take a kid raised on Saw or Hostel and have them watch Psycho. Would they appreciate it as much as audiences back in 1960? The likely answer is no.
So it got me to thinking back on how I judged the previous six and a half episodes of Samurai Flamenco: was I not unlike Flamenco Girl? Did I not wish for something more substantive… something more weighty to assault our heroes and their happy-go-lucky narrative. Yes, yes I did.