The series centers on the misadventures of 17-year-old Kana, a high school junior who spends her days hanging out with her besties, Mossan, Hijiri, and Pets. They live unremarkable lives, until the day a mecha falls out of the sky, along with a strange woman named “Haruko.” Her plans for Kana and her friends involve the force known as “ATOMSK.” Kana will have to risk everything to decide whether or not to help… like she really has a choice!
Source: Adult Swim
FLCL Alternative is an interesting show. Accidentally brought early for April Fool’s day, FLCL’s most lax cousin was forced to bear the burden Progressive was supposed to have, that being the weight of being the sequel to a legendary piece of animated passion. Sadly, it was stuck with it anyway after Progressive turned out the way it did and paid the piper for it in terms of reception. For such a Herculean task, this show was oddly calm, even nostalgic in some ways. It’s a miracle it worked at all given its approach. One obvious point in this show’s favor is that it actually tries to tackle something different from the original. Progressive focused more on adding intrusive lore elements to Haruko while providing unnecessary and flawed critique for the sake of a character arc. It sidelined its own protagonist’s role, leaving its core messages and delivery half-baked. Alternative takes a new angle entirely, focusing on a group of four teenage girls on the verge of adulthood rather than the beginning of adolescence. From there, it begins studying our main leads one by one in the first half, while sandwiching them with Haruko, and the style and structure of FLCL. What makes this work is the sense of chemistry our main leads have. Each interaction feels as lovey and genuine as these girls’ distinct personalities. This makes studying them individually and what makes them a part of this group so rewarding. It shows off all their jobs, passions, and struggles to make each girl feel almost real. Adding onto this genuine feeling is how organically the show taps into teenage culture. These girls hang out at restaurants and malls, text each other, and visit each other’s houses to learn about each other and hang out more. Kana, Hijiri, and Mossan are particularly fun to watch and explore, and even Tomomi -the character who often just blends in while making humorous jabs- gets her time to feel like a true member of this lively cast. Seeing Mossan’s little siblings draw food to “pretend feed” her, and how tired she is while she works, tells us more about her than the exposition her mom gives to Kana. Kana’s bookbag charms and cracked phone screen tell us about her character better than any thankfully non-existent exposition dump does. Hijiri’s forlorn sigh after her break up tells more than any exposition dump does. Most refreshingly, some of the scenes of characters talking about each other reveal more about themselves and their dynamic than the people they’re referring to. It all melds together to forge this small community of girls to get attached to. The fact that even with this, Haruko trumps all, is easily the most astounding part. She is what ties everything together in the nicest of bows. Her absurd occupations are as glorious as the fact that as long as she gets her job done, she legally has jurisdiction -in universe- to do whatever the fuck she wants. As such, she can go from being a nurse and a food truck vendor to someone slaying Bumblebee while shouting “Michael Bay” in a 3D action sequence! She’s every bit the force of nature she once was, now with an entirely different purpose and even more insight. The monumental performance by Kari Wahlgren truly exemplifies what a joy this incarnation of Haruko is to watch. Her main redesign also reflects this wonderfully while being as wonderful as her original design. Not every appearance feels necessary, but they are generally some of the highlights of any given episode. This isn’t to say Alternative’s writing is perfect, even in terms of living up to its predecessor. The writing can be a bit too blunt, even if it doesn’t always spell out each episode’s message. It doesn’t have this sense of subtlety the original had. At times, some dramatic scenes can feel boilerplate, as if they did it just to have one. The same also applies to some of their attempts at incredibly weird and visually varied sequences that really drag on and feel more awkward than bombastic. Another, more important issue is that that for ⅔ of the show, there’s no real sense of escalation or reason to care about the grander narrative. What makes matters worse is that the middle section feels more undercooked and wasteful than anything else, especially since a short 6-episode series should have no reason to buy time. Thankfully most of these writing issues aren’t generally deal breakers, especially compared to the more damning flaws commonly presented about Progressive. It’s mainly a problem in the middle of the show, so the first and final 1/3s of the show can still be enjoyed to the fullest. On the subjects of improving, let’s address the visuals. The animation feels livelier, more fluid than the often stiff and awkward-feeling animation presented in Progressive’s action sequences. It isn’t as fluid as the original, and there are some rough moments -both in the animation and CGI department- but the visuals are far more vibrant and less awkwardly restrained as they were previously for the most part. Additionally, the character expressions are far more lively here to boot. Combine this with the generally fun character designs and fashion, and you have a fun jumping off point. Combine this with Haruko’s numerous hairstyles and designs this time around, and some more interesting designs for the one-off enemies of each episode, and it’s not hard to see how this was a step above the previous entry. Finally, we arrive at the audio improvements. The dubbing here was more excellent than before, not just with the main and/or returning characters, but with the glorious additions of Steve Blum and Patrick Seitz as secondary characters. However, the biggest step up is in the music. Where Progressive only really had one track of note -that being “Thank You, My Twilight” by The Pillows- Alternative doubles that with two of the best tracks in the franchise. “White Summer and Green Bicycle, Red Hair and Black Guitar” is easily my favorite insert song in the franchise, with a wonderfully nostalgic feeling to it that makes reflecting on a walk or bus ride a marvelous experience. None of the other tracks match up, but they are at least serviceable. The absolute splendor of these two tracks by The Pillows is already enough to show how much more effective this show was than its predecessor. FLCL Alternative may not match the original’s sheer passion, subtlety, skill, or visual splendor, but it keeps the spirit moving in a new direction. It switches gears organically, embracing itself as its own justified identity while keeping true to its roots, even if it isn’t always successful at that. This laidback alternative is as unnecessary as it is welcome, and that’s all it ever needed to be. Written and edited by: CodeBlazeFate Proofread by: Peregrine
I'll say the same thing as everybody else will be saying. It doesn't come close to the experience that was FLCL but it seems to be put together a bit better than FLCL: Progressive. It'll always be hard to follow up a cult classic since music, animations, topic and time just lined up perfectly for the original. I compare it to Run-DMC and Aerosmith, being shown on MTV with Walk this way. If you were there, it blew your mind and many have tried to recreate the formula but it'll just never be the same... it's a once in a lifetime experience. Rap, rock, breaking walls with Adidas shoes with no laces... Right place, right time. Just like the other FLCL seasons, the main protagonist is struggling with her current situation in life and trying to understand adulthood. She's quite selfish and has no direction in life. She trying to make herself feel important by butting in on her friends' problems and it just creates more tension between her and her friends. The music still goes hand in hand with the animations and story telling which still creates some goosebumps, but even with the Pillows I feel that the music that was used during the original series still has the most impact. My biggest complained about FLCL: Progressive was the animation style which was a lot less chaotic and took a more typical story telling approach but the I feel the animation quality was improved quite a bit but still doesn't come anywhere close to the chaotic style of FLCL. Haruko is a lot more chaotic again compared to FLCL: Progressive but seems to have settled with a mentor role and also seems to have no interest in Atomsk this season. Which of course is kind of weird due to her being one of the most selfish and mischievous characters created in anime. So to see her being outshined by Kana in the selfishness department is a little confusing. However, It's been a good watch.
I feel like FLCL Alternative does some things better than the original FLCL. First of all, I feel like this FLCL is better at balancing Comedy and Drama better than the original FLCL. It also brought out what I liked most about the series, which is the slice of life moments mixed in with the rock music. In fact the first episode almost feels like one long music video. The only thing is that the animation feels a bit generic when compared to other anime, but I feel like people are too hard on this series just because the animation isn't as experimental as the first FLCL. I like it just as much as the original FLCL which really grew on me over the years but for different reasons. Anyways check it out if you want.
There is no discussion yet for this series.
There are no custom lists yet for this series.