FLCL: Shoegaze - Reviews

Alt title: Furi Kuri: Shoegaze

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Rbastid's avatar
Jan 18, 2024

Nothing amazing happens here. Only the ordinary. And by “here” I mean any FLCL sequel. 

Story - 3/10

*Some spoilers ahead, which may be a good thing that will save you time*

Oh look, another disaffected youngster feels, well disaffected. This time it revolves around Masaki Aofuji, and his visions of strange creatures, that no one believes exist. Moving to a new school doesn’t seem to help either, but while there he meets a young girl who seems a bit out of place, and she knows exactly who he is, and what he can see. 

The two believe that the source of his visions are the weird tower in town, as on top of it is a giant pink “Peep” like bird, that again only Masaki can see. At first they think the best thing to do is blow the building up, so now they are being treated as terrorist. Leading the investigation is the former head of the interstellar immigration bureau, Tabata Kanda, and his trusty number two is none other than Kana Koumoto, which means there’s much more to this story than meets the eye.

After the two accidentally set off the bomb they really didn’t want to set off, they uncover that the tower is much larger than it appears from the outside, and at the top is an odd control panel. Soon we learn about what went on in the ten years between the end of FLCL Alternative and now. Despite the ending of that show saying otherwise, we find out that the world, and it’s population, was split in to two separate dimensions, and Kanda has been working to rejoin them, but he’s been unsuccessful due to Kana’s NO lacking in power since becoming an adult. So without a good source of NO, Kanda found Masaki, and will play with his emotions until he produces enough to merge the worlds. 

This leads to a typical FLCL type ending, where something tilts and tries to knock the characters off it, they yell about something else being eaten, and everyone floats. It’s like they thought these were the important elements of the FLCL universe, while leaving out all the actual important elements.

As with all these sequels there is just so much out of place, as it seems the creators didn’t bother to spend the two hours it takes to watch the original and learn the lore.

We’ve always been shown that there are a couple of factors in getting a person to have an NO release. The person needs to be predisposed to it, the channel needs to be opened, often by Haru hitting them or coming in contact with another person who is already a channel (such as Ninamori,) and they need to have an overwhelming burst of emotions. With Masaki we know he’s a carrier, but there is no indication he was in a situation that would bring out his ability; he also starts emitting some pulses for no reason what so ever.

The story of the two worlds separating also seems a bit strange and full of holes. We’re told the world was split in two, where some people were sent to another dimension. The way they talk it would seem those who stayed in the original dimension, which we are to believe our show takes place in, all kept their original memories and life. But Harumi’s story plays out like she was the one sent from another dimension, as she’s now back on Earth, despite being one of the lucky ones that fled to Mars. But if that’s the case it would seem more like there were three dimensions (or more) who all had their inhabitants rearranged. 

The scenes of her reappearing on Earth also pose some other questions, like why does she have a completely new family? Was she adopted, and the scene was just her day dreaming? Or were entire historical lines also rearranged when Kana released her NO?

Another wrench in any attempt at a thought out plot would be why did Harumi return to Mars after the partial re-merging of universes? That would then make it seem that the show’s world, was actually the new universe instead.

When creating such a new concept, you need time to actually get in to details, which the show could have done if they didn’t waste so much time on junk, but I’m guessing the writers are so bad that they didn’t actually think of any of these things, and just assumed they can toss out any old trash and hope people find it interesting. I’m not saying the whole idea wasn’t without some promising ideas, but they needed to be fully fleshed out, with plot holes filled, before being made in to a show. The original series had so many small did bits of information hidden everywhere that it’s fans are now predisposed to look everywhere possible for clues and Easter eggs, so you’ve got to expect they’ll easily catch any mistake or inconsistency. 

Oh and it is a complete slap in the face of all of FLCL that Atmosk is now a miniature flying penis monsters that is controlled by one worthless boy.

Animation - 5/10

There is a major split between the foreground, and background animation for this installment of FLCL. The good comes with the background, as they all look beautifully drawn, and mimic the look of water colors or colored pencil drawings. Unfortunately in front of them are uninspired lead characters that appear to be picked from an anime templet.

Sound - 6/10

As with all versions of this series, the music is performed by the Pillows, and is very well done. The band has kept its same style for decades now, and while it may not show tons of growth, they do it well, so why change? The problem is the music isn’t implemented into the scenes properly. It works with some situations, but the show is just lacking those great moments where the songs kick in to full volume and give a huge boost to an exciting scene. There also aren’t too many songs, as this installment allows there to be a lot of time without any music, unlike previous ones.

The voices are okay. Those who return from FLCL: Alternative to voice Kana and Kanda are still as good as before, Harumi’s VO artist also is passable, though often sounding like a certain character from our past. The main character though is just another awful, bland, “actor” who doesn’t actually have the ability to act, and pretty much drains any scene he needs to talk in. They also reach a level of total annoyance as they continuously refer to our main character by his full name over and over.

Characters - 2/10

This might be a master class in having characters, that have no character. Neither of our two new characters actually have much of a story behind them, not to mention the entirety of the show is trying to fool you in to thinking one of the characters is someone else. In the end they have her do a complete one eighty into her actual character, which shows that the first two episodes were pretty much pointless. 

The male lead is just another boring, mopey, teen, with no personality. They try to use Naota as the base for all these new leads, but he at least had a story, a direction, and a reason for his actions. 

The female, Harumi, spends most of the show acting exactly like Haruko, in actions, speech, and even copying some of her phrases and comments from earlier seasons. They really spend the whole series pushing that it’s exactly who she is, because they know that’s the only real hook for keeping viewers watching, since for the first two episodes the story certainly isn’t doing it)

Towards the end Kana’s character gets some of the blanks filled in over the last ten years, but it still doesn’t build much of a backstory. Likewise Kanda is given a reason for his choices, but the two are relegated to minor status in this pointless group of people.

Overall - 2/10

The main problem, which goes double since this is supposed to be a direct sequel to FLCL Alternative, is that there is nothing at all that ties this to what FLCL was about. When you reach the end it feels more like they had an idea for a show, and they just stuck the name and characters on it, to get it produced.  Worse than not connecting, they try to rewrite some of what they had just released in the prequel, as that ended with them showing the aftermath of Kana’s NO release, and now they’re telling us something entirely different happened than what we watched.

Maybe if they just put this out as an original series; and actually put a deeper story and developed characters, it could have been good, but instead it just doesn’t feel like a complete piece of work. Even if they wanted to make it part of the FLCL world, they need to stick with the lore that was already established, instead of making up everything new and having it seem out of left field.

As bad as the previous two were, they at least made you have feelings for it, even if that feeling was one of immense hate and anger. This short attempt at a series just leaves you not caring.

There was a line that came at the end of FLCL Progressive that I thought summed up that series perfectly, but who knew it would be even better for this one, “There was no reason for any of this.”

Positive Reasons for Score:

 * Background art was very well done.

 * Once again the Pillows came with great music for the series.

 * They at least didn’t saddle us with six episodes of this.

Negative Reasons for Score:

 * There is nothing that makes this an FLCL show, outside of a dullard being manipulated by a girl.

 * The need to again and again go for crude, and unfunny, attempts at humor, just spits in the face of the smart way the original implemented such things.

 * There isn’t a complete story to be found.

Ways to make the show better:

 * Just don’t make it an FLCL series and it would gain a point or two.

 * Don’t think you can rewrite FLCL lore, you haven’t earned it.

 * You need to keep it connected to what FLCL’s underlying story was about, either Haruko’s search for love and power, Medical Mechanica’s attempts to flatten the world for their own gain, even a story following the Interstellar Immigration Bureau searching the universe for Atomsk would be new but still connect to what the show is. Besides using NO as a term, nothing here fit with the information in the previous four seasons.

3/10 story
5/10 animation
6/10 sound
2/10 characters
2/10 overall
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