Tag Archives: FLCL

FLCL Progressive Reaction: An Interesting Return to Form

Rarely does a show so old get a chance at sequels, but the insane popularity of the original six episode OVA series manage to bring not one, but two new seasons back on the air, and premeiring in English first no less. Last Saturday, the first episode of the FLCL Progressive aired on Toonami, and after getting a chance to watch it on the Adult Swim website, which you can do for free if you have not, I have some thoughts.

Progressive as a Second Season

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Almost everyone who has seen the original FLCL can tell you that the show does not have the most straightforward plot. On the surface, the show’s first season tells the story of Naota, a elementary school kid who lives in a town where nothing happens. His brother’s Ex is always hanging out with him, clinging to him for emotional support, and the rest of his family, his dad and grandpa, are not exactly super helpful either. One day, a women proclaiming to be an alien from another world comes in on a vespa and hits Naota on the head with her blue guitar. Before he knows it, things start poping out of his head, and his life changes forever.

But, of course, there is a lot more going on in the original show than you might think. The show is for sure about puberty and growing up, but it is a lot more than that. It focused specifically on Naota’s strange affinity for Haruko, and how, as a kid, Naoto not only did not have the ability to be honest with himself about his feelings for Haruko, but also how he did not know how to repsond to Mamiya, and eventually drove her away. Of course, and the end of the show it gets revealed that Haruko was very much manipulating Naoto for her own personal gain, but that love for Haruko is still very much real.

Progressive had a lot to live up to, in this regard, and in a lot of ways it did. The original FLCL was a product of its time, and spoke to the specific conditions of Japanese youth in the 2000’s. Progressive needed to and definitely manages to hit that same mark for the mid to late 2010’s.

Characters and their Reflection of a New Era

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Hidomi certainly comes across as a female Naota of the 2010’s. This is not to say she is unoriginal, but that she does well in her role of portraying the problems in today’s youth culture. Hidomi is a junior high student living in a somewhat smaller city, presumably the same one as Naota based on the context clues givin in the first episode. She seems insular and very unfocused. Hidomi says herself that she feels like she does not even have an idea of what she wants to be.

This seems like a pretty accurate reflection of what younger people, and especially Japanese younger people are feeling. Now, I am no expert on Japan, but based on what I do know about Japanese culture, her character makes a lot of sense. During the 90’s, Japan experienced what modern historians have called “The Lost Decade.” Economic stagnation caused many to see a decline in there standard of living, and instead of in other countries where economic decline usually leads to scapegoating and racial and economic resentment, most of the youth during that decade just sort of carried on, wondering whether or not the situation can get better. Nearly two decades later, with a shrinking population and workforce, increasingly long hours in overly coporate offices has left many with the same sense of destitution and hopelessness that prevailed over many in the 90’s.

Now, this is not me saying that Fooly Cooly is about economics, although you could certainly argue that is the case indirectly. However, a lot of that background certainly plays into Hidomi’s own disullusionment. The lack of a sense of identity is very much a problem of young Japanese people, and having that background knowledge makes Hidomi’s identity crisis all the more relatable.

There is also one other important character, and that would be… well, this girl:

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I don’t actually know her name, but it appears as though she was sent by Fraternity to protect Hidomi from Haruko, or at least that what I could gather from the context of the first episode. Similar to Haruko, she rocks a guitar and is trying to unlock the secrets that supposedly lay dorment in Hidomi. Unlike Haruko, though, she seems to be very out of tune with the rest of the world, not exactly knowing what to do in a given social situation. Not that it is much of a prediction considerign how obvious it looks already, but I think this girl will end up being a foil Haruko in a lot of ways, both in the literary and literal sense.

Other Random Thoughts

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FLCL Progressive’s first episode, while not being as outright deranged as its first season parallel, it definitely brought back the show in a pretty bold way. It also looks the like the season that might answer some major questions about the plot, like what exactly are the details of this war between Medical Mechanica and Fraternity? and what do these weird robots coming out of people’s heads actually mean?

It would also be cool to see these newer themes explored from a female perspective, and how some of the themes of the first season tie into this one. I can tell that the writers have a lot planned for Hidomi in this season.

Also, where did the hand go?

What did you guys think of the first episode of Progressive? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!


This Week in Anime: Fireworks, Mitsuo Iso, and More…

I’m becoming really bad at doing introductions for this series. You guys know the deal already, I give you some of the more important stories of the week and make sure you are all caught up.

New Anime

A couple of new animated productions have been announced for this week.

Young Again in Another World Light Novel Gets Anime Adaptation

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The popular light novel series “Young Again in Another World” has officially received an anime adaptation, according to the show’s official Twitter account. The show will be directed by Keitaro Motonaga, or Jormungand and School Days fame, and will have a script written by Takamitsu Kono, along with Touko Machida, Koujiro Nakamura, and Chabo Higurashi.

“Young Again in Another World’s” story focuses on 94-year-old Renya Kunugi who, after dying, meets a girl who claims to be god. The encounter leaves Kunugi with an 18-year-old body and new powers he must use to survive in an all-new world.

Mitsuo Iso Reveals New Anime Project

As a Key Animator, Mitsuo Iso has worked on many projects beforehand, including Neon Genesis Evangelion, RahXephon, Cowboy Bebop, and Fooly Cooly. Aside from animation, though, Iso had also previously sat in the director’s seat during his work on Dennou Coil, a critically acclaimed sci-fi anime about the future of augmented reality, back in 2007.

Now, Mitsuo has revealed a new project: Extraterrestrial Children

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According to Iso, the show will focus on a group of kids that get stranded in space and must rely on the technology around them to survive. He wanted to “portray a story of a group of children thrown into that environment as if it had actually happened.” There are currently no other details as the release of the show or its production, other than its character designer being Kenichi Yoshida or Eureka Seven fame, and that studio Signal.MD will be handling the animation.

New Trailers

New trailers have also been released to highlight some upcoming premieres

GKIDS Releases English-Subtitled Trailer of Fireworks

Preceding the film’s North American release on July 3rd, GKIDS has released a two minute, English-subtitled trailer for the latest animated feature from Studio Shaft: Fireworks. The trailer reveals a bit of the story of the film, showing a young Norimichi Shimada trying to help his classmate Nazuna Oikawa run away from home. Norimichi comes across a strange orb they may help the two on their journey to run away from home.

Adult Swim Releases Dubbed Trailer for FLCL Progressive

Ahead of its release on July 2nd, Adult Swim released another trailer for the sequel to Fooly Cooly: FLCL Progressive. The trailer features many of the show’s new cast of characters, including the second season’s main lead Hidomi, as well as old favorites such as Haruko. The second season will primarily center around Hidomi’s role as a new weapon in the war against Medical Mechanica.

Article Shoutouts

In this new sub-segment of this week in anime, I will be writing about interesting articles that I have read during the week, including from other fellow bloggers, so consider this a sort of weekly round-up. This week, we have two articles, both that were featured on Crunchyroll.

Cultural Mashups in the Work of Shinichiro Watanabe

In this article, Skyler Allen focuses on one of the things that makes Shinichiro Watanabe’s work so interesting: Cultural mashups. He uses both Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo as examples, talking about the unique aesthetic combinations formed by the combination of these cultures, as well as the reimagining of universal truths found in each show.

An Interview with Mitsuo Iso

If you hadn’t gotten your fill of Mitsuo Iso just yet this week, then you are in luck. YouTuber The Pendantic Romantic sat down with Iso this week to discuss a variety of things, including his work on previous shows and why he has officially retired as an animator.

What do you guys think of this week’s anime related news? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

This Week in Anime: Megalo Box Soundtrack, FLCL Behind the Scenes, and More…

A lot has happened over the last week, most of it pretty light-hearted.

Welcome back, everyone. For today’s This Week in Anime, there is going to be a lot of cool stuff to cover, so let’s get started.

Megalo Box Soundtrack to be Released in June

Megalo Box Soundtrack
Source: Crunchyroll.com 

It was recently announced that the soundtrack to the recent hit Megalo Box, a show inspired by the 50th anniversary of the critically acclaimed manga Ashita no Joe, will be released in June. The soundtrack includes a collection of 47 tracks from the show, with songs from Japanese artists, including the Yasei Collective, COMA-CHI, and DJ Baku. Another version will be available that includes 12 additional tracks, totaling 59. The full soundtrack will be released sometime in June

If I were to pick the best soundtrack from the Spring 2018 anime season, it would hands down be Megabox. Its mix of 90s inspired hip-hop and classic rock does a great job at elevating the hype every time I watch it. Out of all of the anime soundtracks that I have come across, there have only ever been a few that made me think, “I would be totally ok with paying money to listen to this.” Before Megalo Box,  it was Hyouka, Terror in Resonance, Phi Brain, and Jormungund. Now, Megalo Box is definitely on that list.

FLCL Releases a Behind the Scenes Video of English Dub Production

On Saturday, Adult Swin released a behind the scenes video for the upcoming sequels to the original Fooly Cooly, FLCL Progressive and FLCL Alternative. The video contains interviews with each of the main cast of the upcoming series’, including Kari Wahlgreen, who is playing Haruko, and who also played her in the original series.

Other members of the cast include Xanthe Huynh, who will be playing Hidomi, Ray Chase as Handa, and Steve Blum as Yoga. The first of the show’s sequels, FLCL Progressive, will be released starting on June 2nd, and Alternative will be released sometime in September.

As someone who enjoyed the original FLCL a lot, I can only hope that these sequels live up to the hype. Reading some interviews from the past couple of months, it very much sounded like a lot of the people involved in the project did not really want to create it. However, at least on the production side, Production I.G. has always been a reliable source of quality, so there is a bit of hope there. Hopefully, that will translate into some fun sequels.

Hiro Mashima Unveils New Secret Project

On Monday, Hiro Mashima unveiled on Twitter that he was working on a new project, despite already working on two other projects. According to Mashima’s tweet, “We are moving forward with three switching heads.” That part refers to both the series finale for Fairytail and another new project that will be released in the summer.

Fairytail was my initial introduction to Mashima, but I would be lying if I said I had done much exploration of his work other than that. Still, seeing all of this new work from him does make me excited, especially with the free time I’ll have this summer.

What do you guys think of this week’s anime related news? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!