Oct 17, 2018
Shrabster (All reviews)
*Potential Spoilers

You know the one thing I wanted in an FLCL sequel? A Kardashian reference because that will surely age well.

FLCL Progressive and Alternative tell the familiar story of being a teen and the all the troubles that come along with it… except without any of the subtly or charm of the original.

Sequels are usually a bad idea to begin with, but sometimes they are tragedies with both Progressive and Alternative unsurprisingly falling head first into the latter. It is not so much because they are outright terrible, but how heartless they and mediocre they are as they go through the motions. I know it is not completely fair to judge things by comparison, but I’m about to do a lot of judgement by comparison. The original FLCL is truly one of a kind. It balanced over the top wackiness with heart felt drama making for an entertaining and surprisingly touching coming of age story. It shouldn’t have worked as well as it did but here we are with FLCL cemented as a cult classic which is impressive in its own right. It was unique and refreshing, even if flawed, and it’s hard to argue it didn’t stand out regardless of how one felt about it. FLCL Progressive(ly Shit) and Alternative(ly Shit) on the other hand soullessly copy certain aspects from the original in an attempt to recreate the magic and fail grandly, ending up with no identity or personality of their own and worse yet forgetting basic elements of storytelling in the process.

There are no interesting characters in either Progressive or Alternative. Hidomi, the main character of Progressive, seems to have the most interesting if not familiar story out of all the new cast yet this is blundered by lack of focus making for a less than satisfying ending. Instead, focus is shifted to Haruko who has now been reduced to nothing but a prop with her crazy antics taken to an obnoxious level as if that was what made her interesting in the original series and not her interactions with Naota. Worse is Kana, the main character of Alternative, who is so generic and uninspired in every way it makes one appreciate Progressive’s characters. While Hidomi’s story of an absent father at least had potential Kana’s story resorts to your typical power of friendship clichés which feel so forced I wanted to throw up.

The other issue Nu-FLCL suffers from is the terrible pacing. The original FLCL was quite effective at conveying a lot of information succinctly and by the end of the first episode we understand Naota’s troubles and motivations. By comparison Progressive opens with nonsensical dream sequences while Alternative opens with narrations similar to the original except without the nuance. From there both are so disjointed and poorly structured that only the last two episodes seem to matter. While Progressive’s ending is serviceable at best Alternative’s ending is so contrived and out of left field that it works against it.

If there is one thing Nu-FLCL is guilty of it is being absolutely forgettable, which despite its flaws, the original wasn’t. Equal in mediocrity I can’t say Progressive is ultimately better than Alternative or vice versa. I guess if I had to choose I would choose Progressive because it wasn't as on the nose as Alternative and Hidomi is cute, but neither cute hime cut grils nor The Pillows could save either of these two messes in the end. So, unsurprisingly, another unplanned sequel that never needed to exist to begin with flops and everyone moves on with their lives. I guess the only thing to do now is to wait for when they announce the timed Toonami exclusive sequel to Cowboy Bebop featuring a new multicultural cast of all female characters so I can finally hang myself.