July 13, 2024

FLCL, in any other case often known as Fooly Cooly, is uniquely a product of the early 2000s, one thing that comes by means of in its provocative artwork course, its hectic motion sequences, and its unforgettable different rock soundtrack. It’s additionally a cult traditional, identified for its disorienting fever-dream-esque story which followers like me have spent years struggling to completely recollect not to mention comprehend. Trying to make sense of the present’s jigsaw puzzle of a plot would yuck the yum of its angst-filled teenage vibe; in spite of everything, FLCL’s surreal high quality is a part of its appeal.

Nonetheless, the sequence’ efforts to recork its personal lightning with follow-up seasons like 2018’s forgettable FLCL: Progressive and the so-so FLCL: Different by no means fairly succeeded. Because of this, some followers turned their noses up at FLCL: Grunge when it proclaimed that it will not solely give the sequence yet one more unasked-for season however function a prequel to the consecrated story that began all of it.

Grownup Swim / MonteBlanc Footage

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Whereas I might have begrudgingly accepted FLCL: Grunge’s existence as a method of listening to new tracks from The Pillows earlier than telling the sequence to take a hike, the premiere episode, coming to Grownup Swim on August 9, manages to stay its foot within the door with a doubtlessly compelling hook. It units out to do extra than simply retread the pathos of the unique anime: it additionally seeks to reply longtime sequence questions like, “Who the hell is Haruko Haruhara, and why is she desperately trying to find the equally mysterious robotic, Atomsk?

FLCL: Grunge follows Shinpachi, a youngster who listlessly works at his father’s sushi restaurant. That’s, till his likelihood encounter with Haruko, the sequence’ unhinged alien iconoclast, who’s disguised as a name lady for the sleepy seaside city’s lecherous Mayor Kuroiwa. After some off-kilter hijinks, which culminate in Haruko planting a kiss on Shinpachi, the sushi supply boy develops a lump on his brow, very like sequence protag Naota Nandaba. Equally to Naota, Shin’s bump grows bigger at any time when Haruko bats her eyelashes or poses provocatively in entrance of him. It’s a thinly veiled dick metaphor in case that wasn’t clear.

Whereas the episode doesn’t reveal whether or not Shin’s brow knob spouts a dimensional portal for Haruko to tug robots out of like Naota’s does, the premiere does go away bread crumbs about how her meddling with the robots of mysterious company Medical Mechanica could have kickstarted the virus that corrupted the shady industrial manufacturing unit’s automatons, one thing that was hinted at in Progressive. Haruko’s grand motivations are nonetheless unknown on the finish of the premiere, however FLCL: Grunge being a prequel season leads me to consider the sequence will try and lastly shed some mild on her objectives.

A FLCL: Grunge still shows Shinpachi talking to Shonari.

Picture: Grownup Swim / MonteBlanc Footage

FLCL: Grunge’s animation is ok however its story is just too by-product to name it a must-watch

Regardless of FLCL’s shift from studios Gainax (Neon Genesis Evangelion) and Manufacturing I.G (Ghost within the Shell) to new blood studio MonteBlanc Footage, Grunge’s CGI animation—which sprinkles in bits of 2D animation to emphasise the sequence’ titular psycho-sexual conceits and phallic innuendos—by no means feels jarring or displeasing to look at, even when it’s a noticeable step down from the unique sequence’ wildly frenetic hand-drawn animations. Though Grunge’s CGI animation by no means hits the peaks of anime like Trigun: Stampede, it additionally doesn’t sink to the embarrassingly shoddy ranges of EX-Arm. The identical can’t be mentioned for its overly acquainted story beats.

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Finally, FLCL: Grunge seems to pursue the identical pathos as its predecessors: It’s a sequence in regards to the cynicism and melancholy that youngsters endure whereas inheriting issues from adults who’d fairly go away the planet in droves than confront their festering points, be they private struggles like alcoholism or world failures like air pollution from the Medical Mechanica’s environmental waste. The present’s themes would have been poignant if it hadn’t been the sequence’ fourth time treading them, a reality which finally makes Grunge’s premiere leagues weaker than its predecessors, save for the promise that it may present some perception on Haruko’s endgame. Whether or not or not the present inevitably does present some readability on Haruko, its efforts is perhaps moot if its subsequent couple of episodes proceed to tug their ft behind the well-trodden story beats of Grunge’s predecessors.