FLCL, in any other case often known as Fooly Cooly, is uniquely a product of the early 2000s, one thing that comes via in its provocative artwork course, its hectic motion sequences, and its unforgettable various rock soundtrack. It’s additionally a cult traditional, recognized for its disorienting fever-dream-esque story which followers like me have spent years struggling to completely recollect not to mention comprehend. Making an attempt 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 collection’ efforts to recork its personal lightning with follow-up seasons like 2018’s forgettable FLCL: Progressive and the so-so FLCL: Various by no means fairly succeeded. In consequence, some followers turned their noses up at FLCL: Grunge when it proclaimed that it could not solely give the collection one more unasked-for season however function a prequel to the consecrated story that began all of it.
Learn Extra: Each Huge Anime Announcement At San Diego Comedian-Con
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 collection to take a hike, the premiere episode, coming to Grownup Swim on August 9, manages to stay its foot within the door with a probably compelling hook. It units out to do extra than simply retread the pathos of the unique anime: it additionally seeks to reply longtime collection 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 teen who listlessly works at his father’s sushi restaurant. That’s, till his likelihood encounter with Haruko, the collection’ unhinged alien iconoclast, who’s disguised as a name woman 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 similar to collection protag Naota Nandaba. Equally to Naota, Shin’s bump grows bigger each time 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 drag 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 might have kickstarted the virus that corrupted the shady industrial manufacturing facility’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 collection will try to lastly shed some gentle on her objectives.
FLCL: Grunge’s animation is ok however its story is simply too spinoff 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 Photos, Grunge’s CGI animation—which sprinkles in bits of 2D animation to emphasise the collection’ titular psycho-sexual conceits and phallic innuendos—by no means feels jarring or displeasing to observe, even when it’s a noticeable step down from the unique collection’ 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 stated for its overly acquainted story beats.
Learn Extra: FLCL: Progressive’s Premiere Is Good, However Tame
Finally, FLCL: Grunge seems to pursue the identical pathos as its predecessors: It’s a collection in regards to the cynicism and melancholy that youngsters endure whereas inheriting issues from adults who’d relatively 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 collection’ 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 could be moot if its subsequent couple of episodes proceed to pull their toes behind the well-trodden story beats of Grunge’s predecessors.