FLCL: Re:Start
June 3, 2018 3:31 PM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Hidomi is an apathetic high school girl, which wouldn't be that unusual, except that she dreams of a post-apocalyptic landscape, giant irons making everything flat, and transforming into a robot to stop said irons. And after a run-in (literally) with a mysterious woman in a mid-50s Chevy Bel-Air, she suddenly has all sorts of weird things happen in her life, like being attacked by a monster that came out of the head of her classmate Ide, and suddenly having a red horn protruding from her forehead...

Yup, the title's not an illusion, folks - season two of FLCL, also known as FLCL: Progressive as finally hit - like a shooting star!
posted by NoxAeternum (5 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So, the big thing that I think they got was that the new series needed to feel like FLCL, but not be a retread of the original. Making the lead a girl does go some way to doing that, but it wouldn't work to have Hidomi be just a distaff counterpart of Naota. Which she's not - yes, she has issues with her mom, but it's that her mother wants her to act like a normal girl, and not (as gets pointed out by other characters) "put the world on pause."

There's definitely a "red/blue oni" dynamic between Hidomi and Ide, and it's clear that the facade they put on is the inverse of who they are. Again, Hidomi dreams of not running from the Medical Mechanica irons, but becoming Canti and taking them on headfirst, while Ide talks a big game, but when we're shown him adter the junkyard, he's very much not wanting to get involved in things. And then there's Hidomi's headphones - normally they're blue, but when she "overflows", they become red.

And yeah, let's talk about the elephant in the room, since other places are talking about it - the scene with Hidomi and her mother midway through the episode heavily implies that Hidomi is Naota's daughter. This would explain a few things, most notably why she has an N-O channel without the usual "bass guitar to the head" process.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:45 PM on June 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I spent a lot of time waiting for this to turn into the episode that AS showed as an April Fools gag but it never did. I guess they pulled a double fools and showed the second episode or something. It was subtitled instead of dubbed which was really neat to see on AS. I hope the subbed versions become available at some point.

I think the headphones came from Naota/father.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:37 PM on June 4, 2018

Sort of - the April Fools episode was Season 3 (FLCL: Alternative), Episode 1. And AS was going to do a sub simulcast, but the subs have been pulled (probably due to pressure from Japan to not kill the theatrical releases there.) They're saying the subs should be this November.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:43 PM on June 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I re-watched the six eps in the last few days, so it's all fresh, and maybe that was a bad idea, because I was once again blown away by the production and density of the original series. In comparison, this episode looks and feels like so many modern anime, lacking the quirky, wackiness of the original FLCL. The dub rubs me the wrong way that most dubs do - it seems that English voice actors are either coached or picked to over-act or under-act. Lots of Really Big Excitement! paired with nearly dead monotone from the Steve Blum (Spike Spiegel/ Roger Smith from Big O) school of bored-means-deadpan voice acting (Blum appears in FLCL Alternative as Yoga Dennis, so we'll see if he displays any range of emotion there). Also, there's less music, and when it's there, it sounds ... off.

Fanboy gripes aside, it's fun to see the return of FLCL, and I appreciate some of the decisions and jokes, like the strong female leads and "red/blue oni" identified by NoxAeternum, and the kid with the unisex dress and panties, mocking the prior season's often casual pantie shots. I'm looking forward to the rest of this season, and I'll re-watch it when it's out in Japanese with subtitles, to see if my initial gripes were mostly about the dubbing.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:13 AM on June 7, 2018

So, they finally put the ep up on VOD, so I got to rewatch it, to see if there's anything I missed.

* It didn't dawn on me the first time, but the creature Hidomi meets in her dream is clearly Atomisk. No wonder that she transforms into Canti when exposed to him.

* The placement of modern social media feels important, and I'm wondering if we're missing something with all the text messages in Japanese. At the same time, it feels fitting that this version of the "what is FLCL?" speech is done over social media on a smartphone.

* Jinyu's Bel-Air is a subtle counterpoint to Haruko's Vespa (a point that the latter makes clear in her rant at the end of the episode.) The Vespa has always been an European icon that's been connected to the art and music scene there, so it's not surprising that Jinyu would have a vehicle that is very much an American cultural icon.

* The ED has an interesting image, with the original cast flanked by the Progressive cast to the left and the Alternative cast to the right. There's aslo clearly a few more characters that we haven't met yet in the former set - wonder who they are.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:50 PM on June 7, 2018

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