FLCL Progressive Episode 5 Review: Fool on the Planet

The animated creativity of this episode was stunning. Fool on the Planet feature several different animation styles throughout the episode. It begins with what seems like a charcoal watercolor like painting. Then it moves to a sketch style that makes the episode feel unfinished. Finally, the episode transitions to a manga style, black and white with panels. The shifts between the various styles happen sometime between frames as well as scenes.

Ide “fights” Haruko in a abandoned pool, she dominates him, mocking his lack of strength. Ide’s relationship with Haruko is odd, it appears to be sexual on some level but never really progresses pass innuendo. Regardless, after she defeat him, she straddles him telling him that he “knows nothing.” Ide responds in kind telling her that “you don’t satisfy me!” This pisses Haruko off, meanwhile, Hidomi races to the roof and becomes jealous.

She weirdly absorbs Ide in a fit of rage, leaving behind a weird black human shaped rubber type thing. We learn that Hidomi’s mother is closing the cafe, seemingly abandoning any hope that her father will return. It appears that Haruko is working with “the Department of Interstellar Immigration,” and the weird amusement park is finally implemented. Draining the N.O. energy from the students to power a robot. They attack a “Medical Mechanica factory.”

Meanwhile, the rubber suit floats up into space where it’s sucked into a giant satellite and feed to a Canti-like dog by an elderly woman. This is similar to what occurred in the last episode of FLCL, the terminal dog ended up becoming a world destroying machine. Hidomi’s attacks Haruko in her new cyborg form. She chastises Haruko for being “just a girl in love.” Before Haruko can respond the sky turns red signalling the return of Atomsk. While, I enjoyed the animation change, I found it so distracting that I had to re-watch the episode to remember what happened. Which is bad enough considering that this whole series will require re-watching. Anyway, I’m curious what the final episode will bring.

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FLCL Progressive Episode 4 Review: Loopqr

After the last episode, Hidomi has a complete personality change. She becomes rather manic, unlike the previous episodes this one doesn’t start with a dream sequence. Hidomi’s headphone are now drilled into her head, releasing this personality. The animation style seems to adapt to this new dynamic in Hidomi’s personality. Ide and the others attempt to figure out how to remove the headphone’s to return her to normal.

Aiko’s “emotional support plant” from the previous episode turns out to be a N.O. device, created from Canti’s robot shell. Marco falls for the “new” Hidomi, but this feels like an aside that will be quickly ignored. Anyway, Marco is tasked with trying out a new theme part ride. At this park is also Aiko, selling a bear statue to a customer. It turns out that this bear along with the plant are both made of parts of Canti. They apparently reverse the “N.O. field that transports beings through people’s heads.”

Meanwhile, Jinyu and Hidomi alliance from last episode ends. While inside a Medical Mechanica factory, Jinyu attempts to get Haruko to join her and give up her attempt to chase the pirate King Atmosk’s. However, Haruko decides that she rather “devour” Jinyu instead. They begin to battle destroying the transmitter in Hidomi’s head, both Jinyu and Haruko burst out of her head. In a series of flashbacks we see that Haruko did get the pirate kings power, causing her to split into Jinyu. The action sequence at the end of this episode is worth watching. Haruko eventually “kills” Jinyu by turning into a monster and eating her.

FLCL Progressive Episode 3 Review: Stone Skipping

We are once again treated to a surreal dream from Hidomi. I’ll admit I have no idea what it meant, but It seemed to have something to do with Hidomi’s sexual awakening. I don’t know how I failed to notice this, but many anime seem to have an obligatory beach episode. Haruko and Jinyu accompany the students on a beach trip. Beach episode tend to be an excuse for excessive fan-service. We meet Aiko, Mori’s shy girlfriend and her emotional support plant.

Then everyone begins to play various beach games, the first part of this episode is dull too be honest. We do get a vague answer from Jinyu as to what she wants. She says that “they are searching for an amazing person they once knew.” Oh, it turns out that Aiko is kinda a “prostitute,” or a she puts it a “rent a date.” Anyway, at night Ide goes looking for Hidomi and finds Haruko stripping her down. Ide confronts her and a robot springs from his head.

Meanwhile, the “support plant” ends up being more important than we realize as Aiko’s roommate is seen telling a mysterious older man that he lost it. Ide and Haruko face-off, during this confrontation Hidomi transforms when she comes into contact with Ide. Using a newly acquired guitar from Jinyu, Ide cracks the cocoon like encasing that Hidomi’s was in. Haruko tells Ide to “take of Hidomi’s headphones,” he tries but they drill themselves into her skull. According to Jinyu the “the emergency system has been activated,” to what we don’t know. However, the episode does end with some concert, both Jinyu and Haruko are after “Medical Mechanica.”

FLCL Progressive Episode 2 Review: Freebie Honey

Episode 2 opens with another dream from Hidomi. She faces off against zombie versions of her classmates, while being one herself. It doesn’t end well for her as she is dismembered. The visual styling of this scene is worth the violent imagery if you’re put off by such things. What these dreams mean is still unclear.

Haruko appear to not have been fired for pretending to be another person, and Hidomi’s classmates seem to under her control. She hands them her yearbook, as they flip through looking at it content of Haruko playing baseball, but Hidomi merely sees drawings of the evens in what looks like crayon.

She is given a mission from Haruko to deliver a worksheet to Ide. We learn more about Ide, he’s working at a terrible job where he’s regularly abused by patrons and his boss. He’s literally being wiped by his boss as he, along with his co workers a trying to pull a car. He’s then beaten by a customer who punches him. Hidomi witnessing this begins to an emotion reaction and passes out.

As Ide takes care of Hidomi, Haruko interrupts them. Jinyu arrives as well and she faces off against Haruko. During their battle, Jinyu states several times that Haruko will not “you know you’re not going to reach him like this.” Hidomi finally transforms in a massive explosion, when the dust dissipates Hidomi has transformed into a junky little droid. However, Hidomi merely touches Haruko and knocks her away in an explosion. Hidomi attempts to punch Haruko again, but misses and manages to hit herself, returning Hidomi to her original form.

FLCL remains a confusing show, this episode doesn’t answer many pending questions. Who is Jinyu referring to when she says “you know you’re not going to reach him like this”? Is Hidomi falling in love with Ide? Hidomi’s transformation is weird and I’m not sure I like it or love it, but it’s unexpected. However, unexpected is what FLCL is about.

FLCL Progressive Episode 1: RE: Start

Atomos eye

FLCL is a nonsensical anime that is either terrible or genius, I can’t tell and I don’t care. The very first scene depicts our protagonist walking in a pale dream like world as her hands fall off. Then she bumps into a large monster or creature and upon seeing it’s eye open, she transforms into a robot. FLCL is a series that requires multiple watches, your guaranteed to miss a lot and misunderstand even more. After our title character, Hidomi Hibajira wakes up to her phone alarm the first thing I notice was the music playing in her dream was also the same that played when her alarm went off. Does it matter? Is it connected? Maybe.

Ide plotting his dates

Another thing I noticed is that her mother come across as younger that she is. Hidomi barely seems to care too interact with her classmates and give monotone response to their hello’s. We are introduced to another character is introduced, Ide. He comes across as a bit of a “ladies man,” but I doubt it. Hidomi’s teacher is . . . well . . . odd. She asks the class to “repeat after me,” then tells them to “sit down,” even though they all sat down when she walked in the room. She begins to speak at a rapid monotone pace asking the “youth,” “what is the most important thing in the world.” She even calls them the “weakest links in our society,” and when one student answer “I don’t know,” she responds “correct.”

Hidomi awakes

I had no idea what to make of this teacher, but kinda wish I had a teacher like her. However, then this teacher shows the students porn. Why? I guess we’ll find out. Of course at the end of the episode she turns out to be Haruko in disguise. We’re introduced to another character, Jinyu. She’s another odd character that wields a guitar. She runs Hidomi over with her car and then apologize to her mother for “not” killing her. Jinyu also reveals that Hidomi’s headphones aren’t actually playing music or anything else. Apparently she uses it to avoid conversation. She finally leaves as she warns Hidomi of “the girl on the vestba.”

Jinyu hits Hidomi with her car

Later that night Hidomi is attacked by a robot. The robot then throws up Ide. He tries to protect her but is knocked unconscious, Hidomi has flashes of her “dream,” and begins to release her powers as Haruko watches on. However, Jinyu saves them leaving Hidomi alone with her new red horn. This episode captures the very essence of the original FLCL, some might not like that but I find that there’s enough difference to make this sequel stand on it’s own. I didn’t get into Ide’s funny friends or Hidomi’s weird mother. This series never really makes sense at least not completely and weirdly enough that’s why I like it. FLCL maintains the visual style of the previous series, with bright colors. The animation is as fluid and wild as ever.

Robo Hidomi