FLCL simulwatch [complete]

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
Question: what connects mysterious fighting robots, a semi-autonomous Vespa, curry bread, Puss in Boots, a Gibson EB-0 bass guitar and a transdimensional portal hidden under a bandaid?

The answer, of course, is FLCL!

FLCL-cover.jpg
FLCL's main cast: (from right to left) Naota, Haruko and Canti

FLCL
(known as Fooly Cooly by its true fans) is a six-episode OVA series by Gainax. Released in 2000, it was created and directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki, who previously worked on some other key titles for the studio.

It would be 18 full years later and with a change of production companies that fans finally saw a sequel, and, in typically eccentric FLCL fashion, it was actually a pair of sequels that they saw. Rather than your typical single cour, FLCLs Progressive and Alternative are two entirely separate entities, each being six episodes long in the spirit of the original. Both series are penned by playwright Hideto Iwai and are very different from each other. How different? You'll just have to wait and see!


This simulwatch will take in all 18 episodes at the traditional pace of one a day. Gaps can be built into the schedule between the individual series to allow for catching up, and we'll figure that out as we go, as we always do. 🙂


Here's the breakdown:

FLCL: 6 episodes, 1st–6th June

Progressive: 6 episodes, 7th–12th June

Alternative: 6 episodes, 13th–18 June

Dates can be adjusted as we watch, and the current episode for any day will be shown in this thread's title.


FLCL is widely available on Blu-ray and DVD from UK distributor MVM Entertainment, including through their own online store:

Progressive and Alternative are both available to stream on Crunchyroll:
 
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Neil.T

Time-Traveller
FLCL episode 1: Fooly Cooly

"Nothing amazing happens here. Only the ordinary."

As plumes of white steam hiss out of the gigantic iron-shaped factory looming large over Naota's home town from high on the hill and he delivers his ennui-filled opening narration to the sound of "One Life" by The Pillows, we witness what must surely be one of the finest introductions to a series in all of anime.


I guess the big thing I'd like to focus on for my post on this first episode is the translation of the madcap manga-styled sequence. It's full of wordplay that of course doesn't translate properly into English, and so the translation had to come up with alternative ways to try to keep the flow going. It's just... really not always very good in my view. 😬

To be fair, the early parts of it largely defy coherent translation anyway. For starters, you've got onomatopoeia that riff off of furi kuri ("fooly cooly"). For example, there's kuri kuri, which describes a twisting or tweaking motion. There's also guri guri, which is "grinding" or "kneading", which ties in with Naota's grandfather demonstrating kneading dough.

Then there's the fact that the Japanese noun chichi is a homonym that can mean either "father" or "breast". 😅

The part where the gags in the subtitles (and dub) fall flat for me, though, is the whole part with the string of misunderstandings between Haruko and Naota's father, Kamon. In the original Japanese, just as in our subtitles and dub, Haruko is (willfully) either mishearing or misunderstanding the meaning of one of the words Kamon speaks, but the way it plays out is far more natural. It's again based around homonyms, and I'll do my best to try to bring it across here with my own translation and some explanation. The jokes only work in conjunction with the contents of Haruko's speech bubbles. Here goes:

Kamon: Oh, by the way, Haruko-san, how about it? (How = dou)

Haruko: Copper? (dou)

Kamon: This whole "kuri kuri" thing or whatever. ("kuri kuri" onomatopoeia)

Haruko: Chestnut? (kuri)

Kamon: No, no, it's not, like, chestnuts or squirrels or anything, you know? (it's = desu)

Haruko: Death? (The Japanese pronunciation of the English word "death" is also desu)

Kamon: I mean this kind of "kuri kuri" way of... (way = houmen)

Haruko: Noodles? (men)

Kamon: WHAT I'M SAYING IS...!! (Japanese phrasing uses the word kara)

Haruko: Empty? (kara) [Note that her speech bubble is empty, too]


And for what it's worth, here's my own romanised transcription of the Japanese script, again showing the flow:
Kamon: A, tokoro de Haruko-san wa dou desu?

Haruko: Dou?

Kamon: Sono KURI KURI toka sou yuu...

Haruko: Kuri?

Kamon: Iya, kuri toka risu toka, sou iu hanashi ja nakute desu ne.

Haruko: DEATH?

Kamon: Kono kou iu houmen no KURI KURI -te yuu...

Haruko: Men?

Kamon: DA KARA!!

Haruko: Kara?

###

Director's commentary snippets

Each of the series' six episodes comes with a commentary track with director Kazuya Tsurumaki and executive producer Maki Terashima-Furuta. I'll be rewatching these commentaries during this simulwatch, so for anyone who's never listened to them, here are some interesting things I learnt from this episode's offering:
  • Mamimi's opening monologue is taken from 1960s/'70s boxing manga/anime Ashita no Joe but with the subject matter spearing off into baseball.
  • FLCL is partly a study of the difference between left- and right-handed people. Tsurumaki claims to be jealous of lefties, because he reckons that everything seems to come easier to them because of what he sees as their carefree nature. (A very broad generalisation of character rather akin to blood type in Japan, or perhaps star sign in the West, I guess.)
  • The character of Haruko was created specifically with voice actress Mayumi Shintani in mind.
  • The manga-strip sequence was hard work to create. It had to be done digitally and was very data-intensive despite the apparent relative lack of movement.
 
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WMD

Stand User
Epsiode 1

Really fun first epsiode. I like how dry and serious the first few minutes are and by the end of the first epsiode theres already been enough madness for most other shows to fill a series. I also like how the opening monologue repeats at the end but the assertion of it being a normal ordinary place has gone from being a plea for something to happen to a plea for things to return to that boring normal.

The manga sequence is so wierd that it almost stands out just for existing! I think other shows benefit from being able to change jokes in the translation to be jokes in English that retain the sense and feel and intent of the original. This sis especially true for puns. Here by having everything spelled out on screen it it's a lot harder to do.

Theres also a wierd juxtaposition of having the 2 main lead kids being very flat, especially when it's just the 2 of them alone and everyone else, especially the adults being crazy, loud and carefree.

As someone who owns guitars watching her roll around on the road with the bass on her back almost killed me! Look after it!
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
I also like how the opening monologue repeats at the end but the assertion of it being a normal ordinary place has gone from being a plea for something to happen to a plea for things to return to that boring normal.
I like how that scene is of Naota watching as Haruko nags Canti about his dough-kneading technique. Within a single day, a pink-haired self-proclaimed alien woman and a combat robot with a CRT TV for a head have been added to his household, yet he still claims that "only the ordinary happens here"!

Either Naota's so jaded even at his young age that he genuinely remains unimpressed by events or he's in denial! 😆
It's classic Gainax writing, pushing the limits of all the story elements.


Just so I can get a feel for where we're all at with things, WMD, are you watching the dub? (For what it's worth, the dub of this is really excellent, I reckon.)
 

WMD

Stand User
I like how that scene is of Naota watching as Haruko nags Canti about his dough-kneading technique. Within a single day, a pink-haired self-proclaimed alien woman and a combat robot with a CRT TV for a head have been added to his household, yet he still claims that "only the ordinary happens here"!

Either Naota's so jaded even at his young age that he genuinely remains unimpressed by events or he's in denial! 😆
It's classic Gainax writing, pushing the limits of all the story elements.


Just so I can get a feel for where we're all at with things, WMD, are you watching the dub? (For what it's worth, the dub of this is really excellent, I reckon.)
I am watching the dub. Yeah it is good though it's not like how I remember at all. The 2 kids were a lot flatter in the performance than I remember and Hiruko is way higher pitched than I remember which was a bit wierd to get used to. I dont think the dub would sound like this today at any rate.
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
The 2 kids were a lot flatter in the performance than I remember and Hiruko is way higher pitched
Naota and Mamimi, yeah? They're like that in Japanese, too, so that's very faithful to the original, which is what I really admire about this dub. (I also really like how they've kept characters' names in their original un-Westernised forms, family name first.)

Haruko sounds like she's on the mark as well, then. It's been a good couple of years since I saw the series dubbed, and I've only watched it that way once (versus a whole bunch of times in Japanese), so I'm still not that familiar with it.
 
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WMD

Stand User
Naota and Mamimi, yeah?
Yes that's right. I'm so bad with names! While an epsiode is on I can keep track of who's who but once it's over I really struggle to hold onto names. It's the same in real life. I meet someone for te first time and am fine but then if I dont see them for a while after that I wont have stored their name. Can be pretty awkward. Lol.

They're like that in Japanese, too, so that's very faithful to the original, which is what I really admire about this dub. (I also really like how they've kept characters' names in their original un-Westernised forms, family name first.)

Haruko sounds like she's on the mark as well, then. It's been a good couple of years since I saw the series dubbed, and I've only watched it that way once (versus a whole bunch of times in Japanese), so I'm still not that familiar with it.
That's interesting. Good to see it was well looked after when getting dubbed.

As a slight aside I've seen one of the One Piece films in Spanish and it was remarkable how some of the characters are exactly the same as the English dub counterpart. Usopp and Chopper in particular and others like Zorro seemed wildly different.
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
Yes that's right. I'm so bad with names! While an epsiode is on I can keep track of who's who but once it's over I really struggle to hold onto names.
You know what? I'm exactly the same. 😅
I'm only any good with the names in FLCL because I've seen it so many times. 😆
 
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Captaaainuniverse

Time-Traveller
I'll have to make time to watch it tomorrow, will probably put down my thoughts on the first 2

What I remember from the commentary though is that they've pointed out that mamimi loses her painties about 3 or 4 times during the entire first series, it always happens very quickly and into the corner of the screen though, I've tried to spot it once when I heard that if I remember right it's a shot of mamini glomping/jumping nauota with her legs in the air and her panties just fly off out of corner of the screen, all those bits are just like that. Just another detail you can miss in such a crazy series
 
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Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
So, FLCL. Much as I can get why people love it, I must confess this series has never quite struck the same chord with me. It's not that I dislike it, but I feel that I should like it more than I do? If nothing else, I'm interested in how watching all three parts back to back will make me feel about the two follow-ups, but we'll see how that goes when we get there. Folk have also done analysis videos on the series for youtube which seem to be fairly well regarded, so with the show fresher in my memory, I'll definitely be looking into that.

Episode 1

Something I do really like about FLCL is the production. It hadn't occurred to me before that this appears to be an early digipaint show, not traditional cel animation, but the animators seem to already have a grasp on the technology that so much other anime wouldn't acquire until years later. I want to say that Production I.G. got to grips with digipaint very early on, so presumably it's their influence showing through. The only effects that look obviously digital are the things like scaling or the fish-eye lens on Haruka's face, but it's so nice to see digital anime from this era that hasn't aged terribly.

Other than that, I don't have a lot to add at this point. The manga sequence definitely is the standout moment, although Canti's battle at the end is nicely done, and I did get a snigger out of the cut from Mamimi attempting to canoodle Naota into the shot of the factory venting steam.

I also quite like the little right angle symbol on Naota's shirt - I imagine it's no coincidence that it looks like a baseball diamond.


48538FBC-6E5F-4F9A-8DB3-BE5CF9DA5034.jpeg
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
Something I do really like about FLCL is the production.
Definitely. I think it's testament to the quality of the production that, even if little else about the series was your bag, that still shines through. I think that's one of the many reasons it's endured so well. (See also: Akira.)

I also quite like the little right angle symbol on Naota's shirt - I imagine it's no coincidence that it looks like a baseball diamond.
You know, there's long been something that's tugged at me subconsciously every time I've seen that graphic, and I think you've put your finger on it, Prof. 😯
(It certainly ties in with the plot.)

#####

FLCL episode 2: Fire Starter

"I saw a god the other day. By the river on a rainy afternoon. He helped an abandoned kitty. It's a god that only I can see. A black-winged angel that came down from the heavens just for me."

IMG_20200601_165030091.jpg
Get in the f**king robot, Naota.

Naota refers directly to Evangelion in this episode, actually, when he reveals to Haruko that his father once wrote a book about "Eva". Haruko appears never to have heard of it.

And yet! She uses Asuka's English-language line "Chance..." from episode 8. 😛

Moving away from references, this is another quality episode. Mamimi takes the spotlight here, giving us an insight into how she became the fire-raising wayward soul that she is as she continues to (subconsciously?) hope to find something to replace Naota's older brother in her life.

It all culminates in an absolute belter of an action sequence as Naota "pilots" Canti to defeat the remainder of the robot whose left arm Canti fought in episode 1, and even transforms into a cannon to deliver the finishing blow. Where the barrel of the cannon emerges from is typical Gainax. 😅

The imagination we're seeing in the story and animation here is what anime is all about for me.

###

Director's commentary snippets

Some excerpts from this episode's on-disc director's commentary:
  • Takkun the cat is voiced in Japanese by Naota's voice actor, Jun Mizuki. She's one of the show's few cast members who were professional VAs at the time it was made.
  • The "Shaku-chan" that Shigekuni, Naota's grandfather, makes reference to is Yumiko Shaku, now an actress and model. This episode apparently pre-empted her rise to fame.
  • Another two Japanese entertainment personalities are referenced during Haruko's episode 3 preview narration. Nekohachi and Koneko are father-and-son impressionists seen on New Year's TV variety shows.
 

WMD

Stand User
Epiosde 2

I have to say I enjoyed this epsiode a lot more than epsiode 1. Not sure why exactly but the adventure if the week feel this one had was really fun to watch. I loved the robot wandering around doing his own thing with the wings and halo attached. We also got some really nice characterisation for Minami which makes her much more likeable. And the growing sense of mystery around the Iron factory helps it feel like it's part of a bigger story.

The animation in the final action sequence was amazing and the fluidity the show has is so nice to watch! Also the random part of the epsiode where it suddenly looks like a Yuasa film for a couple of mins was really cool. Its something I not only wouldnt have realised when I first watched this but also would have really disliked, thinking they'd just become lazy about the animation for a bit rather than appreciating the deliberate choice being made.
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
Also the random part of the epsiode where it suddenly looks like a Yuasa film for a couple of mins was really cool. Its something I not only wouldnt have realised when I first watched this but also would have really disliked, thinking they'd just become lazy about the animation for a bit rather than appreciating the deliberate choice being made.
You know, I've wondered for a long time now who's responsible for that scene. Director Tsurumaki talks briefly in the commentary about that key animator's distinctive style but unfortunately doesn't name him.

Since you brought it up it encouraged me to do a bit of digging, and it turns out to be the work of Shinya Ohira:
His drawing style with its wonky, wavering lines is perhaps most evident in the likes of Giovanni's Island, Mind Game, Ping Pong, Tekkonkinkreet and Night is Short, Walk On Girl, as well as his own short film from Genius Party Beyond, "Wanwa the Doggy".

Mystery solved! (Not that it was ever really a mystery in the first place: the Internet knew all along. 😅)
 

WMD

Stand User
You know, I've wondered for a long time now who's responsible for that scene. Director Tsurumaki talks briefly in the commentary about that key animator's distinctive style but unfortunately doesn't name him.

Since you brought it up it encouraged me to do a bit of digging, and it turns out to be the work of Shinya Ohira:
His drawing style with its wonky, wavering lines is perhaps most evident in the likes of Giovanni's Island, Mind Game, Ping Pong, Tekkonkinkreet and Night is Short, Walk On Girl, as well as his own short film from Genius Party Beyond, "Wanwa the Doggy".

Mystery solved! (Not that it was ever really a mystery in the first place: the Internet knew all along. 😅)
I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that he has indeed worked on several Yuasa films. Also the blurb in that link says he did the smoke effects in Akira which is pretty cool.

Edit: it's also cool that the makers of FLCL allowed its staff the freedom to be expressive and individual like that
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Episode 2

I actually like this one a little more than the first episode too - maybe it‘s more like a conventional narrative? It seems easier to follow and it feels like the characters’ goals are becoming clearer. Behind all the Looney Tunes style slapstick, I do find Mamimi’s plight quite sad though. While I don't think it's explicitly stated (at least not yet?) the way she's framed as constantly wandering around under bridges or by the riverside strongly suggests that she's either virtually homeless, or in a situation where she wants to do anything to avoid going home. The kids all look down on her, Naota's family don't want her around, and, even though she styles herself as a god to Takkun the cat, it seems clear from how she looks to Canti that what she's really hopes for is a godlike intervention in her own life. The scene where it dawns on Naota that she is the one responsible for the arson has some strong, angsty Eva energy too.

On a less sombre note, while I don't think she's quoting directly, it did amuse me that Haruka's speech where she introduces herself before noting 'but my real identity is...' very much alludes to Cutie Honey, which would soon be a Gainax project itself (perhaps it was already in pre-production?). Her little bit of fourth-wall breaking in the 'next episode' narration at the end about how anime directors all like cats, and the only one who loves dogs is Oshii, was quite fun too.

Unrelated to anything else, it also caught my attention that when Haruka is inspecting Naota's brain, rather randomly, one of the items on the far left shelf is a copy of Rude Boy, a film about the Clash (of sorts).

IMG_1987.JPG
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
FLCL episode 3: Marquis de Carabas

"I rigged the votes. So that I play the lead and you play the cat. You didn't figure it out, huh? No one would imagine that the class president would do such a thing."

This is Ninamori's episode and revolves around her struggles against the clear breakdown of her parents' marriage, her social standing at school and as the daughter of the town's mayor, and her role in the organisation of the class play, Puss in Boots. Cats are prominent here, and Doraemon gets a mention in another of the series' pop culture references.

Dipping back into Evangelion for a moment again, Ninamori's father's secretary and mistress is voiced by Yuriko Yamaguchi, who we know better as Ritsuko. Her line as she escapes the assembled paparazzi, "Bye-baikin!" is a pun on "bye-bye" and baikin, which means germs or vermin.

Fun fact: while I was typing this post, I noticed that I'd accidentally caught an adjacent key when typing the name of that Eva character. Much to my amusement, I had typed "Titsuko". 😅


The fuss that Naota's friend Gaku — dressed in his mouse costume for the class play — is having over Haruko turning up at school and kissing Naota in his sleep is another pun. Chuu is both a word for "kiss" and the noise that a mouse makes.

This episode is batsh*t-crazy again. I mean, the spider/hot-air balloon/cyclops robot got defeated by spilled curry, for god sake! 😆

As a last note on that, the key animation for at least part of that sequence is the work of the aforementioned Shinya Ohira; his wavy lines are recognisable on Ninamori's hair when she flops to the ground after being freed from the robot.

###

Director's commentary snippets

A very interesting commentary track for this episode. Some highlights:
  • FLCL was Ninamori voice actor Mika Itou's first anime role before she went on to feature in the likes of InuYasha and K-On!.
  • The reason that cats feature prominently in the series is simply because director Tsurumaki likes cats. He wanted to fill the show with things he likes, hence also the inclusion of Haruko's Vespa and Rickenbacker bass guitar, and a robot styled with a TV for a head. We learnt in a previous commentary that Tsurumaki owns a Vespa himself; it stopped working shortly after it was abused while filming the live-action end credits sequence.
  • Tsurumaki travelled to America to oversee the English dubbing. He makes a cameo appearance in it just as he does in the Japanese. He feels that the characters' English-language voices retain the essence of his original cast and is happy about that.
  • Canti's appearance in this episode, with his apron and a cardboard box that sports three flaps is partly an attempt to bring to mind Sazae-san, the title character from Japan's longest-running animation with the three buns in her hair. Though Tsurumaki was mainly toying with the idea of the box being a cover for Canti's "bald spot", since his original red casing broke off when Haruko walloped him in episode 1. He says that Haruko was the one who put the box on him.
  • The curry-eating scene at the dinner table is an extension of the left- versus right-handedness theme mentioned before. This time it's about people who can take spicy foods versus those who can't, with those who can being the carefree ones.
  • The pouch drinks being drunk by Naota and Ninamori have a story behind them. They were originally going to be cans of soda, but during production there was the potential for some sponsorship from a real manufacturer through product placement, so Gainax changed them to pouch drinks. The manufacturer never did pay up in the end, though, and it was too late by then to change the animation.
  • The knapkin around Naota's curry bento has the word "lover" inside an ellipse. The reason for this is that Masayuki felt that viewers might not cotton on to the Japanese episode title "Maru Raba" being a reference to Puss in Boots' Marquis de Carabas (MARUki do kaRABA), so he put the word "lover" (which sounds like raba in Japanese) inside a circle (maru) in the episode as a backup.
 
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WMD

Stand User
Episode 3

Another great epsiode. It's very interesting that a show prides itself on its quirky, wierd, funny moments builds all of them on rather serious themes and stories. Last epsiode had the loneliness and arson. This time the cheating parent/family scandal. I also really appreciate than no one is entirely good or bad in this show. They have flaws but can still be endearing and empathetic.

Moments I especially enjoyed:
  • I really enjoyed the teachers freak out to the magazine!
  • The vespa/car/Naota wreck was incredible to watch!
  • Again the action sequence at the end was stellar!
  • When Ninamori was questioning the robot I really enjoyed the dads dismissive oh that's just our tv.
Canti's appearance in this episode, with his apron and a cardboard box that sports three flaps is partly an attempt to bring to mind Sazae-san, the title character from Japan's longest-running animation with the three buns in her hair. Though Tsurumaki was mainly toying with the idea of the box being a cover for Canti's "bald spot", since his original red casing broke off when Haruko walloped him in episode 1. He says that Haruko was the one who put the box on him.
Honestly I thought he was trying to copy Naotas hat. The two are so intimately linked that it seemed like the obvious reason to me! Lol
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
Honestly I thought he was trying to copy Naotas hat. The two are so intimately linked that it seemed like the obvious reason to me! Lol
That would be interesting if Canti were trying to emulate Naota in some way. 🤔
I might've reached the same conclusion but for the director's commentary, especially given how Naota seems to have some kind of new head covering with each episode.

#####

FLCL episode 4: Full Swing

"Anyway, nothing can happen until you swing the bat."

IMG_20200603_152909047.jpg
Naota's epiphany from Haruko's above advice?


Some more language-related stuff from me to start off with again. First I just wanted to offer a bit of explanation about the kanji written on the local baseball team's attire. The kanji on their jerseys (火星) are subtitled as "Mars", the name of the planet. Later, that first kanji (火) appearing on Canti's monitor (instead of on a cap like the rest of the team), is subtitled as "fire".

What's the connection, then? Well, the Japanese names of the planets in our solar system, just like the days of the week, are named after the likes of water, wood, soil and gold. In the case of Mars, it's named after fire. Yes, in Japanese, Mars is known as the fire planet. Full list in the spoiler tag below if anyone's interested.
Mercury = Suisei ("Water Star")
Venus = Kinboshi ("Gold Star")
Earth = Chikyuu ("Ground Ball")
Mars = Kasei ("Fire Star")
Jupiter = Mokusei ("Wood Star")
Saturn = Dosei ("Soil Star")
Uranus = Tennousei ("Heaven King Star")
Neptune = Kaiousei ("Ocean King Star")
Pluto = Meiousei ("Nether King Star")

My other quick language-related thing for this episode is just to point out that the on-screen caption showing the letters "NG" alongside a big red ❌ is a Japanese English acronym for "no good".


Moving on to the actual episode content now, that constant chopping sound from Canti preparing dinner doesn't half instill on some subconscious level what Haruko and Kamon's fooling around looks like it could later lead to. 😅
Amusingly, it doesn't stop even when he's at the doorway with Haruko and Kamon and no longer through in the kitchen!

Also amusingly, our resident alien's name is revealed in this episode to be only an alias! She is not Haruhara Haruko at all, but is in fact called Haruha Raharu. That's as brilliantly ridiculous as everything else in this show. 😆

And indeed, on that note, enter Amarao! He's one of my favourite characters in the show.
IMG_20200603_153531325.jpg
Those eyebrows...

There are so many good close-up face shots in this episode, including this clever moment where Mamimi's excited reaction to the satellite bomb entering the atmosphere is shown on Canti's monitor as she sits atop his shoulders:
IMG_20200603_164807376.jpg
"Ohhh!"

It contrasts rather starkly with her abject disappointment at Naota saving their town and everyone in it from destruction:
IMG_20200603_165133687.jpg
Mamimi sums up the episode's big theme in a single line

Finally, I just wanted to give a shout-out to the sequence where Naota drags his dried-out shrivelled-up father to the bath to reanimate him. In his mad dash, everything suddenly turns manic like something torn out of Dead Leaves, so it's surely the work of Hiroyuki Imaishi. It leads to another great close-up shot of a gasping, panicking Naota, snot dripping out of one nostril.

###

Director's commentary snippets
  • Harking back to the previous commentary, the reason that baseball is the main focus of this episode (and the reason that Naota's older brother Tasuku is a baseball player) is simply because director Tsurumaki likes the sport.
  • And the reason that the Mabase local team are called the Martians is because that's what Tsurumaki names his team when playing baseball video games.
  • Amarao's bike is not a Vespa, but a Japanese scooter from the 1960s called a Rabbit.
  • Amarao's eyebrows were created by scanning actually sheets of nori seaweed to composite into the animation. His original concept arose from a character in the US TV series Twin Peaks.
  • His name comes from a Brazilian footballer who played for Tokyo FC at the time. [An Internet search reveals that he's actually referring to Wagner Pereira Cardozo. He's known by the nickname "Amaral", but Tsurumaki must have misheard the name.]
  • Tsurumaki was originally going to have Naota hit Kamon directly with his bat out of jealousy, but thought that might prove problematic and so decided to have him be hit indirectly by accident instead. [It does happen directly in Hajime Ueda's manga version, though.]
  • The idea was born from some incidences of domestic violence occurring in Japan shortly before production started on FLCL called the "metal bat murder cases" where children had beaten their parents to death.
  • Naota's guitar that he uses to hit the satellite bomb right out of the park is a Gibson Flying V. It's the guitar that Haruko was going to have during the planning stages.
 

WMD

Stand User
Episode 4

Another mad epsiode. I didnt enjoy it as much as the last 2 which despite their heavy themes were a lot more fun. I think it stems to me not liking Haruko much in this epsiode. She comes off a bully here and I found it out me off the epsiode a bit. Shes also a lot more present in this episode rather than the kids having an adventure she pops up in.

I did enjoy seaweed brows though and his forensic examination of the curry bread had me chuckling.

Also the severe mistreatment of guitars in this show triggers me every time! Lol

The idea was born from some incidences of domestic violence occurring in Japan shortly before production started on FLCL called the "metal bat murder cases" where children had beaten their parents to death.
That's really dark.
 
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