FLCL simulwatch [complete]

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Episode 3

This might be my favourite of the original run, but my memory of the latter half of the show is quite hazy. I think it’s interesting to see how Naota’s relationship with Ninamori is very different to Haruka and Mamimi though. While he appears to accept the others pushing him around (presumably as they are, or are closer to being, adults), he seems far more at ease around Ninamori, whom he presumably sees as more like his peer or equal. She still tries to cajole him into doing something he doesn’t want to do (and ultimately succeeds), But Naota certainly pushes back far more assertively, showing how much more comfortable he is around her. Which is actually kind of refreshing, you'd almost expect him to be equally nebbishy around all the girls in his life.

It also amused me that while Ninamori is practicing her lines, she says something to the effect of 'I am all alone, with no-one but my cat', which seems to be an eerily accurate description of Mamimi.

On a lighter note, I do appreciate how someone on the staff is really into retro European cars.

Naota's family have a Citroen DS Safari:

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One of the staff's Renault 4 makes a cameo in the background (it's mentioned in the credits!):

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And the teacher has what appears to be a MK1 Golf:

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I didn't manage to screencap it, but she also appears to have a little mascot of Kenny from South Park hanging from her rear view mirror.

Although then, there's this guy. I don't know.

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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.
Kind of didn't want to mention it in case it was casting shade on the show for everyone else, but yeah, I agree. There's something quite dark at the heart of FLCL, particularly relating to how it portrays all the adults. Must admit that I do like the secretary and her disguises though.

Fun fact: while I was typing this post, I noticed that I'd accidentally caught an adjacent key when typing the name of Eva character. Much to my amusement, I had typed "Titsuko". 😅
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Neil.T

Chuunibyou
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.
I was having a quick look at the episode previews in English, and yeah, that line is a creation of the dub. The cultural references in the previews are probably the most Japan-specific of them all, so the adaptation chose to go its own way with the script.

#####

FLCL episode 5: Brittle Bullet

"Listen! I'm Naota! Don't ever call me 'Takkun' again!"

IMG_20200605_164432695.jpg
Naota strikes a fearsome pose with Canti as he breaks free of Mamimi's influence


At the very beginning of this episode, the wavy grass that forms the playing field for Naota's survival game reminds me of a certain episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion (shown in the Prof's screen grab here):
I'm sure military otaku Kensuke would approve.


This episode of FLCL is by far its weak link for me. The direction, mostly in its early scenes, really could have done with some more restraint in my view. Perhaps it's more jarring for me personally coming as it does after what is maybe my favourite episode last time out. There are still some outstanding shots mixed in with the madness, though:
IMG_20200604_190528519.jpg
Ninamori's brand-new water pistol

While we're still in the midst of Naota and his father shooting seven shades of sh*t out of each other, a little problem surfaces during the dub when a seemingly random caption pops up in the subtitles, translating the Japanese text that's showing the correct way to write "mackerel". This arises because "survival game" is shortened to sabage in Japanese, where the word for "mackerel" is saba; this is added to Kitsurubami's observation of Canti's blue hue, and Mamimi's subsequent comment on the similarity between the kanji for saba (鯖) and the one for "blue" (ao), which is 青. It's more wordplay that can't be properly translated into English, but the on-screen Japanese caption can't be ignored in this case because it's burned into the video.

Something that probably needs mercifully a lot less explanation in this episode are the fun references to look out for; these include John Woo's pigeons, Lupin III's changing jacket colours, South Park and Gainax's anime convention film Daicon IV.

At the end, the preview for the final episode includes some don't-blink-and-you'll-still-miss-them flash frames of possible dictionary definitions of "FLCL". These are "flip clock", "foolish cleverness", "flimsy claim", "flighty clipper", "flint cleaver", "Fleming Clement", "flection climate" and "fleecy clew".

###

Director's commentary snippets
  • The Japanese title of this episode, "Bura Bure" is actually born out of a mistake. Tsurumaki had seemingly misread the English word "brittle" as "britle", thus rendering it in Japanese as buraitoru. The correct rendering would be buritoru, so technically this episode's title should be "Buri Bure" (with the bure remaining as the first two syllables of buretto for "bullet").
  • The name Masamune on the side of the three-wheeled delivery truck reads from left to right on its left side, and right to left on its right. This is because of an older Japanese practice of text on vehicles being read from the front and working backwards.
  • The cafe that Naota drags Mamimi to has been deliberately styled to look like one of Japan's "love hotels" from the outside. [Naota even says to her "Come in and rest for a bit." Love hotels in Japan have two rates available to customers: "stay" for overnight accommodation, and "rest" for just a quick... rest. 😅]
 
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WMD

Pokémon Master
Episode 5

This episode of FLCL is by far its weak link for me.
Its interesting you say that as for me this epsiode was near infinite improvement over the last one. Funny how it goes sometimes.

This epsiode was full of moments I found funny. Haruko taking off as she span the guitar around, the south park references, the dry line about cyborgs being different to robots, the agent girl falling for Canti, the whole shoot out in the barber shop was amazing.

It was also good to see some real development for Naota. The experiences have changed him and he is relishing the attention. His cockiness amusingly depicted by a cocking gun everytime his arrogance grows a bit. But when push comes to shove he doesnt slink away, he steps up and finally claims his own identity! That was really nice.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Overspill post here since my episode 5 one was so... long. 😅

On a lighter note, I do appreciate how someone on the staff is really into retro European cars.
I wonder if it's the same staffer who's responsible for Misato's car in Eva being a Renault, and also for that poster of an Alpine above her desk in episode 23...

Although then, there's this guy. I don't know.

479F22EC-98D4-4EDC-9CEC-36E075686EB1.jpeg
According to the end credits, it's Kazuhiro Takamura. He's a key animator on the series.

Its interesting you say that as for me this epsiode was near infinite improvement over the last one. Funny how it goes sometimes.
That really is interesting. 😯
I liked the complexity of episode 4, including how some parts were shown out of chronological order, whereas I found parts of episode 5 quite messy.

FLCL really is different things to different people.

There's something quite dark at the heart of FLCL, particularly relating to how it portrays all the adults.
The commentary for episode 1 tells how Tsurumaki wanted Haruko to be "a selfish adult" but also wanted there to be something crazy about her character because "If she were just an adult who was a little selfish . . . then she wouldn't be much different from Evangelion's Misato."

So that's definitely an aspect of the show.
 

WMD

Pokémon Master
Episode 6

Weirdly this epsiode felt like the start of a second series. The mysterious person has disappeared, theres an emotional reset where Naota has gone back to being moody and silent after having come so far last epsiode, Minami is off doing her own thing and the school kids are in a new normal. Then the mysterious lady reappears and things go into motion again! It's a really strange way to structure a finale.

Stray thoughts
  • This line stood out "Everyday feels like a whole lifetime of dying slowly." Yeesh that's rough!
  • Also the shot of seaweed brows emerging from the smoke after firing the gun was really cool!
  • The meta manga section becoming a joke about the fact they were doing the manga bit again was really funny!

In the end I'm actually really happy Haruko didnt get what she wanted. She was mean and a bully. The most honest she was represented all series was when she momentarily turned into a snake in episode 5.

Overall it's a pretty satisfying series to watch. Its was weird and bombastic, took risks and tried things out, could be hysterical one moment and dark and sinister the next. And crucially it was visually and sonically super interesting and fun!
 
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Neil.T

Chuunibyou
FLCL episode 6: FLCLimax

"Ever since that day, smoke has poured out of Medical Mechanica. The town is completely covered in white mist. You can't see the sky or the stars. It's like nothing exists outside of this town."

Wow. What a great finish to a great series this episode is. It also contains possibly the single best line of dialogue in its whole runtime:
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"Where are your eyebrows? Why did you take them off?"

Classic. (And I can promise another winning line in the last episode of Progressive. 😁)


And what a climax Naota and Haruko's showdown provides. It's incredible just how much this sixth episode seems to have influenced Evangelion Rebuild's version of Third/Fourth Impact, with the eerie red glow enveloping everything, the crumbling landscape, levitating debris and (in 3.0) the Holy Grail-shaped Black Moon coming crashing back down after the threat has (temporarily) passed, standing in for the iron-shaped Medical Mechanica plant here.


So, that's all, folks, for this set of characters. FLCL continues, but with a new cast, and helmed by new directors working to a script from a new writer. Can FLCL's new progression live up to so many years' worth of anticipation? Let's find out for ourselves over the next six days, shall we?

I've totally enjoyed rewatching these six episodes once again. FLCL has really been something of an evergreen anime for me, and each time I've watched it I've always felt a twinge of sadness that it's over. But now it's not over, and we don't even have to wait 18 years for the continuation anymore! It might be goodbye to this incarnation of the show, but happily it's not the end of FLCL. Next up: FLCL Progressive!


"Sayonara, Naota-kun. That's what Mamimi said when she left school. Nothing amazing happens here. Only the ordinary. We crossed the bridge as usual. Before we knew it, the seasons had changed. Mamimi left town. She said she wanted to be a photographer.
IMG_20200605_191521592.jpg
"I don't know what happened to her after that."

###

Director's commentary snippets to follow.
 
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Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Episode 6 reaction... 🙂

This line stood out "Everyday feels like a whole lifetime of dying slowly." Yeesh that's rough!
That's an entirely accurate translation of the original line, also used in the subtitles. It's one of the most impactful sentiments of the entire six episodes for me. Naota hates his environment.

Also the shot of seaweed brows emerging from the smoke after firing the gun was really cool!
Funny how we both picked out that shot. It's really neat.

The meta manga section becoming a joke about the fact they were doing the manga bit again was really funny
Yeah, you've just gotta love that fourth wall breaking, haven't you? 😆
Kamon even reveals the animation staff's actual reaction to making the first scene.

In the end I'm actually really happy Haruko didnt get what she wanted. She was mean and a bully. The most honest she was represented all series was when she momentarily turned into a snake in episode 5.
You'll love Progressive, then: Haruko's significantly less likeable in that. 😬

###

FLCL episode 6: director's commentary snippets
  • The reason Kitsurubami freaks out after absentmindedly sipping from Amarao's sports bottle is that since his lips have touched the straw before hers, she realises that it constitutes a kansetsu kissu or "indirect kiss". 😅
  • The reason that canned drinks repeatedly pop up in episodes is that Tsurumaki finds himself drinking a lot of them himself. He says he feels a "connection" through their appearance in the show.
  • Atomsk's name came from the title of a novel by an American author [Paul Linebarger]. Tsurumaki didn't actually know anything about the book, but just liked the sound of the name.
  • The character of Kamon was designed around his voice performer, film actor Suzuki Matsuo, just as Haruko was designed around her VA. The two were the only cast members to bypass auditions.
  • The bracelet that Haruko wears that rattles when Atomsk is near was originally going to be one half of a pair of handcuffs. At one stage in development she was a police officer who was having a love affair with the criminal (Atomsk, a pirate) she had arrested, before they were separated and he escaped.
  • The giant hand was created by photographing Tsurumaki's right hand and using it as a texture on a 3D model.
  • The mark of Atomsk that appears on the giant hand in this episode uses the two kanji for otona (adult), 大人, on opposite sides of a circle.
  • The reason that Atomsk's actual appearance is different from what was depicted in Amarao's earlier explanation to Naota is that that was only Amarao's perception of what Atomsk might look like based on his mistaken belief that Atomsk and Haruko were lovers [in line with the original series plan mentioned above].
  • Miyu Miyu the grumpy cat is voiced by none other than Hideaki Anno. It was Tsurumaki who asked him if he'd do it.
 
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WMD

Pokémon Master
You'll love Progressive, then: Haruko's significantly less likeable in that. 😬
Haha. I've grown to see her as the villian of the show which this final episode seemed to go pretty explicit on. And as a villian I enjoy her a lot more, it just made everything make more sense to me.

Also thanks for all the directors comments. They were really interesting and like that somethings are very well thought out and some are just I like cats! Those tidbits kind of humanize the whole show an extra level.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Also thanks for all the directors comments. They were really interesting and like that somethings are very well thought out and some are just I like cats! Those tidbits kind of humanize the whole show an extra level.
Aw, thanks, man. 😀

Yeah, those commentaries were an eye-opener for me when I first watched them back in the day. I hadn't yet appreciated just how much depth was lying hidden in amongst all the seeming bizarrity. There's a lot to unpick.
 
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Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Strap in lads, I've got a bit to cover.

Episode 4

There are some good gags, but in the main, I think this one feels noticeably darker than the previous episodes, although it surprises me that, watching it through again, Amarao seems more sympathetic than I remember - he shows a surprising amount of consideration towards Naota and doesn't seem to be talking down to him, the way all the other adults do. His warning to Naota that he'll soon find out that Haruko is 'a horrible woman' also feels rather prescient, if tempered by his own vested interest in her.

While it isn’t often directly referencing anything, it also struck me as being a lot like self-parody on Gainax’s part. The warped closeups of Naota’s face seem very much to recall the horrified look of Shinji’s face throughout Eva and the I think the control room has a little bit of NERV HQ about it too. I'd forgotten just how outright horny the series is often is though, and not just with the male characters either, as proven by the computer operators...

There's also a little nod to the Daicon IV opening in the nuke sequence - the shot of the trees and buildings being pushed out, then sucked into the blast is almost a direct lift.

  • 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.
I didn’t realise this was a real event - presumably also the inspiration for shonen bat in Paranoia Agent?

Episode 5

Holey moley, there's a lot of references in this one. Neil already touched on the sheer variety of them, but I hadn't quite expected just how deep the Lupin fancying goes in the opening scenes. Perhaps it's just that the animators are really into Lupin, but notably Imaishi did some key animation for the Alcatraz Lupin special around this time. It's mainly tipping its hat to the title sequence for Part 2 though, with the boxing glove hitting Lupin as he attempts to dive into bed with Fujiko.

Imaishi seems to be handling a lot of cuts in this episode generally though, or at least we can see a lot of Dead Leaves in the action scenes. It's also notable that Naota standing his ground at the end seems to predict Simon’s famous pose in TTGL, as, arguably, Kiturubami's anti-tank rifle resembles Yoko's. Kiturubami also seems to be dressed like Maetel from Galaxy Express for no particular reason...

In general, I feel this one is the series at its most playful, but again we've got some dark undercurrents, both with Naota suddenly becoming very pushy towards Mamimi to try and finally define their relationship, but also from Amarao, whose protestation that he's 'not a child anymore' rather suggests that he was once in Naota's situation, only to be cast aside by Haruko.

Euro car watch: Amarao and Kiturubami are tootling around in a Fiat 126. They seem to have become really fashionable again lately.

This episode of FLCL is by far its weak link for me. The direction, mostly in its early scenes, really could have done some more restraint
I quite like this episode, but this comment did interest me, as it's much the same complaint I have about the first part of Re:Cutiey Honey, which is similarly manic and also the work of yer man, Imaishi, a couple of years later.

Episode 6

Well, that sure is an ending. I genuinely don't know how to feel about the show at this point. The climactic battle is impressive to look at, but I don't quite know how we got here. Who are Medical Mechanica again and what did they want exactly? I suppose the whole thing is that they were always less important than the relationship between Naota and Haruko, but even that seems to have taken an abrupt turn.

Much of the show seems geared towards encouraging us to like Haruko, but in the end, apparently Amarao was right - she is kind of horrible. I'm not sure that I'd go so far as WMD in suggesting that she is the villain, but she's certainly more like a heel than a face, and the fact that Naota has finally come to terms with the fact that he's in love with her makes it really quite sad. Presumably it's open to the viewer to decide whether she felt anything for Naota beyond seeing him as a useful resource (she does have the line about 'having developed feelings for him' while she's 'communicating' through the cat), but as she appears to know he's listening, you can probably take that with a pinch of salt.

  • The bracelet that Haruko wears that rattles when Atomsk is near was originally going to be one half of a pair of handcuffs. At one stage in development she was a police officer who was having a love affair with the criminal (Atomsk, a pirate) she had arrested, before they were separated and he escaped.
This would have been interesting, as I think it would cast her as a kind of Harley Quinn figure, but I can understand if they didn't want her to have any obvious, definite backstory.

But yeah. I think revisiting FLCL definitely helps with the context for Progressive (parts of that were completely lost on me when I saw it), but my opinion of it is still much the same. It's witty, it's clever and it's very well made, but something about its sheer cynicism toward adults and adult relationships beneath its looney tunes exterior makes me quite uncomfortable. Was that just the mood of the time? I feel there's a similiar message at the heart of Battle Royale, the film of which would have been released more or less around the same time.

I‘m also not really sure what we’re supposed to take away from it all, given that Naota’s life seems to return to absolute normality the moment Haruko leaves, and Mamimi just disappears of her own accord. Perhaps it‘s just telling us that puberty is a short, sharp shock and then you get over it.

If nothing else, I'll definitely try to have a look at some of those analytical videos on the show that youtube now keeps recommending me - it's surely a credit to and sign of the show's depth that it seems to be a popular subject for such things.
 
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Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Strap in likewise, Prof; there are a lot interesting points to cover. 😁

it surprises me that, watching it through again, Amarao seems more sympathetic than I remember
He's sympathetic by the final episode, I think, but when he's interrogating Naota over the accident with Kamon, he's being driven by a bit of ego as he not so subtly puts Naota in his place. "Here, you're a kid; have something sweet" is the patronising tone of his inquisition tactics, as he proceeds to add a seemingly endless succession of sugar cubes to the tea that Naota doesn't even want.

He's initially jealous of Naota for having a greater N.O. (teleportation) potential and with it being of more "use" to Haruko than he ever was.

By episode 6, though, he's softened, and suggests that Naota should be keeping Mamimi company instead. Amarao has perhaps seen enough by this point to feel sympathy with Naota for being "just another victim", as opposed to how he had somewhat gloated about that fact when the two initially met. He even gives Naota a pair of eyebrows as a peace offering. I guess that, in a way, with both of them having been abandoned by Haruko now, he views them as being brothers-in-arms or "eyebrow buddies". 😅

Of course, in reality, Amarao is still continuing to seek to exercise his will over Naota. He's more childish as an adult than Naota is as a child.

Amarao, whose protestation that he's 'not a child anymore' rather suggests that he was once in Naota's situation, only to be cast aside by Haruko.
That back story is actually confirmed by Tsurumaki in the commentary. As a side note here, I find it hilarious that Amarao's definition of adulthood is that he can now buy insurance. That's simultaneously sad and hilarious in about equal measure, and that's probably exactly what writer Youji Enokido was aiming for. 😂

I think the control room has a little bit of NERV HQ about it too.
Oh, it definitely does. I even took a screenshot that I didn't use in my post:
IMG_20200603_161139070.jpg

Note also the Anno-style captions like the kind seen in Gunbuster, Nadia, Eva and Shin Godzilla.

There's also a little nod to the Daicon IV opening in the nuke sequence - the shot of the trees and buildings being pushed out, then sucked into the blast is almost a direct lift.
I should hang my head in shame as a Gainax fan, because I don't remember Daicon IV well enough to remember that. I'll need to have another watch of it.

I didn’t realise this was a real event - presumably also the inspiration for shonen bat in Paranoia Agent?
I did find myself thinking briefly about Shounen Bat, actually. 🤔
MVM's UK DVDs of that series have director's commentaries on disc 4, but I can't remember if Kon ever talks about that part of the story on them or not. I'd have to rewatch.

It seems more than likely, though, doesn't it, even five years after FLCL?

Naota standing his ground at the end seems to predict Simon’s famous pose in TTGL, as, arguably, Kiturubami's anti-tank rifle resembles Yoko's. Kiturubami also seems to be dressed like Maetel from Galaxy Express
You know, I had never drawn the connection between the rifles. I wonder if it's the same gun nut at Gainax that's responsible for both.

And I'd missed the Maetel reference entirely. That's another reason I enjoy these simulwaches.

Imaishi seems to be handling a lot of cuts in this episode generally though, or at least we can see a lot of Dead Leaves in the action scenes.
Yeah, it was actually Imaishi who did the key frames for Amarao and Haruko's shootout; that's confirmed by Tsurumaki in the episode 5 commentary. 🙂
Imaishi asked to draw those key frames himself.

I quite like this episode, but this comment did interest me, as it's much the same complaint I have about the first part of Re:Cutiey Honey, which is similarly manic and also the work of yer man, Imaishi, a couple of years later.
Imaishi has never really been one known for restraint, though, has he? 😅
To that end, it really pleasantly surprises me how much restraint Gurren Lagann has. (Relatively speaking, of course!)

As a small footnote to that, Dead Leaves is a film of his that plays very differently in its original versus dubbed forms for me. I find the dub pretty oppressive; the different atmosphere it creates is just wearing and starts to make the film feel tiring even halfway through its runtime, which (for me) is something that Imaishi had entirely avoided.

The dub also splices in some extra sound effects, which also gives the viewer less of a "rest".

Who are Medical Mechanica again and what did they want exactly?
Tsurumaki explains in commentary that he styled the Medical Mechanica plant on an iron on a whim. 😯
It was only as the production progressed that the idea came to cast them as an organisation that wants to iron the creases out or "get rid of the unevenness" of people like Haruko with "uneven personalities".

As another musing to expand upon that, it's amazing to see perhaps another Gainax-derived property, this time Eva Rebuild, feature a sort of "artifact" in its closing stages which is apparently the key to unlocking something in its final act.

(Literally "unlocking" in the case of Imaishi's Panty & Stocking. 😅)

I feel there's a similiar message at the heart of Battle Royale, the film of which would have been released more or less around the same time.
That theme, of the younger generation in Japan butting heads with the older generation, whom they blame for creating the current society they have to live in, is also a topic that Kenji Kamiyama dealt with in Eden of the East a full decade after FLCL. The lasting fallout from Japan's burst bubble economy?

Perhaps it‘s just telling us that puberty is a short, sharp shock and then you get over it.
That's how I read it, too. Everything that happened to Naota and co., as crazy as it definitely was at the time, was "a phase" — just one portion of their lives that they've learnt their lessons from and have now moved past. That's possibly more than anything else what FLCL is "about" at its core.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
I should hang my head in shame as a Gainax fan, because I don't remember Daicon IV well enough to remember that. I'll need to have another watch of it.
Looks like I'd actually misremembered this - having gone back and looked, the shot isn't as similar as I thought.

On an unrelated note, I was watching on the MVM DVDs as well, but it looks like my Disc 3 from that set is toast, it was skipping pretty badly during eps 5&6. Can only assume I must have got a duff one, as I bought it new and I'm sure I can't have watched on more than a couple of times :/
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
I was watching on the MVM DVDs as well, but it looks like my Disc 3 from that set is toast, it was skipping pretty badly during eps 5&6. Can only assume I must have got a duff one
Aww, no. That's bad. 😟

Can you see any bubble-like marks on the reflective side of that disc? I had a disc 1 of Love Hina that was like that.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Wow, that sounds bad. No bubbles as such, but there is like a kind of discoloration, I want to say?

FLCL: Progressive ep1

Funnily enough, it's been almost exactly a year since I finished watching Progressive originally. While I don't think it's on the same level as the original series, its UK premiere was tucked away on the Adult Swim streaming service, which is barely accessible here, and my impression is that not many people actually saw it. Obviously CR has it now, but I feel like very often things that aren't brand spanking new that season get pushed to the wayside. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I certainly don't remember anyone mentioning having watched more than an episode or so of this series, and I think that is kind of a shame.

That said, I feel this episode does the series no favours as an opener. We meet the new cast and there's some really nice animation work, particularly in the opening sequence with Hidomi's dream world, but it all feels a bit insubstantial and, with Gainax out of the picture, I do think everything's just that little bit more clinical than before, starting with the character designs. There's nothing particularly wrong with them, but I feel all the new cast (which is virtually everyone) are a bit wilfully inoffensive looking. Ide and Mori do stand out from the crowd a little though - partly as they closely resemble the background characters Masashi and Gaku from the original series. It's a shame they didn't push this idea a bit more and make everyone a kind of reincarnation of an earlier character in Blackadder fashion.

It does strike me as odd that Mori's his gender neutral approach to clothing appears to go largely unremarked upon by his classmates, but the fact that he's the one who's the subject of the gratuitous panty shot is an amusing subversion of the trope though. Having the apparently straight laced Jinyu as a foil for Haruko is a nice enough idea too, but I remember feeling that the show doesn't make enough of her.

Oh well, we'll see how it all pans out.
 
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WMD

Pokémon Master
Oh man what a trauma crunchyroll has been. Tried several times to watch yesterday on the ps4 app and I couldn't get more than 20s into epsiode 1 before it just stopped playing. After watching the same sodding adverts several times I just gave up. Then again today it's been a right faff but finally tried the app on my laptop and it's worked! Hooray. Only watched about 30 adverts for 1 episode.

Anyway onto Progressive Episode 1
Not as mad cap as the original and kind of felt like a reboot rather than a sequel at times. And felt like the mobile phone text scrolling was supposed to he a replacement for the manga section of the original.

On balance though I did enjoy it. The characters feel quite fleshed out from the start, though I must say that until the mum identified herself as such I thought she was the main characters younger sister! The animation was good if a little restrained compared to the original but the introduction sequence was really cool to watch, especially the transformation sequence.

Looking forward to seeing how this plays out. After the faff of crunchyroll I think I'll catch up tomorrow with 2 epsiodes!
 
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Neil.T

Chuunibyou
No bubbles as such, but there is like a kind of discoloration
Hmm, I was thinking that that sounds like my (second-hand) disc 4 of Serial Experiments Lain (which has always played just fine), but then I remembered that that's a DVD-9 (dual-layered), so I'm not sure whether that would actually apply here. (That disc has the appearance of the glue bonding the two layers looking... odd and swirly.)

Your FLCL disc 3 and my original Love Hina disc 1 are both single-layer DVD-5s, you see. 🤔

Does the discoloration resemble a dark or water-like "staining" that originates from the outer edge of the disc at all? Or is it more like a general discoloration across the whole reflective surface?

###

Progressive episode 1 reaction
there's some really nice animation work, particularly in the opening sequence with Hidomi's dream world, but it all feels a bit insubstantial and, with Gainax out of the picture, I do think everything's just that little bit more clinical than before, starting with the character designs. There's nothing particularly wrong with them, but I feel all the new cast (which is virtually everyone) are a bit wilfully inoffensive looking.
. . .
It does strike me as odd that Mori's his gender neutral approach to clothing appears to go largely unremarked upon by his classmates
Yeah, this is... It's kind of like something that came up with Darling in the FRANXX before — about how not building all-encompassing inclusiveness into your story can find it being criticised or even vilified sometimes, and yet... to offer it up without even a flicker of response from any of your cast seems a bit... unnatural and unrealistic? 😕

It can come off as a bit shallow and pandering is what I'm trying to say, I guess.

but the fact that he's the one who's the subject of the gratuitous panty shot is an amusing subversion of the trope though.
That works, though, doesn't it! 😆
I like to hope that that's something Gainax would've been proud of.

Having the apparently straight laced Jinyu as a foil for Haruko is a nice enough idea too, but I remember feeling that the show doesn't make enough of her.
Jinyu is... a bit of a difficult one for me, character-wise. I just... can't quite grasp the logic of her origin.

I know it seems a bit absurd to say that about a series that apparently defies logic, but...

It's like how, to me, even surrealism needs some kind of thread running through it for the observer to latch onto in order to be able to be dragged through the creator's thought process, and (at least on my one-and-only viewing of Progressive to date*) Jinyu's existence lacked that for me; neither her personality nor her character design ever felt sufficiently related to Haruko for me to feel that she'd been "split off" from her.

Is this why Haruko seems different from the last time we saw her, though, perhaps? Has what good there was in her left her body through the creation of Jinyu? 🤔


*For the record, I don't have access to Crunchyroll viewing at the moment, so I'm having to make do with episode synopses and my memory of when I watched the series around this same time last year to follow along.
 

WMD

Pokémon Master
Progressive episodes 2 and 3
So far my favourite bits of every episode are the introduction dream sequences. The zombie horror one for episode 2 was especially good!

Also finding out theres a slum in the town was really wierd! It seemed so jarring and out of place to me. And then the obligatory beach epsiode almost seemed lazy and yet was the most fun epsiode 9f progressive so far. Though it definitely cemented my opinion of Haruko as a villian. Selfishness is her characteristic.

In a sense I feel its hard to judge this as I go along as it's so much more obvious that's theres a larger story going on. Whereas the first series was good at stand alone adventures that built to a big finale. The fact this happened on a beach was irrelevant. The important parts were finding out theres some conspiracy with the cafe customers and the main characters headphones are really important for some reason. I also enjoyed the fake girlfriend storyline as it really helps give character to the supporting cast.

I also have no gauge on how much time is supposed to have passed in between episodes. The photo album makes its seem like theres a huge gap between ep 1 and 2 but then the main characters reaction seemed like none of that had actually happened.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Progressive Ep 2-3

I'm in much the same boat as WMD on these two. The dream sequences are absolutely the stand out (to the point that it feels like corners were noticeably cut in less important scenes) and I had similar questions about the passage of time and why we're suddenly at the beach. Neil also hit the nail on the head in that, as a viewer, it's very difficult to find something to orient your reading of the show around. The original series, for all its flights of fancy, had a definite narrative logic. Progressive has almost felt like it was being generated by AI at times, such is its non-sequitor approach to storytelling, although it does feel like the series is becoming more fleshed out as it's going along.

Jinyu's existence lacked that for me; neither her personality nor her character design ever felt sufficiently related to Haruko for me to feel that she'd been "split off" from her.

Is this why Haruko seems different from the last time we saw her, though, perhaps? Has what good there was in her left her body through the creation of Jinyu? 🤔
This does seem a lot like what they were going for, but I agree - she's just kind of there? She either needs more personality, or to be completely devoid of it and frequently finding herself in situations that play off that. Her crazy sunglasses and flying car suggest they were aiming for the former, but she feels painfully underwritten for that to work. Not that Haruko has been faring a whole lot better; now without any semblance of being a good person, she just comes across as pointlessly nasty, although I did get a chuckle out of seeing her indicate when moving her scooter around Hidomi in the corridor.

I do also quite like Jinyu's little SD form in Hidomi's dream too.

The references are very much dialled back compared to the original too, but notably we're getting Lupin again in the scene where Ide jumps out of his boxers, and Haruko explicitly namechecks Attack No.1 when she's playing volleyball. I'll hazard a guess that Ide's freakishly harsh life in the scrapyard is a reference to something, although I'm not sure what exactly. Could be Ashita no Joe, as it seems like that is what the eyepatch guy is nodding towards, and there's a Dezaki-style postcard memory just before the English speaking thugs beat Ide up, but I really don't know enough about that show to say.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Only watched about 30 adverts for 1 episode.
Oh my god, that must've been horrendous to sit through. 😬

Talking about the ads generally, is it worth maybe trying to hit up some kind forum user for a guest pass or two?

You can use this thread here to ask if anyone might have one for you:
I've done it before, and I've been very pleasantly surprised by the kind response. 🙂

(Does anyone else find that their 48-hour guest pass seems to actually last for five days, by the way? 🤔)

###

Progressive episodes 2 & 3 reaction

Also finding out theres a slum in the town was really wierd! It seemed so jarring and out of place to me.
I remember that being a bit of a turning point in the plot for me, first time around — to have something so dramatic suddenly happen out of seemingly nowhere like that. It did feel to me like it sort of opened up the series' potential a bit.

My memory's playing tricks on me, though, because I had thought it was certainly later on than only the second episode. 🤔
But there it is.

I also have no gauge on how much time is supposed to have passed in between episodes.
According to the Wikipedia/Fandom episode synopses...
... episode 3, the beach episode, takes place "about three months after" the end of the previous episode.

On that subject, actually...
The fact this happened on a beach was irrelevant.
FLCL...

Beach episode...

. . .

. . .

. . .

😬
Moving on...

I also enjoyed the fake girlfriend storyline as it really helps give character to the supporting cast.
I liked that too, actually. I was thinking when I watched it that everything was about to go in full-on otaku wish fulfillment, but it actually smashed that idea very nicely.

(Keep that flowerpot in mind.)

The original series, for all its flights of fancy, had a definite narrative logic. Progressive has almost felt like it was being generated by AI at times, such is its non-sequitor approach to storytelling
The original definitely did have a logic to it — absolutely. Trying to play devil's advocate for a moment here, though, I wonder just how well anyone actually managed to latch onto that narrative logic on their first viewing. 🤔
I've only seen Progressive once so far for my own part, so maybe I would tune into its wavelength a little better with a second pass at it.

But, then, you're on your second viewing, Prof, and are finding that lack of a thread to still be an issue, so... my suggestion's more than likely giving this series more credit than it probably merits.

(The AI that wrote your two Eva episodes on Twitter last year is still superior anyway. 😛)

###

Lastly, I feel like I want to point out something I learnt only during this simulwatch that really, really surprised me, and it's about the casting in the original Japanese. It turns out that Haruko is not played by her original VA, Mayumi Shintani, in this series. 😯
In fact, she's apparently played by Megumi Hayashibara (Rei in Evangelion)!

Considering how highly distinctive Shintani's voice is, I'm completely shocked and more than a bit puzzled by just how I didn't clock that when I watched Progressive. Either it just somehow passed me by while trying to follow the story, or the versatile Hayashibara was able to mimic Shintani's vocal style so well that I didn't even notice. 😵❓

(It's happened before: spectacle-wearing mecha pilot Goro in DARLING in the FRANXX has a different actor for the last two episodes.
His new VA did such a solid impression of the original voice that I didn't even notice the change during my first watch.

His original VA has since returned to voice acting.)


Shintani will be back for Alternative in any case.

Also on the Progressive casting front, Ide is played in Japanese by the prolific Jun Fukuyama. He counts Lelouch in Code Geass among his numerous roles.

It's quite a coup for this series to have such a big-name voice talent on board.
 
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