The second of the two-part theatrical movie sequel to the popular anime FLCL, FLCL Progressive, opens in Japanese cinemas on 28 September 2018. Anime fans can’t stop talking about the movie before its release, partly thanks to the star-studded cast. For our readers outside Japan, who may have to wait a little longer for the movie, here is the spoiler-free review based on my experience seeing the movie a press screening.
The word ‘progressive’ means innovative, avant garde, and experimental. Just like the title of the first movie Alternative, it’s the name of a music genre. The heroine of the second movie is cat-ear-headphone-wearing Hidomi Hibajiri. She lives with her mother who owns a café as she waits for her long-lost father. One day, she gets hit by Jinyu’s blue car. Much to her mother’s surprise, she escapes from the crash without a scratch.
In the first movie, an abnormal change occurred in the body of the person who was knocked over. However, in the second movie, something strange happens to Ide, Hidomi’s classmate – a massive robot comes out from his… head! Who thought that would happen?
The scene of Hidomi being run over by Jinyu’s car reminded me of the scene where Ta-kun (Naota Nandaba) is knocked over by Haruko’s beloved vespa in the OVA series.
It’s later revealed that Jinyu is Haruko’s alter ego. Her other alter ego, Haruha Raharu, appears at Hidomi and Ide’s school as a teacher. The encounter of Haruha Raharu and Jinyu causes a drastic change in Hidomi’s daily life…
FLCL Progressive has gained a lot of publicity from its star-studded cast. Megumi Hayashibara portrays Haruko’s alter ego Haruha Raharu and the other alter ego, Jinyu, is played by Miyuki Sawashiro. Furthermore, Inori Minase portrays the heroine, Hidomi, and Jun Fukuyama plays the role of Ide.
The tagline of FLCL Progressive in Japan is translated as ‘The world is created randomly.’ It’s a very FLCL-like phrase. However, in the world of FLCL Progressive, a strange and intricate story unfolds, one that is far from random.
Haruha Raharu uses any means necessary to achieve her aim, taking possession of Atomsk. She doesn’t hesitate knocking over someone or bashing someone down with her guitar. If you don’t know her objective, or even if you DO know it, her actions are outrageous. Because what she does is unpredictable, you might get confused about the story if you try thinking too hard. I recommend that you lay back and watch as it unfolds. Don’t think too deep and try tp feel the world of FLCL.
Let me tell you a bit more. A key person who is as mysterious as Haruha Raharu emerges in the movie. Another truly mysterious character is Aiko, who is (perhaps) the girlfriend of the skirt-wearing boy, Mori. In the world of FLCL, which is shrouded in mystery, fierce and fast battles continue. I felt like the 130 minute-long movie ended in a flash.
The movie consists of six episodes. I must point out that six directors are in charge of each episode. While preserving the world of FLCL, each director shows subtle differences in their expression and drawings. It’s interesting to find these differences while watching the movie.
It has been 17 years since the OVA series ended. FLCL has come back with a new feel while keeping the original FLCL taste, which its fans have been waiting for all these years. I believe this newest FLCL in the series will capture its fans’ hearts once again across the globe.
28 September – 18 October 2018 in Japanese cinemas