Sunday, July 1, 2018

FLCL Progressive Episode 1 Recap


"There is nothing I want to be. There is nothing I want to do. All that exists is zero." Hidomi dreams of an apocalyptic landscape where her body is rotting and strange entities (the shape of a flat iron) are trying to attack her. Her body transforms into a giant mecha but as she prepares to fight them off, she wakes up. On her way down for breakfast, her mom cheerfully greets her by pointing a knife at her throat and insisting that she say 'good morning.' Hidomi makes no response whatsoever and her mom dismisses the attitude as simply her "tsundere" persona.

More screen caps from FLCL Progressive Episode 1

Later, on her way to school, Hidomi is unaware that she's being spied on by a strange woman on a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible. In school, Ide is wowing his two friends with his exploits from the past night with a teacher. However, when Hidomi comes in, Ide switches topics, settling on the fact that one of his friends has chosen to wear a skirt to school. Said friend defends his choice, by saying that fashion has no gender. Ide takes this in stride but adds that his friend should stop showing him his underwear. Said friend again calls him out for looking at his 'panties,' which Ide corrects as 'briefs.' This sparks a debate that end up on the fact that Ide can't help looking at underwear when they're in his light of sight. Their conversation is interrupted when their teacher enters the classroom.


The teacher begins talking in monotone about philosophy which is definitely non-standard, which confuses the kids. Later, she makes Hidomi watch porn on her laptop and is frustrated to find that Hidomi makes no reaction whatsoever. She dismisses Hidomi and Ide volunteers to go next but the teacher says that she does not need to test his reaction. Another student is called instead.


After school, Hidomi helps her mom out at the family cafe, where her tsundere personality is a hit among the customers. As they were closing, Hidomi's mom reminisces about her old hometown, which also had a similar monument shaped like a flat iron, and brings up her absentee husband. For the first time, Hidomi reacts, but before she can say anything, the woman from before speeds over and rams Hidomi with her car.


Then the woman hops out and declares to a horrified Hidomi's mother that Hidomi will unfortunately live. The woman takes off Hidomi's headphones and remarks that it is not even playing anything. Hidomi, who has by this time recovered, demands the headphones back, again exhibiting a reaction she has never exhibited before. The woman tells her that she only uses the headphones to tune out the rest of the world. Then she hops back into the car and leaves, but not before warning Hidomi about a woman in a vespa.


That night, Hidomi is attacked in her bedroom by a giant mechanical robot. Hidomi runs through the streets, being chased by this robot. All the while, she is being observed by the woman in the car. The robot soon catches up to Hidomi when suddenly, Ide appears. Ide reveals that the robot may have come out of his head. Both of them run away together, ending up in a junkyard, which reminds Hidomi of her apocalyptic dream. The robot chases them here but as the robot attacks, Ide tries to protect Hidomi, getting hurt in the process. As the robot approaches Hidomi, a strange light suddenly emits from her forehead. Unknown to them, another woman (Haruha) is observing the scene through a telescope. Before Hidomi could transform, the woman in the car appears and smashes her electric guitar at the robot, killing it.


The woman carries Ide, saying that she will take care of his wounds. Before she leaves however, she remarks that she likes Hidomi's new look. Puzzled, Hidomi walks over to a mirror and sees that a single red horn, just like in her dream, has grown out of her forehead.


The next morning, Hidomi finds that the woman, who introduces herself as Jinyu, is now working as a housemaid for her mom as compensation for running over Hidomi the other day. In school, Ide is being grilled by his friends because of the bandages he's wearing. When Hidomi enters, they exchange a look but don't say anything to each other. The teacher soon arrives and speaks in the same monotone about non-standard topics. Hidomi is hanging out in a chatroom on her phone where one of the chatters makes a typo, typing "fooly" instead of "folly." Then someone says "fooly cooly" and suddenly, the title of the series is born "FLCL."


Meanwhile, it seems the teacher has finally gone over the edge and her students go berserk. Then right in front of the entire class, the teacher takes off her face to reveal that she was Haruko all along.


COMMENTS:

I've seen the original FLCL and though I don't remember much of it I still remember distinctly enjoying the series. It's all so vague though that I might as well have nothing to compare Progressive to. So, in a way, this is a first impression of the series.

First up, the music is nuts. I love the opening theme which plays over Hidomi's dream sequence. The Pillows' "Thank you, my twilight" is so catchy and that the anime uses it as Hidomi's ringtone is kinda perfect. Now, I want it as my ringtone.

The story seems to be a retread of the original FLCL, but it's a bit more..."grown-up" somehow, for lack of a better word. A lot less boisterous, for instance. Jinyu seems a little too serious. Hidomi, a lot more understated and closed-off. And the violence feels perfunctory.

I enjoyed it. Make no mistake. But we'll see. Perhaps I need to revisit the old series again just to get my bearings.
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