Flander's Company is a French amateur series, airing on the Nolife broadcast and edited for DVD in 2009 by Kaze (recently acquired by Viz Media).The title company aims at providing heroes worthy foes, and as such recruits, trains and supports Supervillains. The series follows its employees in their daily routine.The main characters are:
Hippolyte Kurtzmann, the human resources manager, who spends most of his time receiving wannabe supervillains in his office. Sadistic and short-tempered. Was known as "Sadoman" when he was an active Villain.
Caleb, the resident Brilliant, but LazyGadgeteer Genius who's supposed to run the research department, but spends most of his office hours next to the coffee machine. Was known as "Pr. Kaos" whan he was an active Villain.
Mr. Armand Trueman, the Affably Evil CEO, who inherited the company from his father. Hates slackers, and thus Caleb.
Cindy, Mr. Trueman's niece, a 16-year-old barbarian with an axe. Known as "Freya" when she is an active Villain.
Dr. Parker, a friendly psychiatrist who runs the psychological assistance department, helping Supervillains with their issues. Well, when he isn't in Damien mode. Then, he's a psychopatic killer with insane powers that just wants to make Your Head Asplode.
The first season is centered around Hippolyte and his job, and features a lot of Application of the Week episodes, but starting with the second, it becomes a lot less repetitive, with genuine story arcs, and other regulars are featured more prominently, even if Hippolyte is still the main character.Budget is non-existent (at least in the beginning), so there is no set and almost everything is shot during weekends in the offices of French Animation magazine Animeland, hence the anime DVDs and posters in the background. The show's creator and co-writer, Ruddy Pomarede, also directs, acts (as Caleb), edits and does the visual effects. All this on his free time, which explains the slow production (twenty short episodes a year).The overall style is very cartoonish, so the fact that everybody overacts does not ruin the show, but participates to the general mood.Unlike Flanderization and Stupid Sexy Flanders, has nothing to do with Ned Flanders.
Flander's Company provides examples of the following tropes:
Carla Burnelle was initially introduced as one of Hippolyte's several candidates and a parody of (former) French president's wife Carla Bruni. She was later ascended to the protagonists Arch-Enemyand later again became a protagonist herself.
Similarly, Kevin was first seen as this then ascended to a member of the C.C Corp. He is one of the only three survivors of the C.C by now.
Igor initially appeared with Countess Von Bathory as a cameo character. He later comes back and becomes Caleb's personnal assistant. Even more in season 4, where he serves as the main scientist due to Caleb missing.
Though not specifically ascended as character, several actors appeared first as candidates to Hippolyte to later return playing major characters.
Caleb after teleporting to Egypt at the end of "Unlimited".
Caleb again in "Angy Junkie", yelling "BITCH!" at Carla.
Attack Backfire: It happens a lot against Sadoman. Any attack that hurts him but fails to kill or incapacite him will just supercharge his pain-based powers and result in a fierce, and often lethal counterattack.
Badass Normal: Armand Trueman possesses no power of his own, but he makes up with his intelligence, charisma and crazyness. Too bad it clearly doesn't satisfy him.
Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: An unusual example since the bad guys are the protagonists, but in season 4, it is doubtful Alternates Armand and Cindy would have applied as final a solution to Alternate George's problem than Hippolyte and Caleb did.
Baleful Polymorph: In "PWNED!", Hippolyte gets turned into a potted plant by one of Caleb's experiments. Mr. Trueman is not amused.
Blood Is the New Black: When Hippolyte is finally allowed to unleash his Sadoman powers in the alternate universe, he rips out Zombieber in two. He then prances around proudly covered in blood, grossing out Alternates Cindy and Armand.
Bloody Hilarious: Whenever blood is shown, you can be sure it is going to be completely over-the-top.
Bloody Murder: Emo-Man's superpower is to give himself a paper cut that will result in a devastating high-pressure stream of blood.
Caffeine Bullet Time: Caleb's powers — short-range time and space warping — awakened as a side effect of coffee abuse.
Camera Abuse: Blood splashing on the camera while Hippolyte "interviews" a candidate.
Cat Up a Tree: In season 4 episode 11, this is Hippolyte's first outdoor mission in the alternate universe. He's not happy about it, especially since the "whirlwind of teeth and claws" variation happened.
Celibate Villainess: Cindy clearly has no interest in dating anybody; she rejects Trucidator's advances, and expresses disgust when her father suggests she might find somebody one day. Granted, considering the kind of relationship her parents have, her reluctance is understandable.
Cerebus Syndrome: Season 1 was mostly a Gag-of-the-Week series with no specific plot; season 2 had an actual plot and got more serious toward the end; finally, seasons 3 and 4 mostly have a plot, and are significantly darker than the previous ones.
Chirping Crickets: In "La Rédaction", following the teacher firing on the ceiling, the classtroom ruckus is replaced by this.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Nico, Carla's husband, appears with her in their first episode. She appears again without him and he's never mentionned again. According to Word of God, Nico wasn't her real husband but a secret agent, and came as a cover for that scouting mission.
Crazy Enough to Work: How Hippolyte saw Caleb's plan to use Lose-man against Carla in the season 2 finale.
Creator Provincialism: Curiously enough, as it employs mainly American super-villains, (and with names such as "Trueman"), the Flander's company is explicitely shown to be set in France (including with a few Astronomic Zooms). Notably, in season 4, when expies of Superdupont (a '70s parody of a French superhero) and Nightrunner (a current official hero in the Batman franchise) wonder if the company apply discount prices for compatriots.
The first episode of season 2, "Holidays", features Dr. Parker as the only regular (beyond the intro).
The special episode "Super fan de!" follows Hitomi Kurtzmann for a full day.
Season 3 episode "La Rédaction" is about Gladys writing a school report, and thus we're seeing the Flander's Company through her eyes.
Dead Guy Puppet: Okay, Hippolyte wasn't dead, but he was suffering from a serious breakdown in episode "Cas de conscience". So, what do Caleb and Cindy do? Use him as a puppet to keep engaging lame candidates.
Thanks to Caleb's Nuclear Gun and Trucidator falling for Cindy.
And in the season 3 finale, where Liam explodes after being teleported there.
Deer in the Headlights: Hippolyte is described to be this way by the TV crew interviewing him in the alternate universe. He has a good reason, however, considering said crew is constitued of all the counterparts of Aegis, the season 3's enemies.
Deflector Shield: There's one around the machine pertubating superpowers in "Unlimited", to Hippolyte's frustration.
Dope Slap: Cindy gives one to Caleb in season 3 for being one-upped by Nadège.
Double Take: Alternate Georges Trueman at the sight of a candidate rejected by Hippolyte with flowers in the fundament.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Maxence, shot by Trueman in the season 3 finale. They were on the same team... Kinda. Well, you must remember that Maxence was a member of the C.C Corp., and their cooperation was tied by their fear of Aegis. Once Caleb's potion was ready, they didn't have any reason NOT to kill him. Plus, he wanted the potion...
Easter Egg: Real eggs, laid by cast members who've been turned into rabbits, in an Easter special.
Enemy Mine: On season 3, C.C corporation has to work with Flander's Company to defeat Aegis. Trueman even quotes: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." He'll be the one that acts as an Ungrateful Bastard in the end, sending the C.C corp. survivors to North Pole.
Epic Fail: Invoked by Hippolyte when he and Caleb blow up their cover during season 4.
Hippolyte, in the alternate universe, after being overwhelmed by all the differences.
Kevin at the sight of Gladys' severed arm.
Fake-Out Fade-Out: The season 4 episode "Karma Tsunami" ends with the surprise return of Jean-Luc Shredder. The ending credits start, but Armand yells for this to stop, demanding an explanation.
Faking Amnesia: Both Hippolyte and Caleb in the alternate universe. It's Hippolyte's idea, at first because he thinks the true story would be too unbelievable. Afterward, they don't want their status of supervillains to come into light in a society full of superheroes.
Imagine Spotting: In season 4 episode 18, "Born Villain", when Damien reveals how he manipulated Nadège, the latter suddenly interrupts and protests that she might have been mind-controled, but she'd never "stroked his shell" as just seen in the unreliable flashback.
Sadoman's "final moves" are shown as shadowed short animations (also a form of Gory Discretion Shot).
Sadoman: DOUBLE COSMIC FIST!!
The history of the "1983 Holocaust" in the alternate universe is in comic-book style with limited animation.
The backstory of the Choristes' universe is also animated, but in a much darker style.
Mistaken for Gay: The vilain Trucidator ("Slayator") shortly suffers this from Dr. Parker. Trucidator came to Dr. Parker because he was bullied because he is black, but before the explanation was finished, Parker first thought Trucidator was victim of homophobia. Note that Trucidator's general appearance (hairy, bared chest and iron chains) makes this mistake understandable.
Cindy's role is to train them. They even have a training camp.
The C.C Corp henchmen in season 2.
In season 4, the Choristes.
More than Mind Control: How Damien turns Cindy and Alternate Caleb to his side with his psychic powers: he targets those who are already discontent with the return to normal after the alternate-universe mess.
Caleb, who spends almost his entire office time next to the coffee machine. Having it removed prompts his resignation, as hoped by C.C Corporation — what they hadn't planned was the going berserk part. It may be because of his caffeine-induced teleport powers. Anyway, that does NOT explain his worship for George Clooney, who is more-or-less his GOD.note In France, George Clooney plays in an series of ads for the Nespresso coffee machine, which is the model used by Caleb. Thus his cult for the actor.
To a slightly lesser extent, Hippolyte.
Neck Lift: Damien to Luigi in "Jumpen Hallaucost".
Nepotism: Cindy is no doubt a powerful villainess, but she wouldn't have gotten a job at Flander's without her uncle.
Newspaper Dating: Caleb checks a newspaper after going through the vortex to make sure they didn't travel through time.
Averted with Aegis blowing up the C.C Corp buildings all over the world, causing hundred of victims, as stated on TV.
However, in the season 3 finale, the big hole on the Moon and the meteor shower that ensue doesn't seem to cause a mass extinction.
Nose Bleed: Hippolyte has one interviewing Andromalia at the Japan Expo.
Not Hyperbole: In season 4, when Gautier says that Caleb "had done the work of four people," he adds "Literally!" — and the camera pans out to show that Caleb has duplicated himself for the additional brain power.
Subverted with Aegis. They wear costumes, but no masks.
Nobody in the company has a costume to begin with. Then in season 2 (Cindy, Hippolyte, Damien, Caleb) and 3 (Hitomi, Carla, Truman) more and more characters decide to get (or to wear again) a super costume for fights. Handwaved by Carla at the end of season 3 :
A literal one said in the Season 3 Finale by Mello who is exploded in mid-air by Hippolyte and Caleb's final attack, "Combo Gothic Tits on Fire!"
Earlier in the same episode, Mello, stuck in the ground with only his head surfacing, has a Oh Crap moment when Pyro clearly says that she doesn't give a damn about him, as she's ready to unleash a miniature sun on the protagonists and Mello nearby.
One Dialogue, Two Conversations: When Caleb is asking Mr. Trueman if he can engage an assistant (who ends up being Igor), the boss seems to be responding positively, but he is in fact talking on the phone (with an earpiece hidden by his hair) and has no idea what Caleb wanted.
Caleb: What? I said something I shouldn't have? Mr. Trueman: No... but my brain crashed while trying to assimilate the fact that you've been working...
In the season 4 finale, when Gladys shows up possessed by Damien.
Carla: She... she's just articulated two grammatically correct sentences! Cindy: Who is this monster?!
Operation Blank: In season 3, the name of the plan to teleport the whole Flander's building? "Operation: Clooney"
Overly Nervous Flop Sweat: Parodied with villain wannabe "Transpire-Man" ("Sweaty-Man"). He does indeed sweat a lot when nervous... meaning he can weaponize it by producing a blast of water from his armpits, strong enough to propel an opponent through a wall.
Pillar of Light: In season 1 episode "Terroriste !", an accidental discharge of Caleb's Nuclear Gun bursts through 12 stairs and into the sky, finally blowing up a satellite.
Put on a Bus: Nadège, at the end of season 3, where she is caught by a black hole created by Mello. Word of God mentions that she's on a trip to Japan, hence her nonavailability as an actress for the next season, scheduled in late 2010. The Bus Came Back in season 4.
A big one by Silver when Hitomi "milked" her in the season 3 finale. The character, who until then was shown to be The Stoic, proceeds to literally obliterate her.
Followed, in the same episode, by Liam's when he discovers his girlfriend, Pyro, has burnt down to ashes.
Self-Duplication: Caleb's power of duplication went from "I can duplicate myself a little" to Naruto-esque proportions. Which leads to one of the most ridiculous fights in the show, with Caleb fighting against "Narugros".
Series Continuity Error: In the series finale, there's view of the energy blast that destroyed Damien rising above the atmosphere. Cool shot, except the stream is clearly coming from France, while the last battle is supposed to happen in Pennsylvania, at Reed Richards' manor, as with the beginning of season 4.
During season 4, Caleb and Hippolyte ends up in an alternate reality, in which Superman's spaceship has landed in North Korea instead of America. It's easy to see here a Shout-Out to Superman: Red Son, a DC UniverseElseworld story in which Superman's spaceship landed in the Soviet Union.
Carla's speech when taken over by Damien's mind is straight out of The Lord of the Rings movies, when Galadriel is tempted by the power of the One Ring.
The Smurfette Principle: Cindy is the only female character in the company before the introduction of Gladys. Subverted with the C.C corporation which has more female than male characters. And only Carla and Nadège are competent in the team. Subverted again with AEGIS.
The Spartan Way: This is how the Mooks are trained, according to the episode when Cindy runs a mooks training camp.
Special Edition Title: Season 3 episodes 7, 10 and 11 have the usual music and style of opening, except the title isn't "Flander's Company" but "C.C Corporation" instead, and the cast is from the latter society, since the episodes focus on them.
Spider-Sense: Parodied in season 2 episode 9, with Hippolyte's instinct for millstones flaring up (with a typical anime effect) as Déborah and Maxence come near. As for Caleb's Millstone Detector, it explodes.
Superpowered Mooks: A few of the henchmen enrolled by C.C Corp have superpowers. They still don't slow the protagonists much.
Super Serum: Caleb creates one by combining the DNA of the Supers at hand, thanks to the help of Dr. Shredder's researches as well as the Visitor from the Future. Unfortunately, as Armand Trueman soon finds out, its effect is very limited in time.
Hippolyte: Lesson number 12 of the supervillain: always indulges in a charismatic entrance.
Super Zeroes: A lot of the candidates, even those with potentially strong powers, don't find grace in Hippolyte's eyes because they're way too uncool to make good supervillains. More of them are engaged nonetheless in season 3 because of the dearth of Flander's employees.
Most of the time, the candidates Hippolyte receives have the most useless and ridiculous superpowers the writers could imagine.
In an episode of the third season, Hippolyte must engage a man saying that he can cause a deluge by dancing wearing a duck rubber ring and a tutu on a techno/space opera remix of the Lake of Swans. Seriously. (Poor Hippolyte lost it...)
The alternate universe has its own lame applicants too. One seems to think he can become a superhero with the sole power of creating flower bouquets. Hippolyte suggests he should create roses, with lots of thorns, and demonstrates how to use them offensively...
Would Hit a Girl: Being villains, none of the male characters have any qualms about this. Most notably, Armand during the "Moskau" song, shoving away Hitomi, headbutting Carla and swinging at Déborah from behind.