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Madness returned in 2018. LUNCH TIIIIIMMEEEE!!!

"They say 'nothing exciting ever happens here', which is kinda true. I mean, look at her, look at him, look at all of them. They don't know what they have inside of them. They're just sleepwalking through life, wondering when something amazing is going to happen. That's where I come in. 'Cause they don't know it yet, but these kids are the key. And I'm gonna show them how to unlock some doors... whether they like it or not. Or, they might all get killed."
— Haruko Haruhara

FLCL Progressive and Alternativenote  are the sequel series to the 2000-2001 Japanese OVA series FLCL. The new seasons were commissioned by [adult swim] and produced by Production I.G, which had co-produced the original OVA with Studio Gainax. Character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto returned for the production, with original series director Kazuya Tsurumaki supervising the project alongside Katsuyuki Motohiro (Psycho-Pass). Japanese rock band "The Pillows" also returned to contribute songs to the soundtrack.

FLCL: Progressive focuses on 14-year-old Hidomi, a quiet girl with some lingering Daddy Issues, and classmate Ide, who harbors a secret crush on her. The duo find their lives colliding when two alien beings — one of them a familiar 16-year-old woman riding a Vespa scooter — enter town and begin to battle over control of the pair's latent powers.

FLCL: Alternative features the 17-year-old Kana, a teenager who fully ascribes to Growing Up Sucks, and whose worries about the impending responsibilities of adulthood are interrupted when a mecha falls from the sky, along with a 19-year-old Haruko. Soon, Kana and her friends find themselves being pulled into the alien's chaotic orbit.

In the United States, Progressive premiered on [adult swim]'s Toonami block on June 2nd, 2018; Alternative followed on September 8th of the same year. You can watch the trailer here. In Japan, both series were presented as films and released in theaters on September 7th and 28th, respectively.

The two seasons are followed up by FLCL: Grunge & FLCL: Shoegaze, which is set to debut on Sept. 9th, 2023.

And, once again, it's pronounced "Fooly Cooly", not "Eff-ell-see-ell" or "Flee Klee".

Tropes include:

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    Both series 
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Any vehicle that isn't the classic Vespa ends up rendered in CG.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Hidomi watches YouYube in Progressive.
    • One of the stores that Kana and her friends go to is Dadaiso, a parody of Daiso, a Japanese dollar store.
    • A "Kelorie Nate" (Calorie Mate) snack is shown in the first episode.
  • Cool, but Stupid:
    Haruko: It takes an idiot to do cool things. That's what makes it cool.
  • History Repeats: The Toonami trailer is set up in a similar way as the original Toonami trailer for the first FLCL, beginning with Haruko (instead of Naota) saying that "Nothing exciting ever happens here," and "Ride On Shooting Star" playing towards the end of the trailer. The 2 & 3 trailer has an extra thirty seconds this time.
  • Musical Theme Naming: Both seasons are titled after a different type of rock music, Progressive and Alternative respectively.
  • Sequel Series: To the original FLCL.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 4 of Progressive: Canti died offscreen between the first and second seasons, and Jinyu is devoured and forcibly recombined with Haruko, leaving no one capable of protecting Hidomi.
    • Episode 5 of Alternative: Pets has gone missing. Turns out because You Never Asked, Kana was oblivious to Pets' crappy and abusive household life, just as the girl is about to be sent to Mars. And then when trying to rescue Pets from a Terminal Core, Pets lays into Kana with a rant inducing slight, leaving the episode off on ambiguous circumstances as shit prepares to really hit the fan.

    FLCL Progressive
"There's nothing I want to be, there's nothing I want to do."

  • An Aesop: Life is gonna go on regardless of what you think of it and facing it is better than shutting yourself off, especially if you find something worth living for.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Despite having failed again at capturing Atomsk, Haruko leaves Earth to give it another shot, parting ways with Hidomi and Iide.
  • Apocalypse How: Thanks to Medical Mechanica, episode 6 shows most of the city bombarded with giant blobs of mochi, which eventually turns anyone who touches it into mochi themselves.
  • Art Shift: Episode 5, natch. To start:
    • The opening sequence is depicted in a style akin to traditional oil paintings and ink calligraphy.
    • A Medical Mechanica employee has a cartoonish, completely non-descript face that is completely out of line for everyone else in the series.
    • The characters are drawn with a unique line style closer to chalk or colored pencils than actual computer animation techniques.
    • Hidomi's flashback of the drama that took place that morning is drawn in a similar manga style like the twice-used gag from the original series.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Canti's head is turned into a Terminal Core in episode 5. He makes a full recovery back to his usual self in episode 6.
    • Jinyu is literally consumed by Haruko at the end of episode 4. She gets expelled, along with Atomsk's power, at the climax of episode 6.
  • Balloon Belly: Haruko sports one in episode 5, the result of having eaten Jinyu in the previous episode, and tries to pass it off by saying she's pregnant. She's back to normal by the end.
  • Batman Gambit: In the finale, Haruko tells Hidomi that if she wants Iide back, she has to give Haruko her power. If Hidomi agrees, Haruko gets what she wants. If she fights (which she does) her power still fuels Haruko's trap. Haruko probably thought it was a Xanatos Gambit. Unfortunately for her, she grossly underestimated Atomsk's power, and he simply disintegrates her trap without falling into it.
  • Beach Episode: The third episode shows everyone having fun at the beach, for some reason.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: The second episode has Iide getting beaten up by Japanese thugs who only speak Japanese in the English dubbed version. Stephanie Sheh pointed out on Twitter that this was done on purpose and they actually did hire a native Japanese voice actor for the scene. She also said the Japanese dubbed version is the complete opposite: the Japanese thugs speak English there.
  • Book Ends: In the first and last episode Hidomi monologues "There's nothing I want to be, there's nothing I want to do", but the context is different. In the first episode she has no interest in doing anything or changing as she is waiting for her father, but in the last episode she's decided she likes her current life and wants to live it for herself.
  • Brainwashed: Perhaps invoked, as Hidomi's class (except Hidomi and Iide) is utterly fascinated with their teacher Haruko. At one point, there's a gag scene where she pretends being a pastor giving holy words to her class as fanatics following her every word. After which, the students look over the yearbook and reminisce about all the wild things they did with Miss Haruko over the course of the school year. The "photos" are revealed to be crude crayon drawings that the students seem to think are real.
  • Call-Back:
    • Hidomi getting slammed by a car nods back to when Haruko hit Naota with her vespa.
    • Jinyu becomes a live-in maid to Hidomi and her mother, just as Haruko was to Naota and his family. Bonus points for Jinyu being a Literal Split Personality of Haruko.
    • Hidomi's dream of a line of Medical Mechanica irons being pushed by giant hands is very similar to the vision Naota had in the final episode of the original season.
    • When the students are looking through the yearbook, they highlight a picture of Haruko beaning a student right in the face with a baseball during the sports festival.
    • Iide attempts to sell a gun that shoots mini-pebbles similar to the ones Naoto and Haruko used in the previous season.
    • Iide walking in on Haruko and Hidomi making suggestive noises in the next room is similar to Naota walking in on Haruko and a robotic duplicate of his dad doing the same thing.
    • Haruko's form when she devours Jinyu is similar to when Canti first took in Naota.
    • Haruko is referred to in Episode 1 of the first season as the "Vespa woman", after her Vespa scooter. Vespa is Latin for wasp (which Naota indirectly points out when he wonders why his friends are talking about a "wasp woman".) In Episode 4, Haruko transforms into a giant wasp to devour Jinyu.
    • When Iide confronts Haruko in episode 5, "I Think I Can" begins playing. During the following fight she offers him advice on how to swing his guitar, similar to with Naota.
    • Canti's restored head acts like a happy puppy, not unlike the Terminal Core in the original series.
    • A revived Canti becomes a live-in waiter at the cafe in the final episode.
    • Just like in the original season, Atomsk's existence is only hinted at referred to in vague terms, and isn't even mentioned by name until the very end of Episode 5.
  • The Cameo: The main characters of the previous series appear in the ending along with the main characters of the sequels. An older Naota and Mamimi can also be seen in other shots, and Canti makes a return in episode 4.
  • Cerebus Retcon: In the original FLCL, the term "overflow" was something Mamimi said any time she was about to break down with emotion while still in denial that Tasuku broke up with her when he went overseas to America and likely gave her a Dear Jane letter treatment. It's also generally considered to be one of Mamimi's quirky and loopy phrases. Here, it's a term Jinyu uses seriously to indicate whenever somebody is going to release an outburst of N.O., causing dimensional doorways to open in their heads and things to come out.
  • The Comically Serious: Jinyu never smiles or lets her guard down. Even when she's been encased in concrete, she just busts her arms and legs free and continues her mission without giving it a second thought.
  • Cool Car: Jinyu's vintage car transforms into a mecha.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Hidomi's mother's cooking looks rather questionable, if the breakfast she makes is any indication.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: After Medical-Mechanica levels most of the town in episode 6, the townspeople don't really seem concerned. The Hibaje cafe even opens for business the same day despite having been leveled, with the tables set up like an outdoor cafe.
  • Darker and Edgier
    • While still retaining the comedic antics, Progressive starts off with Hidomi in a destroyed city when her body begins rotting and falling apart bloodily. Along with that, some aspects; such as Hidomi getting hit by a car and Iide getting injured by a robotic machine, are taken seriously. There's also the first on-screen death of a named character in the form of Haruko devouring and forcibly recombining with Jinyu.
    • The final episode is rated TV-MA, compared to the TV-14 that consistently carried throughout its run, though only because of Haruko using the phrase "cockblocking".
  • Distant Sequel: It is not until the final episode that you learn it's been around thirty years since the previous series, given Commander Amarao has a grown son (Marurao) that almost looks like him.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • At one point, Hidomi gets black gunk all over her face and it slowly drips off, all while having a red horn on her head and having Empty Eyes.
    • Twice during the Beach Episode:
      • At one point, Hidomi grasps at her breasts and short skirt.
      • Iide charges into a room and stumbles upon what effectively amounts to a bondage situation. His response: the anime standard nose bleed? No, no, no... a glob of... slime... erupts from his... head. Its tentacle attacks are even less subtle. It's probably not that much of a coincidence that Haruko ends up taking control of it.
  • Emotionless Girl: Just to drive home how much Hidomi doesn't care about life, her teacher tries and fails to elicit some form of response by making her watch a hardcore pornographic video in class.
  • Evil Teacher: Haruko is Hidomi's new teacher, and it's more obvious that she's on the evil side of the spectrum this time, if Jinyu's attempts to stop her are any indication.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Goro shows up at school wearing what he calls a unisex outfit, which includes a short skirt. Iide begs him to please stop showing his underwear.
    • Hidomi gets a Male Gaze shot of her rear and is rather under-clothed in her dream at the beginning of the series, but she's also covered in her own blood and falling apart.
  • First-Episode Twist: At the end of the first episode, it's revealed that the seemingly stoic new teacher of Hidomi's class is actually none other than Haruko Haruhara.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Hidomi's first dream sequence has her proclaim that the world can only be beautiful when it's destroyed. In the final episode, the town is destroyed by Medical Mechanica, and only during the final battle does Hidomi reach the tail end of her character development and stop living her life in stasis as she waits for her father.
    • While talking to Hidomi, Aiko asks her if she's not going to swim in the water, but then Hidomi asks her if she didn't bring her swimsuit, to which Aiko says, "That's not what [her and Mori] agreed to." This is a big clue that their relationship is an act.
  • Fusion Dance: Haruko forcibly re-absorbs Jinyu in episode 4.
  • Genki Girl: Hidomi turns into one in episode 4 as a direct result of her headphones locking into her skull at the end of episode 3. The headphones are receiving bizarre radio waves from Medical Mechanica, which is causing her to act that way.
  • Groin Attack: In the aftermath of all the chaos in episode 4, Iide lands on his back after falling out of the car, and Hidomi unintentionally lands knees first right into his crotch immediately afterward.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Hidomi wears cat headphones wherever she goes; she even wears them while sleeping. Jinyu notes that she's not even playing anything. She's pretending she can't hear anyone.
  • Hereditary Hairstyle: Marurao inherited his father Amarao's tiny eyebrows, and is equally as embarrassed by it.
  • History Repeats: The first episode starts with Hidomi monologuing about how "Nothing amazing has ever happened here. Everything is ordinary." She is subsequently run-over by a strange woman who then starts working for her parent.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Eye Patch is reverse engineering the technology from Canti in the hopes of opening up NO portals to travel to other areas of the galaxy instead of having other things traveling to Earth.
  • Internal Homage: The first episode recreates the scene of Naota getting run over by Haruko's Vespa from the original series. Only this time, Hidomi gets hit by a car being driven by Jinyu. Jinyu even reacts to the hit and run by repeating most of Haruko's original dialogue.
  • Intimate Lotion Application: In "Stone Skipping", when the characters go to the beach, Haruko attempts to goad her students into putting oil on her back. Mori jumps at the chance, but the other hold him back to question him about his Girlfriend in Canada situation, to Haruko's disappointment. She then tries to get Hidomi and Jinyu to do it, but Jinyu only accepts so she can prank Haruko by pouring tanning oil on her instead.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Hidomi and Iide keep their Unresolved Sexual Tension going for five episodes until they finally become a couple at the end of the sixth and final episode.
  • Latex Perfection: Haruko disguises herself as Hidomi's teacher, and pulls off a latex mask to reveal herself at the end of the first episode.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The video that Hidomi is blankly watching mid-way through episode one is too indecipherable to make out, but if one visits the page URL for Youtube the screen has a Freeze-Frame Bonus on, you'll be taken to the Japanese preview trailer for the series.
    • After Haruko reveals herself as Hidomi's teacher in disguise, there is cheering from the students and she declares "the real one has arrived". This is after Jinyu, who resembles her, played a big role in the episode.
  • Left the Background Music On: The beeping and blipping in "Thank You, My Twilight", the song playing during Hidomi's dream sequence at the start of episode 1, turns out to be coming from her phone alarm when she wakes up.
  • Love Hurts: Atomsk acknowledges Haruko's feelings, but cannot bring himself to stay. He leaves her behind again and she breaks down crying in Jinyu's arms.
  • Quit Your Whining: Haruko delivers one to Hidomi in the finale. See Shut Up, Hannibal! for Hidomi's response.
    Haruko: Hibaji, were you listening to anything I taught in class? "Give this back. Give that back. Oh give it back, please! Because it's all about what I want. I want everything to be mine. Give it to me. More." You're like a child throwing a tantrum. You think you get things by asking? That if you're stomping, crying on the floor, people will just drop things in your lap?
    Hidomi: Then what am I supposed to do?
    Haruko: Hand it over. If you want something you don't have, then you must hand over what you do have. That's called balance.
    Hidomi: You're making a deal? That isn't really appropriate for a teacher.
    Haruko: This is the last thing I'll teach you. You just have to give your power to me.
  • Not So Similar:
    • Haruko and Jinyu argue in episode 4 over Atomsk rejecting them. When Jinyu reveals how she has accepted his rejection, Haruko notes they really are nothing alike.
    • Haruko and Hidomi start off being pretty similar, both of them wanting something they're unable to obtain: Haruko wanting Atomsk and Hidomi wanting her father to return. While Hidomi eventually learns to move on, however, Haruko refuses to learn from her second rejection and continues to chase after Atomsk.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: Hidomi's response to Haruko's last attempt on her power, in the finale, leads up to the end of her character arc.
    Haruko: If you want something that you don't have, you must hand over what you do have. That's called balance.
    Hidomi: You're making a deal? That isn't really appropriate for a teacher.
    Haruko: This is the last thing I'll teach you. You just have to give your power to me.
    Hidomi: Is that your final answer?
    Haruko: You're responsible for your own responses.
    Hidomi: Despite what you may think, I have learned. It's time to stop acting childish. And that's why... I'm just going to take it.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: At some point after the first season, Haruko succeeded in absorbing Atomsk for herself, though his power proved to be too much for her and created a Literal Split Personality in Jinyu.
  • Power Limiter: Hidomi's headphones restrain her N.O. and Jinyu calls them an "enzyme inhibitor".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hidomi delivers one to Haruko in Episode 5.
    Hidomi: In the end you're no different from the rest of them. It's all because you like that weird bird, am I right? How stupid! You're just a girl in love!
  • Rescue Romance: Played for Laughs in Episode 5. Haruko makes up a story where her "future husband" Atomsk saved her from getting run over by a rollercoaster and she fell madly in love with him.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: Subverted. The final episode closes with Hidomi and Iide now being a couple. They're about to kiss, but the credits roll before the audience can actually see it.
  • Scenery Gorn: Hidomi's dreamscape, which is a blasted, ruined cityscape. Downplayed with the beach in Episode 3, where several old derelict Medical Mechanica irons can be seen out in the ocean in the distance.
  • Shaped Like Itself: When Haruko and Jinyu are pulled into a reverse-N.O. portal accidentally created by Ide, Haruko declares "You're an idiot because you do idiotic things!"
  • Shout-Out:
    • Hidomi's headphones are clearly based off of the Axent Wear Cat Ear Headphones.
    • While working as a maid, Jinyu breaks a plate perfectly in half, just like Nono in DieBuster, another anime by Studio Gainax.
    • Jinyu eventually strikes the classic Gunbuster pose in Episode 3.
    • In the third episode, during the volleyball game, Haruko yells out "Attack number... ichi."
    • Canti's body is crucified on an off-kilter cross in Episode 4, similar to the Mass Production Evas at the end of The End Of Evangelion. He's also missing his bottom half, similarly to Lilith.
    • Atomsk's humanoid form is similar to the Anti-Spiral.
  • Smashing Watermelons: The 3rd episode Beach Episode. During a montage of activities, one of the characters does an overhead smash of a watermelon.
  • Stylistic Suck: At complete random during the first episode, Hidomi suddenly becomes a large, pink drawing with no details besides her eyes, mouth and headphones as cat ears.
  • Title Drop
    • Eyepatch compares Aiko's punching ability to that of a shooting star, referencing the title of the original series's ending theme, "Ride On, Shooting Star".
    • The final scene of Episode 1 features Hidomi looking at a chatroom on her phone that eventually devolves into everyone chanting "Fooly Cooly" during her teacher's increasingly unhinged speech before she reveals herself as Haruko. Episode 4 also features a chorus in the background of Jinyu's briefing at the Cafe Hibajiri singing Funiculi, Funicula, but with the lyrics replaced with "Fooly Cooly, Fooly Coola".
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: When Iide is running after Hidomi inside Jinyu's runaway car, he takes his eyes off for one moment to look at her and runs smack into an metal support beam.
  • X-Ray of Pain: At one point, Hidomi's headphones drill into her skull to prevent removal. This is shown with an X-ray effect that shows even her skull wincing in pain.
  • X-Ray Sparks: In episode 2, Jinyu's car becomes 6 smaller drones which attack Haruko. They fire electrical bolts at her, some of which hit Iide. Each time one of them hits him, his skeleton can be seen through his body.

    FLCL Alternative
"17 won't wait."

  • An Aesop: Being young at heart is fine as you grow older and enter into the rigors of adulthood, but you still should be aware of your surroundings and how your actions affects people.
  • April Fools' Day: For Adult Swim's 2018 April Fools' Day gag, Toonami aired the first episode in Japanese with English subtitles, five months before it was supposed to air.note 
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kana manages to save the Earth, but Pets ultimately still ends up leaving the planet and doesn't return for the finale. Despite this, Kana has learned to be more honest about her fears and anxieties, and accepts that things really can't stay the same. This leaves the implication that should Pets return, Kana will be able to approach her more heads-on, honestly. Haruko seemingly finds herself stranded on Mars but she seems content.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 3 deviates from the norm by not featuring any epic action scenes or mass chaos. Kana ends up summoning a pitiful little robot from her forehead, but Haruko dispatches it in one hit. What the episode instead features, is Haruko showing off her rap skills and a fashion show.
  • Call-Back: In episode 2, how well a person can handle spicy foods is once again used as a comparison to adult maturity.
    • Also from episode two, Kana says "photophoto" and "Already" in the same way that characters from the original series did.
  • Continuity Nod: Mamimi's signature "NEVER KNOWS BEST" appears on a jenga block in the first episode.
  • Cosmetically-Advanced Prequel: Official word is that Alternative was originally designed to be a prequel, but there's nothing in the series itself that confirms one way or the other. The series features smart phones, flatscreen televisions, space travel, and other more modern concepts that didn't exist in the original FLCL.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Episode 2 focuses primarily on Hijiri, who discovers that a modelling photographer she's dating isn't who he seems.
    • Episode 3 focuses on Mossan, who is over-working herself to try and achieve her dream of becoming a fashion designer.
    • Episode 4 focuses on Kana, who tries to come to terms with the crush she has on the high school basketball team's manager.
    • Episode 5 focuses around Pets, who mysteriously goes missing as it comes to light that she is the daughter of a wealthy family.
  • Deconstruction: The Wham Episode of Episode 5. Throughout the previous episodes, Kana had been forcing herself into her friend's personal lives with the goal of helping them. It's pretty transparent to the audience that she's really motivated by rather selfish desires and a skewed perception of how a friend should be, and that she doesn't actually seem to really know much about her friends beyond the surface level ideas she's labeled them with. In most comedic coming-of-age stories, this would just be a quirky character trait brushed under the rug. Instead, when Kana tells Pets that friends shouldn't keep secrets from each other while the latter is under a lot of stress in the middle of that episode's monster situation, Pets breaks down crying and goes into a rant inducing slight pointing out just how self-absorbed and selfish Kana actually is, and ends by saying she regrets ever befriending her.
  • Delayed Reaction: In episode 3, after Mossan ends up in the infirmary due to overwork, Haruko tells the girls to strip. They strip Mossan, and then themselves, when Haruko clarifies she meant them and only wonder afterward why they had to get naked too.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the first episode, after a flower sprouts from Kana's head, Haruko begins to pull on it and says "Now hold still. The less you struggle, the easier it'll be."
  • Food Porn: The bowls of ramen at the soba shop are pretty nicely detailed.
  • Gainax Ending: The final episode gets pretty existential, but nothing is actually explained. In her efforts to confess her true feelings to the universe so Pets can hear them, Kana summons a singularity that absorbs Medical Mechanica, but sucks Haruko up with it. Moments of the original FLCL series flash through Haruko's being, and the last we see of her is being stranded on the freshly-colonized Mars with a city dome in the distance. There seems to be some giant smooth planet orbiting Earth that may or may not be the aforementioned Mars, and Kana and her friends continue their lives as the city rebuilds from the destruction and itself is mirrored in opposite from a Book Ends scene from the first episode - but with Kana having gone through Character Development and Pets absent for good.
  • Gold Digger: Hijiri mentions in the first episode that she wants to marry rich, like to a famous rapper. The other girls immediately compare her to Kim Kardashian.
  • Growing Up Sucks: The central theme of Alternative is Kana's defiance to embrace adulthood and keep messing around with her friends, which heavily contrasts with Naota's denial in being a child and having to act like an adult.
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal: Episode 5 has Pets do this to Kana, before giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that deconstructs Kana's actions throughout the previous episodes, as mentioned above in "Deconstruction". How much the character in question actually hates the other is ambiguous though, as this is the last conversation the two have in the show.
  • Intimate Lotion Application:
    • In "Pit-a-Pat", Haruko is acting like The Tease towards Sasaki all throughout the basketball game, in order to make Kana jealous and make her N.O. activate. At one point Sasaki accidentally falls on Haruko, and she takes the opportunity to pretend to have injured her inner thigh and guilts Sasaki into rubbing a lotion there for her, as an apology. He's extremely embarrassed while doing it, and Kana is fuming with jealousy as she watches it, just as Haruko intended.
    • In "Shake It Off", during the swimming lesson, Sasaki applies sunscreen on Aida's back, and judging by Aida's Blush Sticker expression he's clearly enjoying it in a perverted manner, which is one of the many hints that Aida is into Sasaki.
  • It's Up to You: The fate of the world rests entirely up to Kana. The N.O. portal in her head is the only thing powerful enough to stop Medical Mechanical from flattening the Earth.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Toshio, the college photographer and instigator of episode 2's events, doesn't get to walk away without a Haruko clobbering-by-guitar. It's well-deserved and the cast really aren't bothered by it.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Haruko intentionally fawns over the manager of the school's basketball team in episode 4 in order to make Kana jealous and get her to spawn something from the NO portal in her head... only to stop when she realizes Kana is too immature to understand her own feelings. She also did an identical stunt in episode 2 with Toshio to make him break up with Hijiri, dumping and clobbering him once his usefulness shriveled up to her plans.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Haruko intentionally switches the comparison around in episode 2 when a giant mecha begins attacking her.
    Haruko: Women are from Mars and Men are from Venus. I don't know about you, BUT I GOT A GIANT PENIS!
  • Oh, Crap!: Haruko's reaction when she senses a Medical Mechanica robot approaching in episode 2, and again when she realizes one of the fashion judges is a world-class designer.
  • Older Than They Look: Haruko claiming herself to be 19 apparently isn't an act.
    Haruko: Aliens never age. I've been 19 for years now.
  • Once per Episode: Every episode thus far has had a scene at the soba restaurant Kanna works, where Tsukata is watching the Prime Minister on TV giving a press conference about space travel.
  • Orbital Bombardment: The youth center that Kana and friends hang out at is destroyed by a giant pin falling from the sky in the first episode. Episode 3 reveals that it's far from the only one that's dropped.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Medical Mechanica is established as the overarching villains throughout the whole series, but even in Alternative, nothing is really revealed to what their goals are except for what was established in the original series: the irons want to flatten every last planet in the universe.
  • Product Placement:
    • Kana and her friends make home-made bottle rockets out of Dr. Pepper soda bottles.
    • Kana accidentally buys Mossan a Diet Coke in episode 3. Mossan takes more issue that it's diet than not being a Dr. Pepper.
  • Reality Has No Soundtrack: The final scene from episode 5 remarkably doesn't have score to accompany the actions of the scene; in which Pets symbolically decides to break off ties with Kana by taking back her hairpin and returning Kana her's.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • When Haruko activates Kana's forehead, it sprouts a flower. Flowers typically symbolize virginity. Immediately after, Haruko proceeds to pluck it, thus "deflowering" her, quite literally.
    • As mentioned in the Call-Back section, how well characters can handle spicy food being reflective of their maturity makes a comeback. Pets and Mossan can handle them just fine, Kana can't, Hijiri is clearly affected but tries to play it off as if it's no big deal (reflecting how she's immature at heart), while Tsukata plays around with the metaphor by accidentally pouring an entire pepper shaker worth of spices on his food, but forcing himself to eat the whole thing anyway to prove how mature he is, even though it makes him look far less mature.
  • Stealth Prequel: According to Toonami's creative director Jason DeMarco, Alternative was designed to be a prequel to the FLCL series. This is shown with little details such as Haruko not having her signature yellow Vespa or the metal bracelet on her wrist that tracks Atomsk's power. Plus her personality being surprisingly less selfish in this one (She fights Medical Mechanica just to keep them from having their way then them being a obstacle to get to Atomsk. Atomsk doesn't even show up in this series). The Gainax Ending is actually a very loose set up for what was originally going to be the first series, complete with Haruko getting the Vespa and seeing a power akin to Atomsk's. It was meant to tie into an unused story concept in the original that the town of Mabase would've actually been on Mars the entire time. However, there's nothing within the series itself that confirms when it takes place in the timeline, not to mention Haruko being older here than in the previous two seasons (being 19 in her species' years, compared to 16 in Progressive and 14 in the original series).
  • Take That!: The robot of the week of episode 2 strongly resembles the live-action version of Bumblebee. Before destroying it with a giant kebab, Haruko screams "MICHAEL BAY!" She immediately follows up with "Sit and spin!" to drive it home.
  • Tempting Fate: Kana nearly gets splashed by a passing truck in the rain at the start of episode 3. She laughs and says "Try again" before immediately getting drenched.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Episode 5 has a Hope Spot where it seems like things will be resolved for Kana and Pets. To the dismay of many, it was All Just a Dream and Pets and Kana do not reconcile, and the FLCL finale strings viewers along to a finish that simply doesn't settle that split in the way one would hope for.

"Get ready world, here I come."

Alternative Title(s): FLCL Progressive, FLCL Alternative, FLCL 2 And 3, FLCL 2, FLCL 3