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YMMV / FLCL Progressive & Alternative

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • In Alternative, is Kana really selfish like Haruko and Pets claim she is, or does she genuinely care about her friends and afraid that not being overly nice to them will cause them to leave?
    • When Kana says she loves Pets and unleashes her final attack, does she mean it platonically as a friend, or is it an Anguished Declaration of Love?
    • Does Pets really resent Kana like she says? Or is she trying to use Kana's behavior as a justification to soothe her own conscience about leaving Kana behind on Earth?
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  • Angst? What Angst?: Haruko's rap in Episode 3 of Alternative is played up to be a comedic scene to help out a frustrated Kana, but it reveals some Hidden Depths to her character. She's a stranded alien with no home, no friends, caught in a Forever War against Medical Mechanica and can't even contact the Galactic Space Patrol Brotherhood/Stellar Fraternity that she works for. If you consider Alternative to be taking place after Progressive, then you could easily assume that she's just a tired warrior fighting the good fight. It makes some sense considering by the end of Alternative, Haruko reveals that she hates bad endings and fighting against Medical Mechanica because she's grown attached to the Earth.
    "That's the trend, I got no HQ and I got no friends
    Beatin' up the robots like they intend
    Alone in this battle and I see no end"
  • Awesome Music: The Pillows return with brand new songs:
    • "Spiky Seeds", the ending theme of Progressive.
    • "Star Overhead", the ending theme of Alternative.
    • "My Foot", taken from their 2006 album of the same name, which plays during the shopping montage in Episode 1 of Alternative.
    • "Thank You My Twilight", from their 2002 album of the same name, is Hidomi's alarm clock music.
    • "Little Busters" returns in Progressive.
    • "Fool on the Planet", the pre-credits ending theme to Episode 3.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Pets in Alternative actually rose up to be a bit of a fan favorite throughout the first four episodes, despite not doing a whole lot on her own. Then Episode 5 dropped, and she breaks out into a Rant-Inducing Slight, creates a massive drama bomb that tries to recontextualize all of Kana's actions in a negative light, and then is forced to go to Mars with no resolution of her entire plotline - only Kana overcoming her emotions involving it all. To say the fan reaction on her was split would be an understatement.
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    • Some consider Haruko's portrayal in Alternative to be too out of character, being an actual Manic Pixie Dream Girl rather than a sinister subversion of the trope like she usually is.
  • Broken Base: The existence of Progressive and Alternative. Some are glad that the original series received a continuation and likes the greater focus on the Space Opera subplot. Others, however, believe that the original series ended perfectly. They also believe that the sequels' space opera elements undermines the original's Coming-of-Age Story.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Haruko disguising herself as a teacher and then deciding to make the students watch hardcore porn. On one hand, it's freaking hilarious partially due to it being incredibly strange and partially due to it being Haruko, but in a realistic sense, a teacher forcing their students to view material that sexually explicit would be pretty horrific and illegal.
    • The rate at which Hinae goes from being genuinely worried and angry about her daughter getting run over in what Jinyu admits was attempted vehicular manslaughter, to gushing about Jinyu when said daughter turned out relatively fine would make Kamon from the original series proud.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Mossan of Alternative for fans of that series. She has a very Cool Big Sis vibe about her, a cute design with many different outfits and her episode gives her most development of the cast outside of Kana.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Mamimi is Hidomi's mother, and Naota is Hidomi's father. The first one is Jossed, at least.
    • Is Alternative a prequel to Classic or a sequel to Progressive? Word of God confirms that the former was the initial plan for the series, and indeed much of this is reflected in aspects such as Haruko's lack of her signature yellow Vespa until the very end of Alternative, said Vespa only changing its license plate in Progressive (itself an explicit sequel to Classic), and the ending of Alternative tying in with the intention of Classic taking place on a colonized Mars, but there are also considerable elements that better hint in the direction of the latter, mainly Medical Mechanica being completely eliminated in the ending of Alternative, the local technology being more in-line with 2018 tech than 2000 tech, and Haruko's characterization being more wizened and mature by her standards, among other things no longer hunting down Atomsk and being much more altruistic in motivation (first and foremost continuing to interact with the people of Earth because she's genuinely grown attached to them and doesn't want their future to go south). Fans consequently tend to be fairly split on which interpretation they prefer, and there doesn't seem to be a general consensus.
  • Gateway Series: Though while some find the new takes on FLCL as too lax, there have been some viewers that find either one of the sequels or both more accessible, having found the original series to be too wacky for their tastes.
  • Genius Bonus: "Vespa", the name of the type of scooter that Haruko uses, is Latin for "wasp", so is it any surprise that Haruko's true form is a monstrous wasp?
  • Growing the Beard: Episode 4 of Progressive is considered a return to form for the series, going back to the rampant insanity that the original series was known for and kickstarting the events that lead up to the finale.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Julie Ann Taylor provides the voice for a cheerful mom with an unemotional, dark-haired, headwear-attached child who doesn't seem to be interested in telling her goodbye when they go off to school in the morning. Where have we seen that before?
  • Its The Same Now It Sucks: The main complaint thrown towards Progressive's is that it comes across as an lukewarm version of the classic OVA, going through the same narrative beats with a different cast of characters, mediocre animation and less frantic pace. Alternative got the opposite complaint, in that there's very little in the way of Haruko and Medical Mechanica, which is quietly going on in the background until Episode 5, and even then it's more the characters being forcibly caught up in the struggle when MM starts their endgame. Though it is Kana's N.O. energy that saves the day.
  • Magnificent Bitch: Julia Jinyu, from the Progressive season, is Haruko's literal other half who seeks to stop her from taking Atomsk's powers. Previously a friend of Atomsk, she was abandoned by him for being weak to keep up, but nevertheless, she vowed to protect him from losing his free will. Arriving at Mabase to stop Haruko, Jinyu attempts to kill Hidomi Hidori for being an N.O. user, but relents, and instead becomes her helpful house keeper, fighting Haruko any chance she can get to protect her friends. After getting eaten by Haruko and spat back out thanks to Canti, Atomsk is released, and decides to combine himself with Jinyu instead. With Jinyu reunited with her one true love, she bids Haruko a friendly, comforting farewell before heading back into space.
  • Memetic Molester: Haruka/Raharu definitely has this going on, from her showing Hidomi hardcore porn in Episode 1 of Progressive to having a scene of her stripping Hidomi in Episode 3. She strikes again in Alternative Episode 3 when she has the main cast strip for a school medical examination before manically ogling them behind a curtain.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Where's Naota? Explanation 
    • _______ is Naota! Explanation 
  • Retroactive Recognition: While dub fans might have recognized Allegra Clark as Jinyu or perhaps Puko, she also showed up on Toonami as Tomoko Higashikata shortly after, prompting fans to do a double-take of "Wait, is that Jinyu?!" Goes hand-in-hand with the Hilarious in Hindsight mentioned above, as Julie Ann Taylor provided the voice for Holly, Tomoko's son's half-sister.
  • So Okay, It's Average: While both Progressive and Alternative are viewed as being okay on its own merits, they are considered to be lackluster follow-ups to the classic OVA. The former in particular received criticism for trying too hard to invoke the feeling of the original series by superficially copying plot beats and stylistic choices. Alternative at the least was praised for doing something more original with the concept that it was felt closer to the tone of the original without copy and pasting much of the formula. Though many felt Haruko's inclusion to be underdeveloped since she's rarely involved in much of the plot. Much of this is agreed to be influenced by the lengthy gap between the OVA and the sequel series (in part due to the large amount of praise and hype heaped upon the OVA in the 15 years since its initial American broadcast), with much of the more positive opinions towards Progressive and Alternative coming from viewers whose first experience with the complete trilogy entailed watching them in close proximity to one another.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The change in art style, which some feel looks more like art from any other anime rather than a direct continuation of FLCL. Others feel like it's a little closer to the more traditional stuff Studio Gainax dishes out and realize that the bouncy art style from the original worked for it and the sequels are trying to be more consistent (after all, the original was made to test out different animation techniques).
  • They Changed It, So It Sucks:
    • The completely new cast of characters, which some fans feel that they don't match how troubled and quirky the original cast was.
    • The visuals, particularly those on Progressive, are a rather sore point for fans who've criticized the redesign of Haruko and the overall downgrade in quality of its art and animation from the original series.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • One of the major criticisms of Progressive is despite her Wolverine Publicity, Jinyu ended up being underutilized. The plot point of Jinyu being Haruka's second half ended up understated and she was entirely absent from episode 5 and barely in the finale.
    • The cast of Progressive are criticized for being too quirky for the sake of weirdness yet not fully exploring how and why they act that way.
    • Depending on the fan, Pets and Haruko both suffer this in Alternative. The former is because after four episodes of hanging in the background and making snarky comments, her A Day in the Limelight episode gives both her and Kana a huge burst of character development... by way of Pets' giving her best friend a "The Reason You Suck" Speech before being Put on a Bus, leaving them unable to reconcile. The latter is hindered by the fact that she basically only exists as a plot device to instigate each episode's story, enters the plot with a loose reason to get Kana to summon a robot so that she herself can fight said robot, and otherwise just gets a handful of near-superfluous direct interactions with the cast.
  • Tough Act to Follow: A major concern was whether or not the sequels could match the wackiness and Crazy Awesome charm of the original series. Especially since the original director declined to return. The producers acknowledged this in interviews prior to Progressive's premiere, stating that they knew they were going into a series with loaded expectations, and that they also felt like they wouldn't be able to live up to the original.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The handling of Hidomi's Nightmare Fetishist mental problems and occasional sexualization for a fourteen-year-old isn't anything all that abnormal in anime anymore,note  but with both series debuting in English via Toonami, it comes off as a whole lot more Squick-ier to some audiences than it probably would in Japan. It's also complicated by the fact the series continuation was funded by and aimed towards the U.S., given the cult following that the original series acquired was mainly overseas.
    • Kana's dilemma is making the most out of her youth before she has to graduate and grow up, being seventeen years old. In the West, especially in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries, a slower transition period where it's more acceptable for young adults to be unsure of their futures is common. In Japan, however, there is heavy emphasis on children taking on responsibility at a younger age and having their future figured out, or otherwise they'd be seen as shameful.
    • In Pets' A Day in the Limelight episode, it's heavily implied that she has Abusive Parents, or at least a sort of "corporate samurai" father that controls her life and has left her mother a Broken Bird. Even worse, the series doesn't touch upon it again, especially since Pets goes to Mars with them anyway and never appears in-person again. In Japan, these kinds of circumstances are rarely ever approached externally; much like how a Hikikomori often has the parents try to keep quiet about it so it doesn't bring shame upon them, the idea of Kana or Haruko even trying to intervene with this is simply never considered at all, when in the West this sort of thing has public social services for a reason.
  • Win the Crowd:
    • The previewed first episode of Alternative was deemed too lax, worrying many that these seasons would be pale imitations of the original and that the beloved miniseries will become a charmless Franchise Zombie. However, the premiere of Progressive saw a lot of praise from audiences for being faithful to the classic OVA... though once both series finished, Alternative would ironically end up being the more beloved season, with Progressive being criticized for trying too hard to invoke the original's atmosphere and tone.

Alternative Title(s): FLCL 2 And 3


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