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Being the third installment of FLCL, FLCL Alternative attempts to bring its coming-of-age comedy elements in exploring high schoolers with its focus on Kana and her group of friends being entangled in Haruko's conflict with Medical Mechanica. As the first two titles worked well enough in exploring growing up from different points of adolescence with Naota and Hidomi's characters, Alternative could have worked just as well with exploring a teen approaching adulthood given the proper execution. But compared to its earlier entries, Alternative carries some rather major issues. |
The first major issue is the means in which FLCL Alternative chooses to explore its characters. Alternative devotes single episodes to exploring specific issues affecting Kana and one of her friends in some form, with Kana attempting to help out or learning to figure out how to handle said dilemma with support from her friends. While this exploration could work well with a longer series given the proper direction, the six-episode format of FLCL provides little time to properly explore and develop multiple characters. As a result, Alternative chooses to conveniently wrap up said character conflicts by the end of said episode and the characters are not shown to have changed all that much from these experiences compared to the gradual growth demonstrated by Naota and Hidomi from the prior two FLCL seasons.
The second major issue is how the show chose to focus on its particular coming-of-age theme with Kana and her friends approaching adulthood. As mentioned, this theme could have been a solid continuation of the FLCL trilogy with exploring growing up from different stages of adolescence. The first two titles were subtle and creative with exploring their themes related to growing up, having different spins to their explorations while not hammering you over the head about it and maintaining the franchise's trademark manic comedy. Alternative felt like it didn't have a clue in how it wanted to explore the transition to adulthood for a teen, thus the rather haphazard way it went about with exploring the tribulations of Kana and her friends. Plus the series is rather blatant with attempting to push whatever lesson it wants to push with growing up, which did irk me at points as I watched through the series since it obviously didn't know what lesson it wanted to push.
Third, the series seemed to be a bit too dependent on the plot formula of the original FLCL to try pushing along whatever plot it had and it shows. Sure, this argument could be presented as well with Progressive. But the series at least changes things up some with the plot structure and mood of the series to give it its own unique identity to connect it to Hidomi's character developments and Haruko's actions. Here with Alternative though, the plot elements used from the original FLCL aren't used any differently from the original series, making Alternative feel more like some sort of skeleton as it lacks the layers of depth and cohesion that made the prior two titles a treat for me. Sure, Haruko is still around with her nutty actions and causing chaos to stir up conflict with Medical Mechanica. But unlike the prior two anime, she seemed mostly directionless with her actions and lacking any motive compared to her earlier appearances. Plus, the ending to the series was rather sloppy and anti-climactic in execution as it carries some ambiguous and unresolved plot developments.
Overall, FLCL Alternative was the total opposite of what Progressive offered up as a coming-of-age comedy in terms of quality. While Progressive took its own direction with FLCL's themes on growing up and succeeded greatly with its execution, Alternative seemed to have issues with trying to use a larger cast of characters to explore these themes and not seeming to have a clue on how to incorporate the plot elements of the prior two FLCL anime into Alternative to give it its own unique feel. I suppose Production IG may have overestimated their capabilities with creating two simultaneous anime projects based on Gainax's classic OVA series, as the quality of Progressive and Alternative seem like night and day in terms of quality to this reviewer.
Last updated Sunday, October 14 2018. Created Sunday, October 14 2018.