FLCL Alternative meanders to its halfway point, and “meander” really is the right word for the third episode, “Freestyle Collection.” This episode focuses on Mossan, so that makes three out of the four for the main cast getting episodes focused on them. A pattern has emerged now, so most likely the next episode will focus on Pets, the last of the quartet.
This week, the girls struggle to figure out their futures as they try to compete a college planning assignment for school. While Kana, Pets, and Hijiri find it difficult to write anything at all, Mossan reveals that she wants to design clothing.
The bulk of the episode then focuses on Mossan working a part-time job, getting stressed, and refocusing her attention on designing a dress for a fashion competition. Oh yeah, and a robot pops out of Kana’s head for no reason about two-thirds of the way through the episode for no real reason.
Well, there might be a reason. The opening sequence has Haruko attempting to make a phone call, but it doesn’t go through, and then the robot that pops out of Kana’s head also acts as a phone, but it’s kind of useless, and… Yeah, well, this is still FLCL, after all, so who knows what it could all mean? Or if we’ll even get any definitive answers.
If you’re thinking that all of this sounds like a bit of a mess, that’s because it is. Mossan’s backstory is the least interesting we’ve seen so far. She makes a good side character and is a great addition to the dynamic of the group, but hinging a whole episode on her turns out to be a bit of a bore.
The vibe of Alternative has been super low-key, but this episode goes above and beyond. Not much of consequence really happens, and there’s nothing really making this FLCL aside from Haruko showing up.
However, even Haruko seems to be out of things to do in this episode. Sure, she smacks around the mini-robot that was previously mentioned. And she also… raps. Yeah… Haruko rapping might just be worse than anything from FLCL Progressive.
The whole episode lacks direction, but the ending sequence with Haruko called out for not being a runway model and having to fight off security is pretty funny. All in all, it’s a ho-hum experience.
The saving grace here is still the dynamics between the girls. Even though this episode does nothing to move forward any story bits or flesh out any of the characters, the girls are still enjoyable to watch.
However, as this series slides into its second half, it’s going to need to start to do more than just have a friendship power (half) hour. There’s still plenty of time for the show to get back into the swing of things, and the first two episodes were enjoyable, so let’s hope this was just a mid-season slump.
As mentioned earlier, the pattern seems to be giving each of the four main girls an episode of their own, so if next week’s episode focuses on Pets, hopefully the show picks up some steam.