The hunt for the elusive pirate king is brought further into light in episode 4 of FLCL Progressive, “LooPQR.” What does this mean for our cast of zany characters? Who cares, really. Not one of them has bothered to even develop into a character in the first place.
Hidomi goes from a hollow shell who mopes around to being a hollow shell who’s more hyperactive. This is because the set of cat-eared headphones she wears are malfunctioning, as Jinyu explains in one of the worst bits of exposition the series has executed so far.
I’m not buying into a thing you’re saying, Jinyu.
This explanation also makes it so Hidomi’s change in personality isn’t even a result of any growth or attempt at growth. She is merely at the whim of whatever plot device needs to be injected into the story next. We do get a bit about her parental issues, but this is just force-fed to us through one of Hidomi’s fevered monologues, so there’s no point to it at all.
None of the other characters really fare much better either. Iide just shouts Hidomi’s name for the majority of his dialogue, Marco is testing an amusement park ride for some reason, and Haruko and Jinyu are still just talking vaguely at each other.
Hi, generic anime girl.
Much of the sci-fi dressing that decorated the background of the original series is brought more to the forefront in this episode. N.O., the mysterious power that calls forth all these robots from head portals, is finally talked about again, and Atomsk, the pirate king, is revealed as the figure that Haruko and Jinyu are searching for, which should come as no surprise to anyone.
Expanding upon the original’s story could have all worked out alright for Progressive if there was some emotional anchor to keep everything from flying off into the void. It’s something that this series has sorely lacked since the beginning, and now, as we move past the halfway point, it doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to find it. Even if it does, it may end up being too little, too late.
Yeah! Action lines! Yeah…
There are two episodes left and after every new one, I’m left with the same numbing question, “Who cares?” Who cares about N.O., the pirate king, Medical Mechanica, and Haruko and Jinyu being half of the same person? Give me some characters to root for. Give me some dialogue that doesn’t just feel like people talking at each other. Give me anything, FLCL Progressive.
Oh, and the animation is still boring.