This week’s new installment of FLCL Progressive gave the reigns to a different animation directorresulting in a more sketch-like digital style for the series. Unfortunately, this new visual panache does not equate to a new take on Progressive’s tired storytelling tropes and god-awful dialogue.
Episode 5, “Fool on the Planet” (taken from a Pillows song title) does surprisingly little to propel the story forward. Considering we are now at the penultimate episode of this series, I was hoping for something, anything to sink my teeth into. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, a plot doesn’t necessarily have to make sense for it to work as entertainment, but we do need well-developed characters to drive the insanity forward. FLCL Progressive has not given us that.
Haruko is pregnant because she ate Jinyu last time. Yeah, deal with it.
The characters still speak in their patented, FLCL Progressive non-speak where they just shout cryptic lines to one another. Character development has been non-existent and continues that trend, so at least the writing is consistent on one front.
An example of the show’s poor character development hits hardest in an emotional exchange between Hidomi and her mother concerning the closing of the family shop and the whereabouts of Hidomi’s missing father. All of this falls flat on its face, because there has been absolutely zero emotional build up to arrive at such a scene. It appears out of nowhere and afterwards is quickly forgotten.
Oh yeah, Hidomi has a mom and daddy issues.
The plot at large moves in much the same fashion, overexerting itself towards peaks that seem to erupt suddenly with no context surrounding them. This happens multiple times throughout this episode. The first comes near the beginning when Iide challenges Haruko to a duel with a guitar. There is absolutely no reason for this to be happening. I can only surmise the writer just felt like Iide needed to face Haruko.
By the way, the writer of this series is Hideto Iwai. His credits are mostly in playwriting and live-action drama, and he has no other anime writing credits to his name besides Progressive and the upcoming third season, FLCL Alternative. So if you were holding out hope that maybe things will improve in the next series, then HA! I can only hope this man never works another day in his life after this. That way the world will never have to be subjected to his vapid, incompetent, and idiotic drivel ever again.
This is how I feel when I think about how bad the writing is in this show.
ANYWAY, Haruko handles Iide easily enough until he starts believing in himself… or something. He momentarily gains the upper hand, but Haruko quickly straddles him in an overtly sexual position. In this moment, he says “You don’t satisfy me.”
ANYWAY, Hidomi arrives, freaks out, and Iide’s character design finally matches his personality as he becomes a lifeless lump of skin that is filled with water and floats off into the sky. This is all dressed up as a very emotional set piece, but the show is so far removed from understanding its own ineptitude that it can’t even grasp the fact that to make something like this work, you have to actually give us characters worth caring about.
This is the most character development Iide has received so far.
ANYWAY, Canti the robot is back (sort of, he’s all broken, and he actually appeared in the last episode). The Amuro look-alike and old man are up to something… something, something. Whatever. Haruko and Hidomi fight on a broken down roller coaster, and then Atomsk shows up. Supposedly. The end.
I can only hope [Hideto Iwai] never works another day in his life after this. That way the world will never have to be subjected to his vapid, incompetent, and idiotic drivel ever again.
I don’t know how many different ways I can go on saying that this show sucks, so thankfully next week is the final episode. I know you got problems… hell, we all do. But you gotta understand that there ain’t no gettin’ offa this train we’re on, till we get to the end of the line. That’s a Final Fantasy VII quote for anyone wondering. Why did I put that there? Well, it makes about as much sense as anything else. See you in the finale!