September 9 marks the premiere of FLCL Grunge on Adult Swim, the third sequel to the popular anime series that aired back in 2003. FLCL is known for its unique storytelling style that captures teenage ennui and sexuality while still maintaining a sense of introspection and beauty. The original series featured an excellent rock soundtrack by The Pillows and introduced fans to the unforgettable character of Haruko Haruhara.
FLCL: Grunge, produced by MontBlanc Pictures and funded by Adult Swim, takes a different approach by focusing on a preteen boy named Shinpachi. The first episode takes viewers on a fast-paced journey through Shinpachi’s story, leaving them curious about what the rest of the season has in store. While the premiere may feel aimless, it’s clear that FLCL: Grunge has something more to offer.
One of the standout artistic choices in this new season is the intermittent use of 2D animation, which helps add visual interest to the CGI animation. The overall animation quality is decent, although it may not live up to the standards set by the original series. The world of FLCL: Grunge lacks the vibrancy and imagination of its predecessor, with backgrounds designed to blend in rather than stand out.
The setting of FLCL: Grunge reflects the grimness of the story, with Shinpachi describing his hometown as a place that everyone has left behind. The town is plagued by flies and smog from a nearby plant, leading people to flee via space flights. Shinpachi’s only companions are Orinoko, the daughter of a knife-maker, and Shonari, an alien. The deteriorating state of the town is visually represented by sickly-looking fish and hazy colors.
Despite the rushed pacing, FLCL: Grunge introduces viewers to some intriguing characters, including the enigmatic Haruko. While there may not be much time to fully explore their internal struggles, their discontent is palpable. The episode concludes with a dramatic battle scene, which showcases the limitations of the CGI animation but still leaves viewers curious about what’s to come.
Overall, FLCL: Grunge sets the stage for a new chapter in the franchise but falls short of the strong starts seen in previous sequels. The first episode may leave some skeptical about the necessity of this new season, but it leaves enough unanswered questions to pique interest for future episodes. Only time will tell if FLCL: Grunge can live up to the legacy of its predecessors.