I am about half way thru a dissertation on Nana but this was just too good to pass up.
FLCL Alternative (pronounced “fooly-cooly”, a slang term for sexual fondling), is one of two Adult Swim anime created as spin-offs of the enormously popular original. The other is FLCL Progressive, which I also reviewed. FLCL A is again set in some indefinite point in the future and centers on a conflict between Haruko and Medical Mechanica. We have a new set of characters with Haruko and Medical Mechanica being the commonalities between all the series.
You know, there might be spoilers ahead.
Haruko Haruhara is the same crazy devil in pink hair, at war with Medical Mechanica and chasing after Atomsk’s power. Maybe she looks a bit more mature than she did? I have no way of knowing if she hasn’t split her personality yet (FLCLP) or if it has been reunited. She shows up in the oddest places, often taking the place of the person who normally did the job.
We haven’t seen any literal flatiron buildings yet but this seems to be the new Medical Mechanica architecture.
This guy is Tsukata Kanda but you won’t get his name by watching the show. He has twice accidentally dumped the entire container of hot pepper into his food and then gobbles it as quickly as possible. He shows up at the soba shop where Kana works at the same time as Haruko and likes to make nasty but true comments about the Prime Minister who is always delivering some pronouncement regarding space travel. I’ve seen the face before in the previous series.
And then there is the PM who is constantly delivering nonsense on the TV. First she is banning space travel because it corrupts morality. Later she denies that the rocket that was accidentally discovered by the public will be used for politicians and wealthy business people to “escape”.
Lastly we have the owner of the shop where the girls eat, Dennis Yoga. He seems somehow connected to Haruka.
Other minor characters exist but I haven’t bothered with them.
Kana “Kanabon” Koumoto is our protagonist. She is drifting thru high school without a clue of what her long term plans should be. It is her head that gets “horny” when facing an emotionally overwhelming situation. Usually upbeat but sometimes there is a very faint whiff of sadness about her. Kana works in a soba shop where all her friends eat.
She does appear to be interested in Mon Sasaki, the manager of the basketball team that has a spectacular losing streak to uphold.
A basketball player strips in class. The manager (Mon) tries to stop him but gets his own clothes removed in turn. I’m not sure why this happened but Hijiri eyes them intently. Pets says Mon is skinny. Hijiri suggests to Kana she should look at Mon now while she has the chance but Kana feigns disinterest.
Man “Mossan” Motoyama is a heavyset girl who works part time in construction to finance her dream of becoming a fashion designer. Even though there are concerns about how much she overeats, her weight and her “manly” occupation are pretty much non-issues. (Having her first name be “Man” in a western anime cannot possibly have been happenstance.) This is a very body positive anime and I like it. It does not feel like she was put in as the token heavyweight. She feels real. Though I like all the characters, so far she is the one I have fallen the most in love with. Such an insane level of drive and hard work to get to her dream!
Tomomi “Pets” Hetada is a short slender girl with freckles. I happen to be a freckles
aficionado myself and it is likely if I were still a kid, she’s the one I’d ask out. (Not that I wouldn’t be happy and proud to have any of them as my girlfriend but freckles cause my heart to melt.) In the show so far she is the least active of the quartet. I’m hoping she gets a larger role later on besides just being the plain and sensible one.
Hijiri Yajima is our bishoujo to complete the body type collection. She has done some modeling and everyone expects her to go on to make it in the big leagues. Of the four, she is the most “shapely” and she is the one popular with boys. In fact she starts the series out going with a college boy/photographer only to have Haruka (running a fast food truck) steal him away.
Hijiri discovers she doesn’t mind losing him and recognizes her own shallowness in going after the college boy. She really isn’t interested in modeling but that seems to be what everyone expects from her so she does it.
These four girls/young women are an inseparable set of friends who try to support each other no matter what. Now, both previous FLCL have been about young people coming to grips with their sexuality and this one isn’t going to be any different. The first concerned a 12 y.o. boy. FLCL Progressive was about a 14 year old girl. This one is about 17 year old girls on the edge of adulthood. Do you see the progression? Each story line has a different lesson, just as each age range needs to learn something a bit different. The lessons here have yet to be revealed.
As Haruka says to Kana in the soba shop…
There are some funny and interesting hints. One time Kana overflows and out comes a plant. Haruka grabs it and pulls out a 1967 Mustang guitar. Another time Kana overflows, she grows a very large erect penis from her forehead and out pops a machine reminiscent of Canti from the earlier series’. Haruka has the perfect rejoinder.
There’s another scene when Mossan gets extremely sick from overeating. She is rushed to the nurses office, only to find Haruka has replaced the school nurse. She tells them to remove their clothing so they undress Mossan. She corrects them by saying that they were supposed to take their clothes off. They aren’t certain why she wants this, but they comply anyhow. Fan service that adds to the story is good fan service.
I’d be upset as well in that situation if she though my forehead was my most interesting feature. A guy has to have some pride!
You tell me how all this is going to develop!