To Watch or Not to Watch

You are walking along a bridge sidewalk, minding your own business, when out of nowhere a crazy woman driving a Vespa bounces you off the her front fender. Then, adding insult to injury, she hits you on the head with a bass guitar. Now, the adventure is on. This is Naota and Haruko’s first meeting in FLCL, and their relationship just gets weirder from there. Maybe that's because she's an alien, and he’s a 12 year old boy. This happened in 2001, and it sounds like it may be happening again soon on a TV near you.

The original FLCL series was created by Kazuya Tsurumaki, who had set out to create an anime that broke genre rules. Adult Swim’s Toonami first aired the 6 episode series in the US in 2003 and quickly became a favorite with frequent re-airings over the years. So the association between FLCL and Adult Swim in not unusual, but 2 weeks ago they surprised fans with big news - a revival of this cult favorite series. According to the press releases: 

“In the new season of FLCL, many years have passed since Naota and Haruhara Haruko shared their adventure together. Meanwhile, the war between the two entities known as Medical Mechanica and Fraternity rages across the galaxy. Enter Hidomi, a young teenaged girl who believes there is nothing amazing to expect from her average life, until one day when a new teacher named Haruko arrives at her school. Soon enough, Medical Mechanica is attacking her town and Hidomi discovers a secret within her that could save everyone, a secret that only Haruko can unlock.”

This announcement forced FLCL fans everywhere to figure out how they would feel about a sequel. While many initial reactions seemed to squeal with delight, other fans began to feel uneasy. Most were content with the original zany series, feeling it was complete. And now, many fans, both personal friends and from around the internet, are wondering if this FLCL sequel will be able to recapture the original’s bizarre style and antics without seeming like a gimmick or a repeat of the original. Of course, having the original creator involved in the process gives us out in the interwebs lot of hope. Could this be the sequel/reboot that we have been waiting for? It's possible, but this kind of situation has happened before, and it wasn't always a successs. Some recent examples: 

  • Sailor Moon Crystal:  While loving the new animation, fans seem to be left cold by the storytelling
  • Inuyasha-The Final Act:  Devoted fans were happy to finally see an end to the series, but many were bored by the end.   Plus, things just felt disjointed as the series tried to cram too many things into its limited run.
  • Kill-La-Kill:  This one actually seemed to surprise and please fans.

With this history in mind, how can fans not be somewhat cautious? As someone I know said, “I'll watch it but I'm not expecting much. Many an anime has been ruined by an unnecessary continuation. To me it seems like the FLCL reboot is riding the coattails of the success of Kill-La-Kill. I hope it will be good or at least not tarnish the original.”

Of course I compulsively watch everything, so good or bad—I WILL be watching.  What I hope to see is some great new situations for Haruko. Because a fun, quirky character is always fun to cosplay. Hopefully we all love it as much as the original. In the meantime, beware of crazy people driving Vespas with a guitars on their backs.