FLCL: Grunge Review – Does the new sequel live up to expectations?

Adult Swim has made a colorful return with FLCL: Grunge. Did the sequel capture the magic of its predecessors with its fresh themes and animation style? Let’s find out!

Based on the cherished anime relic of the 2000s, Adult Swim’s FLCL: Grunge was released on September 9th. The original FLCL was loved and also received global acclaim after airing on Adult Swim in 2003. The classic six-episode-long show is considered one of those coming-of-age stories where we learn how life is unpredictable, and nobody has it all figured out. It’s not the first attempt by Adult Swim to bring back the famous series. They touched upon the same idea with FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative, and both series didn’t do well enough for Adult Swim to return with the fourth sequel of the same series. But here we are. In such a case, fans had all the reasons to be skeptical when Adult Swim announced the production of FLCL: Grunge and FLCL: Shoegaze. Watching the first episode of the recently released sequel, you will doubt if it’s really going to surpass its predecessors. 

This story centers around the character named Shinpachi, who works in his father’s sushi shop and is bored with his dull life. He believes that only ordinary things can happen in the town he lives in. However, his dull life takes an interesting turn when he meets Haruko Haruhara. The first episode of the show presents a social commentary on how life in this town moves in loops, and everyday people follow the same pattern. While the adults are hopeless and have grown accustomed to this life, the younger generation can only dream of escaping it. Shinpachi’s life isn’t any different as he tries his best to do everything as per his father’s wishes while resisting his urge to stand up for what he wants. He can’t disobey his father, but at the same time, he doesn’t want to fall into the same patterns. FLCL: Grunge tackles themes like cynicism and global issues such as environmental pollution caused by factories, emphasizing how children inherit problems from adults. While they are the ones who must live with the consequences, their opinions and desires matter too little. If it weren’t a sequel, the story could have stood apart for its themes. This aspect of the story might have helped FLCL: Grunge differentiate itself from its predecessors. Speaking about the production of the show, the first thing that catches your attention is the animation. FLCL has shifted from Gainax studios to MonteBlanc Pictures, and this time they chose to go with CGI animation rather than the hand-drawn artistry that we have watched earlier. But above all, this animation style is pleasing to watch.

Overall, FLCL: Grunge would be an exciting watch for someone who is introduced to the series for the first time. However, someone who has seen Adult Swim repeatedly tapping the same idea might find it boring. Despite minor changes, some elements are similar in all the sequels.

Watch the trailer:

FLCL: Grunge Trailer

Also Read: What’s so special about Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron”

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