They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of FLCL Alternative, Youjo Senki Movie: Manner Eizou, Youjo Senki Movie, and more!
3: FLCL Alternative
English: FLCL Alternative
Japanese: フリクリ オルタナ
MAL Score: 6.55
Life seems to drift by for Kana Koumoto and her friends in their small Japanese town. Every day is just like the last, and it feels like every new day will be the same. Kana goes to school, hangs out with her friends, and likes to paint her nails and listen to music, but it feels like nothing special is ever going to happen.
As a change of pace, Kana and her friends decide to design a bottle rocket and launch it into space, even though it might not get there at all. However, just when the rocket is completed, a robot suddenly crashes into and destroys it, shortly followed by a pink-haired woman claiming to be a “Galactic Investigator.” Kana’s life quickly becomes more exciting than she ever imagined, dealing with new feelings, changing friends, and even boy troubles. It turns out life can go by in the blink of an eye, fast enough to even miss it, so what’s with these weird robots that seem to show up at the worst times?!
One obvious point in this show’s favor is that it actually tries to tackle something different from the original. Progressive focused more on adding intrusive lore elements to Haruko while providing unnecessary and flawed critique for the sake of a character arc. It sidelined its own protagonist’s role, leaving its core messages and delivery half-baked. Alternative takes a new angle entirely, focusing on a group of four teenage girls on the verge of adulthood rather than the beginning of adolescence. From there, it begins studying our main leads one by one in the first half, while sandwiching them with the style and structure of FLCL.
What makes this work is the sense of chemistry our main leads have. Each interaction feels as lovey and genuine as these girls’ distinct personalities. This makes studying them individually and what makes them a part of this group so rewarding. It shows off all their jobs, passions, and struggles, which make each girl feel almost real. Adding onto this genuine feeling is how organically the show taps into teenage culture. These girls hang out at restaurants and malls, text each other, and visit each other’s houses to learn about each other and hang out more. Kana, Hijiri, and Mossan are particularly fun to watch and explore, and even Tomomi -the character who often just blends in while making humorous jabs- gets her time to feel like a true member of this lively cast. Seeing Mossan’s little siblings draw food to “pretend feed” her, and how tired she is while she works, tells us more about her than the exposition her mom gives to Kana. Kana’s bookbag charms and cracked phone screen tell us about her character better than any thankfully non-existent exposition dump does. Hijiri’s forlorn sigh after her break up tells more than any exposition dump does. Most refreshingly, some of the scenes of characters talking about each other reveal more about themselves and their dynamic than the people they’re referring to. It all melds together to forge this small community of girls to get attached to.
The fact that even with this, Haruko trumps all, is easily the most astounding part. She is what ties everything together in the nicest of bows. Her absurd occupations are as glorious as the fact that as long as she gets her job done, she legally has jurisdiction —in universe— to do whatever the fuck she wants. As such, she can go from being a nurse and a food truck vendor to someone slaying Bumblebee while shouting “Michael Bay” in a 3D action sequence! She’s every bit the force of nature she once was, now with an entirely different purpose and even more insight. The monumental performance by Kari Wahlgren truly exemplifies what a joy this incarnation of Haruko is to watch. Her main redesign also reflects this wonderfully while being as great as her original design. Not every appearance feels necessary, but they are generally some of the highlights of any given episode.
This isn’t to say Alternative’s writing is perfect, even in terms of living up to its predecessor. The writing can be a bit too blunt, even if it doesn’t always spell out each episode’s message. It doesn’t have the sense of subtlety the original had. At times, some dramatic scenes can feel boilerplate, as if they did it just to have one. The same also applies to some of their attempts at incredibly weird and visually varied sequences that really drag on and feel more awkward than bombastic. Another, more important issue is that for 2/3 of the show, there’s no real sense of escalation or reason to care about the grander narrative. What makes matters worse is that the middle section feels more undercooked and wasteful than anything else, especially since a short 6-episode series should have no reason to buy time. On top of that, the main reasoning behind the conflict of episode 5 really doesn’t add up when you think about it, which is criminal considering that episode 5 is the turning point for the show. Thankfully most of these writing issues aren’t deal-breakers, especially compared to the more damning flaws in Progressive. It does further solidify how the original was the most solid installment.
On the subjects of improving, let’s address the visuals. The animation feels livelier, more fluid than the often stiff and awkward-feeling animation presented in Progressive’s action sequences. It isn’t as fluid as the original, and there are some rough moments —both in the animation and CGI department– but the visuals are far more vibrant and less awkwardly restrained as they were previously for the most part. Additionally, the character expressions are far more lively here to boot. Combine this with Haruko’s numerous hairstyles and clothes this time around, and some more interesting designs for the one-off enemies of each episode, and it’s not hard to see how this was a step above the previous entry.
Finally, we arrive at the audio improvements. The dubbing here was even better than before. This includes both the main and/or returning characters, and with the glorious additions of Steve Blum and Patrick Seitz. However, the biggest step up is in the music. Where Progressive only really had one track of note —that being “Thank You, My Twilight” by The Pillows— Alternative doubles that with two of the best tracks in the franchise. “White Summer and Green Bicycle, Red Hair and Black Guitar” is easily my favorite insert song in the franchise, with a wonderfully nostalgic feeling to it that makes reflecting on a walk or bus ride a marvelous experience. None of the other tracks match up, but they are at least serviceable. The absolute splendor of these two tracks by The Pillows is already enough to show how much more effective this show was than its predecessor.
FLCL Alternative may not match the original’s sheer passion, subtlety, skill, or visual splendor, but it keeps the spirit moving in a new direction. It switches gears organically, embracing itself as its own justified identity while keeping true to its roots, even if it isn’t always successful at that. This laidback alternative is as unnecessary as it is welcome, and welcome’s all it ever needed to be.
Written and edited by: CodeBlazeFate
Proofread by: Peregrine
You know the one thing I wanted in an FLCL sequel? A Kardashian reference because that will surely age well.
FLCL Progressive and Alternative tell the familiar story of being a teen and the all the troubles that come along with it… except without any of the subtly or charm of the original.
Sequels are usually a bad idea to begin with, but sometimes they are tragedies with both Progressive and Alternative unsurprisingly falling head first into the latter. It is not so much because they are outright terrible, but how heartless they and mediocre they are as they go through the motions. I know it is not completely fair to judge things by comparison, but I’m about to do a lot of judgement by comparison. The original FLCL is truly one of a kind. It balanced over the top wackiness with heart felt drama making for an entertaining and surprisingly touching coming of age story. It shouldn’t have worked as well as it did but here we are with FLCL cemented as a cult classic which is impressive in its own right. It was unique and refreshing, even if flawed, and it’s hard to argue it didn’t stand out regardless of how one felt about it. FLCL Progressive(ly Shit) and Alternative(ly Shit) on the other hand soullessly copy certain aspects from the original in an attempt to recreate the magic and fail grandly, ending up with no identity or personality of their own and worse yet forgetting basic elements of storytelling in the process.
There are no interesting characters in either Progressive or Alternative. Hidomi, the main character of Progressive, seems to have the most interesting if not familiar story out of all the new cast yet this is blundered by lack of focus making for a less than satisfying ending. Instead, focus is shifted to Haruko who has now been reduced to nothing but a prop with her crazy antics taken to an obnoxious level as if that was what made her interesting in the original series and not her interactions with Naota. Worse is Kana, the main character of Alternative, who is so generic and uninspired in every way it makes one appreciate Progressive’s characters. While Hidomi’s story of an absent father at least had potential Kana’s story resorts to your typical power of friendship clichés which feel so forced I wanted to throw up.
The other issue Nu-FLCL suffers from is the terrible pacing. The original FLCL was quite effective at conveying a lot of information succinctly and by the end of the first episode we understand Naota’s troubles and motivations. By comparison Progressive opens with nonsensical dream sequences while Alternative opens with narrations similar to the original except without the nuance. From there both are so disjointed and poorly structured that only the last two episodes seem to matter. While Progressive’s ending is serviceable at best Alternative’s ending is so contrived and out of left field that it works against it.
If there is one thing Nu-FLCL is guilty of it is being absolutely forgettable, which despite its flaws, the original wasn’t. Equal in mediocrity I can’t say Progressive is ultimately better than Alternative or vice versa. I guess if I had to choose I would choose Progressive because it wasn’t as on the nose as Alternative and Hidomi is cute, but neither cute hime cut grils nor The Pillows could save either of these two messes in the end. So, unsurprisingly, another unplanned sequel that never needed to exist to begin with flops and everyone moves on with their lives. I guess the only thing to do now is to wait for when they announce the timed Toonami exclusive sequel to Cowboy Bebop featuring a new multicultural cast of all female characters so I can finally hang myself.
– The MC who blushes a lot
Conveniently – or was it ironically – the easiest thing in the anime industry is to be average, but that is not what FLCL Alternative is. After the disaster that Progressive was, no one could have expected this, but Alternative manages to leave the common mediocrity level and surprise with its quality positively. As an FLCL sequel, this series is still a shameful and embarrassing piece, but when viewed as a franchise reboot / spinoff starred by Haruhara Haruko’s downgraded clone, we can’t complain too much. In fact, we can go praising it for its achievements.
Our story centers around a group of 4 girl friends called blushes a lot, kinda fatso, really normal and the pretty one. This is unarguably what every female friend group looks like except on average there are only 3 of them – needless to say the normal one is missing. Their outlook is not the only painfully accurate thing about these girls. They are also living pretty much the most normal and assumably well-adjusted life of a teenage girl, fitting the mold, being like everyone else. That kind of awesomely average stuff, hence the quote seen in the beginning. However!!!
Pretty much exaggerating up there in the end with that last word and the !!!^, but there is a catch to it, which pretty much everyone who has seen the original FLCL could have come up with whilst writing fanfiction. Work, date, school, boys and hanging out with the sis sets its sails towards real space ships, robots, brain flowers and more abstract coming of age stuff because aliens and chainsaw-guitars. Logic can’t be found from this narrative, but it does contain beauty, and at the end of the day, any reasonable person can be logical, but it takes much more to be beautiful, so it is easy to appreciate what FLCL Alternative does.
“The days flew by even though nothing took off.”
-One character, probably really normal or blushes a lot (forgot)
To talk about the production, we have 3 directors here who all are doing their best. Some shots are polished with some creativity and effort was put in the editing and making department. Stuff such as live action on-stage type of music video playing while the life and important events from the cast’s daily life is told in the forms of fast-paced visuals, is unarguably a decent idea and well-executed scene as a whole. It would be fair to say that lots of love is put in the making of this 3rd part, and this time around, it feels much more like a tribute to FLCL than an insult which the 2nd part represents. Not to be confused with “a good sequel” which I still think this isn’t, but a successful tribute it is.
The animation and overall style in art is bit closer to the original FLCL than last time around. It gets a plus mark if not two in today’s industry for sure. It managed to occasionally even remind me of the coolio that Punch Line was with its amount of animation detail, which I guess is explained by one of the directors directing that series. Either way FLCL Alternative has style and it deserves credit for it.
The OST is extra neato, but I am still not completely satisfied with the sounds, mainly because the English voice acting sounded rather monotonous and bland at times, even out of place occasionally. This is a downgrade from Progressive (the downgrade actually since it’s the one and only) where the seiyuu work was decent as a whole. Perhaps the Japanese version will be superior this time around(?).
As a conclusion: I genuinely enjoyed watching this one. While it was mainly just a momentary experience with no long-lasting impact, and its biggest achievement is lessening the negative after taste caused by Progressive, it surely is a noteworthy piece from its production year if not all that much more. I wholeheartedly recommend this to people who hated Progressive because this one is a major improvement. As for die-hard FLCL fans, I can’t promise you will like what you see. As an anime, Alternative achieves more in 6 episodes than most shows from currently industry achieve with 12.
I hear people like numbers so here are some,
Voice acting 5/10 (English)
Art and animation 7/10
Besto curl: 3 (I said numbers)
As a bottom line, judging this based to Progressive and prejudices caused by it, is not cool, nibbas. This better by a landslide or two.
*Please note that I saw the 6 episode long OVA series that was broadcasted on Adultswim, and not the original Japanese full length movie. In case this entry will be changed from Movie to OVA in the future claiming I only saw part 1 of 6, that is not correct: I saw all the parts*
2: Youjo Senki Movie: Manner Eizou
Japanese: 劇場版 幼女戦記 マナー映像
MAL Score: 6.73
A manner movie aired before the Youjo Senki Movie. Done in the chibi art style of Youjo Shenki and Isekai Quartet, Tanya and her battalion tell the viewers to refrain from improper theater etiquette such as using phones during the film, talking, and smoking. The manner movie was later included on the DVD/BD release of the film.
They explain the rules as part of military conduct, which actually makes sense both IRL and in the anime world. It reminded me slightly of those WW2 posters “Adolf is listening” etc.
The “movie” also gives us a small look into what Japanese theatre rules so that’s nice.
I wish more movie releases did this kind of thing as it’s quite fun to see.
It serves its purpose. It’s cute. The only detraction I felt from it was likely my limited subtitle options, wanting to catch it online instead of as a BluRay extra or whatever else more tangible means. (I relied on auto-translation of closed captions and sometimes the timing felt off).
I’m not sure these clips ever actually help as the advice is rather common-sense to anyone that actually wants to be sensible and considerate to the people around them, but overall it’s enjoyable enough, and more cute chibi Tanya.
1: Youjo Senki Movie
English: Saga of Tanya the Evil: The Movie
Japanese: 劇場版 幼女戦記
MAL Score: 8.26
With its armies sweeping across the continent, the Empire seems unstoppable. After securing victory over the remnants of the Republic’s army, the Empire’s ultimate victory is finally within reach. However, dark clouds are gathering in the East. The communist-led Russy Federation is mustering troops on its western border, preparing to enter the war. Supported by a detachment of Allied volunteer magicians—among whom is Mary Sioux, the daughter of a soldier killed by Tanya Degurechaff—the Federation is determined to spread the communist creed and bring the Empire to its knees.
Meanwhile, Tanya and her battalion return to the imperial capital from the southern front. Upon their arrival, they are tasked with investigating troop movements on the border with the Federation. Any escalation of violence at this point may lead to new conflicts, plunging the world into a devastating global war.
Will the Empire eventually emerge victorious from its struggle, or will it crumble in the face of superior enemies and radically different ideologies?
All whilst stuck in the body of a young girl. Sounds like your kind of thing? Then welcome, to the “Saga of Tanya the Evil” (movie)!
Tanya as a series was made by Studio NUT, a relatively new studio comprised of passionate individuals willing to work their ass of for their craft. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Japan to see this movie and on the trip I took a detour to visit the official Youjo Senki café (a 1-floor detour). Lots and lots of memorabilia from the series could be found, including a functional suit of battle gear which Tanya wears in the series & movie. Slick, gritty & beautiful key-art littered the area, and it made me even more stoked to see the movie. The passion in each frame could be seen before I even entered cinema and my anticipation and excitement was met with a bombastic balls-to-the-walls historical action-adventure with the same cast of characters we all fell in love with back in season 1. This time… introducing the communists!
As an enemy to Tanya and the “Eternal Empire” they were far more fearsome than the psuedo-French of last season. Not that they didn’t do their job back then (and they do show up in the movie), but in comparison the size and scope of the Russian federation could be felt thanks to a combination of striking visual symbolism & an attentive composer doing his best to ease you into an underlying feeling of dread which permeated throughout the entire movie. Similar musical motifs are used from season 1, but they’re given a real “Hans Zimmer” treatment (Hans Zimmer of 10 years ago that is) Calm piano pieces, high octane trumpets & an ill-boding pipe organ are all examples of instruments used to help elevate the score to greater cinematic heights.
In the end this was worth waiting for. The animation still looks crisp and beautiful, even more so with a movie budget. The characters and VA’s all work perfectly, some of the new ones give off more of an impression thanks to their VA’s (All veterans, like Cho & Toshiyuki Morikawa)
I’m not going to go into spoilers, but the ending gave me shivers. In what way I won’t tell, but they make fine use of directing choices to present a suggestion to both the audience and characters… that is very interesting.
Myth & Roid’s new song is pretty great too, more subdued & ominous.
The long-awaited sequel is here and oh boy was it good, overall the movie was action-packed and had some character development for our new characters. More importantly, we see the continuation of the saga of Tanya.
The movie explains the next involvement of characters like our new anti-protagonist Aka Mary Sue, the daughter of Anson Sioux (Aka the guy who had the fucking trench shotgun in season 1).
It takes a turn and goes ahead into the story but introduces her “upbringing” and what type of character she is. The movie also shows what we can expect from the next season(which is going to be a thing) which I’m excited about.
The quality was overall great like other films that were movie based. I was lucky to watch it in theatres and would recommend anyone to watch the movie first if that wasn’t obvious then the second season due to the fact its canon.
The movie did leave me unsatisfied due to the short introduction of how are characters met but that’s cause I wanted more but I can respect the hour and a half for the time to introduce the next characters and what they did to meet our current MC.
Studio NUT did a fantastic job with the new OST which was pretty impressive and the overall art of the show. Yuuki Aoi did a good job as well the new voice actors especially the VA that played Mary Sue. In between shots they did use CGI and was a bit of an eyesore in a few scenes but that was only a quick scene, easily ignorable.
Back to the new OST like I said it was good but also the action-packed scenes in the movies with that music really made me immersed. No spoilers :3
The movie was overall good and it filled that hole that wanted more of our loli “nazi”. As the day of this review, it was a one day premier so it might take a while for you guys to see it but it’ll be something to look forward to definitely.
Advised, possible spoilers.
Opinion & Informal
The anatomy and proportions checked out and no noticeable changes in these two points were made between the main series and this movie. There weren’t any special panoramics or expanses that were showcased. There were a few environmental and nature elements in this movie but they weren’t particularly focused on or given their own scenes for us to admire any sort of artistic skill in that regards. The few instances where there was living foliage and nature that we got looked pretty nice but not something I’d praise; much of what was actually relevant was city-scapes and the familiar grey, dull, and war-torn battlefields that were prevalent in the main series. However, the urban art was excellent. I really liked how nicely detailed and styled the backdrops and artwork for the urban areas looked; it felt like the style was more something out of a painting: not clean and crisp, but had an air of vintage if that makes sense. The character details remained fairly close to the main series art-quality-wise. Characters like Tanya and Serebryakova looked very clean and crisp but background fodder like the nameless soldiers were either very basic or just not-too-impressive cgi models. The cgi elements weren’t terrible, but were mediocre enough to sometimes pull me away from the impressive art and animation. Overall, what I thought of the art was that other than particular impact moments like action scenes or scenes emphasizing the revelations or expressions of Tanya, the art quality was more or less similar to the main series.
This is what I’d expect from a feature length film. While the majority of the general motions and natural movements of the characters such as body language, shifts in motion or stance, or walking had similar quality of that from the main series (I watched the BD releases), the parts that mattered such as the impact sequences during the battles or Tanya’s gesugao asides looked great and were what I’d expect from a movie release. In the battle department, this movie did not disappoint. I was wholey satisfied with the animation for the battles. The cgi elements during the “big budget” battles such as Tanya’s duel were kept to a minimum or presented in a way that didn’t detract from the experience at all. Overall, the animation for everything but the “big budget” scenes are pretty much the same as what you’d see in the main series. However, the reason I gave this area such a good score was how impressive (or, well, how satisfied I was) the impact sequences were.
Characters, Plot & Development: 6/10
The characters were the same from the main series. This movie didn’t put too much mileage towards developing any of the characters too deeply (or at all) or any of their relationships or dynamics. No backstories or personal development was allotted to any of the characters at all other than what we were already aware of from the main show, not even Tanya or Mary Sue. Moreover, the direction of the development was more of the main show’s formula giving me the impression that this movie was just a high-budget OVA. I understand that the nature of the the circumstances that the Empire is in as well as Tanya’s place in it all leaves little to deviate from (they can’t just ignore the war to introduce some crazy plot just for the movie) but the reason I gave this area a 6 is because of that. It was just more of sending Tanya and her troops to areas that needed help or carrying out decisive missions. Mary Sue, the antagonist in this movie, was just there to serve as the bad guy. There were moments where the story could have touched upon heavier questions or ideas such as the topics of revenge (during Mary Sue’s conversation with her superior in the barracks or between Tanya and Mary in the church), human nature, or morality versus following orders. Many of those opportunities were there, but were given the “It’s my job, therefore I must do it” or “I am angry or I am fighting because the Empire is evil” explanation. This development direction in my opinion shunted all of my sympathy for Mary Sue. Mary Sue’s anger and resentment didn’t “feel” heavy and I found it hard to connect with her emotions. I feel that the movie failed to give me any sort of foundation or something to work with to humanize Mary Sue and her anger other than the 5 seconds of flashbacks of animation from the main show. Tanya was just more Tanya. She was still acting in accordance to her goal of finding an easy life and simply trying to survive her circumstances. There weren’t any moments of conscientious growth, personal revelations, or shifts in personality for Tanya in this movie which is fine, but there wasn’t even any of those wonderful debates with Being X in this movie. Overall, the characters were the same and weren’t given any backgrounds or personal growth that we don’t already know from the main show. Their inter-personal relationships and dynamics were exactly the same too. The plot development had the same sortie-based + aftermath direction as the main show in which Tanya and her squad would roll out, come back, and we would get the political and wartime aftermath; not much experimentation was done such as trying to at least dive into a bit of Mary Sue’s psyche and its relevance to how it stems from a cycle of hate.
I wasn’t too happy with the music and bgm as they were mostly the same as from the main show with no new notable additions. However, I gave this area a 7 because I was really happy with how well the soundboard was used. The battles really popped out and felt alive with how much was going on. The gun sounds, explosions, and battlefield noises sounded good and made those scenes feel good. No sound design to note. The ED credits used the same ED from the anime, but had different showcase art which was a treat since I liked those so much.
The conclusion was an open-ended conclusion that’s like something you’d see from an OVA or special episode which is why I mentioned that this movie felt more like a high-budget OVA than a separate special entity in the universe. While I see the value in being more closely in-tune to the atmosphere of the main anime as well as that the nature of this movie is a sequel, the movie’s conclusion left much to be desired and felt a bit anti-climactic. The fact that the “How did it come to this?” gag was used for the conclusion added to the “OVA” feeling. The conclusion setting up the future for ‘more of the same’ felt underwhelming to me.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expecting from this movie coming into it, but I can definitely say that some parts weren’t surprising while others were satisfying. The direction decision to stay more true to the formula of the anime and source material was fine by me; it wasn’t surprising, but because of that I wasn’t “wow’d.” However, I was completely and utterly satisfied with the impressive art quality and animation, especially the impact sequences and battles. What I thought of this movie: It’s more of the same from the anime, just flashier battles and better animation; this movie doesn’t attempt to experiment with the source material and doesn’t really try to touch upon any of the intricacies of morality or any tough questions which is why I only thought this movie was just good but not great.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Youjo Senki Movie
2. Youjo Senki Movie: Manner Eizou
3. FLCL Alternative