So finally here we are with finally ended or we are still waiting for. Those series being FLCL: Progressive, Darling in the FranXX, and Full Metal Panic Invisible. Two of these shows are series that I have strong opinions for in the most negative and positive ways possible. FLCL:P is just a show that aired on Toonami. It’s something to break up the monotony between my extreme opinions of the other two series. Yay breathers! Ok, enough dilly dallying. I guess I should talk about these shows. I know that Full Metal Panic’s Last Few Episodes are airing later this month, but I couldn’t wait Besides, it’s not like anything is going to change my opinion of Invisible Victory right now anyway.
Completely Biased Love
-Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory
The only flaws that Invisible Victory has are the production issues behind it all. This is the reason why it had two recap episodes, why the last two episodes are running late, and also why episode 10 looked as awful as it did. Other then that, I have no complaints. The characters are exactly how we remember them and their characterization couldn’t be better. Sousuke and Chidori feel like a couple and you see how in love they are with each other. The first four episodes were just a powerful way of saying “you guys need to earn your ending” because Amalgam struck Mithril harder then it ever has at that point. We got boat island base Hoth and the attack on Sousuke and Chidori in Tokyo. Both of these moments were just as emotionally powerful and thematically powerful as they could be with action amazing enough to solidify it all together. Everything afterward seems like they weren’t going anywhere at first, but ended up with the same powerful result. This is Full Metal Panic at its best. It’s that weekly punch to the gut that I demand more of.
I forgot another weakness that Invisible Victory has. You can’t watch this show without having seen the original series, the second raid, and maybe even Fumoffu. Invisible Victory has a character that we’ve only seen in Fumoffu before. That makes Fumoffu canon to my almost infinite delight. All of this is that high barrier of entry to cross, but totally worth it.
Definitely Worth Your Time
I’ve always had some concerns with the FLCL sequels. The first one is always a question of quality. Whether or not the product that comes out is good or not. That’s my first M.O. with every new anime series that comes out so why would that be different here. The second one is very specific toward any series that has new installments. Is this series wasted potential from new comers that could have worked on something that didn’t have a name brand behind it already? Kind of like that Marvel Cinematic Universe thing where new directors come in and produce movies. They might get their name out of the door, but they are still going to be a component to a machine. Lastly, how does it compare to the original. For a six-episode series, FLCL has made a lot of waves around the anime community for years. Why else would be sequels for it suddenly appear out of nowhere? That means it better hold up, right?
I think the end result was something around the realm of “okay” to “watchable”. Why? Because I think more effort was put into writing the show then animating it. Since we have two main characters instead of one, a lot more time was establishing it’s plot, characters, and themes then showing them on a visual level like the original series did. I did like a lot of these characters and wanted to see them succeed, but their was almost no visual life to this show besides some of the amazing visual sequences at the beginning of some of these episodes? It’s almost like Production I.G. didn’t give FLCL as much of a preference as they could on a production level. Also, while I love I.G., they aren’t studio Gainax. There are two episodes in Progressive that try to get the level of the original FLCL, but it never approaches the same level of insanity and expressiveness. I love you Production I.G., but stick to your science fiction series and cool spy stuff, ok? I’ve even been watching some of Gainax’s older works recently like Karekano and even if that show had virtually no budget or resources dedicated to it, the show had so much life and expression to it that made it have it’s own identity. FLCL is that but with nearly limitless resources behind it. Production I.G. shows are more straight forward in their world developments so maybe they should have spent more time producing the series the way they would do it rather then trying to be a mock Gainax show.
I know that I keep comparing this show to the original, because that’s because it constantly stands here as a comparison. I feel like if this was a world where FLCL never existed and Progressive appeared out of thin air, it would be an ova series that little to no one would care about. Maybe it does serve the purpose of getting more animator’s names out there into the open, but they really should have named this series something else. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any strengths of it’s own, because it does. I like a lot of the plot and it’s character. I found them relatable to what goes on in my life. Even if the visual spectacle isn’t there, that is something that Progressive can hold on it’s own shoulders with pride.
Speaking of Mock Studio Gainax Shows…
Why Does This Show Exist?
-Darling in the FranXX
I’ve been trying to not talk about this show on my blog as much as possible because I am not a view seeker that wants to get all the follows and views by talking about controversial shows, but I am going to talk quickly about this show and then I’m done with it. Is that ok with everyone? Hopefully yes. If no, then too bad. My blog and my rules.
I’m going to be honest here, I don’t like Darling in the FranXX at all. This is not an opinion that formed during its first episode or the sudden aliens twist, but something that came across around episode 15. I was very take it or leave until that point, but episode 15 showed how lacking of ambition and momentum Darling in the FranXX actually is. Why? Because the show was already riding a line of developing it’s plot and world while also keeping everything at the same level that it’s been. Every single feeling of plot development or world building is immediately beat down by the show trying to keep a status quo. I think I realized that beforehand, but the emotion that came off from episode 14 to be immediately resolved in episode 15 was the tip off that showed that the writers don’t know what they are doing. It’s hard to care about anything that happens in a series when you know that everything is going to come back to a status quo immediately after big things happen. Even things like memory wipes had no affect on the plot because nothing came from them. Can you see where I am coming from here? If this show’s characters and plots reset every time, then how is supposed to have any themes? Darling in the FranXX doesn’t commit to anything at all.
To push this even further, this show’s cast needed another show. There are seeds of uniqueness in each of them, but aside from maybe Goro, nobody else develops as much as they could or is likeable at all. All of them never develop beyond clichés or develop in any sort of way until the plot wants them to do something for some reason. We still have that 02 and Hiro “I’m a monster” “Not you’re not” thing that never changes through out the series and always results in the needed power up for any moment or jam that the show is in. Should I mention the fat guy that is there to always be dunked on or only is there for the necessary fat jokes? (Why is every series associated with Studio Trigger in some way always use the same fat humor? It’s so annoying and becoming a cliché for them.) What does Trigger have against fat people? Not that it means anything because the other characters are just as flat, but this is something that needs to at least be talked about
Should I mention the elephants in the room more then giving it a glance? Yes, I think it’s about time. What the hell is with the aliens (VIRM) and the Klaxosaurs? Why do you need more species and complexities in a series that doesn’t know anything about pacing and world development? Why is magma being used as a power source as well? Who thought these were good ideas because I feel like every single person that has watched this show has thought of better ways to use its themes then the writers of Darling in the FranXX itself. If you wanted to have two separate species in the show, then the show should never have lolly gagged and everything should be kicked into a higher gear. Otherwise, there are easier ways to get FranXX’ message across by having the Klaxosaurs being a result of the FranXX development or FranXX mishaps. It’s a little cheap, but you still have the important parts and themes put right into our faces instead of half assing it. That’s what introducing different species and plot elements out of nowhere is like to me. They are an easy out of the current conflict that our characters are in to move everything else in a different direction forcefully. Not natural in anyway. Should I also mention the fact that I don’t like the fact that a youngster like Hiro is talking down to a being that’s been around for thousands of years? Besides all the space stuff, that is the worst thing that Darling in the FranXX has done for me.
Lastly, everything in space was a huge disappointment for me. If you have ever read anything from my blog, you know that I love space stuff. Space ships, space powers, random objects in space, and even aliens bring around plot elements that you can’t see in any other genre. FranXX wasn’t able to do any of that. The Virm remained one-dimensional aliens that didn’t want Hiro and 02 to reunited for some reason and that was it really. We didn’t even get any development from the Klaxosaurs, because they were just as bland and underdeveloped at the VIRM. There was some ok space action with some cool looking spaceships and fighter flying around, but they were more like a road block or bump then an actual force of villainy and threats. It was a true thematic end of a show that never aspired to do anything at all. Woo, so profound. *throws up*. That’s it. I don’t want to talk about this show until my least favorite shows of 2018 list at the end of the year. Let’s have some good, original mech shows to talk about now ok? That’s all I want. It’s not too hard, right?
(I didn’t want to talk about how it lifts imagery from Gainax shows without knowing what they are supposed to represent, so I will just leave that as an aside note here. )
No closing remarks other then those weren’t quick thoughts for Darling in the FranXX, this turned to me completely fanboying over studio Gainax and how over studios aren’t them, and I hope that the summer season turns out ok. So far I do like a few things, but I don’t think many shows has had my level of investment in shows as I did in the spring. That’s a post for next Wednesday though.