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No one was more excited than I was to hear FLCL was making a comeback.
The first three episodes of FLCL Progressive should have blown me away. They should have activated whatever mechanisms give me nostalgia, making me yearn for days I didn’t have to work or pay rent. In a sense the series does that, but its not for reasons I anticipated: I don’t like this new show because it’s not FLCL.
I sound like an old snob who swears anything “back in the day” is better than today. That’s alright. People like that are onto something Baudrillardian, in that nostaligia is a type of simulation. The team behind FLCL Progressive banked on my memory of FLCL motivating viewership for this show, but you can’t relive a happy moment…or can you?
I own FLCL, and I can watch it anytime. As an adult, I have a different appreciation for the series than I did as a child. I see its insanity as both homage to pop culture and metaphor for adolescent uncertainty. The story isn’t always coherent, but that’s one reason for FLCL‘s lasting power. By contrast, FLCL Progressive feels very much like a show by people who watched the original series, picked the most appealing metaphors, and included them in a different framework so that they’re vaguely recognizable. As I told my good friend @fallettus, the show is a meme of itself, to which he replied, “That’s the most millennial thing I’ve ever heard.”
In the end, Adult Swim and Gainax still win, because I’ll watch the rest of FLCL Progressive, and I’ll wait for FLCL 3. But I don’t see the factor that will make me remember those sequels: complexity. Ultimately, complexity is up to the viewer’s interpretations. I guess if enough people think its deep, then it’s deep. I’m just a curmudgeon.