“FLCL: Progressive” and “FLCL: Alternative” Blu-ray Combo Pack Review

FLCL Progressive Alternative Blu-ray Combo Pack review
“FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative” Blu-ray Combo Pack & Haruko Funk POP! Doll

FLCL anime fans can now go ahead and buy the FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative Blu-ray Combo Pack. The new release is from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and of course, it includes some fun extra content for fans to enjoy.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative Blu-ray Combo Pack as well as the Haruko Funko POP! Doll for review. The opinions are my own.

For those who might not be familiar, the FLCL (or Fooly Cooly) anime debuted back in 2000 and ran for only one season with six episodes. The original anime series was written by Yōji Enokido and directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki.

Over the years, the franchise gained a passionate fandom and everyone rejoiced when two more seasons (six episodes each) were announced. The second season, FLCL: Progressive aired on Adult Swim’s Toonami block in June of 2018. The first and final season, FLCL: Alternative aired on the network in September 2018.

During its twelve-week run on Adult Swim’s Toonami, FLCL was #1 in its timeslot, and garnered a huge fan following,” Mary Ellen Thomas, WBHE, Senior Vice President, Originals, Animation and Family shared in a press release. “We think both the fans and newcomers are going to love the Combo Pack with it exciting behind the scenes extra content, in addition to the final 12 highly anticipated episodes from the fanatical series.”

I remember watching the first season as a kid. It was crazy and yes, I admit, I didn’t understand a whole lot that was going on. I rewatched the first season when Progressive neared its air date. As a grownup, I could better understand what Haruko Haruhara wanted to do.

Basically, Progressive picked up years after the first season. The premise involved Haruko still adamant about capturing the energy being called Atomsk. Her desire dropped her in the life of high school students Hidomi Hibajiri and Ko Ide. There’s also Julia Jinyu, who Haruko created.

The six episodes featured the franchise’s signature humor with Haruko, as usual, giving rise to a lot of problems for the people around her. There’s also a lot of action for you to enjoy. However, I must warn you, Progressive does have gore and blood in it. So, keep that in mind.

My only issue with Progressive was the forced romance between Hidomi and Ko Ide. I think the plot could have worked better without it. 

Now, Alternative is the series I would call my favorite after the first season. I loved all of the featured characters and the personal growth they went through.

Alternative focused on Kana Koumoto’s life turning upside down after Haruko decided to become a part of it. The FLCL franchise has always followed the coming-of-age narrative. I enjoyed Kana contemplating what changes she would experience as she and her friends grew older.

I understood Kana not wanting anything to change. But change is an inevitable part of life. And it was interesting to see her try to address everything (including the destruction of the world).

Where Progressive seemed focused on jamming an unwanted romance, Alternative decided to not make romance the focus. I liked the episode where Kana, after getting together with the boy she had a crush on, realized she wasn’t looking for romance at the moment. She just wasn’t ready for it. And you know what? Good for her! There’s no reason to begin a romantic relationship because you feel everyone else expects you to hook up with someone.

I really liked Kana as a character. She’s someone who is always willing to help her friends even if they aren’t interested in her lending a hand.

Learning about Kana’s personality (and spending time with her group of close friends) helped make the final episode hold more emotional weight which, in my opinion, Progressive lacked. Kana not wanting to let go of her childhood friend, nicknamed Pets, made a lot of sense. And y’all, the conclusion of the alien invasion was quite satisfying.

As for Haruko’s character, she is an alien who is uninhibited by her emotions. She does what she wants to do. Wherever she goes, chaos follows. Also, her voice (both in Japanese and English dub) is quite unique. Her weird power to make humans believe the lies she spews is hilarious to see.

If you’re into anime featuring sci-fi, humor, women-centric stories, and action, you should consider picking up the FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative Blu-ray Combo Pack. There are adult elements (including mild sexually suggestive material) in this anime. So, be mindful of that.

FLCL Progressive Alternative Blu-ray Combo review
“FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative” Blu-ray Combo Pack

The current home release didn’t give me any issues with the visual and audio quality. The Blu-ray and DVD are presented in 16×9 widescreen format. Everything is quite clear.

As for the special features, the list includes:

  • The Making of FLCL: Progressive & Alternative: An in-depth look behind the scenes featuring interviews with the cast and crew.
  • Meet the Creators
  • The Pillows
  • English Voice Actors
  • Production: Behind-the-Scenes

I wasn’t expecting all of the extra content in this home release. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised. I’m a big fan of behind-the-scenes stuff. With the combo pack, you will get a 15-minutes long documentary covering the development process of the two new seasons.

“The Pillows” featurette was a fun one. I enjoyed seeing the band being happy about invited back to score the new content after they created the soundtrack for the first season all those years ago. 

You can buy the FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative Blu-ray Combo Pack for  $44.98 SRP ($52.99 in Canada).  The running time comes in at approximately 264 minutes. The enhanced content is approximately 35 minutes.

As for the Funko POP! collectible that was sent to us, it’s your usual fare. I appreciated the details that went into the Haruko figure. The collectible features Haruko’s goggles as well as her guitar (which is her robot-bashing weapon).

FLCL Haruko Funk Pop Doll
“FLCL: Haruko” Funko POP!

If you are someone who hasn’t watched the FLCL anime series, I implore you to give it a try. If you want my advice, you should watch the first season and then begin viewing Alternative. In my opinion, Progressive is (comparatively) the weakest offering in the three-season series.

Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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