FLCL: Grunge Review – A Lackluster But Colorful Return

FLCL: Grunge slices through fish, yakuza, and indifference in a by-the-numbers premiere that returns to a revered anime sensation.

FLCL Grunge
Photo: Adult Swim

This review contains no spoilers and is based on the first episode of FLCL: Grunge.

“The people who live here never think about the future…”

FLCL is a cherished anime relic of the 2000s that’s only six episodes, but still found international acclaim after airing on Adult Swim in 2003. It’s frequently considered to be the golden goose of anime coming-of-age stories where lost youth accept the unpredictable nature of life and embrace the harsh truth that nobody has full control over the world’s whims. 

FLCL’s success was lightning in a bottle programming that in all likelihood probably shouldn’t have been (repeatedly) returned to and milked into an increasingly generic IP. Adult Swim’s previous sequels, FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative weren’t received as well and seemed to touch on the same ideas, albeit in new ways, but with diminishing returns. This understandably had fans of the original skeptical when Adult Swim announced the development of two more FLCL series, FLCL: Grunge and FLCL: Shoegaze. FLCL: Grunge doesn’t exactly break Progressive and Alternative’s pattern. That being said, on some level it’s still a comfort to escape into this abnormal world and get swept up in Haruko Haruhara’s adolescent-eschewing adrenaline ride.


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