FLCL Vol. #2 (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: -
What They Say
"Endsville, the devil's own town, is expanding and threatens to overwhelm the world. It is your job as a servant of Cantide, the black angel of fire, to burn down the buildings of Endsville and thwart its growth."
Before I go into the content review let me start the review of FLCL volume two by giving out some technical details. Unlike volume one, my disc came in an Amaray plastic case. I will wager that part of the reason the volume one disc came in a colored jewel case housed in a, nevertheless handsome, cardboard box was probably to save costs. Why the sudden change to the plastic keepcase I can't figure, but I must admit that I like it better. The cover features an illustration of the character of Mamimi and it is reddish/pink in color on white as you can see. The menu offered is simple but colorful. There you can access part A, the eye-catch, part B, and the preview for the next volume. Being that in this volume English subtitles are included, you can also select to turn them "on" or "off" before viewing the show. It should be noted that the default is to play with no subtitles, therefore you must go to the menu and switch "on" the subtitle feature before viewing the show. There is also a bonus! Included in the menu is a choice to view a music video by The Pillows featuring "Ride on Shooting Star," the closing credits song. Now regarding the subtitles, I must admit that the reasons why volume one does not feature English subtitles and volume two does escape me. Why not be consistent? It would certainly add to my enjoyment if volume one had them. I wonder if Studio Gainax would consider a re-issue of volume one with English subs.
In volume one we briefly met Naota's friends in school. They are a girl and two boys: Ninamori Eri, Manabe Gaku and Masamune Masashi. Their characters have not been developed yet, but we see a hint of jealousy from Nimamori in the opening scenes of this volume two. This is after these three see Mamimi and Naota talking outside of school in the morning. Here we see that Naota is sporting a hat. It doesn't take long to find out why he is wearing it. "Nurse" Haruko diagnoses, with the help of the robot who is now living in the Namdaba household, that Naota's brains are missing (that's right!). There is a hole where they are supposed to be and from his head horns (plural) have sprouted. Thing is, those horns can be pushed back in if he puts a hat over them. It will become a habit to see Naota wearing different hats in future volumes. Here we learn also that the city of Mabase has been suffering from a string of arsons. No one knows who could be setting these fires. This is a theme throughout.
Through indirect means, Naota discovers that Mamimi has been the victim of bullying by fellow female students. For the viewer this could explain why it seems that she is always barefoot when Naota sees her and her hair is wet (even though it may be raining). While walking behind a bare-footed Mamimi one night he comes to a realization: among other things, Mamimi's favorite hand-held electronic game is called "Fire Starter" and she thinks that the main character in that game, Cantide, is cool. In fact, she has become infatuated with Kanchi after seeing him fly off, wearing a fake halo and little black wings, from the remains of a school that burned down six years before: on the same day that Naota's older brother first met Mamimi after rescuing her from the flames.
The climax comes when Naota follows Mamimi to the old ruins of that school fire. There he confronts her and hears her confession of how much she hated that school and hoped it would go away. But it was no good. Even after the fire she said, the ruins remained. At the same time Kanchi is hiding from them inside the ruins. You see, through the episode he has been looking all over for the little bits of himself that got scattered when Haruko hit him in the first volume. Calling him Cantide, Mamimi approaches Kanchi to bestow upon her black angel his reward. I can imagine Naota's confusion and surprise at this behavior and at what he has found out about Mamimi. Sure, she was a little strange, but I don't think he never even imagined how much in need of help this girl was. When he found her, it was inside a circular shrine lined with burning cigarettes and wearing some ominous headgear. Then the s#%@ hits the fan. Suddenly, Naota's horns push their way out in spite of the hat and, in Mamimi's words, "a big thing" sticks out of him. Needless to say, a big robot forces its way out of Naota's head! It immediately proceeds to beat the crap out of Kanchi as Mamimi watches. Funny thing is that at the same time that the robot pushes its way out of Naota's head, sirens at the Medical Mechanica plant go off, just like in the previous volume. Haruko races off to where Naota is and proceeds to face off against the powerful attacking robot. Personally, I think it is the robot whose arm Kanchi fought in the first volume since this one is missing an arm.
The attacking robot strikes down Haruko, after some exciting (to say the least) moves by her. Mamimi is bound to get injured, or worse, in the ensuing battle. After Naota recovers from having a robot force its way out of this head and from some other ancillary damage, he sees that she is in danger and leaps to take her out of harm's way. Kanchi crashes next to them as the other robot moves in for the kill and Naota, in desperation, calls out for his older brother! Kanchi responds to Naota's plea and, surprisingly, strikes the first meaningful blow in this fight. Kanchi then proceeds to swallow Naota (I am not kidding)! Kanchi changes color to his original red as seen in the first volume and Kanchi proceeds to kick major butt. Kanchi transforms into a bad ass cannon and blasts the sucker's other arm off. Haruko sees her chance and she strikes the killing blow. The attacking robot blows up. Mamimi is safe. Haruko is happy. Naota is expelled from Kanchi in the most undignified way. In the middle of all this, the burned ruins of the school are destroyed and Naota vows, as he stands next to Mamimi, to do all he can to be there for her.
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Music Video
Panasonic DVD-L10 portable DVD player with plasma screen hooked up to a JVC Hi-Fi VCR to feed the sound to an Emerson "Cinema" Home Theater Sound System.
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: All
Region: 2 - Japan
Released By: Starchild/King Records
Running time: 25
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2