Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: A
- Extras Rating: A+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Synch-Point
- MSRP: 69.95
- Running time: 200
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: FLCL
FLCL: The UItimate Edition
By Bryce Coulter
January 29, 2007
Release Date: January 05, 2007
FLCL: The UItimate Edition
What They Say
Set in Mabase, a small town in the middle of anywhere Japan, FLCL, despite its mix of science fiction and pop culture references, is more a story about growing up than of giant robots. 12-year-old Naota finds himself in the middle of a group of outrageous characters (some even related to him), each responsible in turn for driving him more and more crazy.
At times psychedelic and touching, the visually stunning work takes a twisted look at the point in life where childhood yields to adulthood.FLCL T-Shirt Postcard (Redeemable for one (1) t-shirt, size Small - XL)
Sticker Sheet "featuring all FLCL Logos (9 stickers)
Postcard Set featuring robots from FLCL (6 postcards)
FLCL Ultimate Book featuring translation notes, English voice actor interviews, manga scenes, and more
What can I say other than "Never Knows Best".
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this collection in its original language and in English. Believe me, you want to listen/watch this is in both English and Japanese to gain a full appreciation of this series. The track sounds solid with no noticeable dropouts or distortions throughout it. The sound is superb.
Originally airing sometime in 2002, FLCL marked the move to serious digital work by Gainax. This is exhibited by the masterful use of colors and the variety of film work woven throughout the series' six episodes. The transfer looks great and there doesn't seem to be any cross coloration at all. At most, there's some slight rolling in some line work during slow zooms, but that's attributable to its source. The manga scenes, the topic of which has come up in many forum discussions, appear very clear on my 62" LCD screen even when paused. Overall, this is a great production that takes full advantage of what video quality can be piped through a standard DVD player. I can't wait to see what this would look like on Blue Ray or HD-DVD if another version is ever released for those formats.
Synch-Point went all out on the box for this collection. It is made of a heavy cardboard and has a removable box top that slides off. One side of the box has a face shot of Canti while the other has a picture of Haruko and her Zephyr. The spines have the letters FLCL on it as does the removable box lid. Opening this thing is like opening one of those Christmas presents that you get that is stuffed full of all kinds of goodies. The box is a bit oversized so as to fit in stuff like the bracelet, post card set, and stickers without squishing them. The DVD's are housed in a foldable jacket that has a sleeve over it. The sleeve has a wrap-around action shot of Red Canti. The discs are nicely colored with their respective slots within the jacket that include images of Haruko, Mamimi, and Ninamori. The back side of the foldable jacket has disc descriptions with an action shot of Blue Canti. Everything fits nicely in the box so one will not have to worry about the contents being damaged.
The menus for the DVD's seemed to really capture the FLCL theme well. Each DVD features a side scrolling menu that moves as you select the menu options. Each disc also has a unique instrumental piece from the various songs that are featured in the show. This is a bit different than I'm used to seeing in DVD menus, but it's very effective and cool to look at.
See for yourself, this thing is packed with all kinds of Extras:
-FLCL T-Shirt Postcard (Redeemable for one (1) t-shirt, size Small - XL)
-Sticker Sheet "featuring all FLCL Logos (9 stickers)
-Postcard Set featuring robots from FLCL (6 postcards)
-FLCL Ultimate Book featuring translation notes, English voice actor interviews, manga scenes, and more.
-Rubber bracelet that has "Never Knows Best" " Limited to First Release
The best part of this collection resides in the FLCL Test Type disc and the FLCL Ultimate Book. If you want to gain a further appreciation for this anime masterpiece or just want to understand this show further, this all that you need. I completely misunderstood this series (see the review) when I first saw it on TV. After going through these extras, I have gained a whole new appreciation (if not 'love') for the series. This has to be one of the best set of extras that I've seen come through my living room in a long, long time. The FLCL Ultimate Book even includes the manga "Young" that was written for episode 6. Another awesome addition to the FLCL Test Type disc is the music videos for the most popular songs in the series
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
Let me be the first to say that I really did not like this show when it first came out on TV. I watched it on G4, and I couldn't understand what this show was about. It just didn't click, but this was kind of like when I first watched "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (which is now one of my all-time favorite movies). When asked to review this, I thought "This is gonna be painful". All the same, I gave it another try, and I have to say it is now one of my favorite top 10 anime. If your attitude is like what mine was about FLCL, I beg you to give it another try. On with the review...
When I first watched FLCL, as I said earlier, I was rather lost. I felt like I was reading a statistics book when I had the flu, in other words, it was a blur of images that didn't make a lot of sense. Like other classics, it stuck in my brain and grew like one of the Gibson guitars out of Naota's head. I found myself remembering lines and parts of episodes in the same way that I have previously recalled other classics like the Holy Grail, The Princess Bride, and Napoleon Dynamite. I had to watch it again.
This series provides a diorama of modern Japanese humor in its true form. After you become initiated to the FLCL club, you gain a better understanding of the subtle and not so subtle nuances of Japanese sexual humor and, well, Japanese humor. You pleasantly discover that it isn't much different than what can be found here in the good 'ol USA, but it is sometimes just presented a little different, for example, the bloody noses. The variety of artistic anime styles pays tribute to the whims and guilty pleasures of the creators. There were nods and winks to many other classics from Lupin, South Park, and Doriman...to list just a few.
The story arc is really a simple one. Sexy alien girl comes to Earth to free her love. Alien seduces the young boy, and he allows her to use his head as a portal for weapons and mecha. Alien sets up plan, and watches it unfold. Alien almost realizes plan, but is foiled when boy takes control of the situation because of his love for her. Love is not reciprocated and boy is left on Earth 'because he's just a kid'. A parallel story arc is the relationship between the boy and his brother's 'girlfriend'. She uses him, and he is a safe person for her to use because he doesn't take a stand (swing the bat) in life. As the boy matures/develops, (thus swinging the bat) their relationship changes and the girl must move on beyond her past dreams.
There are many layers to this short series. The relationships and feelings of the characters quickly move from zany to extremely real and personal. Sometimes the toughest part of this series is picking up on the layered jokes and cultural influences. We found ourselves laughing continuously louder and louder each time we watched. This is credited to the excellent voice cast selected for both Japanese and English.
Mark Handler did an excellent job directing and working with the script for the English translation along with the Japanese director, Tsurumaki-sama, who helped in guiding the American release. I was pleased with the dub for this release. This is has to be one of the best ones I've heard. Barbara Goodson, as Naota, did a fantastic job, so much so that I was startled to discover that Naota was actually voiced by a woman. Jennifer Sekiguchi nailed the voicing Mamimi, as she's the somewhat depressed character who has nothing left to lose and is just dragging through life. Most impressively, Kari Wahlgren pulls of Haruko's character perfectly. She definitely gives Haruko that twenty-something, sarcastic and almost punkish persona.
Even though the series is only six episodes long, you feel as though you really get to understand what makes these 'people' tick. When the series is done, you almost want more, but to add anything else would ruin this masterpiece.
If you are an anime fan (amateur or otaku), you owe it to yourself to pick up this collection. This series will give you a humorous, yet realistic exposure to Japanese culture. One could even make an argument that this show would make a great "case study" in modern Japanese sociology. The best part is that the replay value of this show should increase over time as one becomes more exposed to the vast libraries of anime out there. It's also nice to see how much American culture is imbedded into this series, because it is a reflection on the influence of American or westernized culture on the Japanese anime community. Bottom line, this is a "must have" for every anime fan out there.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Directors Commentary,Storyboard Comparison,Image Gallery,FLCL Test Type
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, XBOX 360 DVD player, XBOX 360 Component HDAV Cable with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.