FLCL Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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  • Audio Rating: N/A
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: Starchild/King Records
  • MSRP: Ą2700
  • Running time: 25
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: FLCL

FLCL Vol. #1

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FLCL Vol. #1
© Starchild/King Records


What They Say


The Review!
In the first volume of studio GAINAX's latest Japanese release, we are introduced to the make believe town of Masabe where twelve-year-old Nandaba Naota lives. This is a town where the scenery is dominated by the imposing shape of the Medical Meccanica Plant. According to Naota, things have not been the same with the adults since that plant began operation. In the first few minutes we see Naota with his friend Samejima Mamimi, age 17, under a bridge by a canal. She is a high school student who talks constantly about her favorite hand-held electronic game. There is a tension between these two throughout the episode that will result in some interesting visuals in the latter part of it to say the least. Later on we learn that she is the girlfriend of Naota's older brother from whom he has received a letter. In this letter from America, he tells Naota of a great catch he has made. It's news that will break Mamimi's heart and as such, he is very reluctant to tell her.
On top of Naota's worry about Mamimi, his life is disrupted by the arrival of, at first glance, a rather mad woman on a Vespa. She is a quite loud character with odd yellow eyes, a lean physique and pinkish short hair. A self-described "alien," she carries a blue and white base guitar with which, it seems, she wages battle. Naota's worries are further exacerbated when through suspicious circumstances his father later hires the same woman, Haruhara Haruko, as a housemaid to help take care of his grandfather. Worst yet for him, she is going to sleep in his room!

With these complications taking their toll on Naota, it doesn't take long for something weird to happen. Having mistaken Naota for his older brother when they first met, Haruko had struck him with the base guitar on the forehead very hard. She expected something to come out from that part of Naota's body after hitting him, but it didn't right away. She then followed him all over town and pestered him by asking if something strange had happened after she hit him. Something had happened to his forehead: a "horn" had sprouted where she hit him. Lucky for him, the horn was easily concealed by a simple bandage. Even then, he can't help attracting his friends' attention in school. Later, when the time came to tell Mamimi of his brother's doings in America, the emotional turmoil involved triggered that "horn" to become something else and to finally force the mysterious Haruko into action.

I must say that I was taken aback by the visuals in FLCL. Technically and visually, this DVD release is surprising and extremely pleasing. Studio Gainax boasts that this is an all-digital animation. Should you expect to see digital-looking animation? Not at all! This is a truly remarkable work that retains the look of low-tech cel animation but with a greater range of facial expression and overall fluidity of action. One of the most noticeable improvements is the use of lip movement. This is most obvious in the character of Mamimi whose facial expressions include puckered lips. The technique is also used with hilarious results on Haruko's lips. The animation overall is incredibly smooth and the use of special effects gain new, and probably, untested ground. The backgrounds are uncomplicated, at least in the first volume, thereby transferring most of the attention of the viewer to the characters. A notable segment includes digitally animating pages from the FLCL manga! This title is full of little surprises! Studio Gainax, in my opinion, may be setting the standards to follow in digital animation. Oh, did I mention the music? A hard-rocking soundtrack by "The Pillows" drives this kitty very fast!

Features
Japanese Language

Review Equipment
Panasonic DVD-L10 region 2 portable DVD player with plasma screen, a JVC hi-fi VCR, and an "Emerson Cinema" Home Theater Sound System.

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