Saying FLCL is a loony ‘toon isn’t going to turn any heads. It’s less an opinion than just a statement of fact. I use that specific description because the similarities I’ve seen to Loony Toons throughout the series ratchet up considerably with this episode. Wild, spastic gesticulations from the characters? Check. Vaudevillian quick-costume and voice changes? Check. Characters inflicting harsh violence on each other, only to bounce right back like nothing happened? Check and double-check. Calling that last bit slapstick is far too tame a descriptor. With characters blazing through Uzi rounds at each other nearly non-stop, it’s clear that this is slapstick modernized for the joystick generation, right? Perhaps whip-pistol is a better name for it? Seriously, Naota’s father caps the kid at point blank when he’s jealous for the kid shaking up with Haruko. Just caps him, like swatting a fly, and the kid pops up immediately. That’s a new kind of harsh humor.
And, I must note, it was… surprising to see another, more explicit reference to Western animation with Eyebrows’ sudden re-rendering in the SOUTH PARK style. Perhaps a bag of anthropomorphic Cheesy Poofs will sprout of Naota’s head, next?
I suppose if last one I watched was the baseball episode, then this is most definitely the gun episode. There’s Naota’s Oedipal duel for Haruko’s hand in the swamp, that strange, recurring trigger-pulling visual metaphor (the symbolism of which I can’t quite grasp) and, of course, that giant six-gun-packing flasher in the trench coat that they have to take out with the power of rock 'n roll. To be sure, I do like how the hyper-kinetic surrealism is accelerating with this episode, even though I can’t always keep up with it.
Score one for me, by the way. One thing I was able to grasp throughout this is that Haruko’s presence is obviously meant to (absurdly) instigate Naota’s passage into adolescence. Now he’s the one bossing Mamimi around, like a real man. However, considering that Mamimi’s playing dumb now about her flirtation with him and Haruko’s got her eyes on the TV head bio-mecha, perhaps his new aggressiveness isn’t helping get too many results with the ladies. I’m going to slap my bet down on the table right now and predict that the kid will end up with the girl his age - - not either of those far-too-older girls.
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this April - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.