I just recently received a copy of the new FLCL re-release DVD in the mail from Funimation. Normally, I might review it for Watch & Learn but, seeing as how I did that already and it wasn’t too long ago (I even wrote a beginner’s guide for the series!) I figured that’d be a tad redundant. In lieu of another episode-by-episode breakdown, I think I’ll just evaluate the product as product.
It’s a slick package with a new spiffy new cover and a design motif that’s more colorful and appealing than the last DVD collection. The picture has been cleaned up to bring out more of the water color texture in the animation. While the re-mastering isn’t the absurd kind that makes it look like it was animated (though that may very well be the experience on Blu-Ray) it still looks much cleaner than any previous version I’ve seen.
The special features are a concise selection. There are a handful of AMVs re-editing clips of the show to full cuts of the Pillows’ music, as well as a fun “low-budg” music video of the live band playing in a boiler room that’s lit like a night club. Muppet monkeys show up in that clip, so it does indeed fit the absurdist proclivity of FLCL. There’s also a novel feature that includes bloopers for the American voice cast. It’s funny to hear them struggle with particular Japanese words or the rapid cadence of the characters' delivery while the animation itself continues on, uninterrupted.
Finally, each episode has a commentary track by the original directors with an additional English subtitle feed to let you know what they’re saying. The discussion topics seem very much in line with Gainax’s artistic tendencies, with the first episode starting with a discussion about right-handedness and left-handedness and the comparative benefits thereof.
Considering that, as recently as a year ago, it was difficult for me to find a complete set of FLCL at a reasonable price, I’d say this handsome one-disc (!) set soundly fills a very real, empty space in consumer’s demand. Like putting all your favorite music into your iPhone, it’s very handy to get the whole series together in one place. You can find out how to get it here.