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FLCL Progressive & Alternative - Production Facts, Unverifiable, and Speculation

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FLCL FLCL Progessive FLCL Alternative Long (Length) Structured Media Animation
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Disclaimer: This is not a complete timeline of FLCL news and events. I specifically chose events, news, and quotes that could shed some light on the production.

Cartoon Network’s Jason DeMarco and Sean Akins both go to Japan to meet with Gainax, inquiring about an FLCL sequel for the first time in 2008. At the time the director of the original FLCL, Kazuya Tsurumaki, declined.. However, Production I.G’s US president Maki Terashima-Furuta asked the company’s JP president to buy the rights to FLCL from Gainax when they became available. She said she could find someone to co-produce it with. In 2015, as the FLCL rights finally became available, Production I.G purchased them. In 2016 Toonami officially announces two sequels to FLCL.

After a year of relative silence from Toonami and co. the first teaser trailer for the FLCL sequels released at Anime Expo (July) 2017 despite the teaser only consisting of footage from Progressive. There were no more information releases that year.

In March of 2018 we get both an English and Japanese combo trailer with footage of both seasons. Mainly in the Japanese trailer, they show some of the same shots from the first PV, except with a few changes. Mostly extra details. In April at C2E2 Jason Demarco said "Unfortunately Progressive wasn’t ready so we had to show Alternative" referring to the surprise premiere of Alternative during April Fools. Maki said that two students from the original are married and have a kid in one of the sequels, but there is no clarification of who these are even with them both having aired. The dubbing work was completed on May 4th. The previously announced subtitles for the sequels were delayed “out of respect for our Japanese partners. A few days after Progressive’s American debut, DeMarco states “ We won our time slot against all of television with people ppl 18-24 and men 18-34 for FLCL!”. He also mentions “We moved the sub versions because we were asked to by TOHO.”. In another AskFM question, he states he’s generally happy with the reception of Progressive. At SDCC 2018 Maki says:

“It was a very difficult, challenging production because it was super delayed and we ended up making Stephanie and Michael working twice or three times had hard because sometimes we had to record – well I guess that the voice actors had to really work hard too because sometimes the animation wasn’t complete yaknow so they would have to voice over – voice to pencil sketches.”

Additionally, she says “ With Jason, he came twice and we said no twice. He came again the third time we said no. Then he came back the fourth time so we had to say yes.”, referring to the sequels. You can see the VAs dubbing over incomplete animation in the VA BTS. On the day of Alternative’s finale, DeMarco once again answers a question on AskFM by saying that the sequels did not have low ratings. Later in the year, DeMarco says “ I was very involved in the show from the beginning.”, referring to both sequels.

Sometime between who knows when in 2018 and beginning of March, DeMarco wiped all his tweets regarding FLCL post-2014. You can verify the deletion here and verify the tweets previously existing here. You can see an FLCL tweet from the day the capture was taken. September 18th, 2018. Yet no tweets of FLCL past 2014 exist on his account. A decent bit of what were his tweets regarding FLCL still exist on Ask.FM because they originated there but all his advertising and other thoughts are gone with the wind.

The scriptwriter began posting his original concept scripts for Progressive in early January. Many of these are accompanied by concept art which nothing like what we saw in the actual show. Later, he finishes off in March with the Alternative scripts but unfortunately no art to be seen. Lastly, on March 24th, it’s announced that there will be no home release for the sequels with some additional confirmation that the subtitles are still at the forever date of “soon”.


All credit goes to “Dandyist” on picking this up, slightly modified by me to fit nicely. This information can be found in the credits of either season.

Progressive’s finale had 5 animation directors and 5 storyboard artists (1 board artist + 4 other supervisors). It’s even weirder when you notice it’s the only episode to have that much a heavy load compared to everything else. Progressive’s second episode had the initial solo KA by Hideki Takahashi who solo animated eps at I.G before (Haikyuu, Run With the Wind) but the director had to step in for the last half, which is also weird because the director is usually too busy to even contribute actual animation in the first place.

Production I.G only did episode one, three, four, and six of Progressive. The other two were outsourced to Goodbook and Signal M.D in that order. Alternative was done completely by NUT and Revoroot.


Because of DeMarco’s wiping his FLCL tweets and information from unknown and/or possibly untrustworthy sources, some information of interest could not be verified but are still worth mentioning.

On May 3rd, 2018, an Italian site reported that an animator working on FLCL Progressive tweeted about how the production was a mess. Translated from the article using Google translate,

Although Alternative # 01 turned out to be a good episode technically speaking, this seems to be only the beginning of a troubled journey: One of the animators’ supervisors declared through a tweet subsequently eliminated around the days of the presentation at the Chicago Comic Expo that the production is in difficulty “under multiple points of view”, blaming American producers for a bad management of the project schedule.

The tweet was deleted at the time of the article and it appears now the account is gone too.

On May 11th DeMarco watched FLCL Progressive in full for the first time. It is unknown whether it was complete or not. Given how the dubbing only just finished and the Japanese release still a ways away, most likely not, at least on the audio side of things. However I don’t know the audio process so take my opinion with a grain of salt. He originally tweeted it out and all now that I could get is the image he attached to the tweet. There is a post about the tweet where you can see it was deleted, and two bots in the comments.

The Momocon FLCL panel occurred on May 25th. As hard as I tried there appears to be no recording of it despite it being livestreamed. Quoting this Reddit thread:

“This was a really challenging production.” It took a year of figuring out what Tsurumaki and IG wanted to do, and “everyone yelling at each other.” It was harder than he thought it would be. Maki- “It was the hardest production I’ve ever worked on in my twenty years working at Production I.G.” and “If we had been working with a different client (other than Adult Swim), I think we would’ve been fired by now.” New creators were hesitant to work on it out of fear they wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Jason-“We didn’t want a sequel that was just rehashing the old characters.”

I watched the livestream and I remember something along these lines being said . The SDCC panel also says some of the same. Lastly, a Reddit thread from our very own subreddit. The scriptwriter for the sequels allegedly had much of his work changed in the final product and the Japanese VA for Haruko shared sympathies. These tweets all deleted and the OP of the post notes “Sorry, my english is poor, and don’t know if my translation is accurate.”.


I’m quite puzzled on what went wrong. When the pre-release content started coming out bit by bit DeMarco seemed like the guy that was meant to bring FLCL back. He was passionate about the original and the new project. We know he had a large involvement in both seasons. Was his involvement too large? Perhaps he meddled in the studio too much with good intentions and ended up axing good things. Yet he’s also said he wanted to give freedom to the animators working on it. The subtitles that were announced to simulcast with the dub got delayed at the request of TOHO. Why did TOHO back out of showing the subs so early? I see this most likely being miscommunication between the US and JP team. The most incriminating piece is DeMarco nuking his tweets. If we say he did it because he didn’t want to keep his “failed” (to many of us) project with him, that conflicts with him stating how the ratings were good and that he was happy with the reception. This isn’t a straightforward cashgrab, we’re kidding ourselves if we think FLCL is some kind of cash cow that will bring Adult Swim all the money they’ve ever wanted. There are so many other properties they could’ve went for and would’ve came out much better at the end. Not to mention again DeMarco is a long time FLCL fan. We do know the production was “difficult” but was it as bad as the now-gone con panel threads lead us to believe? If you take a look at the concept art, it will be clear to anyone that almost none of what was drawn made it into the final product (despite looking way better than what we got). Supposedly the scripts are very different too, but I don’t want to rely on google translate. If we believe that the script was changed without the writer knowing, what the hell was going on there? Who changed it and why? Maybe this is all just DeMarco’s fanfiction. There isn’t one clear answer as to what exactly happened but my personal conclusion is that the guys on the American team tried too hard to keep the seasons at the same caliber of the original which led to the show’s downfall in production.


FLCL Progressive & Alternative PV 1
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FLCL FLCL Progessive FLCL Alternative Long (Length) Structured Media Animation
FLCL Progressive & Alternative English Combo Trailer
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FLCL FLCL Progessive FLCL Alternative Long (Length) Media Animation
FLCL Progressive & Alternative Japanese Combo Trailer
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FLCL FLCL Progessive FLCL Alternative Long (Length) Media Animation