FLCL: The Ultimate Collection
The story centers on Naota's interactions with Haruko after she runs him over with her Vespa, then strikes him with her specially modified Rickenbacker bass. As the viewer later discovers, this injury opens Naota's "N.O. Portal," an entry through which he and Haruko can pull devices—like guitars and robots—from other dimensions. Naota and Haruko use these robots to battle the foreboding Medical Mechanica factory that overshadows Mabase. Haruko has a score to settle with Medical Mechanica, and it seems she'll do anything to accomplish her goal. She has no compunction about destroying the town, embarrassing Naota in front of his friends, or flirting shamelessly with Naota's father after she has taken up residence as the family housekeeper. Naota's reactions to her vacillate between love and admiration to envy and resentment. The havoc that Haruko wreaks on Naota's life turns FLCL into a darker, more tragic Urusei Yatsura.
Thankfully, those who purchase this boxed set will have an endless amount of information with which to indulge and interpret. Included in the Ultimate Collection are four discs containing six episodes, multiple commentaries from director Tsurumaki and the English-language voice actors, storyboard comparisons, music videos, and over 40 pages of images. The fourth disc, "Test Type," includes a karaoke track so that fans can sing along with the Pillows' rock soundtrack in Japanese. The sound quality is somewhat muddy, but the music videos are well-edited from clips of the original series. And that's just the digital material.
In other words, this collection is a treasure trove for fans of FLCL. My review edition came with a twelve-month large-sized calendar full of Gainax character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's art from the series. I'm not sure that all consumers can expect such a boon, but the calendar thoughtfully includes an advertisement for further FLCL merchandise on the last page. These include wallets, bags, hats, mugs, dolls, and plush toys. It seems that Synch Point, the American producer, has things well in hand with this franchise from a marketing and merchandising perspective. Curiously, though, the trailers portion of the "Test Type" DVD is full of advertisements for Di Gi Charat. This is evidence of distributor Broccoli's involvement, but I would have liked to see additional advertisements for other Gainax or Production I.G. titles. Given the differences between FLCL and Di Gi Charat in presentation as well as genre, I found the trailers a bit of a surprise.