Synonyms: Fooly Cooly, Furi Kuri
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 26, 2000 to Mar 16, 2001
Duration: 25 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 8.101 (scored by 87852 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction comedy mecha parody sci-fi
Apr 19, 2008
I highly recommend watching this series multiple times (it is short enough for sure - about the length of a movie all together). Each time I watch it, I start to pick up more subtleties, like pieces of foreshadowing dialogue, thematic development between characters and their foils, and witty humour. The director's commentary is also extremely insightful to the themes of the story, and I would definitely spend time watching that as well.
Most importantly, I can't stress enough to not be quick to judge this work. If you don't understand everything (and you undoubtedly won't after the first viewing), it certainly does not mean FLCL is "random" or "plotless". It is in my opinion WELL worth a second and third watch in order to pick up as much as you can.
I can't sing enough praise about FLCL. It holds a dear place in my heart, and I hope everyone that reads this can find a great enjoyment in it as well. read more
Jul 23, 2010
Sadly, FLCL did not offer any but was a one way trip to hell the moment a certain character made a flashy appearance in the first episode.
STORY: There is absolutely no story behind this anime. It is just six episodes of disjointed scripts that attempt to fuse together as much genres as possible then injected with pointless crude sexual humor. It is as confusing as reading a Chemistry textbook upside down and going to write a Biology exam. It is not anything overly intelligent that one wouldn't understand but a very sorry attempt for a plot.
ART: A rather welcome aspect of FLCL. The art is unique and very neat while the animation is decent but nothing breathtaking.
SOUND: Another redeeming feature of the show.The music, as a standalone is nothing special but mixed with FLCL actually makes sense. It blends perfectly with the animation and just about managed to keep my sanity while being subject to the torture that was Fooly Cooly.
CHARACTER: This is perhaps the aspect of FLCL that is worse than the Story. A good anime has characters that you can connect to, ones you feel an attachment to, ones you root for, likable characters. The only half decent character in FLCL is Naota. The lot of em are either disgusting or detestable and very easily forgettable.
Now welcome to Haruko, my no. 3 most hated character in anime history only behind Shin in Gundam Seed Destiny and Roshio in TTGL. The introduction of Haruko marked the end of FLCL for me. A good description of her would be spontaneously annoying.
ENJOYMENT: I did not enjoy FLCL plain and simple. I have watched this anime an unbelievable 3 times because I kept telling myself maybe just maybe I missed something or there's is an underlying essence but NO, I only hated it more each time.
CONCLUSION: When there is a subject of controversy, you find things like
-One man's meat is another man's poison
-it is hit or miss
-People have different tastes etc
Unfortunately for Fooly Cooly, it does not deserve any of this. It is complete GARBAGE.
It is a rarity in the league of terrible animes.
Dec 26, 2007
So, having just watched this short and enjoyable series again recently, I thought I might write a bit about it.
First, before anyone decides to mug me, I'd just like to say that my ratings are generally a bit on the harsh side. I'd like to think of it as more realistic :P I also rounded down regardless of what was behind the decimal.
People will typically say that the story is complicated but it isn't. It's actually very simple but is confusing because of how it's told.
The story centers around Naota, a young boy who's coming of age, and Haruko, a mysterious girl who suddenly appears in a very calm and almost boring town and starts to shake things up. The story deals primarily with the insecurity, anxiety, jealousy, and adjustment issues that Naota and the people around him begin to feel as their lives move forward (or don't move forward). It's about desire and disappointment, reliance and independence, and everyone's discovery of what lies within them (be it the capacity to love, a robot by the name of Canti or various "enemies").
The style of story-telling comes together with the plot to form a rather realistic and moving depiction of how life is sometimes -- especially during adolescence. FLCL hides its simpler truths behind bizarre mecha-action and explosive energy just like how reality hides its truths behind the business and liveliness of living. FLCL turns very simple concerns and issues into full-blown craziness just like how we often exaggerate very simple things in real life.
After you begin to see through the energy, craziness, and business of the story, you'll begin to notice how simple things are. Just like life.
As for why I chose to give a rating of 7, to me, good stories draw you into them with their appeal and energy. Great stories keep you there and cause you to fall deeper into them because of their depth and development.
FLCL's story is short and very charming but lacking in depth and development. It's really hard to rate FLCL because it's true that some stories do benefit from depth and development and some stories don't benefit from those factors. In FLCL's case, if the story did have more development and depth, it might lose its defining light-hearted and free atmosphere. Even with that said, FLCL's story gets the job done because of a collective agreement between many things - story, character, animation, and music - but as an isolated entity, the story isn't an all-around masterpiece that a 8 or 9 might describe.
This is a GAINAX product so you can automatically expect a certain quality of animation. That being said, the technical animation quality (in terms of frame detail, the fluidity of animation, and general effort) is probably only slightly above average (considering this is only a 6 episode series).
What FLCL does have is a pretty appealing aesthetic style that makes a lack of detail and effort acceptable, appropriate, and even entertaining at times. Because the story is so loose and energetic, it was actually more effective that they adapted a more abstracted, playful and experimental style of animation. At times it does go over board but generally, it keeps your eyes pretty active and happy.
This is probably FLCL's greatest strength. The series itself doesn't have a definate opening theme but instead uses a very wide collection of j-rock insert songs that vary with the mood of the episode or the mood of a character. GAINAX went as far as to license the first three albums from "the pillows" for this anime and it paid off pretty well.
The only real criticism I could see of FLCL's soundtrack is its lack of variety. The reality is that FLCL itself is only a 6 episode series with an already very focused style. To expect uncharacteristic variety from the anime's soundtrack is asking for something that the series isn't.
FLCL does an absolutely amazing job in controlling and adjusting the music to match up with the visuals well. songs will fade in and out and key fragments (like the chorus) will take center stage at opportune times. Though the songs generally have lyrics, the lyrics will rarely get in the way of the actual dialogue.
As for the voice acting, to my knowledge, none of the voice actors (japanese) are well known or experienced and yet they did a pretty good job with the roles. I suppose some people might find Haruko's voice a bit on the annoying side but I thought it was okay. The voices and acting were generally pretty dead-on and believable.
The characters are generally pretty likable, but just as with the story, the majority of them suffer from a lack of depth and development. The only character that I thought we could truly sympatize with and understand at the end was Naota. I think in the end, we just simply did not know enough about the feelings and backgrounds of Haruko, Mamimi, Canti, and Naota's family or classmates.
I'd say that the ultimate goal as a character designer is to give birth to characters that can and will be remembered. This series definately has its fair share of characters that you won't forget. But, in the end, those characters aren't the majority and FLCL isn't as strong in this department as longer and more developed anime.
Like I said earlier in the section regarding the story, FLCL is successful because of its collaboration between story, art and music -- nothing is horribly out of place. If you look at FLCL like a building, the story would be the design and foundation, the artwork would be the walls and roof, and the music would be the final touches like paint, wallpaper, etc that help accentuate the overall feel of the series. All elements of this anime are pretty fundamentally sound but collectively, FLCL becomes more than the sum of its parts. To see such harmony within a work is truly enjoyable.
Average (Overall): 8.56 read more
Mar 19, 2011
In the beginning of the millennium, Gainax tried to do what they do best – innovate. To recreate the magic of the legendary Neon Genesis Evangelion, they utilized the same key members of the staff, appointing Kazuya Tsurumaki as the director and Yoji Enokido, the author of the original FLCL novels, as the scriptwriter. And at the end of April of the year, the first episode of FLCL was released and gave birth to what would become yet another Gainax success story.
FLCL (Fooly Cooly or Furi Kuri) tells the tale of a precocious punk named Naota. When his brother left for America, he and Mamimi (his girlfriend) are left devastated and stumble through each day, finding solace only through each other’s thoughts of the brother. However, all this changes when an extraordinarily eccentric (borderline insane) girl, Haruko, barges into their lives and changes Naota inside and out. What follows is Naota’s coming of age story, crammed with outlandish sci-fi incidents that will light the way the way to adulthood.
FLCL takes up the word “chaos”, chews it up, spits it out and moulds it into something that’s preposterous even for Gainax’s standards. The storyline is erratic to say the least. What starts out as a wacky comedy about a kid and an oddity of a woman, turns into an over the top sci-fi series that attempts to showcase the fragility of the human mind. One second it’s about sexual innuendos, the next it’s about giant mecha emerging out of a kid’s head. It lacks any sort of consistency whatsoever and the end result is an indecisive plot that is more confusing than it is entertaining. This “middle finger factor” of the show gives off the illusion that an episode is longer than the thirty minutes of runtime. However, the true meaning and context of the show is still open for interpretation and lacks traits of any particular genre it belongs to.
The randomness and spontaneity of the crazy events does have its charm and works to the show’s advantage at times. But the complete lack of coherence does get to you and leads from “What the hell am I watching?!” to “Why the hell am I still watching?!” The absence of a strong and well directed plot is made obvious by the really cheap and downright silly humor. The jokes are not tasteful and unless you find getting run over by a scooter and whacked by a guitar funny, there’s nothing LOLable. Things even get severely disgusting at times.
Criticism aside, I land on one of the anime’s strong suits – the art. It excels in this department. The artwork is very stylish and exudes creativity. The characters look unique and are recognizable within an instant. You even have different styles employed, such as manga panels, cartoony and even a few scenes where the environments and characters are drawn in a South Park-like fashion. For an anime made a decade ago, the movement is very fluid and there are very few still shots. Here, Gainax innovates and the graphics look dated at no point. A perfect score.
FLCL shoots and scores with the soundtrack as well. The background music consists of several pieces made by the band Pillows. The rock band works well in creating some head thumping English tracks. It would certainly be a boon to the anime industry if these fellows were to make more tracks for anime.
The characters in FLCL are an eccentric group of locals, most of who are mentally deranged. Naota is the standard Gainax “kid-who-wants-the-power-but-not-the-responsibility” protagonist. The silver lining is that instead of just his psychological warfare on whether or not to accept the powers, you also get to see him battling his lusty pubertal desires. There is a certain amount of depth to his personality, but nothing that would top your favorites list. His character design was probably the inspiration for Simon of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Mamimi is, once again, an intriguing character, but she is sidetracked along the middle. The star of the show is Haruko. This disturbing woman takes the cake when it comes to randomness. Her seiyu, Mayumi Shintami does her job perfectly and projects Haruko impeccably as an annoying, yet likeable character.
The enjoyment factor is what splits the audience into two halves. On one side, you have the average anime viewer, who has his/her tastes limited to only a few genres and on the other, we have hardcore fans who are experienced with a wide plethora of shows. Viewers who are part of the former will probably have to turn their brains off to enjoy the mayhem that ensues in order to feel their time well spent. But it is a very difficult task considering that the show attempts to be intelligent and crazy at the same time. It is the exact opposite if you’re a case of the latter. Seasoned Gainax fans will feel right at home with all the hidden references and the troubled teenager hero. It’s just that they would be much more familiar with the spontaneity than those who are yet to watch a lot of the studio’s works.
[ THE WRAP-UP ]
FLCL is an anime that is a total hit-or-miss, mostly relying on your experiences with Gainax’s works. The coming of age element in the plot is completely buried because of the inane lightheartedness and when watched casually, it’s easy to miss. While it can be watched as a fun “go with the flow” show, the arbitrariness of it all irritates more than it enthralls. Thankfully, the animation in this six episode series spices up the scenes and makes for some excellent eye candy. The Pillows, a J-Rock band, play their part in making the anime technically sound by providing some wonderful tracks. Overall, FLCL is something that you would want to watch if you’re looking for something to tingle your taste for the bizarre, but a series that you must avoid at all costs if you’re looking for something thought provoking or well-drawn out. read more
May 4, 2011
Naota is a grade school student obsessed with being mature. He is often irritated by the less than mature antics of the adults around him; and looks up to his older brother, who he sees as the epitome of maturity. He is so determined to follow in his brother's footsteps that he carries around his brother's baseball bat. He even hangs out with his brother's old girlfriend, Mamimi, who refers to him as "Takkun", a nickname she used for Naota's older brother (who's real name is Tasuku). However, Naota's life gets turned upside down when he gets hit by the pink-haired, bass wielding, Vespa driving Haruko; who is allegedly an alien. Soon after this bizarre encounter, things start popping out of Naota's head, including guitars and giant robots. Just as alarming is that Haruko has taken residence in his house as a housekeeper.
It is hard to imagine a show being as loud, hyper, and as insane as FLCL. There is just so much going on: visual gags and puns, countless pop culture references, and unexplainable sci-fi madness. A hurricane of lunacy is the best way to describe this show. Throughout this all the fourth wall is practically non-existent. In the first episode there is a scene that freezes and cuts back to the characters, who are sitting in a room watching the scene and talking about how difficult it was to pull off, from that moment on it's clear that anything is fair game. The characters often imply they know that they are in an anime, and even are aware of things like the shows constant art-style shifts. Then there is just the absurdness of it all, like Haruko using a guitar as as a multifunctional weapon, and skyscraper sized robots popping out of Naota's head. Everying that happens in this show is just so far out there, it is hard to compare it to anything else. The closest thing FLCL can be compared to is Douglas Adams' "Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy" in all its glorious sci-fi driven lunacy.
This may all just seem like creative venting, but there actually is a method behind it. A lot of what the viewer experiences is a colorful metaphor for the awkward trails of growing up. As the show progresses Noata starts to become his own person; stepping out of his brother's (and later on Haruko's) shadow. Likewise, he learns to make decisions for himself and take action. He also learns to consider the consequences of his actions. These metaphors can come in forms as bombastic as Naota choosing to swing his bat (or guitar in this case) in order to save the town from a falling satellite; or as understated as his attachment to Mamimi and idolization of both his brother and Haruko. It is all very cleaver, even brilliant at times. However, this is not to say all of what you see is a metaphor. In fact, a lot of it is just crazed nonsense or references to pop-culture or other anime. If not for the coming of age story centering around Naota anchoring it down, this show would blast off and float around aimlessly in the exosphere.
For the rest of the cast, first off there is Haruko, who might be one of the craziest anime characters ever conceived (and that's saying something). More than any other character, Haruko embodies the essence of the show. She is loud, unpredictable, and really just a blast to watch. Her relationship with Naota is a rather interesting one; though he is irritated by her at first, by the final episode he grows quite attached to her. However, it seems that Haruko has ulterior motives for wanting to be close to Naota. Then there is Mamimi, who is the perfect picture of a troubled teen. Mamimi is shown to be insecure and unsociable, constantly smoking and scarcely attending school, where she is often bullied. She idolizes Tasuku (Naota's brother) just as much, if not even more, than Naota himself. Mamimi has the habit of adopting things she sees as more helpless than her and naming them "Takkun" (Naota for example), which serves as a way of dealing with her own insecurities. The rest of the cast is mainly used for comedic effect, however also play into the coming-of-age themes. Most notable are the class president, Eri Ninamori, who is having family troubles; and Commander Amarao, an interstellar agent who has history with Haruko and sports bizarre eyebrows.
On the technical-side, there is no experience quite like FLCL. This show is a full out assault on the scenes. The visuals are nothing less than phenomenal. The animation is incredibly fluid and well choreographed. The color scheme is vivid and eye-popping. However, the big attention grabber here is how often and seamlessly the show shifts art-styles. The show goes from the standard anime look, to a more bubbly look, to manga form (which actually still has some movement in it), and once even goes South Park. Just as impressive is the soundtrack, which honestly is a great listen all on its own. Better yet it flows perfectly with what you see, sustaining seemingly limitless energy throughout the shows entirety. As noticeable as the music is, it never interrupts whatever is going on in a scene, which just goes to show how great the sound mixing is here. Really, it is impossible to picture the show looking or sounding better.
The high energy insanity of FLCL is sure not going to please everyone, some people will find it too hyper and ridiculous. However, this is one case where appearances are deceiving. As off-the-wall as it is, FLCL is far from blatant nonsense. While it may at times get too wrapped up in its madness, there is a genuine story here. One about growing into your own person and taking responsibility, and a damn good one at that. read more
Mar 22, 2010
First I'll start off with what I really enjoyed about this series. The art design I truly thought was superb, I enjoyed it. What is also very unique and creative is how throughout the series different styles of animation emerge, such as bullet-time, manga panels, a South Park-esque style, and many more. I felt the art and animation was very fresh and exciting to watch. In addition, the music in this shows has a very cool, modern vibe to it. Expect to hear a lot of really awesome guitar and rock music. The visual and audio aspects of this show are what I really feel shines in this show.
Now, as for the story... I for one will acknowledge that I tend to be very particular about my anime. My favorite shows are typically character driven, with less emphasis on plot. Unfortunately in this anime, I had a difficult time even following the plot. Perhaps this merits another watch-through, but I honestly did not enjoy the show enough to do that. To me the plot was very frazzled. I did not really understand Haruko's objectives, which I am sure is central to the show. Overall, I believe that the show may have been far too fast paced for my enjoyment. I do understand why it was fast paced, seeing as it is a six episode OVA. And I do feel as if there is a coming-of-age story buried in this hodge-podge of a show, but it is so unclear to me.
In conclusion, I would recommend this show to anyone looking for some really well done Japanese ANIMATION, but not story. Stylistically this show is one of the most original I have ever seen, and it does score some points from me for that. And for those of you who enjoy this show, I think that is wonderful; I guess it just isn't my taste. read more
Jan 23, 2010
Watching Fuli Culi or FLCL is like going to the modern art museum, and finding a group of so called intellectuals watching a canvas and stating : "it is very deep!", "Full of symbolism", "it blows my mind", "The idea is humourous", "I can see sexual unuendo"...
...and from time to time a child will come, watch the same canvas and will innocently ask : "mother, why is there a white, empty blank painting with a signature here?"
And everybody say : "shhhhh!!"
Apr 24, 2013
What the hell is this?
First of all, FLCL is NOT something to watch if you want a cut, dry and interesting story.
FLCL is completely nonsensical you have to watch it 2-3 times to understand it.
In general, the story revolves around a small town that recently had a factory built on a hill. Steam comes out of the factory every day like clockwork, and Naoto, the main protagonist, is living a normal life. His brother immigrated to US, and the girlfriend he left behind (Mamimi) hangs all over him now, causing quite a bit of awkwardness for a boy that is just a child. The real story begins when Haruka shows up, a motorcyclist
guitar-carrying girl who claims to be an alien. Things get even crazier from here, with robots that come out of Naota's head. Out of head or out of his spot, I don’t get it at all!
The characters aren't anywhere near normal.
Naota has a horn on his head that appears when he thinks of something perverted. Haruko is an alien who makes for one of the worst maids of all time and Naota's father and grandfather lack any form of maturity. Yet, Mamimi is actually the closest to normal and most realistic of the group. Mamimi is Naota's older brother's girlfriend. Unfortunately for Mamimi, Naota's brother is in America playing baseball. So Mamimi dedicates her time to making moves on Naota.
The animation and artwork are consistently good throughout the OVA. Pretty tolereable.
-Soundtrack(8/10)- Pretty good, especially hard rock theme, well done!
-Enjoyment(5/10)- No comments. The biggest amazement which I have ever experienced. Japan I have always respected you for your creative ideas!
Very abstract, with a very fast pacing, animation style, and storyline.
All in all, DON’T WATCH IT. Try Evangelion or rebuilt of Evangelion, this is the proper mecha. read more
Dec 29, 2008
STORY--- Simply put, there was none. I suppose it was meant to be a coming of age story, but alas, I fail to see this for myself. There was little to no plot, with each episode consisting of nothing but chaotic character interaction rampant with dialogue that could be "misinterpreted" sexually. If I recall correctly, and keep in mind that I was told this by a HUGE fan of the show, nearly every phrase spoken could be interpreted as a sex joke. Also: many objects in the show can also be viewed sexually (IE: Canti is supposed to represent a penis when he turns into a red cannon.) Even the TITLE of the show is a sex reference!
Too many sex jokes? Too simple? Too mindless?
Nope! When they're "discreetly hidden throughout the show", even sex jokes are "smart." Apparently that's what the kids are thinking these days while they giggle into their hands, in pseudointellectual glee.
ART--- One of the finer aspects of the show, I, by no means, hated the art. This doesn't mean that I'm a fan of the art style or anything; I just had little reason to complain about it (especially when you compare the art to something more atrocious, like the story.) Admittedly, it was really quite cartoonish at parts, but mostly where appropriate, so I had little reason to gripe about that either. Also, the sketchy art style is unique, if nothing else, so I need to rate this at least a seven out of ten.
SOUND--- Again, this is one of the finer aspects of the show. I honestly felt that the voices, as annoying as they may have been, really did fit the characters perfectly (in English anyway.) Also, the musical score is decent, and while it's not something I'd listen to every day of the week, it is something that I can enjoy once a song gets stuck in my head. This is definitely the best aspect of the show, and as such I'll give it an eight.
CHARACTERS--- 99% of the time I'm generous enough not to rate something a one, but the characters in this series don't have a snowball's chance in hell at scoring anything higher. I HATED the characters in this series more than in most. They're loud, annoying, immature, whiny, and entirely unlovable. They're damn near impossible to relate to, and they display little to no development at all...and if they did, then I missed it because of the chaotic "storyline."
There was ONE character I liked in this entire series, and that was the kid in the mouse costume. "Smoooooooch!"
ENJOYMENT--- The reason I gave this a four was because, when you don't try to swallow the "symbolism" and "intellectual value" that this show allegedly has backing it, it's actually mildly entertaining. Of course, this is long after you've accepted that the show is nothing but mindless entertainment.
And it is mindless entertainment.
Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of mindless entertainment, so I gave this a four. You'd think that I, the one writing this negative review, would've given it an even lower score, but I do have some reasons for not outright giving it a one. First of all, I did enjoy some of the humor, to some degree. It was random, sure, but there were some parts that I found mildly amusing. It's not like I was bursting out in laughter or anything, nor did I find the show terribly clever or witty, but I did give a chuckle here and there. Also, while I did not come for the art, nor the sound, I did enjoy both of said subjects thoroughly (more so the soundtrack; I didn't really 'enjoy' the art, but I'm not complaining either, so I guess you could call that 'enjoyment' since this is FLCL we're talking about here.)
OVERALL--- I COULD have given this a one. I really could have; especially when you compare this anime to some of the real masterpieces out there. In fact, it deserves a one simply because it is absolute garbage compared to these masterpieces I speak of... but I'd feel bad giving it a one because the sounds (voices/music/etc...) were actually pretty good, and the art wasn't half bad either. So I'll stick it with a two and get over my guilt eventually.
The story was a train wreck, the humor was mostly sex-based, and got old really quickly, my primary enjoyment of the series consisted of "ooh, pretty music", and, on top of all this, I hated the characters more than I've hated in most series. While the show did have its redeeming qualities, the fact remains that I didn't watch this show because I heard it had good artwork, nor did I watch it because I heard it had good sounds...I watched it because I heard that it was a good story with good characters, and that it was off-the-wall hilarious with all sorts of intellectualism going on.
I got the opposite of all that. Hence, my low score.
I hope you all found this review helpful, and I'm hoping you won't give me a "not helpful" simply because I spoke my mind about the show. read more
Jun 19, 2007
Since I didn't understand the storyline all too well, I am not sure if I will be able to give a valid comment on this aspect. For purposes of writing a review that will get other people interested in it, I will give it my best shot.
The storyline is definitely different - it is nothing like any anime I have watched before. I probably said that line a million times, but let me tell you, this is in a whole different league. What I like about it is that, the creators were able to get away with a real good story in such an amount of time. I'm tired of anime with a lot of episodes - let's get more 6 episode OVAs.
In three words, I would say that FLCL is funny, weird and different. Every episode made me laugh out loud, and at the same time, every episode made me go "what?" Some of the things that confused me is the emergence of "pedophiles" in this anime. Naota is just 12 years, people. People who go by the names Mamimi and Haruko - here's my message to you. Stay away! Note: Definitely not for kids under 18. I'm 20 and it still shocked me. There are scenes that are too, well, graphic (Scenes with Naota and Ninamori bathing..).
I did notice some american influence in this anime. I don't know if it's just me, but was that Kenny? Yep, pretty sure that was. There was a part in the OAV where they spoofed South Park. I don't know why, but it's all good. . Another thing is that the characters play baseball, Naota's brother is in America for pete's sake! I also noticed that the characters are fond of using english terms, specially Haruko.
But then again, I do understand why they like Naota so much. He is a bit cynical for his age, and he acts nothing like a 12 year old. He's more like a twenty - something guy stuck in a pre-teen's body (but then again, all kids in FLCL are - them kids are driving trucks). I do like his character though. He is rather interesting. Haruko is a bit weird. She is an alien, but I've seen a lot of aliens in other anime before. She is weirder than any of them and all of them combined. She's so weird, but she's still pretty and cute. Mamimi is a bit strange, and would need to see a therapist. She's a pyromaniac arsonist, a sexually charged teenager, etc, etc. She's a bit creepy. She seems to like Canti-sama a lot, and so do I. He's cool and weird. Heck, everyone in this anime was weird!
Drawing style is pretty good. I don't like how their faces morph now and then, specially for Haruko. She's such a pretty girl, and the creators have succeeded in making her ugly. Other than that, character design is an A. The backgrounds are also beautifully designed, and the details are made intricately.
Voice acting is not so bad. I found Haruko's voice to be slightly irritating, but I made it through the end of the OVA without saying much about it. Yes, it can be helped. Everyone else seems to have a more or less, capable seiyu.
And now for the best part : the music! The whole anime was about rock n' roll, which is a good thing, because I just finished watching BECK. I love the music of the Pillows. This is the first time I heard a lot of their music (I heard some of it in the BECK soundtrack) and I have to say I just love it. Every single song in the OVA was so modern and it really rocked out.
I really think this is a must - see for everyone. I do think that it's even for those who don't usually watch anime. I don't think that this review is enough to express how much I liked FLCL at all, so just watch it already and see for yourself! read more
Mar 29, 2013
This is going to get "0 out of 200 users found this helpful" because alot of anime fans can be fairly blind to the failings of some anime such as this.
I'm not saying dont watch this anime or that its bad. Maybe you will enjoy it.
I personally found nothing special in this anime that makes it a must see.
But by all means, waste some of your life on this.
Oct 21, 2012
Now if you read the synopsis and you're confused, then that confusion shall remain with you for the rest of the anime. Normally you would expect the story to go from point A to point B in hopefully a logical manner. FLCL somehow managed to start at Point F and get lost on its journey to point Z. The concept of the show changes in such a sporadic fashion, leaving you with a cluster of brilliant yet half-finished ideas. One minute you think it's about amazing mecha action, another minute it’s the struggles of an adolescent or another time a romance. The sporadic changes to the story in addition to the baseless development and illogical order will incite one of two reactions from you. 1. Laughter at the strange turn of events 2. Insufferable pain. Either way the story presents itself to be so many different ideas, that FLCL could be the episode 1 for several different concepts.
The mecha action, struggles of adolescence or the romantic aspects when presented are left behind half finished. Only to be picked up again at a later stage, to be dropped once more. It seems as though the production companies wanted to cater for all the several ideas however to do in a 6 episode anime is completely illogical. Although it seems as though the director was adamant in encompassing all the aforementioned aspects, and only managed to achieve it take out all the logic from the anime. Through this he doesn’t need to link point A to point B and just show what he wants to. This illogical nature is the basis in which the characters and 'story' develop. Thus the chaos ensues.
So does the anime hold motifs behind the growth of Naota into an adult, showing the trials of adolescents and the struggles of child in puberty? Maybe, if you believe the actions of the characters is logical in any way in the illogical environment. Naota is presented with ordeals for him to progress into adulthood, however while progression does happen there are problems. One, how exactly did they end up in that situation. Two, it seems as though each and every situation revolves around Naota, reasoning behind it vague. Three, Why him, no one else? What was so special about him? Naota was your average boy, and these ‘problems’ Naota has only emerge during the process of development, not beforehand. This is the story from a non-symbolic /metaphoric view; however on the other side of the fence the anime could have taken a more metaphoric stance.
While metaphors and symbols are fine, but to only rely on them to emulate the development, is questionable. The development relies all on you taking it to a metaphorical viewpoint. Not only this, the few symbolic gestures that do happen are few and far between (towards the end of the series), likewise if the whole anime wasn’t completely screwing around before the symbolic gestures actually started it may of prepared for the metaphor in a better fashion, in which in the audience realise not to take it on a literal level. Therefore if you think the anime is just a huge metaphor the reasoning behind the illogical nature of the anime makes slightly more sense.
Thus the story is almost non-existent, it’s about a boy encountering random stuff by random people in a random fashion. Symbolically it could be interpreted as Naota growing up, that is the major strength in terms show. A symbolic story, however it’s not deep as I’m trying to make it out to be. Whether this is a unique approach to anime or complete crap from the lack of logical flow is up to you. For now I shall lean towards the latter, while the development of Naota is good when it does happen, the fact is they were screwing around beforehand for way too long.
Haruko is the embodiment of the randomness of the show. Loud, unpredictable and absolutely insane you have concocted a being whose existence is to defy the laws of nature. She is the catalyst in which the development of Naota happens. This is due to her god like ability to do anything she is able to set the floor for Naota to mature, in the most illogical fashion possible. Of course this is what she does when she isn’t molesting the 12 year old [Haruko is 19], but I digress. Towards the end the characterization of Haruko takes a 180 and her motive for doing anything is incredibly bizarre and seemingly pulled out of the author’s ass, why? Because he can. Not only that the ending infers that she could not care less for her motives, why? Once again because the author can. Naota the extremely normal boy, in his ‘normal’ town with an iron in the middle, is your protagonist for this show. Normal pubescent boy receiving development in random ways and in the end he is slightly more mature, with no outlandish characteristics unlike Haruko. Develop as he may, he is still extremely uninteresting especially if you compare him to Haruko. Actually everyone in the anime in comparison to Haruko is about as interesting as your pet rock. Therefore I shall go over one more character Mamimi, the 17 year old whose boyfriend is Naota’s brother, therefore with Naota’s brother gone she replaces him with the twelve year old Naota. As disturbing as it sounds, it wasn’t as bad, no I lied it was quite disturbing.
The art is amazing at times, each episode you have several different scenes of different styles of art. The art style sometimes takes a turn for a more cartoony-American style while sometimes changing back to amazing art with refined details, or to using manga pages as the scene or to crap or even to South Park. No I’m not lying there is a South Park art style in there. In which I feel as though the directors was experimenting several different art styles, sometimes the art blew me away sometimes it was horrid. Thankfully the art styles had more good than bad, like a 90/10 split.
The sound was also another feature they added in meticulously, it played at the moments it needed to and the BGM suited each and every scene. The Pillows, the band that did the music for FLCL, did an incredible job; their music is not only spectacular but fitting.
This series is a ‘hit or miss’ type anime, the chaotic and erratic story telling will put off some people, while to others it’s a refreshing unique take on anime. My enjoyment fluctuated from boredom to euphoria. The moments of enjoyment was brought upon by the sheer chaotic nature of the anime, and the comedic side to it. However, the symbolism and metaphorical value this anime presents is sometimes overlooked, it is there. The portrayal of these symbols and metaphors are questionable though. Therefore is it the embodiment of an extraordinary masterpiece, does it emulate the magnum opus of creativity. No, it is great fun if you enjoy pure nonsensical illogical goodness; if not then it’s probably your worst nightmare. read more
Feb 8, 2008
I won't attempt to tell you anything about the story, as it is basically non-existent. I normal like some good random entertainment, but this show is just plain stupid.
There is no plot development, character development or even a real sense that anything happened. Every episode I was waiting for an event or explanation that would make the whole series make sense. It never came.
The characters are annoying and unlovable. There is nothing that makes you feel connected to the characters. The only good part of the characters at all, is their animation and style.
One part stood far above the rest however, the sound and songs in this anime are by far above most you will ever see. There are several great guitar tracks that are worth your time, even though the series isn't.
This collection of random events was not enjoyable to watch at all. I was hoping that it would get better as I finish it, but I just disliked it more. I'd suggest not wasting your time, and watch something else. read more
Oct 19, 2007
The only reason I rate the story as low as I did was because of how hard it is to follow. There are so many elements that just seem random...and, I do believe, was probably intentional. From my understanding, this was basically the crew at Gainax (the production studio) just blowing off steam and not trying to make a serious attempt. Honestly, I wish they'd do that more often...the result was fantastic! I do rather love the real quick jabs they make at a few other popular anime series (of course, I believe Gainax produced those as well).
The art was incredible in many areas...I LOVE the "3D rotating camera" effects they use in certain places. The sound is AMAZING. If you have surround-sound, it really does add an extra dimension to the action on-screen. The soundtrack is also VERY good. I actually bought the album for the series...it's all done by a Japanese rock band called "The Pillows". "Hybrid Rainbow" and "Ride on Shooting Star" (the end theme) are my favorites.
Although there's not much time to get in character development, the writing is done very well in that you really get a feel for each character's distinct personality. The only thing that bugs me (and again, this goes back to my giving it a 7 for story) is that it seems to be part of a much bigger series or storyline, but I've not been able to come up with anything. Even the manga just basically recaps the anime. Luckily, there is a distinct beginning and conclusion, but it really does seem like there should be more...I wish there was!
Between the surreality, bizarre metaphors, humor, music, and action, this is a series well worth watching. My advice? Watch it once with an open mind and enjoy it for its aesthetics both visually and aurally. Then, watch it again to catch the story and some of the metaphors. Otherwise, you might sprain your brain...I almost did! It really does make a lot more sense the second and third time through. I've seen it many times and will see it many more in the coming years. I highly recommend it! read more
Aug 13, 2011
FLCL struck many as one of the more controversial anime series in the collective fandom at the time. The story didn’t seem so sequential, the characters were muddy and cryptic, plus, what EXACTLY was this anime even about? And the fact that this apparent “mess” was polished up in the best damn Japanese animation that the year 2000 could produce made you sure that this wasn’t some low-budget shit cooked up at the last moment, so what the hell Gainax? It took itself seriously during the most ridiculous moments and it didn’t take itself seriously in the most serious of moments, this anime was self-aware. It wouldn’t take long before the viewer realized he/she was watching something incredible, it was an anime that was sincerely trying to break new ground, positive or negative, it didn’t matter; it was navigating through uncharted territory, a new territory that would become the foundation for much of 21st century anime.
Of course, many newer anime viewers will watch FLCL and oftentimes ask themselves: why is this anime so controversial? After all, these newer fans have already been fed on a steady diet of unconventional anime of the 21st century (without a doubt, influenced directly or indirectly by FLCL) such as Tatami Galaxy and Bakemonogatari among many more, so it didn’t seem TOO weird to them, but it was still undeniably weird.
The story follows Naota as he lives his mundane school life with his irresponsible family and boring classmates in a generically uneventful Japanese town. This life, however, is disrupted when a pink-haired girl by the name of Haruko comes around and starts to turn Naota’s life upside down. Slowly, Naota’s viewpoints on adulthood, his family and friends, and life in general begin to change…
The bare bones introduction of this story is very typical to say the least, and if you were to strip away the entire plot to the bare minimal level, you would realize FLCL’s story is childish and silly. But it’s layered, coated, and glazed with so many globs of symbolism, self-parody, innuendos, themes, and character development, the final product looks almost nothing like the starting point. And that’s the beauty of FLCL; the amount of ideas all packed in a loose story gives an extremely wide range of interpretations and analysis of the same show that you wouldn’t find in many other anime.
FLCL, at heart though, is a coming-of-age story of a boy who tries so hard to be adult that he, ironically enough, comes off as a child. The main character is being surrounded by a world of conflicting emotions and it confuses the hell out of him, and the manner of FLCL’s storytelling reflects this mass of bottled up emotions inside Naota. The story is fragmented, but obviously done intentionally, and that kind of intentional randomness creates a very surrealistic atmosphere in the midst of careful doses of self-parody and deconstructions that makes FLCL witty and humorous. It’s not a straightforward story with a clear point A followed by point B, it’s a symbolic and innuendo-soaked story with a vague and muddled point A that may or may not lead to point B. It’s a story that needs to be re-watched for the viewer to notice many things that might fly over the first time (and they WILL fly over the first time). The story is admittedly confusing and seemingly incoherent, until a second viewing dawns upon the viewer that every single “irrelevant” detail was made, discussed, and done for a very precise reason of foreshadowing, characterization, etc.
In a sense (and I say this half-jokingly), FLCL is like the anti-Evangelion, the symbolism isn’t just there for the sake of symbolism, it all ties in for a purpose, and that makes it a deceptive and intelligent show.
The show likes to experiment in its animation. Exemplified by the now famous “manga scene” and other examples such as a shaky scene in which the character outlines are wobbly to parodies of the bullet time visual effect popularized by the Matrix. This outburst of animation inconsistency further conveys the random and loose nature of the show and keeps mundane scenes exciting, a concept further explored nearly a decade later by the likes of anime such as Bakemonogatari.
The unifying animation style is top-notch and high quality because, well, it’s a six episode OVA and it’s mainly produced by a Gainax blazing after the success of NGE. The palette of the animation is light-toned and the scenery is reminiscent of a watercolor; this creates a dream-like atmosphere to the whole story that ends up quite effectively suiting the surrealist tone of FLCL.
The character designs are decent and individualistic in their appearance, which is a nice step-up from Evangelion where some characters look like palette swaps. Naota has a “cynical brat” look to him, Haruko is alluring and foreign (which is a theme in this show), and Ninamori is traditional and noble. Conceptually, the idea of a robot exploding out of someone’s head is both ridiculous and brilliant, and the robots seem to take their cues more from the designs of Gurren Lagann, which wouldn’t be released until 7 years later, or it’s the other way around. Nonetheless, the newer anime fans that have watched Gurren Lagann will definitely notice the striking similarities in terms of design and animation of Gurren Lagann to FLCL.
One thing director Tsurumaki has emphasized in this show is breaking boundaries, and musically, the director did just that by recruiting contemporary Japanese rock band the Pillows to score the soundtrack. The band’s provided theme songs are jumpy and loud, furthermore tying in with the style of the show. One unique thing about the Pillows is that whereas most Japanese bands are content to play ballads and soft rock, the Pillows are distinct among even some western indie rock fans as having a sound reminiscent of 80’s alternative rock. This is especially refreshing considering most anime studios would rather play it safe and hire catchy bands such as UVERworld over the Pillows. As a Japanese rock band taking their cues from Dinosaur Jr. and the Pixies, the Pillows serve as the perfect composers for such a definitive and influential series such as FLCL.
Aside from the contribution of the Pillows, Shinkichi Mitsumune writes the rest of the score, which, of those played in the show, consists mainly of rock instrumentals during the more intense scenes. This soundtrack accommodates the show well because really, what other music besides rock do you expect to be played in a show as unflinching as FLCL?
As much as the story is important, the characters of FLCL are even more important. For a show as short and abrupt as FLCL, the characterization is exceptionally a cut above most other anime. FLCL’s fantastical situations are completely not relatable, yet the characters themselves are some of the most three-dimensional I’ve ever seen in anime. The characterization of FLCL shows that even though some characters may change, in the end, they don’t change that much because ultimately, you are who you are. And that kind of development in the characters is risky but extremely rewarding if executed right. Whereas most anime series will have the protagonist or the heroine go through the story and emerge as a completely changed person, FLCL strikes that to the ground (with a bass guitar) and sends out the message that your viewpoints may change, but ultimately, you are the same person; but that doesn’t even matter, because it’s those tiny changes that will make it all better in the end, not the drastic ones.
This message is communicated through Naota and Haruko. Naota MAY have been changed by the ordeals as you slowly see the boy change his outlook on life all while the bottle holding his emotions inside slowly crack, but in the end, he is still the furrowed-brow kid he was, albeit a happier, more optimistic one. But it’s FLCL’s characterization that shows you can only progress a little by little, and that in the end, you can’t change who you are, but you can definitely improve it. Haruko, likewise is the same. Throughout the series, she begins to develop a close bond with Naota, and it’s that relationship that morphs her from a manipulative person, to a human being (or alien) with a tiny sentiment for affection. All well until the end, you realize, that she STILL is the same manipulative person, though now slightly less manipulative and more caring. It’s the complexity of these characters that make FLCL a worthwhile 180 minutes.
Other characters such as Mamimi symbolize the feeling of despair and loneliness without warmth in your life, while the mysterious older brother of Naota represents the abandonment of your roots. Every character is there for a reason, and though interpretation of their character is completely up to the viewer, every character is integral to the show (yes, even that blue cat with the big genitals). Ninamori is a specially well-written character used to show the confusion found in adolescence (even though she’s in 6th grade) and her development as a character is intensely subtle, but beautiful nonetheless.
The FLCL cast is quite possibly one of the best casts in anime I have ever seen. The amount of symbolism, depth, and purpose in each character is incredible, even more amazing is that a 6 episode anime was able to develop its characters better than most full length 26 episode shows do.
On a side note, there is a fascinating analysis somewhere online about Naota representing liminal Japan and the various characters around him acting as choices for the propelling nation. I would highly recommend reading it once you finish the series.
FLCL can be enjoyed on two levels, one level is the shallower level in which the viewer can enjoy the randomness and watch it as a heartwarming coming-of-age story. The second level is the one in which the viewer must be prepared to think, and really notice the tiny details of this extremely well written and well though-out story. With fantastic animation, a surreal story, a good sense of humor, and detailed characters, the idea is that FLCL will be enjoyable to anyone who enjoys watching good anime, and you do like good anime don’t you?
FLCL is one of those shows that every new anime fan needs to watch; it’s a thoroughly engaging anime that sometimes seems as if it has a mind of its own, from constant parodies to breaking the 4th wall to pop culture references. It’s a humorous anime that also manages to be much more than just about humor and randomness, it’s a coming-of-age story filled with self-reflection. It’s also a metaphorical story about Japan. It’s a wet dream filled with symbolism and innuendo about sexuality. Or it’s an animated art piece summarizing the results of postmodernism. Whatever FLCL originally was about, it sure as hell has sprung out of control, and for once, maybe that isn’t a bad thing. read more
May 28, 2010
"Fully Crap" has in abundance most of the stereotypical things that puts people off anime. It's random, insanely over the top, infused with oddball Japanese humour, and contains lots of super deformity, mechas and explosions. The only thing that's missing is probably tentacle pr0n, and perhaps some sense. And to prove my point, let me tell you that I was watching this with a couple of friends who were relatively new to anime. About five minutes in, they both walked out on me with dropped jaws and glazed eyes. I was left watching the remainder of the episode accompanied only by those aforementioned jaws that my friends dropped on their way out, and fueled only by my own stubbornness to finish what I'd started... and boy did it push that stubbornness close to its limits.
At first it seemed just like a normal anime, then along comes a girl on a motorbike wielding a guitar... and everything goes to sh*t from there on. I had no clue what was happening. The creators' aim appeared to be to try and make "Fully Crap" as crap, as incomprehensible, and as insane as possible. A couple of the better episodes are very crap, which can be considered sky high praise in the case of this anime, because the rest of it is unwatchably crap. Towards the end of the series, it almost felt as though bits of it was starting to resemble some form of meaning, though perhaps that's due to my mind deluding itself after desperately trying for so long to make sense of what's going on. It's like the feeling of trying to piece together a jigsaw puzzle with 90% of the pieces missing, and with the pieces you do have deformed to such an extent that it's hard to tell what images are printed on them.
I'm really struggling to think of anything good to say about "Full Crap". Er... the animation's okay when it's not too busy being crazy, and the music works out occasionally, although this appears to be more by fluke than by design, as they basically have a load of jrock songs weakly glued together to form a constant racket in the background, and by chance it manages to match the scene once or twice. And er... that's about it really. Probably the only way they could have made it worse is to make it longer - then I would have had to sit through more "Fully Crap" stuff. *shudders* read more
Dec 5, 2011
The story in this anime makes no sense. Infact, I suggest you don't even try to understand it if you want to enjoy the anime because it will reveal just how dreadful this anime is when you fail to get it. The plot is based on some convoluted garbage about a kid getting hit in the head by a guitar and all of a sudden he starts growing large horns that have robots shooting out of them that start fighting other robots. Yeah, that sounds about right. There was an attempt for a coming of age story but it is hard to appreciate this when the anime is completely random and difficult to follow. It is very difficult (for me, it was often impossible) to keep track of what the hell was going on and why the hell it occurred and you start asking yourself "what the fuck am I watching and why am I watching it"?
The art and animation are undeniably top notch. I have found nothing to complain about in this department. The environments look great, characters look great and the animations flow smoothly. High quality art and animation is expected from an OVA and this will not disappoint you.
The soundtrack in the anime is alright. I would have appreciated an opening theme but that is not too much of a big deal. What caused me to take off points was the fact that the soundtrack was constantly playing and was quite loud. Some points of the anime felt like I was watching an AMV instead of anime. The music was very noticeable and it almost never stopped. I would say that this anime fails to use its soundtrack to increase dramatic effect.
Nothing much to say here. I'm not going to go into detail on their personalities, interests, etc because you could easily find that out yourself on this MAL page. I will simply state my opinion. I found the characters to be quite annoying, whinny, unlikable and completely unrelatable. There are no memorable characters in this anime outside of Haruko, who is only memorable for being completely ridiculous and often disturbing.
Its truly amazing how this anime was hyped as a glorious masterpiece comedy but when I watched it I didn't even laugh once. This is when I was TRYING to like the anime as well. I came in with expectations and a desire to love this show. I came out totally confused, bored and disgusted by it.
One of the worst anime's I have ever seen and the first anime that I have dropped. I cannot recommend this show. read more
Aug 9, 2009
Since then I read the reviews mentioned earlier, seen forum posts praising it, and heard the demand for more episodes. A friend of mine told me not to judge it on one episode. So I gave it another chance, expecting it to improve after the first episode. It didn't. The next two episodes were just wondering what would come out of Noata's head, with no charachter development, no plot advancement, and plenty more meaningless talk from Haruko (whose voice I found quite annoying). From the fourth episode onwards, it promised plot, but very little was properly explained. The dialogue of the new charachters introduced in episode four at least had more to it than anything Haruko said, and at least explained they were trying to stop the 'Medical Mechanica" (a very misleading name, it never did anything medical), even if who they were, what the Medical Mechanica was, how they knew what it was, was never explained, or not explained in any way that was understandable. The final episode brought very little sense of a conclusion, with the only thing you get from the explanation of the Medical Mechanica is that it's purpose is to destroy things, and Haruko saying, in a lot more words, that she is only there for a man. The only actual change at the end of the episode from the way things were at the beginning of the series is that Canti is living with Noata, and Noata now has a bass guitar.
Other problems with the plot include: Noata's insistence at the beginning that everything is ordinary and there is nothing wierd about the town, with the giant iron that is the Medical Mechanica in the background. That's not ordinary, the attempt at a plot later in the series is based on the fact that is is far from ordinary. Secondly, no one ever seriously questioned the existence of Canti. No one else in the series has a robot, yet the only response to Canti is "cool, a robot". Thirdly, why Canti obeys Noata yet everything else that comes out of his head or is related to the Medical Mechanica is trying to destroy things is never explained. We just have to accept that Canti is a good guy and every other robot is a bad guy. Finally, Haruko's bass. It's a bass, but it's a club, but it makes a noise like a chainsaw, but it's a gun, what the hell is it? For the first four episodes it's use is to hit things, then on episode five it suddenly becomes a gun, with no explanation offered.
On a more positive note, the final fight scene was quite enjoyable, and a nice change from the practically identical fight scenes from previous episodes, which consisted of Canti absorbing Noata, and him and Haruko hitting the other robot, before Canti turned into a giant red cannon and shot it.
The only redeeming quality of the series was the soundtrack. Each episode had some decent rock music in the background in what I have to assume were considered to be important scenes, and I intend to find a copy of the soundtrack. The artwork was good for the most part too, the robots looked great, however that was let down by the times it became a manga strip, and the occaisional stupid cliched unrealistic facial expressions/body language (such as people's faces changing shape or colour to show shock, anger etc) found in anime aimed at younger audiences that I must assume were meant to be funny. I must however praise the use of south park style animation in episode 5. While, like much of the rest of the series, it was completely pointless, it was a rare moment where the series parodied of something other than itself.
So, to conclude, get the soundtrack if you enjoy some decent j-rock tunes, but don't waste your time watching the series, it's two hours of my life that I'd rather have back. read more
Aug 7, 2012
FLCL (Fooly Cooly or Furi Kuri for the non Engrish speakers) is first and foremost an intense visual experience. The short 6 episode OVA was produced by Studio Gainax, which might immediately send up red flags for those familiar with their incredibly erratic repertoire. Personally, I believe this is the studio at it’s very best (even with the mechs again).
Everything about the visual experience is unique; the series really pushes the boundaries of what animation in all styles can do. In one moment the scene appears calm, the palette bright but unsaturated, when in an instant the scene changes and the expressions and anatomies are pushed to extreme levels of in-your-face; in the next frame everything’s gone chibi and kawaii before you blink. And it’s that way the entire run. Each episode is different and plays around with different techniques that make the whole show stylish and cool. They sometimes voice over pages from the manga in typical Gainax style (I’m looking at you His and Her Circumstances) which is less expensive than animating the scenes, but hey, in FLCL, it works.
Speaking of budget cuts, everything Gainax is notoriously disliked for plays completely to FLCL’s advantage. Typically when the budget runs out, the studio resorts to their anything goes, anatomy-wat-is-that, style of making forms and bodies move or just putting voices to static images; but in this OVA it just adds to the visual flair and insanity. Watching the characters and robots degenerate into rubbery silhouettes of anthropomorphic forms or watch the scenes play out manga style before the manga adaptation was even penned adds cool points rather than takes them away.
The music in FLCL is spot on perfect, albeit pretty orthodox. Japanese alternative rock band, The Pillows, completely knocks it out of the park. While only a couple of the songs were composed specifically for the show, all of their music is top quality stuff. The songs are upbeat and mellow (typical of alternative rock) and shouldn’t marry well with the intense visuals and storyline, and yet somehow, like the rest of FLCL, comes together and just works.
FLCL completely succeeds in using animation as a visual medium for storytelling, but it’s not all style over substance. FLCL sports an incredibly real and likable cast of characters.
Naota is your average, nothing particularly special, twelve year old boy; the perfect age for just wanting to rush into adulthood and skip all the awful hormonal happenings that occur in between. Naota’s brother’s girlfriend, Mamimi, is a photographer and pyromaniac projecting her missing baseball player onto the closest replacement. Haruko is loud, flamboyant, and constantly walks the fine line between incredibly annoying and incredibly awesome. Even Canti, the first robot to squeeze his way out of Naota’s head, has a great design and is very human-like and lovable.
While the characters don’t get a whole lot of development throughout the OVA, they are complex and they do change. All of the adolescents deal with real relatable problems and react in ways to the bizarre happenings and difficult emotional issues in ways we would expect them to. With maybe the exception of Haruko, they all hit home in a way that everyone can sympathize with, because everybody has gone through the motions of transitioning between child and adult, first crushes, dealing with annoying parents, second crushes, and the like. Maybe not everyone would go along with being eaten by a mech that came out of your head, but we would all react the same way when the girl you like keeps forcing herself onto you, and you don’t know how to respond. In the less fantastical situations, their feelings and reactions to ordinary events speak to life and reflect realism in ways that most anime (and entertainment in general) fail to.
And to dote on the visuals again, they all look great. They’re all visually distinctive and each sport great color palettes that speak to the characters’ personalities and allow for their facial expressions and other quirks to really pop.
Now it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all that goes on. Your head might explode between giant eyebrows falling off, Playboy Bunny outfits, a giant iron, sterile hospital scenes, a dangerous robot exploding because the curry he ate was too spicy…
See what I mean?
The OVA is first and foremost a roller coaster ride of an experience. Don’t go nit picking at every image asking “what does it mean, what does it mean?!” You’ll end up buried somewhere in a psych ward that way. But that isn’t to say that all of the weird visuals aren’t symbolic or allegorical in some form. In addition to telling the loose story, FLCL is full of pop culture references, homages to other anime, and even some American television as well, like South Park or The Matrix. It’s also intensely funny with the jokes and general insanity running alongside at breakneck speed.
But in between the the giant robot fights, Mamimi’s pyromania, the curry thing, and all the baseball references, there is a simple universal theme underlying all of this.
It’s about growing up.
Naota is a twelve year old just on the precipice adolescence. He tries his hardest to appear mature and nonchalant and often tries to act the hero, while on the inside, he’s likely burning with awkwardness and other feelings he finds difficult to handle— which is all relatable. His older brother, his girlfriend, and all the baseball metaphors are significant. Naota’s internal Freudian conflict upon observing his father and Haruko’s relationship is significant. In light of the theme, maybe the Crystal Pepsi doesn’t make sense, but it sure puts the image of Haruko in a Playboy Bunny outfit into perspective.
And this is ultimately why the series works so well. Because the theme is so simple and well understood, the OVA can afford to push the style characters and story. “Growing up” doesn’t require that much complexity and attention, and is basic enough to support all the madness surrounding it.
It’s easy to write off FLCL as a ridiculous anime, no plot, no complex characterization, just visual flair and no depth— and to an extent that’s true— but you don’t have to look too hard to see that it’s not completely random and plotless. It’s about simple truths as well as intergalactic space conflict with robots. It strikes an excellent balance between silliness and sincerity. It might not be for everybody, but don’t be too quick to judge the series. It’s wild and batshit, but if you can handle that, it’s thought provoking and a hell of a lot of fun. read more
Mar 29, 2010
This being my first anime review, I thought I would set it out with the basic sections and just see how it goes… so bear with me!
First impressions of FLCL would suggest it is completely random, with no real underlying plot running through. Of course this isn’t true – there is a storyline seeming to involve robots, aliens and things that appear from people’s foreheads – but I personally found that the plot took a backseat to the experience.
If I had to summarise for viewers without spoilers, I would simply say this is a prime example of ‘willing suspension of disbelief’. Through ignoring the facts and the seriously surreal events that take place (I mean, seriously, Naota is supposed to be 12 years old??) you can appreciate underlying elements throughout. There seem to be several interpretations for the series, but I felt the most appropriate was to consider it an analogy for Naota’s coming of age; of course feel free to find your own meaning! There were serious scenes as well, integrated very well with the rest, so that they were not overly dramatic.
The pace of the story is perfect, especially given that it is taken care of in only 6 episodes, and should keep the viewer interested all the time – and even in moments where I found myself wondering what was going on, the humour kept me watching. And of course this humour was key, with the creators being completely aware of the randomness of the show.
Art and Music:
I found the art fitted perfectly, with more frantic colours and drawing during the more frantic scenes. It also added to the humour of the series, using several effects, such as black and white manga panels, for variety.
The music seemed to be of a relaxed soft rock style throughout, which was enjoyable and settled well in with casual form of a lot of the show. My only complaint would be that, even during scenes where more fast paced music would have probably been more appropriate, the same music was used; and I felt his was a missed opportunity. Sometimes during such scenes the music was purely made louder, which, although it did serve to change the atmosphere slightly, did take away the emphasis from the speech, which I thought was a pity.
All the characters were likeable, even if a little unrealistic (I felt realism wasn’t very important however), and, despite some of them having real issues that another series might have used for dramatic effect, these issues are trivialised slightly to make room for the wackiness of Haruko.
The series is centred around Naota (a serious, mature, 12 year old boy) and Haruko (a strange older woman who leads the storyline). I felt this worked well, contrating the two personalities for comedic effect while suggesting they have depth.
At first I thought the series was a bit over the top, with events randomly pieced together just for humour. However, the bottom line was that I enjoyed it. Once I got over the seemingly disconnected storyline, I was able to appreciate the depth of the characters more, and have a lot more fun laughing at the spontaneous Haruko.
The show probably won’t stay with you, and it probably won’t be one of your favourites, but the ending seemed to me to be more poignant than it first appeared.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone: after all it’s only 6 episodes long, and I doubt you’ll have seen anything else like it! read more