~ Nothing happens here, only the ordinary ~
You've heard of abstract anime, right?
You've heard of shows that completely surpass convention, right?
FLCL or "Fooly Cooly" or "Furi Kuri" is a vast expanse of hyperactivity, fast-paced, nonsensical story-telling, abstract presentation, slapstick comedy, innuendo, slice of life, science fiction and more...
(you can take a breath now)
It is the definition of "abstract" in that i don't even consider it to be an anime; and here's why...
FLCL is an "all or nothing", love it or hate it show; because there are 2 fundamental viewpoints and analytical approaches that can be used to evaluate it. To remain relatively impartial, i am going to utilize both of these heavily contrasting arguments to become a part of the rare "middle-ground" viewpoint...
- The "Technical" Viewpoint -
Analyzing FLCL's technical merit as an anime title; with a start, middle, and end...
From a technical perspective, FLCL can only be given low amounts of quantifiable praise for the most part. This is because 2 of the most important parts of any animated title or novel: story and character, are generally quite poor...
FLCL is a highly abstract title after all, with a very vague and arguably non-existent development of a plot line in the form of a journey or growth. Many would argue that this show is nothing but a random and nonsensical arrangement of spontaneous events. It's fast-paced to a hyperactive extent, and so it's a nightmare to keep up with the current happenings. It's full of pointless and meaningless slapstick humor that cheapens the show, makes it impossible to take seriously as an anime, and gives it a "loony toons" vibe of immaturity (which is ironic if you read on).
Therefore most people who reflect on the technicalities of FLCL conclude that in terms of long-term storytelling, and an overriding plot, the show completely lacks fluidity, clarity, and consistency. Therefore rendering it unable to build up a conceivable and/or gripping plot...
It is to be expected of a very short anime, that the characters excluding our main protagonist aren't really "developed" at all. Their design is generic for the most part, uninspiring and conforming to a multitude of cliched stereotypes. Furthermore, they're not nearly sufficiently elaborated upon in the form of emotional growth, changes or back stories to trigger many attachment values. In contrast however, the way in which they all interact is quite clever. It's both crazy and casual at the same time, which leads to an interesting integration of abnormality, into normality.
Due to its time-scale, and it's ever-changing, inconsistent structure, FLCL fails to develop over a long term. Though it does however succeed in the short term, due to it's immediate presentation methods...
If from a technical aspect, there's one light at the end of the tunnel; then it's this integration of casual dialogue/character chemistry, and the way that it maintains an immersive and realistic atmosphere in the midst of all of the craziness. This is helped by the viewpoint of our relatable and therefore arguably the only clearly "considered" character: Naota. He is our realistic protagonist who is critical to the meaning behind FLCL (as i will mention later), and alongside the appropriately uplifting, youthful, casual soundtrack, his existence allows for some slice of life elements to shine through. This means that FLCL is atleast good painting a very "ordinary", therefore relatable, therefore immersive picture; in the immediate term, which provides a very care-free atmosphere to remind you that if you've gotten this far, then you're taking the show too seriously...
- The "Artistic" Viewpoint
Analyzing FLCL's artistic merit and intentions as an "expression"
FLCL is a show that hides the very heavy topic of growing up and maturing into adulthood, behind an ironically "immature" veil of nonsensical slapstick. Those who are generally more open-minded argue that FLCL intends to defy convention in such a bold way to enhance its meaning. This abstract nature is prominent enough to argue that those who only see a "bad anime" here, simply don't understand atall...
The events that take place in FLCL happen at such a blinding and incomprehensible speed, and the show's duration is short: to resemble the pure chaos of the very small amount of time that it takes for a child to loose his/her youth and reach maturity. It is a show that documents the "race" to adulthood.
All of the characters besides Naota appear as "stupid" and "immature", hence the continuous slapstick comedy: to represent the plight of adolescents who feel as though their "non-adult" status nullifies the relevance of the words they utter. This references the rather dark and isolated viewpoint that mankind itself is nonsensical and that "only I" make sense in this world of barbarians/corrupt/immature "adults" who don't live up to their title. This can be linked to the corruption of mankind's rigid and flawed administrative infrastructure.
Those who evaluate FLCL artistically are likely to conclude that it is a very meaningful and relatable show, disguised in a form so abstract that it can only be seen in a good light; if people look into the reasoning behind its bold methods. FLCL documents the plight of adolescents who feel as though they have to force maturity upon themselves by feigning ignorance in childish/immature things, to become better than the evidently immature/corrupt adult dictators that are responsible for the flawed administration of the modern world in which we live.
Considering both viewpoints, it's obvious that FLCL is a show that needs to be looked at from an artistic perspective in order to work. It is therefore not an anime... but an artistic expression instead. It's therefore hard to give quantifiable credit with an ordinary reviewing approach, which could misleadingly cause people to think lowly of the title.
FLCL works on some levels, and doesn't on others (though again, arguable this is intentional). I am going to turn a technically "1 to 2" show to a "6" due to its very meaningful, deep and relatable artistic values which could equate to a "10"... therefore averaging out in my opinion just above the half-way point. FLCL therefore serves to show us that there is a limit to how abstract and minimalist an anime can be, and still be easily praised from a "MAL reviewing" perspective...
Which is shown here to be quite a rigid one...
Do i recommend the show?
- To answer a question with a question, can you be open-minded enough to appreciate it?
~ Nothing amazing happens here, only the ordinary ~