also known as
FOOLY COOLY Or FURI KURI
Once every blue moon, one anime gains the power to divide its community into two groups over time. Love or Hate. FLCL is one of those animes. To some, FLCL is considered a cult classic telling a beautiful story coupled with a great soundtrack, wonderful animation and unforgettable characters. To others, this anime is a huge crock of BS with forgettable characters, confusing animation/art direction, and a great soundtrack. Seriously, just go read some of the reviews on myanimelist.net. You’ll have a ball. For an anime that is six episodes and lasted for a year, this is a little unsettling. Speaking for myself, I am in the middle. I know I enjoyed watching Fooly Cooly, however, I finished the show extremely confused. FLCL can be considered one of those shows you just have to watch in order to understand what I mean.
If you asked anyone to explain what FLCL is about, answers may vary depending on you ask. Some say it is a coming of age story of a young kid growing into an adult while others say it has no story whatsoever. If you ask me, I really couldn’t tell you, but I do have some ideas. First, a spoiler free edition of the story goes a little something like this “Nothing amazing happens here. Everything is ordinary”. This is the first quote from episode one. A twelve boy named Naota Nandaba lives in a mundane town where nothing happens. He is “friends” or “more than friends” with a seventeen year old girl named Mamimi Samejima. Trust me, it is a very creepy theme in the show that made me a bit uncomfortable. Anyways a “nineteen year old? girl” makes a grand entrance on a motor bike named Haruko Haruhara and everything goes chaotic after it. This is the part where I shut up about the story because if I delegate any further, I will be rambling. Once I finished the show, I could see the themes of growing up or the road to maturity that most fans of the show speak of. I see another message about staying a kid and not rushing to grow up because it can bring utter chaos plus trouble if you do. I also see a show that has no story and tries to throw one together real fast with no actual pacing. One can argue that the story is just a big experimental piece that encourages the viewer to put the pieces together. I don’t know. Maybe making no sense was the whole plan? Not understanding the story completely was a really big gripe for me because I truly wanted to. I feel the story is the most riveting aspect of FLCL that will determine whether you’ll love or hate the show. I liked it yet it was a bomb of confusion.
GAINAX. This one of the many animes done by the legendary anime studio GAINAX. Once I saw a their name on the show I knew the animation going to be amazing. What I didn’t expect is the various styles of animation this show took on. From a manga scene to a stylistic horror anime to an over the top action shows to a caligraphy drama scene to sports animes to even parodying South Park’s style, FLCL attempts to do it all. I find that very impressive. Maybe that explains why the show was drawn out over a year. If this show was longer, I bet GAINAX would have tackled even more animations styles. The fight scenes were very tight and sharp. You can even say they are pretty quick, but I did not see one sloppy animation in this entire show. GAINAX did one hell of a job with this show, but I can’t that surprised. They are the studio that did Neon Genesis Evangelion, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, and Gurren Lagann. They are absolute bosses at animation no matter what type it is.
I’m just going to cover the three main characters in this show. The supporting cast is fantastic, but there isn’t enough information on all of them to really provide a full fledged profile. These three characters are complex yet simple. You can sum them up in a couple of sentences and you could write a biography about all three if you wanted to.
Naota Nandaba – DO you remember when you were younger and you wanted to act older than you actually were? Naota reminds me of that. Naota is the main character of the FLCL. Naota can be considered the second lead character next to Haruko. He tries to act cool and more mature than he actually is. Very detached to the world too. He is very nonchalant despite all of the insane stuff going on in his city. He hangs out with friends his age along with Mamimi who is in high school. He is more annoyed when Mamimi tries to fool around with him and he gets mad when she acts out. He looks out for her. I think he is like this because he idolizes his big brother Tasuku. If I was Naota, he is probably thinking “this is what Tasuku would do”. He views Tasuku as a true adult while he views the adults around him as children. Tasuku is mentioned throughout the show, but he never makes an appearance. Naota struggles to grow up and stay his age with everything going around him. Be like your “big adult brother” or figure out who you are, who you like, and what to do amiss of this crisis that’s entered your life? It is a lot to take in if you were in his shoes. Naota is a great character full of depth and embodies the 12 year old wanting to grow up, but not knowing how.
Haruko “Vespa woman, Raharu, Haru” Haruhara – Jeeze she has a lot of nickname. Haruko can be viewed as a mysterious, badass, tomboy who’s here to inject some excitement in Naota’s life along with the town where nothing amazing happens. I also saw her as a manipulative, selfish person for how she used Naota. You will have to watch the story to understand why because I don’t want to give it away. She is hilarious and extremely energetic. She a good amount of dick jokes too. She is also the house maid of Naota’s house despite being a stranger to Naota. IT is hilarious. Haruko reminds Naota of his brother, which in turn reminds him of what an adult would do in certain situations. She exemplifies cool adult to Naota. Let’s make one thing clear without Haruko this “story” wouldn’t make a ton of sense. Once she makes her grand entrance this story becomes a roller coaster. Haruko is one of the most memorable characters in such a short series. To be honest, she is the show. She is the catalyst!
Mamimi Samejima – Known as “Naota’s Wife” to Naota’s friends in school, Mamimi is an caring, absentee high school student who is very childlike for her age with no real control over her life. She is seventeen, but she acts like a 13 year old. She is a pyromaniac. Ok let me rephrase that, she likes to burn things sometimes. She is a chain smoker too, but only when she is stressed out or doesn’t get what she wants. She and Naota tend to hang under a bridge and sometimes mess around. Clearly, she is sexually frustrated. Mamimi doesn’t do anything too explicit on camera to Naota, but she does things like nibble on his ear and stuff. She does this because Mamimi used to be Tasuku’s girlfriend till he moved to America. She does it to hold on to him I guess. Mamimi likes to take care of people who aren’t strong willed yet she isn’t very strong willed when she doesn’t have a hold on herself. She may be very destructive at times too when she is alone. It is also hinted that she may come from a poor or broken family which leads her to bad attendance plus the break up with Tasuku she won’t let go of. Mamimi going through the ringer.
RIDE ON SHOOTING STAR!!! This song brings back so many memories. I remember when I was 13 and heard this song. Ride On Shooting Star was one of the first anime themes I had in my iPod. This is one of the greatest ending themes of all time. NOT UP FOR DEBATE. YOU WILL JUST HAVE TO FEEL IT. Ride On Shooting Star is definitely up there in the top ten anime closing themes. FLCL doesn’t have a opening theme, but it doesn’t need one. All of the music throughout the show makes up for that including that bad ass theme song. The Pillows are amazing. I became a fan of their music after hearing that song when I was thirteen. I advise you to go listen to some of their stuff. Despite the language barrier, I feel it! Most of the music from this show comes from the album “Happy Bivouac” which is freaking amazing. Whoever decided to pick The Pillows for this anime did a wonderful job because it is a perfect fit. I can’t imagine any other compositions for this show that is not The Pillows. 10/10 would listen to over and over again.
I heard there was going to be a reboot of FLCL due to Production IG acquiring the rights to the show. If there was going to be a reboot of FLCL, I would enjoy if they really fleshed out the story instead of going all rapid fire. I like the experimental type of story where we viewers have to put the piece together, however, the characters are too interesting to not know the full story in my opinion. Just when I was getting attached to the characters the show is over. I felt there was supposed to be a sequel too because of a hint at the end of the show. So a reboot would be great as long as it kept the same soundtrack and animation style. I would hate to see a gritty space, Sci-Fi anime called FLCL. Keep it in that area of funny and serious. It may not even be a reboot, Production IG could have just acquired the rights just to have em. Who knows? Time will tell.
Either you will love FLCL for its over the top, rapid fire, experimental coming of age story along with great main and supporting characters, soundtrack, and animation or you will hate FLCL for not having enough story and pacing, forgettable characters, convoluted animation. YOU WILL NOT HATE THIS SHOW BECAUSE OF THE SOUNDTRACK BECAUSE THAT EQUALS A SWIFT ROUND HOUSE TO THE HEAD OR A HAYMAKER TO THE HEAD IF YOU CAN’T GET YOUR LEG UP THAT HIGH. You could just be like me. In the middle, trying to figure out why you enjoyed yourself so much when there wasn’t much of a story that you could piece together. Maybe a story isn’t the most important aspect of a show sometimes. Maybe the story doesn’t have to make a whole lot of sense or have a huge plot for the viewer to enjoy the experience. Maybe so or Maybe no. Hate or Love It, FLCL is going to stay on top and will continue to be a cult classic while gaining love and hate from each person who experiences this fun OVA.
Overall Rating: 8.8
RIDE ON SHOOTING STAR. STAY GOLDEN.