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FLCL (Fooly Cooly)

Take the budget of a full-length TV series, the overwhelming non-stop humor of Jubei-chan or Kodomo no Omocha, the deep psychology and symbolism of Evangelion, and a fresh rock score by the Japanese band The Pillows, mix it together and compress it into six episodes, and the result is FLCL (pronounced furikuri). This OVA series has a plot so dense and opaque that even after multiple viewings I have a difficult time explaining it! However, even when I'm grasping at the finer details of the show, I always have a huge grin on my face when watching it. It's so entertaining and well-done it doesn't matter that I don't understand all that's going on!

12-year-old Naota already has enough problems dealing with the not-so-subtle advances of his older brother's girlfriend, but his life only gets worse when he runs into Haruko. Or, I should say, when she runs into him with her Vespa and then pounds him on the head with her electric guitar. That evening Naota returns home to discover that Haruko (who claims to be an alien) is their new houseguest, and shortly thereafter a mysterious growth begins to form on his forehead. And it gets crazier. FLCL has aliens, secret organizations, conspiracies, dysfunctional families, twisted social relationships, baseball, rock and roll, satirical pop culture references (there's a hilarious South Park parody scene), and some of the best-designed robots you'll ever see in an anime. If it can be reduced thematically (it has more symbolism than you can shake a forest at), FLCL is a young boy's coming-of-age/sexual awakening story, but this is only my opinion--everyone interprets the series differently. Director Tsurumaki Kazuya (oft-overlooked assistant director of Evangelion and director of the first half of The End of Evangelion) succeeds in producing an anime that not only defies description and confuses the hell out of most of its viewers, but resonates on a level of reality and personal meaning rarely achieved through more traditional, conservative storytelling methods. If you enjoy stuff that's off-the-wall, or if you appreciate animation at its technical best (it was made entirely on computers), FLCL is a must-see. It will change the way you look at anime, film, and electric guitars. Production I.G. and GAINAX have done it again.

Verdict

It will confuse you. It will make your head hurt. But you will love it, and you will want to see it again. And again. And again. If you haven't figured it out by now, it's highly recommended.

FLCL links

All images used on this page are copyright GAINAX Co., Ltd., and are used with permission.