“Naota Nandaba is an ordinary sixth grader living in a city where nothing amazing ever seems to happen. After his brother Tasuku leaves town to play baseball in America, Naota takes it upon himself to look after everything Tasuku left behind—from his top bunk bed to his ex-girlfriend Mamimi Samejima, who hasn’t stopped clinging to Naota since Tasuku left.
Little does Naota know, however, that his mundane existence is on the verge of being changed forever: enter Haruko Haruhara, a Vespa-riding, bass guitar-wielding, pink-haired psychopath whose first encounter with Naota leaves him with tire tracks on his back and a giant horn on his head. Though all he wants is some peace and quiet, when Haruko takes up residence at his parents’ home, Naota finds himself dragged into the heart of the greatest battle for supremacy that Earth—and quite possibly the entire universe—has ever seen.” – MAL Synopsis
So um, FLCL (pronounced fooly cooly) might be the weirdest piece of media that I’ve ever consumed. This show is just plain weird and at times feels all over the place. But for some reason, it just works. I faintly remember being a kid and seeing one of these episodes on Adult Swim. I was confused and intrigued at the time. Now about a decade later after finishing the show, I have the exact same feelings. FLCL is like nothing that I’ve ever seen before.
FLCL’s story is very confusing. Everything in the synopsis pretty much covers the basics without spoiling any major events. So how did I feel about it? Well, I’d be lying if I said I understood the underlying themes and even the story in general fully. But It does start to make more sense towards the end. Now that I’m writing this a few days removed from finishing it, some of the themes are starting to resonate more and make more sense. This story is going to linger in your mind whether you liked it or not. I don’t want to dig too deep into it, because I genuinely feel this show is worth a watch for anybody. What everyone will take away from the show will probably differentiate a little or a lot. My main takeaway was that I just watched some go through the hardships of puberty, growing up, and trying to figure out their place in the world and other people’s lives. Now me personally not being far removed from that time of my life (it’s been about 7 years now) that time of my life is still pretty fresh in my mind. So no matter how ridiculous the story on the surface is. The emotions felt very real. Also on top of all of that, the comedy in this show is on point 9/10 for me. When the show parodies another or pays homage it’s always fun, and nice to see as well.
Naota is one of those characters that you could write a full essay on. The main character who’s “ordinary life” gets turned upside down. What I loved about him was he felt like a real 13 year old going through changes and an array of emotions. His reactions felt real, his actions felt reasonable given his character. I’m also sure there are people out there that can connect with the emotional manipulation that he goes through during this short series. As well as seeing him go through an emotional high just to be brought crashing back down to earth. Naota is a very compelling and complex character.
Haruko is a character that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to accurately break down. She’s someone that you have to watch to even begin understanding her, as I doubt my words would do her justice. I will say though, I loved her character and the mystery around her. While everyone in this show has their comedic moments. She has the most, and she is the funniest character out of the bunch.
Mamimi is very weird. A 17-year old, who clings on to Naota because of her love for his brother. The whole dynamic is weird and very emotionally manipulative. When the story starts to unfold I started to appreciate her character a lot more and in a way feel bad for her in some moments. But, as is the case with really this whole show, you have to watch it to fully grasp this character and draw a conclusion for yourself.
This show looks beautiful. The animation style is very well hand-drawn with backgrounds that look like a high-quality art class drawing. As I mentioned before, the show likes to parody others sometimes. So sometimes they’ll switch the art style like having a manga style panel sequence, or turning the whole show into South Park, etc., etc. Things like that make me appreciate the animators’ taste and passion for animation. Outside of that and back to when it’s the regular art style. Man, it’s so fluid. The action scenes, in particular, look phenomenal and then the icing on the cake is this show has a kick-ass soundtrack. I don’t listen to rock music, but this soundtrack might’ve turned me into a fan. Every guitar track on here is a banger. When the action scenes are going and you hear the guitar and drums and the music starts going. It’s just great.
I know I’m beating a dead horse right now, but I think my conclusion should have been clear very early on. I love this show, and it is very much worth a watch. I feel that even if you hate this show with every bone in your body, there was still something of note that you can take away from it. And that’s a true sign of something great. What Gianax was able to accomplish and convey in 6 episodes is nothing short of phenomenal, and it has me looking forward to the successor seasons (even though I haven’t heard the greatest things about them). Everything in this show will stick with me for a very long time, it has left its mark on me. As an aside, someone made a great post on Reddit a few years back about what FLCL meant to them. I think it is a great read so I’ll link that right here.
FLCL – 9/10