FLCL really is in a league of its own. There is much more than meets the eye when first glancing at this 6 episode anime. Besides it being slewed with sexual innuendos, there is a deeper meaning in what is happening here. Think of Fooly Cooly as an art needing interpretation. Leaving some things open-ended, does make the mind wonder on what is happening.
Art Can Be Found In The Strangest Of Places
In the past, film and art that left the imagination of the viewer did have the most successes. You have to come to FLCL as a masterpiece needing your own interpretation so that it can apply to you on an emotional level.
What makes this anime so great is because of that “Left for interpretation” feel it gives off. That means the viewer themselves, can really create what they want out of this story, and that is, what I believe appeals to most audiences and what creates a really great film. Something that makes you think and makes YOU decide.
Since this anime is so fast-paced, it’s definitely worth a rewatch to catch all the little things that it’s insinuating. (And maybe even another rewatch after that)
Generally, the first season is about a kid fighting the fact that he’s a child, and wants to act older than he is. Then in a twist fights against puberty, eventually allowing it to take hold and change him. In the end, he decides to really just live the life of a child. (This is where implication really is needed. Otherwise, you can very much get lost in the sauce that is Fooly Cooly.)
Watch Your Head, Your Mind Might Be Blown
For a simple run-down of the story:
(SIDE NOTE: There are spoilers ahead) (Side-side Note: Yes, this is a SIMPLE rundown of the story)
FLCL is a coming-of-age story that revolves around a 12-year-old boy named Naota.
His average life in the city of Mabase gets interrupted and turned upside down by the arrival of the alien force that is Haruhara Haruko. She full speed rams into his life and quite literally runs him over with her yellow Vespa, gives him CPR, bringing him back to mental stable-ness, then hits him on the head with a blue bass guitar.
Naota discovers that the blow to his head created an out of this world “N.O.” portal, from which giant robots/alien mechanics produced by a company known as Medical Mechanica emerge at the perfect moments, (leaving great openings to add sexual insinuations).
The first of these robots/aliens is hit on the head by Haruko and turns friendly to Naota and his family, and becomes like their own personal butler throughout the season, and is later named Canti. This company called Medical Mechanica seems to want to “iron out the wrinkles” of our world, and a lot is left unsaid in how that goes.
But Naota is also being watched by Commander Amarao, a special agent of the Bureau of Interstellar Immigration, who believes that Medical Mechanica is out to conquer the galaxy. While Haruko’s scheme unfolds and its discovered that she is an investigator for the Galactic Space Police Brotherhood and all she really wanted was the Pirate King, Atomsk.
What Happens At The End of FLCL? [*Spoilers*]
In the end, the world is saved by Atomsk who was lying dormant inside of Canti and then absorbed temporarily by Naota, to defeat this Medical Mechanica doomsday device. Atomsk leaves Naota’s body and leaves the planet. Haruko then follows suit taking her Vespa on a flight into outer space.
The city has resumed its normal day-to-day operation, and Naota is back to believing as he always has that life there is, and always has been, ordinary.
*whew* a lot to take in in only 6 episodes, even just reading it.
The beginning of this season gave off that early 90’s teen angst kind of vibe. With the main character trying to dull down what was happening around him with “Nothing amazing happens here. It’s just ordinary.” a somewhat depressive character, fighting with the fact that he is in between childhood and being an adult, rather than finding a common ground.
Its story and basis are a bit random and crazy and you don’t really get a sense of the storyline until its last episode. But this series really did touch the imaginations and hearts of many and created a fandom for FLCL. It’s insane to imagine a series only having 6 episodes and creating such a following forward. It really is its own entity and genre.
OH! But The Animation!
The animation itself really draws on an art form, each episode using different animation styles. It usually holds true to traditional anime style, with splashes of western cartooning, even abstract animation, into flat out copying other animation styles that were popular at that time. *Cough* South Park reference *cough.*
The reason for the chaotic and interchanging style FLCL carried with it, was because of Director Kazuya Tsurumaki. FLCL was made with himself in mind. Adding in easter eggs of things he liked and stuff that made sense to only himself.
There were robots, because he wanted there to be robots, He believed that left-handed people were more extroverted, so he made Haruko and a few other characters left handed, He believed people who were leaders liked eating spicy food, If you really pay attention you will even see a picture of him in one of the episodes.
Even his hand was shown in the ending episodes, He picked the band The Pillows because he really did enjoy their music, the ending credits show his Vespa driving around, and the list goes on and on. It kind of had the Final Fantasy effect. Throw all the things you like into one pot and see what happens.
As quick, and as strangely FLCL dropped into our lives and started this train of nonsense, was how swift it ended, leaving the viewer wanting so much more. Wanting answers to all the questions Fooly Cooly brought up. Sadly it took some time before we got that chance.
I went into season 2 with high hopes that it would ring true to its predecessor. Although it was very different. It has some similar attributes, but to call it FLCL is a bit of a stretch.
The original was raunchy and promiscuous and seemed unplanned. However, constructed in its ways — and just plain random in direction — it told a beautiful story. A story that somehow came through all of these crazy elements.
I did not feel that with this one. It felt like just another anime. It’s too “organized”. Although it does keep you feeling like you have no idea whats going on, it’s not in that erratic way. So I took a step back and tried to look at it as its own anime, using some of the same characters. That helped when going forward with this second season.
From the looks of things many years have passed since Naota and Haruhara Haruko had their adventure together. There still seems to be a war fought between the two entities known as Medical Mechanica and Fraternity waging on across the galaxy.
The new protagonist is a young teenaged girl named Hidomi, who has something in common with Naota’s belief of everything being average and of no interest. She is also a somewhat depressive character who shows no interest in most things around her, which makes her comparable to our original protagonist.
Also in that same respect, things very much get turned on their head when a familiar face becomes a new teacher at Hidomi’s school, Haruko! As always Haruko brings craziness into everyone’s life, and now there’s a new other-worldly woman associated with Haruko named Jinyu.
A Progressive Plot?
Not too long after, Medical Mechanica is attacking Hidomi’s hometown, and a secret is revealed that there is something inside of Hidomi that could save everything, but this secret is only known to Haruko and Jinyu.
Somehow Haruko believes she can unlock this. But as we have learned in the past, Haruko is not exactly one for doing something just for the good of others. Could this “Unlocking” be in a good direction? Or for her own benefits?
Watching the new season of FLCL felt a bit more forced to keep that different vibe, instead of just being random. It is more of a traditional anime. Traditional artwork, style, and storyline. Also having a lot of sexual energy thrown at you in a heavy force.
It does have some relative content, keeping to that original, (distorted, but there) storyline that we ended on in the first season. It implies that our world can be cookie cutter, and how the people become sheep and followers, symbolically zombies. The main character seems lost in her own world and implying most people in this time frame are easily manipulated.
So it could be implying that Medical Mechanica may have still kept with their plan to iron out all our kinks. Which shows that there is still a deeper and darker meaning behind this anime, like the original.
There is an opportunity for this anime to go in a very ominous direction, and give us an emotional ride. (God, I hope it does) What worries me, is that a lot needs to happen in only 6 episodes time.
So I Am saying There Is A Chance! Possibly…
We do get another season after this as well coined FLCL: Alternative. Which we got a sneak peek of on Toonami on April 1st. It was the Japanese version subbed in English, so it gave us that first look at what we have to look forward to in the 3rd season. But there is still so much left unanswered! So we’ll just have to wait and see what Fooly Cooly has to offer us.
We’re still in mid-throw with the new FLCL episodes coming out on Adult Swims’ Toonami every Sunday at 12AM. So there is still much to be interpreted with this new FLCL: Progressive.
I just hope we get some of our questions answered, like who exactly is Atomsk? What is Medical Mechanica, and what exactly do they want? Why did Haruko return to Earth? What happened to her Rickenbacker 4001 she left with Naota? Wheres Naota? And where did the human-type robot ‘Canti’ go?
For those of you interested in watching FLCL (new and old). The best source for the dubbed versions are available on the Adult Swim website, by logging into your cable/tv service provider, and if you prefer the subbed version, the original 6 episodes are on HULU.