Anime Review: FLCL
Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo
This is a show that is near to my heart. Not because it’s good, not because it’s bizarre, and not because it has an interesting way of presenting its story, but because I was an impressionable young thirteen year old who was inspired by this show, and it has probably made me into the man I am today… so yeah, that’s pretty messed up. Why? Because nothing ever happens in Mabase; everything is ordinary. Y’know, except for that one time.
Pictured: That one time.
FLCL (Fooly Cooly), is a six episode original video animation produced by Gainax
revolving around the exploits of the level-
One thing that should be noted about FLCL is that it’s a visual mosaic of different
styles ranging from the subdued to South Park to the surreal: to say that the series
is experimental is not far off the mark. However, the show is a surreal comedy, and
remembers that it is, sometimes reminding you by breaking the fourth wall just in
case you forgot, so don’t let the term “experimental” make you think of some pretentious
Last Level Press can neither confirm nor deny that acid was involved
in either the conception or reception of FLCL’s imagery.
“But I’ve heard there is no story!” you might be saying. If not, you’re probably now thinking ‘Wait, people say there’s no story? But you just said there was!’ Truth be told, it’s not a narrative you get on your first watch of the show, and it’s not so much a story as it is an overarching theme in a plot. Now I know you’re confused, so I’ll try to fix that. FLCL is, at its heart, a story about a young boy who is on the onset of puberty and will start to transition from being a child to an adult; it’s a story about growing up and how that can be a difficult and confusing time. He sees all the adults in his life as foolish and immature, who don’t act their age when he tries to emulate what he believes an adult is, despite his childish tendencies such as not liking sour drinks or spicy food. In all its comedic and surreal nature, there is a simple story of dealing with adolescence in modern society. Does that sound a bit pretentious? It does, but it is executed in such a way that you don’t really see these things overtly. In a show that has only a scant number of slow moments the most of what you see are comedic scenes and visual metaphors. There is never a dull moment, never a blah moment, and never a phony moment.
Because really, you just can’t fake crazy like this.
After listening to the blooper reels, I feel I really do have to tip my hat to the
cast who performed this. Naota is voiced by Barbara Goodson (Wolf’s Rain, Fraggle
Rock, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) and boy is it hard to imagine anyone else for
this role. Goodson was more than capable of bringing the wide range needed for Naota,
a character who if he wasn’t calm and monotonous he’s yelling, screaming, freaking
out, or complaining. Haruko, voiced by Kari Wahlgren (Tales of Symphonia, Gravity
Falls, IGPX), could have been a risky move since it was her debut role, but her high-
FLCL is one of those shows that remains fun to watch even after all these years.
It’s strange, it’s surreal, it’s funny, and it’s even a bit tender at times. If you’re
a budding fan of anime, this would be one of my top five recommendations for you
to watch because this would be the very show that would come to mind if someone asked
you to describe what an anime is: craziness with strange hair and odd characters.
However, this might not be the sort of show you would want to get people interested
in anime unless they specifically want something like this. And with the whole series
complete in under three hours, you could watch this in a single afternoon or as a
Atmosphere & Experience: 9
Director: Kazuya Tsurumaki
Producer: Hiroki Sato, Nishizawa Masatomo
Release Date (N.A.): Sep 3, 2002
Release Date (JP): Apr 26, 2000
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