Nov 08

Anime of the Week – FLCL

Gainax's Greatest Hit?

Gainax. A name infamous to anime fans everywhere. Between Evangelion, Gurren Lagann and the recent Panty & Stocking, you can always rely on them to churn out something… memorable, every now and again. But arguably their greatest hit and one of the best anime’s of the last decade, was a much less heard of 6 episode OVA called FLCL. Hit the link to find out why.

FLCL, pronounced by some as “Fooly Cooly”, follows the childhood of Naota, a 12 year old boy living in a typical Japanese suburb, and how his life completely changes when Vespa riding, Gibson wielding, alien on a mission Haruko crashes straight into him and gives him CPR with a guitar to the face, leaving Naota with a weird lump on his forehead. From which giant robots and various other implements come into existence, engaged or coerced by our two protagonists. So, pretty par for the Gainax course.

What makes the story, besides the zany sense of humour and the superb soundtrack (more on that shortly), is the focus on Naota’s coming of age (despite the circumstances), and how he deals with life’s increasingly bizarre situations. From running to moping to finally stepping up and dealing with his problems, you experience Naota’s evolution with your own eyes.

Back to that soundtrack. Almost all the music for the series was provided by J-Rock band The Pillows, with their first three albums all being raided, along with two new songs exclusively for FLCL, the ending theme “Ride on Shooting Star”, and “I Think I Can”, both of which are well worth a listen (along with the entire OST).

And then of course there’s the animation itself. OTT barely scratches the surface. From the crazy camera pans, to the animated manga scene, to the fourth-wall breaking, to the “solve all your problems by smashing them in the face with a guitar”, and that’s just the first episode. You WILL have to watch the series multiple times to have a good understanding of what the hell’s happening, but with FLCL that’s always a pleasure, rather than a chore.

And if you’re still not convinced, well, we’ll be showing an episode at Anicom soon, so you can make your own opinions then. Or you could, y’know, buy the DVD. You get to listen to director Kazuya Tsurumaki (now working on the Eva Rebuild movies) attempt to explain his own series, as well as the dub, which is pretty darn good. There’s a reason FLCL was a smash hit on Adult Swim, afterall.

Know of an anime series or OVA you think deserves a place here? Give us an e-mail at anicomhivemind@gmail.com with the subject “Anime of the Week” along with a 300 to 500 word description of said comic, or just talk to me (Sean) in person and we’ll see what we can do. Thanks muchly.