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Once, there was an anime known as Neon Genesis Evangelion. And it was...depressing to say the least. So much so that even the creators became depressed, entering into a deep dark state of depression. What was Gainax to do? Question their existence? Ask why it had to be made?
How about make an anime that embodies their work as a whole.
Full to the brim with chaotic jokes, balls-off-the-wall craziness, uplifting themes, awesome music, and never ending insanity, FLCL (Or Fooly Cooly if you mind) represents everything that Gainax is. Though it is only six episodes long, The show never wastes a minute to showcase it's stuff.
The characters are just deep enough for you to care for and love them and shows us the reason behind their actions without destroying them in the progress. The animation is fluid and beautiful with the art style changing every once in a while to keep you laughing and weirded out. The battles are epic as all hell with logic being thrown out the window every moment. And the themes will warm your heart even amist the darkness of life.
I'd say that FLCL is an all-new anime but the truth is, it isn't. It's the pure essence of most of Gainax's productions just unfiltered and undiluted. In facing their greatest darkness, they found their brightest light.
That is the only proper way to describe FLCL...Or more accurately, Furi Kuri. This is probably one of the stranger works from Gainax and is actually one of the more light-hearted ones. Of course, Rather than shovel you shit that you probably know from reading the article, I will just sum it up in three Categories: The Pros, The Cons...and the HSQ
Let's start with the presentation. First off, the animation is done by Production IG and Gainax. It's self-explanatory. The animation is gorgeous. Of course, it's not perfect; there are some flaws, but the animation is so manic, psychotic, and smooth that you probably will ignore it in favor of Stuff Blowing Up. That...and the soundtrack...is...is...DAMMIT!
The characters are also very well done and are appropriately deep. While not as frighteningly complex as Evangelion's cast, They have the appropriate depth to help you understand them and their development through the story...
While the Characters aren't complex, the Actual story is more or less an Allegory. It uses tons of symbolism and many...many Freud Was Right Moments. Of course...that just adds to its hilarity and pure madness...
Too damn short. Could have used a few more episodes to further flesh out the characters...
While the characters remain Semi-realistic (With one Glaring exception), The story is convulted to the core. Purposefully insane and random, it is a Space Opera...and is more or less just a vehicle for the development of the Characters. While I understand that Gainax wanted to be creative on this one, They could have at least given it a better background story. Of course...that is the only bad part...But I am Biased and Horribly Slanted.
There are many...MANY action scenes. Most of them are improved by the fact that they were probably animated whilst the creators were intoxicated. Be Warned...There are plenty of these to go around.
If you like a Random, Amusing, But none too shallow series, Go ahead and watch it...But really, it is really a Love It Or Hate It Series. Of course...I fall on the "Love It" side of the coin.
I didn't find FLCL to be as chaotic or as mind screwy as people make it out to be. It reminded me of Looney Tunes to quite an extent, not that that's a bad thing. In fact, beyond the general art style used for most scenes, and the Japanese voice acting and names; it reminded me much more of an american cartoon than your typical Japanese anime, with its wacky, over the top slapstick humour, and an altogether fragile, if not non-existent, Fourth Wall.
I would perhaps not recommend this as a way of introducing others to anime, although those familiar with shows like Futurama or South Park shouldn't find anything especially difficult about it; however, ones viewership experience may be greatly improved simply by some background knowledge of Gainax and some general knowledge and interest of nerd culture, both within the anime fandom and otherwise. In fact, I found a lot of the humour to stem from general Gainax nerdiness, as that is really what it is, a celebration of all things nerdy. From the guitars to the cars to the references to other works, everything about FLCL spouts a glorious fountain of nerdiness, and I appreciate that. A great example of such nerdiness would surely be a line heard in one particular scene, namely:
"It's a Gibson EB-0, the 1961 model!"
Yeah... This IS a nerd fest.
The soundtrack wasn't amazing like everyone says it is, but it was pleasant enough and went with the show, and the closing theme is pretty awesome, but I can't say I shall be rushing out to buy The Pillows entire discography any time soon.
Still, very much worth my 10.93€, £9.23, $14.77, ¥1471.04, MXN$188.73, AUD$15.74, ₹919.01, or whatever the value is in any other currency you happen to understand the best. There was little beyond a few relatively mild comedic sex references and occasional scenes of smoking to render FLCL inappropriate in any real way for children, although parents may wish to watch FLCL beforehand to decide whether or not they feel it is suitable for younger children.
I must also mention the dub, as it is absolutely excellent, and this is coming from someone who could fairly be described as a dub hater. In fact, I would go so far as to recommend the dub OVER the sub, which is really quite an achievement in my book.
In a few words: love, sex, guitars, robots, rock and roll. Vespas, hospitals, nurse outfits, giant hands, even larger hand irons. The end of the world, and the end of childhood. All of adolescence condensed into two hours and thirty minutes. Is it a music video? A science fiction series? A comedy show? Why did the main character just get hit in the head by an electric guitar? Is that girl really an alien, like she says? What does it mean to overflow? Did they really just go there? Yes. They did.
FLCL isn't a show you watch—it's a show you feel. It possesses real, tangible weight, and absolutely none of it comes from pretension. It's a heartfelt evocation of adolescence, while at the same time steering clear of anything remotely cloying or sentimental. It is an Important Work that gleefully gives the middle finger to Important Works everywhere while riding a yellow Vespa into the sunset, cackling insanely. It is also completely impenetrable. Viewers watching it for the first time will be dazed. Viewers watching it for the second time will be confused. Viewers watching it for the third time will be elated. Viewers without a working knowledge of Japanese culture will be insulted. Viewers used to the conventional will be repulsed.
The soundtrack is phenomenal, most of it coming from the works of a Japanese rock band called the pillows. The animation is fantastic throughout, and some of the action sequences in the show are some of the most stylish ever filmed. The cast of characters is uniformly fantastic, from Naota to Haruka, Mamimi to Ninamori. The English dub is probably one of the best ever recorded. It used to cost about $350 on DVD, but now you can get it for around $20. It's a steal for that price. No joke.
It's not for everybody. But if it is for you, and it might just be for you, then it could very well end up in your favorites. Maybe even up there at the top. FLCL is my favorite anime of all time, and while it's a highly polarizing show and I've met plenty of people who don't like it, I think it should be required viewing for anyone interested in the medium. There's literally nothing else quite like it.
In short: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORGh9uU9NQs
And it's wonderful. This series is the most fun I've ever had with an anime. It's completely ridiculous, more over-the-top than anything you'll ever see, utterly bizarre, and it all works. It's silly, it's lighthearted, it's just pure fun. From giant robots popping out of people's heads (Without too much body horror or any gore) to guitars being used as superweapons against said giant robots, there is nothing that is logical or sensible in this universe. On top of that, it's gorgeously animated with a wonderful soundtrack accompaniment. If you haven't seen it, go do so. You won't regret it.
On another note, this series makes for excellent brain bleach. It helped this troper forget some of the horrors of End of Evangelion.
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