Let’s do a quick rewind. While exploring the wonderful world of anime last night, I found out that one of my favourite animes is getting a sequel which is set to air in 2017 or 2018. Now, while, of course, that is far away in the distant future, I was really thrilled about the news and decided to review the original series.
So what’s it about?
FLCL follows a brief period of time in the life of 12-year-old Naota Nandaba. Naota lives in the fictional town of Mabase which is fairly normal aside from the clothing-iron shaped building that belongs to a corporation known as Medical Mechanica. A Vespa riding Haruko Haruhara ‘drives’ into Naoto’s life and what ensues is absolute C-H-A-O-S. Seriously, there is no better way to put it, this anime is 6 episodes of chaos!
To binge or not to binge?
FLCL is only 6 episodes, just binge watch it. In fact, it lends itself to binging because you get fragments of the story along the way so it’s better to have all the pieces laid out in one stretch as opposed staggering out the process. But that doesn’t mean all your questions will be answered at the end of it.
Is it a gateway anime?
There are a lot of references to other animes (and even a reference to South Park), to appreciate it, you need to be familiar with anime. However, there is so much in FLCL that no audience member will ever understand and for that reason, you could certainly watch it as your gateway anime and take what you will from it.
Dub or sub?
If you want to be a purist, you can go with the Japanese version. I say this because the voices chosen in the Japanese version were done so with the creator’s specific artistic vision in mind. That being said, the dubbed version is great, it follows the trend of great anime dubs that Cowboy Bebop started. While comparing the two I noticed that a lot of the translations in the subtitles were directly used for the dubbed script, which is usually not the case in dubbed versions.
What’s to like?
In the technical areas – I love the animation, granted, it probably looks outdated now, but it has a poetic feel to it, not to mention they explore different styles of drawing/animation within the 6 episodes. The music is great, it’s a punk/alternative rock soundtrack which works perfectly with the anime. In terms of story – at the heart of it all, FLCL is a coming of age story. I think that’s what you need to keep in mind while watching it. Another thing is, FLCL was quite a daring project, it is not based on a popular manga, light novel, or game, it’s 6 episodes made from the vision of one man. To really understand this anime you would probably need to climb into Kazuya Tsurumaki’s head. Which brings me to the fact that – this anime begs to analysed, you don’t take it at face value. You can watch it several times and each time you will derive something new from it, at least I have. If you do watch this anime, about 10 minutes in, you are going to think – what on Earth am I watching? However, be patient, watch all six episodes. Think about it. Then watch it again and think about it some more. Of course, if you don’t want to invest that much in this anime, you can check out these analyses of FLCL which will give you some idea of what is going on in the anime.