One night I was watching “Adult Swim” on Cartoon Network and my wife walks into the room and I was watching a rather strange anime program. She looked at it and asked me “What are you watching?” and the only response I could give was “I really have no idea”. It was the first episode (of six) of “FLCL”, also known as “Fooly Cooly” or “Furi Kuri”. It was an animated show that made very little sense – and knew it.
As the show begins a young boy, Naota tells how nothing ever happens in his town. The most exciting thing is this strange plant (manufacturing variety – not botanical) that looks a lot like a giant iron – and it even generates steam once a day. The boy doesn’t really do much, but hang out with his brother’s girlfriend, Mamimi, who is using him as a surrogate after his brother had moved to the US to play baseball. Mamimi is a high school dropout that has no real life beside Naota. It almost looks like a pleasant teen drama and maybe one of those “coming of age” films – that is until a girl shows up riding a Vespa scooter and bashes Naota in the head with a guitar?!?!
Confused yet? You will be. Soon Naota has a growth coming out of his forehead. If he keeps it covered with a bandage or hat over it stays hidden, but one night the bandage comes off and out of Naota’s head comes a robot. The robot looks almost human – except that it has a large Tv for a head. The Vespa woman, Haruka, tries to destroy the robot, but it gets away – and later moves into Naota’s house to be their live-in maid. Now, we’re starting to get confused, aren’t we?
Each episode actually does cover some “coming-of-age” issues while Naota continues to have random things coming out of his head. Haruka is trying to gain control over Naota’s strange abilities, Mamimi’s trying not to light everyone on fire, and Naota’s family continues to be completely clueless. Oddly enough, by the end of the sixth episode the show actually makes sense. It surprised me too!
The show itself uses some amazing animation techniques that can be found in other anime programs, but also uses some scenes that look like they’re straight of a manga – and then you see the cast sitting around commenting on how cheap it is for the animators to do those scenes that way. There’s even a scene where the animation looks like something straight out of “South Park”.
All the while, you’re treated to music by Japanese pop band, The Pillows. The music is always appropriate – but in Japanese which means that unless you know the language you’ll have no clue what they’re singing – but, who cares? It works for such a great and confusing show.
It’s available on DvD and is sometimes shown on Adult Swim. If you get a chance watch it today – and remember as you watch it that the show does eventually make sense.