Episode Count: 6
Version reviewed: English Dubbed / Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 19 Apr 2007
Gainax at their most experimental…
Naota lives in a boring town where nothing exciting ever happens. He’s creeped out by his older brother’s girlfriend who is making advances at him while his brother is overseas. (She is 17, Naota is 12…) He gets run over by a bright yellow Vespa driven by a crazy woman, who then clobbers him with her bass guitar. Then robots start coming out of his forehead…
Have I lost you yet?
I have no idea how to explain FLCL. At this writing, I have seen the series in its entirety a total of four times; three in english, one in japanese. I still have only a modest grasp of what is exactly going on in this series. FLCL is one of those titles that you just have to see for yourself to appreciate, and at six episodes, that’s not an unreasonable task. The thing is that those six episodes are crammed with just about every twisted idea the people at Gainax could throw at it. If it is chaos you seek, here’s your show.
There is a plot, though you have to dig a little bit to find it. At the same time, the plot isn’t buried. It is just surrounded by so much chaos that you have to actively be tracing it through the series to keep track of it. Ironically, I found the theme of the series to be more discernable than the plot. At its core, FLCL is a coming of age story focusing on Naota. In that respect, it resembles the sister Gainax series Magical☆Shopping Arcade Abenobashi which would follow a couple of years later. Amidst the sensory barrage that is FLCL, there is a lot of symbolism to be found and deciphered, and it will almost certainly take repeat viewings to pick up on it all. As I mentioned, after four viewings I am still connecting all the dots. This is a six episode series! For so much to be squeezed into a series this short is indeed an accomplishment.
What else is there to say about FLCL? Watch it. Be bewildered by it. Watch it again. Watch for details you missed the first time around. Watch it one more time. Look for more details. This is a series that begs to be rewatched, and will be different each time because it is so densely packed with symbols and… stuff! Blink, and you’ll miss something. Your head may start to hurt while trying to make sense of it all, but think of it this way: at least you don’t have a giant robot trying to come out of it.
Oh yeah… the soundtrack by The Pillows rocks.