During my conquest of all things anime a couple of friends recommended I watch this small series called Fooly Cooly. They guaranteed that I would love it and would just talk about how crazy it was. I asked them what it was about but they wouldn't let me in on the plot. They just gave me small bits where the characters would break the fourth wall, that the show was generally perverse and it was revealed to me that Fooly Cooly means "to fondle a woman's breasts". With these clues I came to the conclusion that this would be your run-of-the-mill, meta, satirical and raunchy comedy anime.
Pretty much it was none of these things.
Your first time viewing FLCL the only thought that will probably be going through your mind is "What the fuck is going on in this anime?" as you blankly sit there with a look on your face that is halfway between confused and concerned. But you can't even concentrate on thinking about it for too long and putting the pieces together because the show just throws more things at you to literally make you gape in amazement but you don't even know what it is that you're loving so much.
My friends told me Fooly Cooly was a lot like Scott Pilgrim. And they were right. Although it would probably be more correct to say that Scott Pilgrim is like Fooly Cooly. Which makes sense because Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O'Malley credited FLCL as being a major inspiration for him.
It's easy to see what concepts and styles he carried into SP. FLCL is about Naota, a young boy who is leading a normal life until a crazed young woman claiming to be an alien runs him over with her motor-bike and throws this average kid into an insane, logic-defying adventure packed with pop-culture references and over-the-top action.
And it's easy to see why my friends knew I would love it.
I was really lost the first time I watched FLCL about two nights ago. Everything is incredibly disjointed and I could not make any sense of anything. I cannot stress enough how hard it was to connect any two scenes together. I finally understood how people felt when they said they found Scott PIlgrim confusing- a feeling I never experienced. But Scott Pilgrim is still a much more linear story that is supposed to make sense behind all the madness. It's straightforward. FLCL is never straight on what it's trying to tell you. There are a series of underlying themes for every bit of action and dialogue. The consensus is that it's a coming-of-age story. I won't tell you how. It'll be more fun if you make the connections yourself.
It's a hell of an adventure. Bryan Lee O'Malley was right. For an anime from ten years ago this one is completely stunning in it's animation and it's execution. Everything works together to form a perfect combination of sound, look and plot that ensures anyone watching wouldn't be able to avert their eyes as they're totally sucked into the insanity of Naota's life. And for 6 episodes it really packs a powerful punch. I thought I would be done in no time but the show is so mentally draining (in a good way!) that I was always checking how much time remained in an episode thinking I must have long surpassed the 21 minute runtime.
So to sum it all up: FLCL is an exciting, charming, funny and surprisingly sweet story that could only be done with anime. I have ordered my Blu-ray copy of the series on Amazon and look forward to sharing it with friends for years to come.