FLCL: A Bunch of Nonsense With Meaning

Like most of you reading this article, I initially watched FLCL(Fooly Cooly) when it aired on Adult Swim in the early 2000s. Like most of you, I had no idea what the fuck was going on. FLCL was 3 hours of madness. Probably the most fun I could ever have with a complete anime series all clumped into 3 hours. I didn’t know why I liked it, what about it was interesting or what kept me watching. But, they had my undivided attention. It has been over 16 years since FLCL ended but I decided to take the time to watch season 1 since the trailer for season 2 and 3 was showcased at Anime Expo. Not like I spent much time since there are only 6 episodes but alas, it was the time I could’ve spent playing Persona 5.

If you haven’t watched FLCL before, as surprised as I am to know that there are people that haven’t seen it, go watch it! I think I can wait 3 hours for you. Don’t worry I will be here. By the way please bring Pizza on your way back. STARVING!

Welcome back. Dude… you forgot the bacon…

Okay, so you probably didn’t go watch it. Lucky for you, I don’t mind wasting time to provide a synopsis. Boy meets girl. Girl hits the boy with bass. Otherworldly creatures come out of boys forehead. The girl is an alien that now lives with the boy. hilarity ensues.  That’s it. I swear, I’m not kidding. This anime is very wacky but when I rewatched the series I was able to find much more enjoyment with it. I was able to see the underlying symbolism and great small snippets that were added to really create a unique experience that I’ve yet to find in another anime.

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I won’t lie and say that I walked away from this series really knowing what Fooly Cooly actually means, but what I can say after completing the series is, it means nothing. I know that furi kuri means something along the lines of fondling a girl’s breast but it doesn’t seem to really fit its overall use in the show. The only time it utilized this way is when Naota’s father is talking about Haruko. Any other time it seems to mean nothing.

Though this series is very wacky, it seems that everything has a purpose if you were to dissect scenes or specific shots. I made it a point to do a bunch of research after I completed it for my own personal curiosity.  As much as I felt like I had a good grasp of what was going and what the creator wanted to present to me, I was constantly questioning why they did specific things that felt out of place.  What importance was within this specific frame am I missing. I know it’s there but what is it? Once you start going down the rabbit hole, a whole new world or level to FLCL appears. You learn that this wasn’t just a bunch of hijinks. They weren’t just trying to mesh a bunch of shit together. There was meaning behind the mask of nonsense. Though the creator did add a bunch of unnecessary things to it because he thought it was cool.

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Okay, I can’t really explain what is going on here but you see the Lupin reference.

FLCL was created by Gainax who created Neon Genesis Evangelion and also went on to make Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann in 2007 a few years after FLCL.  If you’ve seen any of Gainax’s works or the ones I mentioned, it totally explains some of the animation you see in the series. FLCL does so much in such a small amount of time in reference to their animation. They go from some very simple animation such as the South Park style they went for on episode 3 to this:

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One of my favorite scenes in the whole series is when Naota comes home to find Haruko, the woman that spent all day terrorizing him, sitting at his dinner table eating with his family. During this scene, it is made entirely with manga panels. I loved every second of it. I initially thought man this is so good! I know they’d probably never do this again but man that was good. Then on the last episode, they did it again! This time addressing how much work it was to do and how they were asked not to do it again but they did it anyway. Otherwise, they would ultimately be called lazy. Self-aware anime is the best anime.

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Besides the different approaches the animation studio takes, it’s only part of what makes this series memorable and impactful. The music of FLCL leaves a lasting impression. The music was made by The Pillows, an underground band at the time. With songs like Last Dinosaur and Ride on Shooting Star, you can understand why fans fought for The Pillows to return for the next two seasons. To this day I listen to all of the music not just for nostalgia’s sake but because it is great music that can withstand time. When I first watched the new trailer for FLCL season 2 and 3, I could not get that music out of my head!

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I can talk about this series all day honestly. It’s great and there are many layers to it even if it has such a short run time. I’m very happy to see that it will finally be continued almost two decades later but I am a tad bit concerned seeing as Cartoon Network has been trying to get Kazuya Tsurumaki, the creator, to make another season for years. I am just hoping that the vision that he initially had when creating this amazing series isn’t clouded by money. What are your thoughts about FLCL 2 and 3? Are you as excited as I am? Let me know down below and drop a like if you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed the series!

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You thought I was going to do a whole article without those eyebrows?

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