52; 12022 H.E.
One time I heard someone describe FLCL as a fever dream of an anime. I think this reaction is justified, yet doesn’t do it the full honor it deserves. FLCL is by far the most unique and thrilling anime I have ever seen. Not only by its animation style choice, not only by its plot, not only by the ideas it’s evoking, but with the combination of everything listed and more, it creates something truly wonderful.
My close friends know that I have a weak spot for GAINAX and TRIGGER works, especially anything that Hiroyuki Imaishi touches. This one is no exception. It’s a bit of an old show, the same year that I was born, the wild 2000. It’s freely accessible on youtube. There are only six 20 minute long episodes, so it would be blasphemous of you not to watch it. This post will be a little different, because the show is so short, yet so incredibly dense, I’ll be making quick comments on my favorite parts and linking other essays that will do a better job explaining the core of Fooly Cooly.
FLCL is furiously fast-paced, unapologetic in what it is trying to do, and most of all, it is also highly experimental. Everything ranging from the art style, creative design choices, all the way to voice acting, and character-building is something you would not witness anywhere else, not even close. Oh my god, FLCL is accompanied by fabulous the pillows, whose songs go so hard that it almost feels as if it came from outer space. Please give the one below a good listen.
Have you ever seen a whole scene animated as if it were a manga? I’m not talking about Yakuza Turned Housewife, which is a PowerPoint with voices over. I’m talking about a fully dynamic scene, where the camera actively pans from one part of the manga page to another, where the manga itself is animated and truly brought to life. It takes some real creativity and courage to show such a scene to your audience.
Inexplicably, no matter how crazy the plot is, how little we know about anything that’s happening in front of our eyes, or how more and more surreal the feelings get, FLCL accomplishes brilliantly at reducing the emotional friction between you and the show’s atmosphere to something very close to nil. It absorbs you into its world, into its commitment to its belief, while keeping you energetically warm and excited for what comes next. This is the best I can put when typing this late at night, just because I felt I had to write about it.
Fooly Cooly is a coming-of-age story. Accepting yourself, your life, taking responsibility for your actions, stopping whining about life, and instead, living it with everything you are given in the moment of now. You may consider all the characters as little kids that can’t show you anything worthy of your attention and that would be your first mistake, and prove that the above claim doesn’t hold.
If someone tells me Mamimi is their favorite character, or any character from FLCL at that point, I would immediately know they do be real for that. There is something so genuine about the problems, desires, and conflicts that our characters face, such that for a regular modern viewer, it may seem all too boring or naive. I would dare to say that people making those claims lack the subtlety of a soul, of their emotional harmony to be able to notice thin, yet thrilling currents flowing in and out.
Hiding in Public has produced one of the best anime video essays I have ever seen on the platform. Highly recommend watching his The Lie of Relationships in FLCL and They’re Fake. It goes over some of the main topics very well, to the point that I would rather not paraphrase his thoughts into my own, better watch and enjoy the source. Thank you for keeping up with me on this absurd post I wrote falling asleep. It is my wish that people could enjoy FLCL for what it is, embrace all the drugs it’s on, and truly become a Fooly Cooly connoisseur. ◼︎