While watching the first episode of FLCL, I couldn’t help but interpret Naota’s pointy cranial protrusions as being Freudian symbols of his advancing puberty. After this second episode, I’m almost seeing a Kafka-esque quality. I say this because I’m not entirely clear on whether or not Mamimi is an arsonist herself, a frequent victim of arson or the host for some kind of fire-starting bugaboo. It’s hard to tell, given the spoken-word, free-association nature of Naota’s whole explanation of his town’s history of arson. I’m leaning to the last theory (regarding the bugaboo) because Naota seems to perform a sort of exorcism on her while she’s performing that cigarette ritual and the super-sized bio-mecha in this instance seems to be the “unclean spirit” he’s drawn out of her like venom from a wound. The fact that she keeps referring to the servant mecha as "a god" only furthers that interpretation.
This show elicited a genuine “Ha!” from me when Naota’s uncle goes on his whole convoluted metaphysical rant about the nature of their house servant mecha and the kid says something like, “Never mind him. He was the same way when he was talking about the greater meaning of Eva.” It’s nice to see the series blend the fantasy with the reality here and have the characters actually talking about other anime. I get particular amusement from that reference since I knew a kid in high school who was a huge EVANGELION fan and he’d share these rambling ideas about his own stories inspired by the series and he would just go on, and on, and on, and on.
The bit where the mecha craps Noata out was funny too, and I get a thrill out of seeing them combine earlier into a more powerful entity, as is the conceit of so many sentai shows. Is there some cultural conceit in Japan about robots with halos that I’m missing, though? I remember that androids in that TIME OF EVE show having halos and it seems like too specific an image to be a coincidence. Anyway, look out for my comments on episode #3 tomorrow.
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this April - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.