So I’ve watched FLCL in its entirety, now. Does it live up to hype? Did it simulate what it’s like to “falling in love for the first time” like my friend Lars Brown said so long ago? Maybe. It’s certainly unique and I dug its dreamy, kinetic surrealism. I think the best compliment I can pay here is that I wish it were an ongoing series and I’m really curious as to why it isn’t. As the “resident Anime N00B” here, I have to say that I’m still not quite grasping the particulars of the OVN category. You have a much-beloved series here that audiences are still enthusiastic about, even 10 years after it was released - - it’d make a whole lot of sense for Gainax to follow it up. There were even a number of loose ends left at the end and a number of interesting characters who didn’t get as much facetime as I would’ve liked. I could understand why they’d hold off on doing it if this were a stand-alone feature - - Gainax might have said all they wanted to say - - but the thing about serializing a story is that audiences are immediately going to want more serial installments. So what gives? This whole story is only, what, two hours long? Why wasn’t it a feature? Is it perhaps some reality of the animation industry in Japan? Was this a finite idea that was too weird for Gainex to get financing as a feature, but by serializing it on TV, they could get enough ad revenue that further justify its creation? I’m just wondering aloud here because I would like to see more adventures of Naota and all the things that pop out of his head.
Anyway, those kind of observations aside, I believe this is one of those “ambiguous Japanese endings” I’ve so often heard of. A lot of things - - Haruko’s star lord lover, for one - - are introduced here that never quite resolved. I guess I’m supposed to infer my own answers, here. I’ll make a comparison here to work of one of my favorite American creators: Rob Schrab, who created SCUD THE DISPOSABLE ASSASSIN. He has a similar MO of mixing hormone-charged dream logic with the tropes of a kinetic Saturday Morning cartoon. Which I find endlessly compelling. SCUD’s been a source of creative inspiration to me and I can definitely count FLCL into that, as well. I just want to see more!
Oh! And I have to say that the whole bit about a giant iron smoothing out the face of Earth and the fold of our brain, in turn, was inspired! That's the kind of kookoo-crazy concept I love.
-- 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.