FLCL, Fooly Cooly, or Furi Kuri, is an anime that I think defines style over substance. Don't get me wrong FLCL does some stuff well, but none of it ever contributes to developing anything with in the story. It's just... stylish.
FLCL is about a kid, Naota Nandaba
, who's enjoying a peaceful day walking on a bridge when a girl driving a scooter, Haruko Haruhara
, decides to hit him across the head with a rickenbacher bass and then... stuff happens.
Ok as you no doubt know by looking at the score of this review, I kind of don't like this show. But before I go on and bash this show in with a gibson thunderbird let's look at what the show does well. This show has, by far, the best credits sequence I've ever seen in any anime. Seriously, I really liked that credit sequence, probably even more than the anime itself. The show also has a really good sense of style, evoking stuff you'd see on a punk rock album cover. Everything from the music to the artwork fits this theme perfectly.
Here's where things start to fall off the rails though, the show is obsessed with it's style so much so that it sacrifices elements that would make the story compelling. Sometimes the show would just do stuff with out explanation, usually involving animation that is too frantic to tell what's going on. Plus the writing for this show as well as the continuity for the show is just downright bad. Now it isn't the worst writing I've ever seen in a show but it has some serious flaws.
One of my biggest gripes is that none of the characters are fully imagined at all, and only three characters actually have motivations with in the show. Haruko has motivations, but revealing what those are would be spoilers. Amarao
have motivations, those being trying to stop Haruko. But everyone else in the series has no drive what so ever and that leads the audience, or me atleast, to not have compassion for anyone. Hell I don't even have compassion for the characters who do have something motivating them.
As if the lack of motivation for the characters wasn't enough, the show tries to pull off romantic relationships. The problem here is that the show doesn't care about the continuity of these relationships. Take for instance this, in episodes one and two Naota seems to have a somewhat romantic relationship with Mamimi Samejima
, then in the third episode he falls for Eri Ninamori
, then in the fourth episode he's romantically linked with Haruko for no apparent reason, then he's back to Mamimi in the fifth episode! What the hell! Naota just bounces around from romantic interest to romantic interest with no explanation! Did the writers not care who he was with? All I'm asking for is some sort of consistency between the protagonists relationships.
The show would've been better if it would just explain stuff. Besides the sporadic switching of the Naota's love interests there's key points to the show that aren't explained. The biggest example of this are the robotic creatures that sprout from Naota's head. Now you would think something like giant robots sprouting from the main characters head would be expanded upon with in the story. No. It's not expanded on. We know the cause of it, Haruko hitting him over the head with her rickenbacher, but we don't know why that causes robots to spring forth. Does she have a magic rickenbacker? Does Naota's head have specific properties that causes this to happen? Anything FLCL? No it just happens.
Look no show has to explain absolutely everything, but when you don't explain anything you have problems. You can't just do random stuff because it will fit the style of the show, you have to have some sort of context.
My final complaint is that chaotic moments don't translate to the show being funny. Now humor is very subjective but as a whole I didn't find this show to be funny at all. Maybe it's just me? Maybe the chaotic moments with in the show were only good enough to get a chuckle from me here and there. Overall I just didn't laugh at it. The show certainly tried to make me laugh but having the show turn into a manga comic isn't going to do it.
Overall, FLCL is not the worst anime of all time. It's not good, but it does a few things well, mostly the style of the show. Sadly I felt that the show was too focused on trying to be stylish that it forgot how to tell a story. Maybe if the show had a strict editor this wouldn't be an issue, but alas what we're left with is a show that's ultimately hollow that tries to be cool.