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FLCL

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Flcl-1.jpg
Introduction of Haruko in the first episode.

FLCL (Japanese フリクリ Furi Kuri, pronounced and officially romanized as Fooly Cooly) is a six-episode direct-to-video Japanese animated series (anime), the brainchild of director Kazuya Tsurumaki of Gainax and released by Gainax and Production I.G..

Contents

Style

FLCL is unusual because it is fast paced and can be confusing at first. Its hyperactive, occasionally juvenile, and illogical style can be misinterpreted, generally causing strongly opposing opinions of its value. There are many hints and hidden meanings underneath its surface. FLCL could be categorized as a comedy, drama, soap opera, science fiction, or horror story. Its comedic side is most noticeable, as it satirizes pop culture icons such as John Woo and South Park, not to mention other anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion (which was also produced by Gainax) and Lupin III. Puns and suggestive metaphors fly freely. However, its comedic elements at times overshadow what is, at its core, a coming of age story. The stranger elements often reflect the confusion and awkwardness of puberty (or possibly of mankind in general).

FLCL is an exercise in unconventional, self-referential anime. It is somewhat inaccessible to most viewers on all but the most superficial level. To appreciate the series, one has to first become acquainted with many anime conventions, and be able to see a second layer in the production. Otherwise, a viewer who is new to anime will simply be overwhelmed with the amount of unfamiliar content that the series presents in the very limited timeframe of three hours. The whole thing is quite surreal.

A significant element of FLCL's appeal is its music. Most of the background music was written and produced by the band "the pillows," which has generated mass success and appreciation since the anime's release abroad. Shinkichi Mitsumune wrote almost all of the rest of the music. Two soundtrack compact discs were released in Japan. There is also a significant amount of reference to guitars which are used symbolically throughout the series.

Story

Missing image
Flcl-2.jpg
The visual style changes with the shot.

The series focuses on Nandaba Naota, a twelve-year-old boy on the verge of puberty living in the fictional, strange, and yet ordinary Japanese suburb of Mabase. Particularly, activities which start when a strange energetic girl named Haruhara Haruko drives up on a Vespa and whacks him in the forehead with a heavily-modified left-handed Rickenbacker bass guitar with a chainsaw start motor.

It is gradually revealed that Haruko is fighting a company named Medical Mechanica (whose building looks like a giant clothes iron) in Mabase.

Naota lives with his lecherous father Kamon and his baseball-coaching grandfather Shigekuni at their family bakery. Naota greatly admired his older brother Tasuku, a baseball phenomenon who has gone to United States to play baseball, but now resents that he has gone. Note that Tasuku, though often referenced, only appears in the series through flashback scenes. As the series progresses, it is apparent that Naota has grown up without a maternal figure. In addition to being hounded by Haruko, who uses a portal in his head to transport objects over long distances, he is being watched by a man named Commander Amarao, who with his assistant, Lt. Kitsurubami, have become involved with Haruko and Medical Mechanica for intergalactic legal reasons, and are attempting to save the earth by stopping both Haruko and Medical Mechanica (M.M.).

The plot also involves Mamimi, a socially delinquent girl who used to be Tasuku's girlfriend. Alone and friendless, she leans on other things, such as Naota or her pet cat, all of whom she calls "Ta-kun."

The power of N.O. is what lets items be pulled out of characters' foreheads. N.O. comes from the co-operation of the right and left sections of the brain. When it is activated (usually from extreme scenarios including stress and duty) things can be pulled from anywhere in the universe. Naota's N.O. is responsible for the appearance of; Canti, Naota's Guitar, Atomsk's Gibson, three M.M. robots, and in the end, Atomsk himself.

Characters

The English edition of the FLCL anime uses the Japanese naming order for characters.

  • Nandaba Naota (ナンダバ・ナオ太), 12, is the main character. He believes he is normal, living in a normal town, full of crazy people. Unbeknownst to him, he has huge N.O. powers. Every episode he states that nothing ever happens in his town, even after the unexplainable and amazing happens. He carries his brother's baseball bat with him because he misses his brother. Naota is internally struggling with the recognition of his existence and independence from looking up to his brother, and to himself.
  • Nandaba Tasuku is Naota's older brother who moved to America to play baseball. Mamimi believes that, since Tasuku saved her from the fire at their old elementary school, he likes her. From context and the fact that he gets a another girlfriend in America, it is apparent that Tasuku has no real love for her. Although he never actually appears on screen, he does have some weight in the story.
  • Samejima Mamimi (サメジマ・マミ実), 17, believed herself to be Tasuku's girlfriend, though since he has gone away she dotes on Naota. She attends school infrequently, smokes and has pyromaniacal tendencies, and spends most of her time under a bridge. It is likely that her parents are separated. She has a rather peculiar tendancy to name many things after her personal nickname for Tasuku, "Ta-Kun".
  • Haruhara Haruko (ハルハラ・ハル子), 19 (or so she claims), is a pink-haired girl from outer space. She rides a yellow Vespa and wields a left-handed Rickenbacker bass guitar as a bizarre weapon of sorts. She becomes the Nandaba household's maid and plays on a rival team of the Mabase Martians for extra money. She has also apparently had past relations with Amarao. This mysterious character is the catalyst for FLCL's entire plot. Her real name is revealed to be Raharu Haruha.
  • Nandaba Kamon (ナンダバ・カモン) is Naota's father, a former pop culture journalist working as a freelance writer. For a while, Haruko tries to use a copy of the father's body as her plaything, though the corpse of the real father is eventually found and reanimated by Naota.
  • Nandaba Shigekuni (ナンダバ・シゲクニ) is Naota's grandfather. He owns the family bakery and coaches the local baseball team, the Mabase Martians. Because Mamimi was with Tasuku, he despises her.
  • Ninamori Eri (ニナモリ・エリ), 12, is Naota's classmate. She is the daughter of the mayor of Mabase and class president. She is interested in Naota.
  • Miyaji Junko is Naota's eccentric sixth grade teacher. Her students have given her the nickname "Miya-Jun".
  • Canti (カンチ, in Japanese Kanchi) is a robot with a television set for a head. He was manufactured by Medical Mechanica. It is later revealed that Atomsk was contained inside him. Atomsk's symbol appears on Canti's screen when he fuses with Naota.
  • Commander Amarao (アマラオ) works for the secret part of the Foreign Embassy department of the government. This group knows that aliens exist, and try to keep them from the public. Thus, Haruko/Raharu is a big problem for them. Amarao has fake eyebrows made of nori which protect him from N.O. Amarao seems to have had a past relationship with Haruko similar to Naota's.
  • Lieutenant Kitsurubami (キツルバミ) is an attractive young woman on Amarao's staff. Amarao makes a pass at her in the final episode, though she resists him.
  • Atomsk, also known as the "Pirate King" (海賊王), is the most powerful space pirate in the galaxy. His N.O. is great enough to steal planets, and when he uses his power in episode 6, the ground and items on it are moved by it. He is a bird-like creature, resembling a phoenix. Amarao is portrayed inaccurately imagining Atomsk's appearance as humanoid when he describes him to Naota. In an interview, the director clarifies that Atomsk's true form is indeed that of the bird, and Amarao's mental image was of a man because he believed that Atomsk and Haruko were lovers.

Episodes

The total run-time for this show is three hours with commercials. The IMDb has actually classified it as a movie.

The episodes are:

  1. Fooly Cooly (Japanese title: Furi Kuri (フリクリ))
  2. FireStarter (Japanese title: FiSta (ファイスタ))
  3. Marquis de Carabas (Japanese title: Maru-Raba (マルラバ))
  4. Full Swing (Japanese title: Furi Kiri (フリキリ))
  5. Brittle Bullet (Japanese title: Bura-Bure (ブラブレ))
  6. FLCLimax (Japanese title: Furi Kura (フリクラ))

Releases

The episodes were originally released in Japan on six DVDs. It was also released as a two-volume manga by artist Hajime Ueda, and a three-volume novel serialization by Enokido Yoji. All were released in Japan starting in 2000. The anime has subsequently been released on DVD in North America in three volumes by Synch-Point, while the manga was released by TokyoPop in two volumes (ISBN 159182396X and ISBN 1591823978). Both soundtrack discs, Addict and King of Pirates, were released by Geneon, and a third soundtrack is set for a June 7, 2005 release. FLCL has also been seen on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block in North America, starting in August 2003 and occasionally airing throughout 2003 and 2004. It is currently on Adult Swim again during its Saturday night lineup.

Notes/Trivia

  • The name of the company Haruko is fighting is spelled Medical Mechanica. It was misspelled in a scene in episode 2.
  • Most of the vehicles in the series (such as Haruko's Vespa, Miya-Jun's Volkswagen Beetle and Amarao's Volkswagen Rabbit) are European.
  • Many of the important characters are left-handed due to the director's belief that southpaws have more outgoing personalities than right-handed individuals. The same distinction is shown in the difference between those characters who enjoy spicy food or sour drinks, and those who don't.
  • To try to make the dialogue easier to understand in the English translation, there are some places where dialogue is different from the Japanese version. For example, in the Japanese third episode, a boy dressed like a mouse keeps asking Naota about the "chu-lady"; in Japanese, chu is the onomatopoeia for both a kiss and a mouse's squeak. Also, in Episode 5, Kitsurubami yells about the similarity between the kanjis for Mackerel and Blue in the Japanese version, rather than Cyborg and Robot as in the English version. Additionally a reference to a Japanese swimsuit idol was replaced by a reference to Anna Nicole in episode 2.
  • It was rumored that the whole series was merely an experiment by Gainax to test out new techniques, and they used a 26-episodes worth of budget to produce the high quality animation. More information can be found on the Director's Cut audio track and subtitles on the DVDs.
  • the pillows did the soundtrack for every song on the show except for three of them, which are "Selfish," "Yorrii Gallop," and "Pink."

External links

es:FLCL fr:Fuli Culi is:Furi Kuri ja:フリクリ pl:FLCL

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