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FLCL? More Like Woolly Bully! - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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January 30th, 2008


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09:47 pm - FLCL? More Like Woolly Bully!
I had come across the name FLCL before in casual searches, but I didn't have a real desire to watch it until I learned that it was listed as an influence for my beloved Avatar. Then, following a posting of this awesome FLCL/Eva "Under Pressure"/"Ice, Ice, Baby" mash-up vid, duchessdogberry remarked that FLCL was her favorite anime. And, well, I knew she had good taste. I became even more excited to see it after unseenlibrarian made this comment:
Of course, all the complaints about the ending (And EoE) being incomprehensible...resulted in the creators going 'Oh yeah? We'll show -you- incomprehensible and weird!'

And then making FLCL.
Let me put it to you this way: FLCL is basically a show where ROBOTS GROW OUT OF PEOPLE'S HEADS AND THEN THE HOUSEMAID FIGHTS THEM WITH A BASS GUITAR.

It's hilarious.

FLCL is pronounced "Fooly Cooly," which in Japanese comes out to "Furi Kuri," which duchessdogberry informs me is slang for masturbation. Which is wholly appropriate for this show, since it's kind of about the sexual awakening of a twelve-year-old boy, among other things. It's a coming-of-age story, with robots! Really, though, there's an obvious running theme about the way a growing child sees adulthood and adults in general. There are metaphors and symbolism and all that, somewhere. But that's not really the selling point.

The major strength and weakness is that the show oozes style. It constantly changes its visual style throughout the episode such that it's sometimes hard to recognize the character designs when they get shifted. It's hyperkinetic as shit; there are a couple parts where it randomly turns into a manga. And one scene that's done like South Park for no apparent reason. They break the fourth wall for the hell of it a few times. In much the same way Eva didn't pin itself down with a specific episode format, FLCL doesn't pin itself down with a specific visual style, so it's free to do whatever the hell it wants. Personally, I really liked the normal art style, so I didn't like when they got into the wacky stuff and the drawing looked lazy. Plus, the girls weren't as cute that way.

Another strength/weakness is the references to various other anime, of which I only got a couple. Of course, there were many other pop-culture references I did get, like a very amusing 360° bullet-time sequence à la The Matrix. There were also a lot of puns that clearly didn't translate into English, but if you know Japanese, the show is probably even funnier!

Probably the best part of the show is the awesome soundtrack by Japanese rock band The Pillows. Just listen to "Ride on Shooting Star," the closing credits theme. There are some nice repeated themes used throughout the show, including some really rockin' battle songs.

The first half of the series is good fun, but in the fourth episode, the plot finally emerges, which is good. Everything doesn't end up making large amounts of sense, but it makes enough sense, and the show is so entertaining and funny (there's a joke about spicy curry that took me a moment to get but then cracked my shit up), I didn't really care. It's like the anti-Eva, in a way; because it's a comedy, it can get away with being slightly blasé about things. It never tries to make you feel any sort of tension. It also never tries to make you care about the characters that much; there's very little in the way of character development, even though there are some potentially interesting characters. It's more interested in the hilarity of a baseball-playing robot.

FLCL is only SIX EPISODES, for crying out loud. You can finish it in under three hours. It's on ten different kinds of crack, but it's the fun kind of crack. And isn't that the best kind?
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: The Chemical Brothers - Where Do I Begin

(37 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:cerulgalactus
Date:January 31st, 2008 05:55 am (UTC)
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FLCL is brilliant, but it broke my brain multiple times. ME! MY BRAIN!

You know my brain, and how it does not function on the same plane as most, so think about that for a while.

I own it, though.

Next on your anime smorgasbord should be Serial Experiment Lain. It's awesomesauce, as the kids say. 4 discs, 12 eps. Should only take you a couple of days to get through.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:January 31st, 2008 05:57 am (UTC)
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Emily and I are going to spend a depressing several hours watching that when she gets back. I've been wanting to watch it for yeeeeeeeears. It sounds way cool.
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From:gymble
Date:January 31st, 2008 06:08 am (UTC)
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I have not seen this series. Perhaps I should.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:January 31st, 2008 06:14 am (UTC)
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You should! And then we can go around saying, "Those eyebrows..."
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From:capnnick
Date:January 31st, 2008 06:29 am (UTC)
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What's really breaking my brain is you becoming an anime fan and raving about all this stuff I used to rave about. I honestly thought you had too high a taste for flow and dialogue to really get into this stuff.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:January 31st, 2008 06:44 am (UTC)
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I guess it's apparent I actually have no taste? Katie did show me a bunch of Child's Toy at Rice, and I enjoyed that. I hadn't seen an entire series until Princess Tutu, though. And then the damage was done. It's a different style of storytelling, but it's still good storytelling. Mostly.
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From:allsunday
Date:January 31st, 2008 06:42 am (UTC)
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FLCL = one of my favorite anime. I have a limited edition poster of Haruko on my wall. And of course I have the soundtrack!
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From:spectralbovine
Date:January 31st, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)
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I just downloaded my favorite songs!
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From:the_narration
Date:January 31st, 2008 08:02 am (UTC)
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It's been a long time since I watched FLCL, but I still remember how crazy it was. Hilarious and bizarre and frenzied. It didn't make much sense to me, but I laughed my ass off.

Something that hadn't occurred to me before: the protruding horn as a metaphor for embarassing erections?

So what's next in your tour of the world of anime?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:January 31st, 2008 08:05 am (UTC)
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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which is apparently like the most popular anime of all time in Japan.

Something that hadn't occurred to me before: the protruding horn as a metaphor for embarassing erections?
Abso-fucking-lutely, dude.

Edited at 2008-01-31 08:05 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:catatonia00
Date:January 31st, 2008 08:05 am (UTC)
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I don't know this "furi kuri" slang! Gah, I'm old!
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From:duchessdogberry
Date:January 31st, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)
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It could be that I was misinformed by the person that turned me onto the series back in 2002. I found this on the wikipedia page for the series:

"A common mistake by English-speaking fans is to say that the meaning of "Furi Kuri" in Japanese is "Breast Fondling." This mistake arises from the fact that "kuri kuri" is occasionally used by manga artists as a sound effect for breast fondling. In the anime itself, they make references to "kuri kuri" during the first manga scene, when Shigekuni describes kneading bread by making hand gestures that unmistakably resemble groping motions. Due to incredibly fast pacing of the scene, many fans mistake his statement as referring to "furi kuri" instead of "kuri kuri." Much Japanese onomatopoeia follows a pattern of being four kana long and having a sound repeated twice. "Furi furi" is also used as a sound effect in a later episode when Haruko is petting Naota's cat ears. FLCL's direct Japanese to English translation is: A Pretend chestnut. Kuri or chestnut can also mean to twist. It would seem the best translation might be pretend twisted(distort, pervert) or pretend disarrangment (disturb the operation or functions [,as in twisting]; also to make insane)."
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From:wounded82
Date:January 31st, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC)
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6 episodes, but I think there are two volumes of the sountracks. Angie has it; the music's pretty neat.
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From:etherealclarity
Date:January 31st, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
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Brett has seen it and showed me the first few episodes, but I don't think I was quite in the mood for crazy weird anime at the time so I gave up. Perhaps I will try it again...
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From:loopychew
Date:January 31st, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
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1. Did you watch it sub or dub? Either way, you should check out the other track, just for the fact that they sound exactly the same. This was one of the few instances where the English track is note-per-note with the Japanese track. It's kinda uncanny. (Not that that makes it any better or worse than other English dub tracks. It's just...weird.)

2. Also pile me onto the Lain love train. Definitely one to watch if you're coming off of Eva and FLCL. Other recommendations for coming-of-age stories (though not necessarily as twisted) include BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad and The Legend of Black Heaven (though that one's more like "coming-of-midlife-crisis"). They also kinda revolve around music, although BECK's got a lot more of it (Black Heaven more or less uses one song for most of the show, and while it's a fun song it kind of gets tiring after thirteen episodes).

3. Also, if people're going to recommend Bebop for you, you owe it to yourself to try out Trigun and Outlaw Star to complete the late-90's-Space-Cowboy anime trilogy. Plus, they're all awesome in their own respects (Sometimes it feels like OS and Firefly are spiritual cousins).
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From:loopychew
Date:January 31st, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
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Ooh! Also, if you get the chance, there's an FLCL video set to Deep Purple's Speed King that is about seven hundred billion flavors of awesome.

I wonder if it's on YouTube...Yeah, it is. As with most YouTube videos, though, it slightly desyncs at the end...
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From:latropita
Date:February 1st, 2008 04:51 am (UTC)
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Dude, you are all over the tv posts lately. I am impressed! My one friend has been trying to sell me on FLCL forever, but I think I need to watch more anime beforehand first, because otherwise I don't think I'll get many of the references.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:February 1st, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
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Eh, I don't think it's really necessary. The references are more like offhand jokes, and they're not important. I think you're fine to watch it now if you can handle it. The first episode is totally WTF, but once you just accept it, it's awesome.
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From:seffina
Date:February 2nd, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
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Following Random Link:

Isn't it completely awesome? It's just everything all thrown in together and it still works. To think I only watched because I was told that if I enjoyed Kare Kano, I would enjoy FLCL.

I watched the dubbed version at some point to see all the references that they put in, but I couldn't get past the first episode. I don't even know why I tried. But I might try again...
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From:spectralbovine
Date:February 2nd, 2008 07:13 am (UTC)
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I don't know Kare Kano, but, yeah. They just go nuts. I mean, once you're attacking robots with a guitar, there's no telling what's next.
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From:thetheatremouse
Date:February 3rd, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
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Oh I do love your recommendations.

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