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One Day in 2002 (FLCL) July 26, 2006

Posted by animerambler in Classics, FLCL.
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An image emphasizing the need for non-guitar proliferation.

Everyone remembers their first.  For me it was a chick with a bass guitar, and a Vespa. Did I mention she claimed to be an alien?  Anywho, in the midst of taking a semester off from the alma mater, and staying up way too late on vacation at the beach, I chanced across FLCL (aka Fooly Cooly (US), aka Furi Kuri (Japan)) on AdultSwim.  It was a good time.  No school to worry about, at the beach, and Cartoon Network was still showing anime, not just Inuyasha Season X+1, or Dragon Ball Z.  Still, something about the show stuck, as my spirit had recently been crushed once again by Episode II earlier in the summer, and I had little hope for Signs as I had (jokingly) predicted the outcome of Shyamalan’s last film an hour in.  I still love you Manoj, and I will see Lady in the Water, soon. 

FLCL is a story of coming of age, much as is the original Star Wars trilogy.  Other similarities include a whiny-ass protagonist, hot alien chicks, world-destroying space satellites, robots of questionable utility and origin, the mysterious mentor character, and battles in which world(s) hang in the balance.  Oh, and kick ass music.  But first let’s look at the producers, so that Lucas knows who to sue over this mess.

GAINAX, is like the Disney of Japan, if everyone hadn’t already claimed Miyazaki was the Disney of Japan.  They’ve had genre defining series in their country’s golden age of animation (Evangelion), had recent rough periods (Abenobashi), and have a list of titles they’ve produced and assisted with long enough to shake a stick at.  They also cough up all kinds of crap merchandise like hairballs roughly twice a day (N S F W).  Much of it non-canonical.  They also put out alot of soundtracks.  Ok, I’m feeling like Mel Brooks in Spaceballs, so enough with the linking crap (Eva, the flamethrower!).  They’ve also been known to turn their more beloved series into mildly-h(entai) dating games.  If the new Disney does that, I’m finding the point in America equidistant from Disney World and Land, moving there and stock-piling guns, ammo, and bottled water.

FLCL comes at their near-golden age-post-Eva period.  Character designs are by Sadamoto (also of Eva fame), which look like they should as this was a 6 episode OVA series (i.e. each ep got several times the funding that one in a normal 24 episode series would), and they had Production I.G.’s (Ghost in the Shell) help with the more technical aspects.  Which is good, as GAINEX seems to be into story-quality over presentation-quality at times (Aim for the Top 2is a good example of when this rule is broken however).  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, rather than use some recent (or worse, commissioned) J-pop for the soundtrack, they bring in The Pillows, a J-rock band whose members have over three decades experience between them, and have built a following on both sides of the Pacific.  In this case, they’ve spawned three soundtracks for FLCL, the last of which was created by sales of the first two alone.  Basically, that’s one soundtrack per 60 minutes of animation, something even Hans Zimmer couldn’t do with Pirates 2 despite the fact most people I know (theater employees) can’t tell it from the Gladiator soundtracks I brought in.  I love you Hans, but you just got BURNed!

Sadly, as mentioned before, the story is a coming of age yarn with such predictable plot elements and characters such as:

  • The Alien Space Police Chick who wields a fully-automatic Rickenbacker bass guitar and can use it as a blunt force instrument (no pun intended) to pull help-full gear out of another dimension using the protagonist’s head as a gateway.
  • The Meido (maid) Robot who was pulled out the protagonist’s head and helps to save the world when not doing housework or buying girly mags for grandpa.
  • The ‘zine Author Father who’s more concerned about the societal commentary of the meido robot living with them than what’s going on.  He might also have gotten whacked somewhere along the way.
  • The Hanger-on Ex-girlfriend of the protagonist’s big brother, who doesn’t know she’s an ex and associates with the younger brother.
  • The Secret Government Agent who had previously run into the space police chick and now wears large fake eyebrows to prevent his head being used for an inter-dimensional gateway.

Anyway, through the interplay of various elements and personalities, the protagonist goes on to find that growing up takes time, hurts, involves striking out (in more than one sense), and is what you make of it.  As for me, my fingers hurt and I’ve been at this for over an hour already, so have some pictures, and I’ll finish up swooning over FLCL at a later date.

Sadamoto Poster Art

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Comments»

1. Rees - October 30, 2006

Faustinus

Enough is as good as a feast…

2. air ambulance network - February 14, 2007

air ambulance virginia

discounted air ambulance


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