Greetings and welcome to the first installment of “Should You Watch..”. This is my new anime review series where I causally discuss anime series and answer whether a series is worth your time or not. For the 1st installment, I will be discussing a series which is receiving 2 sequels this year…FLCL.
So what did I think of the series?
When looking at FLCL, I found that looking at it like I would many other series really doesn’t work. A surface exploration of the series really makes it appear like a nonsensical mess. The series intentionally breaks all of the “standard” rules for an story and throws all structure out the window. I will admit that it took me a couple of viewings to get an idea as to what they were trying to do with the series. In my first viewing, I was trying desperately to make sense of everything and I missed the point. The fact that the events of the series make no sense is entirely the point of the series. Admittedly the oddball of approach of the series won’t be for everyone. I won’t be one of those people who says “you just didn’t like because you didn’t understand it” because that type of statement is unfair. I can see where people wouldn’t like it and that is perfectly fine. However, once I adjusted the way I looked at the series- I found that I actually quite enjoyed it and respected the vision behind it. I though the decision to diverse from a standard structured plot is actually brilliant. It adds a bit of authenticity to the story- life doesn’t follow a preconceived path, it just happens. This is reflected in the chaos of FLCL.
What I could really get behind is the series message- a message about appreciating life, growing up, and accepting the world and who you are. I think where people get tripped up (and I did in my first viewing of the series) is that the message is not waved in front of you with awe-inspiring speeches or staged scenes. The message is mixed in the chaos of the series and alluded to by dialogue and the scenes with transpire. It also leaves some room for interpretation as well.
Any messages aside, the series is just really a lot of fun to watch with a lot of comedic moments. Many of these moments stem from the quirky cast of characters. Haruko is a bundle of energy- a bundle of energy which you are never going to contain despite your best efforts. She is the main catalyst for the events of the series and one of the main sources of the quirky humor. Her introductory sequence in the first episode is probably one of the funniest moments that I have seen in any anime. They also break the fourth wall on numerous occasions which is something that I always appreciate. Being self aware as FLCL is- is always a positive in my mind.
Also from an artistic aesthetics standpoint, this series is amazing. I am certainly one of those fans who feels that the soundtrack by The Pillows is one of the highlights of the series. The music perfectly captures the mood of the series and does it with some rocking tunes.The confusion and angst expressed by the characters in the series is perfectly reflected in the soundtrack. The soundtrack is also amazing to listen to on it’s own. The soundtrack just has a lot of amazing sounding rock tunes. I’m actually listening to the music while writing this.
FLCL also does a cool thing by not sticking to a single animation style throughout the series. Inconsistencies are typically a mark of a bad series, however FLCL does this with a purpose. The purpose varies based off of the context of the scene- it can be due to a specific pop culture reference or emphasize the message of a scene. These changes are not meant as shortcuts. They all serve a purpose and are all actually really well animated. Plenty of the scenes even by today’s standards are actually gorgeous. Either way, the changing animation styles fit the series extremely well and add to it’s brilliance.
Also, the series is also only 6 episodes for season 1 meaning a really low time commitment risk. IT is literally an evening to check out which can’t be said about many series.
Any negatives for this series? The lack of real structure could be a problem for some as can the frantic pace. I will admit that this series won’t be for everyone because of these reasons.
So now comes the answer to the titular question. Should you watch FLCL? The answer is a resounding YES. Every anime fan should check out this series at the very least to see what the hype is about and make their own judgement call. This series is brilliant in it’s insanity and a great example of the artistic capabilities of anime. The series soundtrack and awesomely fluctuating animation styles are both awe inspiring experiences. And the story and characters while nonsensical and wacky are quite memorable for that very reason. This series receives a glowing recommendation from me and I can’t wait for season 2 this week!
So what do you think FLCL? How do you like the new format for anime reviews? Please comment below or contact me on Facebook (Railgunfan75’s Geek Blog) or Twitter (@Railgunfan75). Next up, I will continue with series returning this year where I explore whether you should watch Full Metal Panic! Stay tuned for that coming soon. So until next time, this is Railgunfan75 signing off! See you soon and stay geeky my friends!