Fooly Cooly
27 Mar 2009   Anime /Reviews

Fooly Cooly

Wwell, I can count the occasions on one hand when I sit there, robbed of all my thoughts and words because of the awesomeness I just have witnessed. Thanks to Fooly Cooly, the counter went up by 1.

You know, until some years ago I loved anything spoofy from Hollywood. From Airplane to the shit of later Nielsen movies. It’s no joke. In review I cannot believe it either. I really was that much addicted to this genre. Then I suddenly became more critical of this stuff. It was no slow progress. It was more like a click – and I totally forgot the reason for this sudden change (Yes, that’s possible, I am the living proof).

And then the wow hit again! As oblivion began to be my everlasting friend, I got myself again into a frickin’ ride full of coolness, style and fun called Fooly Cooly, which happens to be a six part animated series from Japan that was produced in the year 2000.

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Story

Fooly Cooly (FLCL) basically is a science fiction comedy that starts with the main character Naota living a normal (i. e.boring) life in the boring city of Mabase. This boredom of live stops dramatically when the mysterious girl Haruhara slams into his world by running him over with her Vespa and – if that was not enough – giving him a nice slam on the forehead with her electronic guitar. Naota (12 years old but trying to act like an adult) is on the center of the following chaos and learns that Haruhara is an alien on the search for a powerful pirate king to gain his power. And Naota became the key for Haruhara and her fight. Or to be more precise his head, which transformed into a wormhole thanks to the Slam Of The GuitarTM.

Sounds crazy? Well, you have no idea, how crazy this whole six part series is, because basically I’ve written only the information of the first episode down and didn’t even mention all the minor characters that bring this universe to life.

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Animated Storytelling for the 21st Century

In a way it is amazing that I totally forgot about this series in my vault because to me this is the kind of storytelling I expect to see in our modern world of the 21st century. Where western animated series try to be blatant obvious with their bland and boring stories, FLCL goes beyond that. It presents a story that is basically one big metaphor for growing up, puberty and ones place in society. From the guitar wielding and swinging the bat to hints of sexual feelings there is not a single scene in FLCL that cannot be interpreted.

Even more, FLCL doesn’t assume you and I are stupid as so many other comedies do. It assumes that you sit down, have fun but nevertheless watch and listen carefully about what is said and done. Almost any dialogue can hint to some important information and small acts of the character can reveal something about their respective lives. The first minutes of this series are a perfect example of this as we get some glimpses of the main character’s lives, yet nothing is explained to us by boring voice-over narrations.

Of course, a well story presented badly would result in a catastrophe. Again, FLCL doesn’t disappoint in this department either. In short, the animation is top notch, fluid and always amazing to look at. They had a budget to spend with both hands and they certainly did.

Even more, they used many occasions in the story to apply more experimental styles of animation. It is no exaggeration when I state that FLCL in the course of its 140 or so minutes changes its animation more drastically and more often than the whole Disney Corporation in the last two decades.

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It’s a shame for Disney and the other animation companies that they seemingly weren’t and still aren’t able to pull off something like that, as my rant from some time ago proves.

Soundtrack meets Animation

This “Disney-Dilemma” doesn’t account for the animation and storytelling only, but even goes as far as the soundtrack.

While Disney in my opinion too long stuck with this we-sing-about-our-lives-nobody-cares-about style of music and soundtrack, FLCL does something what Disney should have done years ago: using the soundtrack to transport an old art form to the 21st century.

So, instead of using an orchestral soundtrack as many would have done, the producers went with the amazing rock sounds of the Japanese band “The Pillows” that perfectly fit to each and every scene. Perhaps someone at Disney and Co. will sometime have the guts to do something like that.

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Conclusion

Well, what can I add to this review that sums everything up nicely?

Simply put, Fooly Cooly is the kind of short series I am starving for since the year 1999. Modern in storytelling and modern in its presentation, the Japanese have hit the mark and many years ago raised the bar so high that it’s almost impossible to reach.

Any producer with this “oh look, we can draw funny and distorted faces in a meaningless plot”-type of animated series should watch this and learn from it. FLCL is the pure distillation of style, power, energy and storytelling.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be broadcast anymore but put into the Museum of Modern Art. Seriously. It’s that good to me.


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Rating
Brilliant and funny in every way. FLCL is a classic among few.

Comments

  • Anthony Lieser

    i read all of this and have been also starving for anime such as this but i cant believe that they kept it so short and ended it without a sequel or anything so i was wondering since you most likely would know more and have better connections than I. Please tell me, I mean contact me for anything about a sequel or whats even going on at all with this anime since we both share the same interest.

    • Gunther Heinrich

      Almost everything I know about a possible sequel stem from rumors and most often mere hopes by the fans.
      Unfortunately I don’t believe we’ll see any sequel of this anime in the near future if at all. Gainax, the production company of Fooly Cooly (and hence the ones with all important rights I assume) are currently working on a remake of Neon Genesis Evangelion, which made tons of money for Gainax. I think it is safe to assume that the most important staff is working on this one and on no other project.

      Another point against a sequel might be money again, only from a different perspective (if someone can clear things up, I’d be glad to hear it): as far as I know Fooly Cooly was not a big or major success in Japan compared to Neon Genesis Evangelion. In that regard I would say that they don’t see the “need” to make another batch of six episodes.

      I hope I could help you, although it turned out a little bit depressing.

  • niammo kyotsa

    I really love this anime. ^_^ But I honestly think it would make it ALOT better if the series was longer. :X I finished watching in a matter of 5 or so hours(I don’t remember, it was about a year ago and haven’t heard about it since.)

    ~A sequal would be amazing. [:

  • Anthony Guzman

    fooly cooly is one the best animes i’ve ever seen. This anime should have a more episodes.

  • I really loved FLCL and it’s one of the best animes I’ve ever watched. From awesome animation to wacky and crazy story. I definitely recommend this to any anime watcher or anyone who wants to get into this stuff :)

  • Selena

    I am a huge FlCl fan and I really do think that it is probably the best anime I have ever seen and might ever see! XP

  • shawn mcghee

    I ve read all this and in my opinion Fooly Cooly was the best anime show ive have evere seen and i think that the thier should be a serious consideration for a sequel and your the only one who can help

  • martion kid

    this is by fare one of my fav a9s

  • bren-bren

    well i hope they make a sequel or something.i think they would get more money now because more people are watching it an is the best anime show ever. so tell me if u hear anything

  • Marc Cyfre

    I’m firmly in agreement with the judgement that FLCL is genius, and ought be in MOMA’s collection – and others.

    I would also very much hope that at some point a sequel might become possible – certainly the door to a sequel is explicitly left open at the close of FLCL.

    As I understand it Tsurumaki is currently directing Rebuild of Evangelion and, frankly, while I feel Evangelion has its moments I’m not a great fan – a good deal of the psychological overlay is merely overlay so far as I’m concerned, Anno’s working through his issues – fine for him, presumably, but less interesting to me, and much of the other symbolism I find somewhat labored and uninspired (think George Lucas – all right, perhaps not *that* bad lol).

    FLCL was a whole other thing, and I would hope that Tsurumaki, having made more bundles of Yen for Gainax and its partner production companies, might be free for a bit to pursue projects truly his own – whether a FLCL sequel or something completely new.

    In FLCL we have evidence of genius. I would like to see the man turned loose to see what he can do.

    In FLCL he did a hell of a lot.

  • cesar

    i really did love this show the storyline, character concept and the style of artwork so i have a question for the artist of this show will you teach me how you draw like this? or the color texture or something.

  • nova

    seriously it is a goddamn cartoon get a fucking job or a life for that matter

    • Gunther Heinrich

      Hmmm, I have both. So what do we now? Thanks to you I’m reminded that it’s been ages since I watcehd Fooly Cooly. Guess I rewatch it. Thanks for the tip by the way :P

  • Lane Ralston

    This show is frickin awsome. I first came into contact with this story through the manga, and then immediatly watched the anime. I love how fast paced the plot is, but I wish they would come out with a sequal or something. Like maybe another 6 episode season. Wishfull thinking probably. But anyway, FRICKIN AWSOME SHOW!!!!!!

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