Rewatching FLCL (and the K-On! Movie)

I’m amazed that I’ve seen FLCL so many times that it now feels like the most clear-cut, easily-understood thing in the world. I couldn’t write about it now the way I did three years ago even if I wanted to, because back then I was just realizing and rationalizing everything; whereas now, it all feels obvious. Back then, I felt like I was explaining something in dense detail. Now, I fear I’d take too much of what I already know for granted.

It’s like I’m watching a stripped-down version of the series. I still see it as an incredibly dense show with meaning in every moment; but without the mystery to untangle, I can look at each moment and think about what they mean to me directly, instead of what meaning I need to find in them.

One of the great things about seeing this in FLCL is that I’ve watched it more times than any other show. Besides Cowboy Bebop, there’s no show which I’ve loved for a longer time (meaning from a younger age). When I was thirteen, Ninamori made about as much sense to me as real girls my age did. Now, I see the meaning behind every piece of dialog and facial expression that she makes like it’s written in text on the screen. Even three years ago, I don’t think I completely understood Mamimi—whereas now, I just get it.

I watched the K-On movie today, which is good timing, because I’m making an effort to rewatch some of my favorite anime. What’s interesting is that I now watch K-On much in the same way that I watch FLCL. Both of them are dense shows in wholly different ways. Whereas I couldn’t always see to the full depths of FLCL’s mass, I can now see it as well as I can the depths in K-On (which are far more transparent and, if I’m being completely honest, less deep. But I don’t want that to sound as obvious as it probably does.)

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