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.)
Rewatching and posting on FLCL has been a really crazy experience. Aside from it now being the anime I’ve watched the most times total, it’s also the first that I’ve watched so many times in such close proximity. When I think of the long road I’ve trekked from hating rewatching to obsessing over it (see: Epic Journey) I really feel I’ve come a long way. Ever since the journey started, each show I watched made me want to watch it again, but I could never bring myself to until FLCL simply forced my hand and drove me to watch it 3 times over. It’s greatly opened my mind on rewatches and introduced me to just how powerful they can be, as now I can safely say that with this post, I have achieved a full understanding and love for this show after half a decade of watching it. So let’s get this show on the road! IT’S THE CLIMAX!!!
Episode 5 of FLCL has pretty much always been my favorite. It’s where all the plot setup finally starts moving (late as that sounds) and the whole episode is zany and awesome. What’s especially great is that it’s the most hyper-active, action-packed episode of the show but still has as much depth and subtlety as the rest of the show. And since it’s where things come to a head, it’s also probably the easiest episode to misinterpret. See, up to this point, most of the important stuff that no one gets pretty much goes right over their heads and it’s less that they misunderstand as it is that they just don’t realize something else is going on. In this episode, all of that stuff going on in the background comes rushing to the forefront, so when you see it, it’s some new thing that you try to make sense out of but really can’t without the information you missed. So this is the part where all of our earlier impressions were wrong and it becomes really important that you’ve been reading along! (not to sound pretentious, lol.)
Like episode 3, episode 4 is fairly straightforward, and this one in particular is very plot-focused so I won’t be saying quite as much about it, seeing as the plot questions raised in the episode are answered in the proceeding ones. This episode’s individual director was Masahiko Ohtsuka, who brings his own style to the table for the episode. The character designs look very different throughout, and the visual style is more dark, mysterious, and mindfuck than is usual for this show. According to Tsurumaki, Ohtsuka takes his style a lot from trippy 60s movies that have lots of strange imagery.
A post in The Epic Journey. Contains FLCL spoilers. Continued from here. For some reason, my notations wont work.
FLCL 3 is Ninamori’s ep, and I think it’s where this show really comes into it’s own with a clear idea of what FLCL is exactly. Ninamori is the loli-bait of this series, being as she is one smoking hot 12 year-old. In fact, Ninamori gets the most design attention – while most of the cast is only seen in one outfit, Ninamori gets a new one every time she shows up as well as new hairstyles and accesories. This is because she was apparently the art director’s favorite so he gave her special treatment (1). There are a number of things that should be understood about Ninamori before going into this ep if you want to fully understand this.
Episode 2 is all about Mamimi (1), who may be my favorite of the FLCL girls and I find is by far the most overlooked by series fans. And I don’t blame them – she’s a tough nut to crack. Growing up in my teen years with this show, I never got nor cared for Mamimi much at all. I never understood what she was on about and mostly ignored her (I didn’t care much for girl characters back then anyway.) In my reading of FLCL theories, her ‘overflows’ and attitude had been connected to the grand scheme of the story by people who I now know also didn’t understand her. The trouble that so many people have is that they’re missing the point. As I said in ep 1, this is a normal show with exactly 1 insane character, Haruka. The key to Mamimi is that she is a real girl.
This post is written by a person who has seen this show nearly 10 times over 6 years. Because I have no real concept of what it would be like to be watching this show for the first time, I am going to write assuming that the reader has already seen the whole series once. It will probably help your understanding a lot as well if you rewatch the show before reading these posts.