15 Reasons Why FLCL is the Coolest Anime Ever

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Having just completed my nth viewing of this masterpiece – but the first since I began the blog – I thought I’d very briefly summarize why anyone who hasn’t seen this classic should see it immediately, and anyone who has should see it again.

15. The Pillows.  Not only am I confident there’s never been an anime with better music, I’m confident there never will be an anime with better music.

14. There’s never been an anime that integrates its music with the visuals better.  And that’s really astonishing when you consider that almost all of it was written before the anime was ever conceived.

13. It’s the product of perhaps the two most indispensable anime studios ever, GAINAX and Production I.G.  This was the collaboration of the century in anime terms.

12.  Character designs are by Sadomoto Yoshiyuki, and I’ll brook no argument here – the greatest and most important visual artist and character designer in anime over the last 30 years.

11. It’s six episodes long.  And it packs more intelligence, humor, sexiness, subtext and sheer genius into six episodes than almost any other series could in 26.

10. Because it’s six episodes long, there isn’t a single wasted moment.  Every second is packed with visual brilliance, wit and even drama.

9. It’s the second-greatest anime of all-time.

8. Characters.  Between Sadomoto-sama’s designs and writer (and director) Tsurumaki Kazuya’s incredible script, the characters are impossibly memorable.  Naota and  Haruko may the greatest male-female lead pair in anime, but Mamimi and every member of the supporting cast are a unique and original creation.

7. It looks fantastic.  Not only does it hold up astonishingly well, but it stands as one of the most technically brilliant anime ever, and it looks better than most series made ten years later.  Not only that, but the look is constantly changing due to the multiple animation directors Tsurumaki-sensei uses.

6. Though you’ve probably never heard of anyone in the cast, every seiyuu performance is perfect.  And no woman has ever done a better job playing a boy than Mizuki Jun.

5. You could spend weeks arguing about just what this series is about, and never come to an agreement (hint: think adolescent longing, sex and growing up too soon).  There are so many levels of subtext and subtext of subtext that your brain never stops working over and playing with the meanings (including the title).

4. There are more indelible visual moments that imprint on your brain forever than I can count.

3. The ending is a balls-to-the-wall, lights-out, spectacular triumph of sound and vision that caps the material perfectly.

2. It has no fear. It breaks the fourth wall, it mocks GAINAX, otaku, and itself.

1. It will make you laugh till you cry and break your heart in the same scene.  And any anime that can do that is pure genius in my book.

I could give you about 100 more if I have to.  I hope this is enough to convince you – go watch it.

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21 comments

  1. d

    There has never been an anime which brings the boy mets girl (older) or alien girl arrives! to such a level.
    Even though watching this might induce brain overwork, I agree that it is a dam good anime. My only word against it is that I would have preferred if they animated some of the stuff and not just show manga drawings.

  2. E

    What is the greatest anime?

  3. A search of this blog reveals the answer, Eric – in my opinion of course.

    http://www.lostinanime.com/2010/07/best-anime-ever.html

  4. S

    I'm guessing NGE is your close number 3 then?
    Should definitely rewatch FLCL one of these days. I was probably too young and too stupid to fully appreciate it 6 years ago, but I doubt I'll understand it any better. Any chance you can do a full write-up on it one of these days? ;D

  5. m

    Hmm, well this was the well-needed push for me to give FLCL another try. I watched way, way early in my anime-viewing life, and it was much too strange and otherwordly for my young anime self. I still have a DVD of it given to me by a friend, but it's just sat in the back, collecting dust all these years.

    Hopefully, my opinions are much higher after several years :)

  6. M

    I love these recommendation posts you do, Enzo. They are what got me to watch Summer Wars and Cross Game in the first place and what got me interested in Natsume and Seirei no Moribito (which I have yet to watch).

    I haven't watched FLCL yet but rest assured, it's being torrented right now.

    So great job and thanks. Here is hoping you can do more of these in the future.

  7. Z

    Hmm, I guess it's about time to rewatch Seirei no Moribitu as I had actually forgotten about it before you reminded me with that link :)

  8. A

    I remember watching this and cowboy bebbop around the same time on ADS. I just rewatched FLCl last year and it is one of those classic anime that dont come around but every few years. With that said I still think CB is the better of the two though.

  9. Seishun: You are correct, NGE is #3 on my "favorites" list, though #1 of my "influential" list. Maybe I'll do a real all-time top 10 sometime. As for a full write-up, well – I could give you my theory about the series and what everything means, but some of it is intentionally left to interpretation. Try thinking of Haruka as being the physical manifestation of the onset of puberty, and a lot of the other symbolism seems to sort of slot into place.

    Marinara & Murkel – give it a watch! Be open-minded and be prepared to enjoy while watching, and think about it a lot afterwards.

    Z – yup, Moribito is my #1 all-time. I haven't seen it as many times as FLCL – it's 20 eps longer and 7 years newer.

    Anon – CB is a great conventional anime, though for whatever reason it just never floated my boat (I actually prefer Outlaw Star for 20th Century Sunrise).

  10. s

    Great post, I will definitely agree that FLCL is the coolest anime ever. It's also very dangerous to new anime fans, or at least it was to me, because one expects all "anime" to be like this and it's not.

    I'll add another reason that you forgot to :)
    (16) – The English dub is as good as the original Japanese one.

  11. It's a very, very good dub – one of the best. But not "just as good" IMO! 😉

  12. T

    Haha, Fooly Cooly is definitely an awesome anime.

    Only part I'd like to disagree with you on is the music. There are plenty of other awesome anime series with music, so I wouldn't call FLCL the anime with the absolute best music.

    I instead think that although FLCL's music was great, what's more important is that the music just fit absolutely perfectly with the entire series in general. It conveys all the energy and craziness to the series with no room for doubt.

  13. l

    Asking for Enzo top list, I think I ask this question before. All interested should refer to this:

    http://www.anime-planet.com/users/GuardianEnzo

  14. L

    Okay, you've convinced me–or rather, that picture with the guitar did–to watch this.

  15. That may possibly be my favorite image in all of anime.

  16. w

    FLCL is a pretty odd show. Either you love it unconditionally or find it totally unremarkable. Not many people in between! The definition of a cult hit, really.

    On the other hand it is also my favorite anime of all time so I guess I'm pretty firmly in the former camp. I'd also say that it's probably the best thing that Gainax has ever done, and considering the occasional god-level series the company turns out (Gunbuster, Evangelion, Gurren Lagann, etc.) that is saying a lot!

  17. A

    I always hated FLCL and Evangelion, no matter how many times I saw them. I remember them being new. They were pretty popular thenmas there wasn't much else to choose from. They seemed deep because they WERE compared to American Saturday morning cartoons. They got popular because everyone said "You have to watch it! It's AWESOME" and boom, they still reign as popular, due to that passing down of word of mouth.

    Most people that I know that like it went into it thinking it was going to be awesome from what they heard from others before watching the first episode, so they like it. They're looking for things to be a certain way, so they see them that certain way with greater ease. It's like they say about math – the biggest reason a lot of people don't get math is because they tell themselves they can't do math over and over again – self fulfilling prophecy.

    Popular and well liked does not mean best. Britney Spears is popular and well-liked more than Mozart is, but she can't even compare to that level

  18. You can certainly choose to believe whatever you want, though it sounds to me as if you went into those series expecting to hate them because they were so popular.

    I think most people love FLCL because of FLCL, not because other people do. I don't deny the herd mentality exists and sometimes people flock to mediocre series because everyone's doing it (Bakemonogotari, for example) but I don't think this is the case here.

  19. A

    Nope, I'm a bit older (30's), so I acutally obtained the series (Evangelion, Akira in the 90's, FLCL a few years after) because I saw them for rent on VHS in a video rental store and thought they might be interesting. I had not heard anything about either series before I saw them in the store, and watched them with a clean slate. Later on, when anime clubs started popping up at colleges in my area, I saw them with other people and started learning the widespread opinion) I didn't have a computer with the internet, so I wasn't exposed to thoughts there either.

    I'd say I watched FLCL 2 times, Akira 2 times, and Evangelion once (those horrid last two episodes – those get a free pass or people say just ignore them – while other good shows that do less crap get destroyed as a whole) before I got any other opinion, so I had no idea how popular they would become after the fact.

    I think most people do like FLCL because it's FLCL, but it certainly doesnt hurt the original opinion when they've made up their minds to like it before they've even seen the first episode. Pre-biased opinion and all that. If the worshippers for some reason had not like it, it'd get talked down a lot and less people would like it (or admit to liking it)

    I actually remember the Gainax worshippers then sounding EXACTLY like the Ikuhara worshippers when they talk about Utena/Penguindrum today. It's the same thing, and it kind of irritates to the same level, haha

  20. Well, that's the miracle of individual opinion – I can like R-15 even those most people wouldn't deign to watch it and dislike other series that most people adore. There's no accounting for taste.

  21. A

    That is true – which I why I never said that they were horrible shows. All I did was give my opinion and what I saw where I live. Just because people in my area did something doesn't mean that people other places did the same, and vice-versa.

    It's pretty much similar to how you can dislike so many elements of Penguindrum, and not go over the edge with the heavy duty fans, but also not write it off as a horrible show.

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