AceCaseOR writes, Well, I’ve given you a review of Gunbuster, so now I might as well give a review of another Gainax sci-fi anime – one a little more slice-of-life.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directed by: Kazuya Tsurumaki
Writer: Yoji Enokido
Animation by: GAINAX

Cast:
Mayumi Shintani as Haruko Haruhara (voice)
Jun Mizuki as Naota Nandaba (voice)
Suzuki Matsuo as Kamon Nandaba (voice)
Izumi Kasagi as Mamimi Samejima (voice)
Kôichi Ôkura as Commander Amarao (voice)

Premise:

Naota is a young boy who is entering the 6th grade. He lives at his grandfather’s bakery with his father, a freelance journalist, and he shares many of the interests to be expected of his age group, save baseball (as his brother was a successful baseball player who went to play professionally in the US). His life is very uneventful in his ordinary town (well, ordinary save for the factory shaped like an iron). Well, until one day when a psychopathic woman riding a Vespa clobbers him on the head with a Rickenbacker 4001 Bass Guitar. Then the bump from that blow starts to resemble a horn. Then a robot emerges from that horn. And then it gets weird.

High Points & General Thumbs-Up-Notes:

1) This is GAINAX’s first anime after Neon Genesis Evangelion, specifically, End of Evangelion (see point 2). Readers who are familiar with how heavy those got (and how director Hideaki Anno was getting at the end of the show) may understand why the animators at the studio might want to do something rather… lighthearted. That doesn’t mean FLCL isn’t a mind-frell, but it’s a more pleasant mind-frell.

2) As Eva was over, you could tell the animators at GAINAX were taking advantage of the opportunity to experiment with the animation. How so? Well, the first episode has a sequence that is an animated manga. A later episode has an sequence that pays homage to South Park (in terms of animation style).

3) There are a lot of little easter eggs that, if you know your anime (and guitars), will make things interesting.

Low Points:

1) If you’re not too familiar with your anime, there’s some stuff here that will go over your head. Really over your head. There’s a series of Lupin III jokes that, if your only exposure to Lupin was Hayao Miyazaki’s Lupin movie or the TV series (but not both) that you just won’tget.

2) Frankly, the show could have been 2 episodes longer. Most OVAs (Direct-to-video animation series) tend to run about 6 episodes anymore, but this could stand 2 more episodes.

3) There are a quite a few lolicon/shotacon jokes (look it up on Wikipedia – do not Google this term – you may not like what you find). If that kind of thing irritates you, may turn you off (no pun intended) from the show. It’s not too much of a biggie though.

The Scores:

I’m using the same rating system from my review of Gunbuster.

Originality: It’s pretty original actually. While it has a bunch of little jokes that reference other anime, the concept is, for all intents and purposes, original (unless another anime did this first and I’m not knowledgeable enough about the medium to know about it). 5 out of 6.

Artwork: As said above, the artwork is good. GAINAX generally puts out good quality work, and they’d just gotten off a really long project, and I got the impression from this show that it was the creative equivalent of getting out of the car and stretching after a long trip. If you watch Eva, and then watch FLCL, the you can spot the differences right away. Whereas if you watch two Studio Ghibli films, you’ll probably notice the similarities sooner. 6 out of 6.

Story: The story was, kind of weak, which I suspect also relates to just having completed Eva. It’s a slice-of-life show with a heavy dose of randomness and strangeness which just leads to funny gags. 3 out of 6

Acting: With a comedy anime, the acting must keep up with the jokes/gags and the animation of those jokes/gags. All the VAs here are up to the task. Some moments don’t quite work, but otherwise it’s fine. 5 out of 6.

Production: This show made a lot of… different choices regarding how things would be shown. They put in a nod to South Park, despite the fact that South Park was, at the time the FLCL was being made, extremely obscure in Japan. Figuring out the animated manga sequence in the first episode was going to work can’t have been a picnic either. 5 out of 6.

Emotional Response: It’s a silly show. I laughed a lot. However, I have to dock this a few points in this category, as I couldn’t quite get a reaction aside from amusement for this show. When I got to the ending, my reaction was rather unsatisfied. I wanted more, but I knew I wasn’t getting more. 4 out of 6.

Overall: It’s a good show. However, I have to dock this for a few points for the same reason I docked Gunbuster in the same catagory – a few flaws here and there that nickle-and-dimed this, (especially the price point – $52 (US) for 6 episodes.) 4 out of 6.

Total Score: 27 out of 42.

Seeing that all of my reviews so far have been positive, if anyone has any bad or (preferably) mediocre anime (that’s in genre), that they’d like to see reviewed, please lemme know in the comments.