FLCL (フリクリ Furi Kuri, sometimes romanized as Fooly Cooly) is a six episode Japanese animation OVA
series, the brainchild of director Kazuya Tsurumaki and released by Gainax and Production I.G..
The series focuses on Nandaba Naota
, a twelve-year-old boy living in the fictional and initially tranquil Japanese suburb of Mabase. Naota lives with his lecherous father Kamon
and his baseball-coaching grandfather Shigekuni
at the family bakery and home. He greatly admires his older brother Tasuku, a baseball phenomenon who has gone to the United States to play the game (an unseen character). Naota's daily routine involves going to school, dealing with his brother's sexually frustrated high school girlfriend Samejima Mamimi
, and going home. Naota seems to be very frustrated with his life, and in the opening episode is musing about how constrictive and boring Mabase is. This complaint is borne through to the final episode, against examples to the contrary. Naota's life is turned upside down when he is hit by a vespa driven by the rebellious free spirit known as Haruhara Haruko
, a woman who later becomes his housekeeper, though she may not be what she appears to be.
FLCL was originally released in Japan as an OVA Anime
on six DVDs. The story was also released as a two-volume Manga
by artist Hajime Ueda, and a three-volume novel serialization by Yoji Enokido, who also wrote the script for the show. All were released in Japan starting in 2000, and in 2003 in the United States. The series is sporadically run on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim segment.
Early in the first episode (after the characters and the bland town of Mabase have been introduced by a monologue from Naota) events kick off when a strange and mischievous girl named Haruhara Haruko arrives suddenly in town and runs Naota over with her Vespa and then, for no obvious reason, hits him on the head with her Rickenbacker bass guitar. Soon afterwards, Naota discovers that being hit with Haruko's bass left more than just a bump - it created a large horn that is actually an early manifestation of a robot. By hitting him in the head, Haruko activated Naota's latent N.O. portal, which allows him to pass physical objects from one astronomically distant point to another by way of his head. This is not immediately obvious, however.
Later that day Naota finds Haruko in his house, hired by his father as a live-in maid. It is gradually revealed that Haruko is in a confrontation with a company named Medical Mechanica (the name is debated to be Medical Meccanica as shown in one episode) (whose iron-shaped factory building dominates the Mabase skyline) about recovering a powerful being named "Atomsk".
In addition to being hounded by Haruko, who uses the portal she opened in his head for her own selfish purposes, Naota must also face (and occasionally grapple with) the other characters of FLCL. He is being watched by a man named Commander Amarao
. As the series progresses, an ideological tug of war emerges between Amarao and Haruko for Naota, whose powers Haruko needs to regain Atomsk. Amarao (whose beliefs are suspect for accuracy) views Atomsk (incorrectly) as a humanoid Haruko is in love with, and believes Medical Mechanica to be bent on a goal of interplanetary conquest. Amarao and his assistant, Lt. Kitsurubami, are monitoring Haruko and Medical Mechanica for intergalactic legal reasons and are attempting to save the Earth as the conflict between Haruko and Medical Mechanica escalates.