FREE PREVIEW of No. 5
 
FLCL is the formula

 

1. cool as a fool

2. the set-up

3. from the cast

4. emerging from the head of gainax

5. and so the pulp interview

3. from the cast: six (in Latin, sex--meaning, what you are, a boy or a girl? please don't tell your parents


Naota Nandaba A sixth-grader in an anorak just like you killed Kenny you bastards wears. Like many boys his age, he finds that he is increasingly getting the horn, slipping out from under his hoodie and growing into a big bulbous object impossible to conceal. Divers and curious mecha sprout from his head uncontrollably when he's around girls like Mamimi and Haruko. It doesn't help that Mamimi is constantly trying to take him down in the tall grass as a substitute for either her absent boyfriend, his big brother, or—in this bizarre love quadrangle—for a certain robot. It also doesn't help keep things from arising, this Haruko, who whacks his head with a bass guitar like a nurse with the cold spoon, who's in an amorous pentagon with Naota, his father, an illegal immigration agent, and a Kirbyesque cosmic colossus whose gig is stealing entire planets.


Mamimi Samejima A Short Cuts hottie, a cinder-alla firestarter in these non-Shibuya sticks where every day is like Sunday, who burned down her previous school, a twisted prodigal daughter who chainsmokes cigs each with her hand-lettered legend NEVER KNOWS BEST, who straps butane fireplace lighters to her head like a convenience-shrine maiden, and who kneels to pray in a circle of smoking filter tips before a boom-box altar retching forth feedback and who crucifies herself to bridges for the come Armageddon, come Armageddon, come, at long last, Nostradamus's prophesied Lord of Terror¾having never given up what she admits is a passé millennial infatuation for him. Likes to take pictures, a provincial Hiromix.


Kamon Nandaba Naota's dad: aging hipster otaku who does Yasuo Yamada imitations, moves his small-town porno doujinshi Come On Mabase through the local candy store, and challenges his son to airsoft duels to determine which one of them gets to do it with Haruko. You get the very vague feeling that this might be what would become of an Anno who ran far, far away from Evangelion to start over, clutching a baby rumored to be either the son of Yuko Miyamura or the grandchild of Steven Seagal. Worked at an unnamed Tokyo publishing house a decade ago as the assistant editor of a counter-culture magazine (!) before moving to Mabase to take over the old family bakery. A definite Fru T. Bunn, whose 21st century estrangement from his son is summed up in the lament, "But I made you your favorite gene-sliced soybeans!"


Haruko Haruhara Where to begin. Illegal alien, working as housemaid to Naota's dad. Unregistered nurse, investigating strange emergence of robots from head of Kamon's son. Determined through X-ray he apparently has no brain. Vespa chick, it's canary-yellow (seen in the credits sequence, it's stolen from her own character designer, scooter-lover Sadamoto). Rode on it into town like those two-bladed ronin of yore. In her case, wields a pull-cord ignition Rickenbacker bass or a Louisville Slugger as the situation requires. The first character in the history of anime whose hair looks dyed, not painted. Makes jaundice sexy with every flash of those sick bilious eyes and those yellowjacket-stung lips. Ine never knows if they might whisper sweet non sequiturs in your ear or simply issue forth a stream of vomit.


Kanchi, a.k.a. Cantide the Black Angel, The Lord of Terror, etc. Basically the nicest guy in the cast, so it's not surprising he's a robot. The first thing that ever came out of Naota's head. Himself has a head like a 1950s portable TV, and in this anime Leave it to Beaver, some joker has put Wally's baseball jersey over his alloy shoulders. Expresses his emotions on-screen. Everyone exploits Kanchi. Mamimi believes him to be Cantide, the Black Angel who will help her at last burn down this Endsville she lives in, a confusion of hers not assisted by Kamon's attaching a crude halo and wings to Kanchi whilst pressing him into service as a valet. Haruko has reprogrammed him to fight against his other Medical Mechanica brethren that continue to emerge without warning from Naota's nut (he's crazy in the coconut).


Amarao One of those Men in Black you hear so much denied about, special agent of the Bureau of Interstellar Immigration. It isn't entirely clear whether Agent Amarao is pursuing Haruko to arrest her or impress her, even though she states, in an un-PC fashion that would no doubt receive a strongly worded memo from the Federation, that he's two million years behind her. Amarao whines, "That's discriminatory language against people from developing worlds!" but gets busy trying to win her mod heart by driving a quite delectable Fuji Heavy Industries S-301 Rabbit—right out of a Seijun Suzuki movie, you know. Or maybe shaving off his eyebrows and replacing them with more mature-looking models made out of sheet seaweed will do the trick. Or maybe nothing will quite conceal the fact that he's a grown man competing with a 12-year-old for the affections of a 19-year-old.

 

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