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Amusing Himself to Death:  Kazuya Tsurumaki speaks about the logic and illogic that went into creating FLCL
by Owen Thomas  

Could you explain the mecha bursting from Naota's head in FLCL?

KT: I use a giant robot being created from the brain to represent FLCL coming from my brain. The robot ravages the town around him, and the more intensely I worked on FLCL the more I destroyed the peaceful atmosphere of Gainax.

Why doesn't FLCL follow one story?

KT: In the third episode Ninamori was almost a main character, a kid who, like Naota, has to act like an adult. After episode three her problem was solved so we wrote her out. She has many fans in Japan and we got plenty of letters about that decision. For FLCL I wanted to portray the entire history of Gainax, and each episode has symbols of what happened behind the scenes on each of Gainax's shows. Episode one has many elements of Karekano; episode two, a lot of Evangelion references, etc.

Where does the title FLCL come from?

KT: I got the idea from a CD in a music magazine with the title Fooly-Cooly. I like the idea of titles that are shortened long English words. Pokémon for "Pocket-Monsters" for instance, and an old J-pop band called Brilliant Green that was known as "Brilly-Grilly."

Is there any reason why the extra scenes added to Eva for the video release were cut in the first place? Did you think the story would mean something different with them intact?

KT: The scenes that were added to Eva for its video release aren't that important. We added them as an apology for taking so long to get the video out. Maybe they'll help people understand things, because the episodes were done under tough deadlines the first time around.

Can you explain the symbolism of the cross in Evangelion?

KT: There are a lot of giant robot shows in Japan, and we did want our story to have a religious theme to help distinguish us. Because Christianity is an uncommon religion in Japan we thought it would be mysterious. None of the staff who worked on Eva are Christians. There is no actual Christian meaning to the show, we just thought the visual symbols of Christianity look cool. If we had known the show would get distributed in the US and Europe we might have rethought that choice.

After the panel, Mr. Tsurumaki sat down to speak with Akadot.

Do you enjoy confusing people?

KT: I have a twisted sense of humor. I'm an Omanu Jacku, a contrarian. [Writer's note- Omanu Jacku is a folk character a bit like Puck, a mischief maker]

What do you see differently now that you're working as a director rather than only as a visual artist?

KT: As an animator I have only the art; as a director story is really big. I still feel as an animator and I often have trouble putting the needs of the story first.

Did you intend from the start for FLCL to be as bizarre as it wound up?

KT: From the very start I wanted a different flavor. To achieve this I had to re-train the animators to be as stylized as I wanted them to be because I wasn't drawing it. I knew that not everyone would get it. I deliberately selected very obscure J-pop culture and anime sub-culture jokes and references. Because Eva was so somber I always intended to make FLCL outrageous and wacky.

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