FLCL Volume 1 CoverNaota is a lonely boy in a lonely town living a lonely life amidst utter chaos. His father’s a perv, his grandfather a nut, his brother ran off to seek riches in America, and his brother’s dumb ex-girlfriend won’t leave him alone. Now from beyond the stars drops an impish defender sent forth to stop alien robots from destroying the Earth. Where do the alien robots come from? Well, from Naota’s forehead for starters.

From the twisted mind that brought us End of Evangelion comes this bizarre tale of adolescence in a world gone mad.

To this day 2000’s Gainax OVA release FLCL (Furi Kuri) remains a firm fan favourite all over the world, mostly in part to its completely insane mishmash of genres, style and just completely off the wall story telling and sense of humour. Needless to say, it is therefore no surprise that a manga adaptation of the hit anime soon followed the success story, with art provided by Hajime Ueda (the same man who brought us the quirky Q.Ko-chan: The Earth Invader Girl manga series).

The story for FLCL volume 1 sticks pretty close to the first two episodes’ storyline, though there is a definite darker slant to the manga retelling, a theme that quickly rises to the fore as one progresses through the first couple of chapters. The pacing of the story is surprisingly quick, but there are more than a few stages where one can’t help but feel a little lost, though this shouldn’t be considered a negative when you consider the source on which this manga is based upon.

Weird and strange alien presence sums it up pretty nicely in other words.

Artistically Ueda hits us with a particularly stylistic, quirky look, opting for extremely rough, sketchy outlines that are haphazardly shaded in and for the most part, make for quite an interesting visual take that forces one to quite often strain that little extra to figure out just what the heck is going on in some of the more interesting panels. Layouts and panels and framing cover just about all the know styles used in manga and the result is a very distinctive looking book where the visuals perfectly match up with the zany story being told.

However, despite this extremely rough, sketchy, seemingly hurried and unfinished look that Ueda forces upon us, it actually works damn well and causes the otherwise insane, almost illegible story to ooze personality and charm, in the end making the book more than worth the effort of actually picking it up and working your way through it.

So in summaty it certainly isn’t award-winning stuff, nor it is particularly emotionally-pleasing or even funny for that matter, but zany and quirky it most definitely is, and that alone certainly makes it a worthy addition to any otaku’s bookshelf.

Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furi_Kuri