3.741 out of 5 from 855 votes
Naota Nanbada is a boring young boy who leads a boring life in a boring town. His older brother has left for America, and the closest he comes to any excitement is when his deadbeat dad has too much sake. But things change one day when a bizarre girl zooms up to him on a scooter and smacks him in the face with her guitar. What's more, once Naoto returns home he discovers that this strange woman has arrived ahead of him and moved in! Not only does she constantly engage in perverted activities with Naota's father and flirt with the young man himself, but she also claims to be an alien who is searching for the ‘Pirate King.' Now, Naota must learn to live with this new intruder, deal with an odd government agent who sports exceptionally large eyebrows and the mysterious Medical Mechanica, and come to terms with the fact that there are a variety of robots and weapons emerging out of his head - amongst other things. Perhaps boring wasn't so bad after all...
If Haruko never showed up, FLCL would turn out exactly like River's Edge.
Both are coming-of-age stories set in a claustrophobic, industrialized town complete with looming factories and overgrown lots hemming a polluted river. Both have sketchy, messy-looking artwork, and a narrator whose jaded monologues about how boring life is contradict all the crazy/tragic turbulence of the plot.
20-something Meiko Otani is restless, living day to day with a job she hates and an unemployed boyfriend who'd rather be playing in a band. Like others her age, she struggles to find her place in the world and a purpose in life, so in an attempt to make a fresh start, she makes the decision to quit her job. Together with her friends, Meiko will embark on a journey of self discovery to find what will truly make her happy.
Both Solanin and FLCL revolve around the theme of 'growing up' and 'coming of age'. Both works display incredible artistry, and attention to detail. FLCL has much more fun and quirky characters, but Solanin's feel more realistic and grounded (I know, not saying much, but it's something).