ThatAnimeSnob's avatar


  • Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Joined Dec 22, 2011
  • 41 / M


May 1, 2012

Fooly Cooly is as very polarizing show, since its point is not obvious. If you take it at face value it will seem like a wacky action comedy of complete randomness. If you look for themes, you will find a lot of symbolism, but nothing will seem coherent or developed. A female alien beating an earth boy with a guitar so stuff will sprout out of his head in an attempt to find her lover king or something, is there as the excuse to have something happening to some people that have something to do with sexuality and growing up and something-something erections, something-something-figure-it-out-yourself.

The best way to approach Fooly Cooly is by considering it an anime that makes sense by not making sense. And yes, that’s one of the most overused excuses when it comes to bad characterization. What’s that, the characters seem to be out of character? They are teenagers, they make mistakes, it’s real and happens all the time. The excuse Fooly Cooly is using has to do with subverting expectations when it comes to coming of age stories. Yes, that’s another overused excuse people are using to make any show sound better than what it is. In case you want to believe this one is different, it takes the premise of coming of age, also known as slice of nothing happens, and turns it into slice of every freaking thing can happen. And just like with any good subversion, you get much more than what you usually expect. One could say that the world is seen through the eyes of an insecure boy, scary, bizarre, sexual, and illogical. It’s what goes through the minds of every teenager and thus the randomness helps us visualize their mentality.

This part needs clarification, since in theory almost every anime in existence is the same thing. I mean, what are school comedies, romcoms and harems doing if not creating excitement out of the mundane? The big difference is, they don’t take it up to 11. Whatever happens in an average anime doesn’t seem to matter once it’s over, either because it was never important to begin with, or the characters stop caring about it. Fooly Cooly is about an alien invasion while everybody is hormone crazy. Everything seems super important and the characters treat it as such.

A big part of how this comes across to the viewer has to do with the minimalistic and experimental artwork, as well as the very fast paced animation. Fooly Cooly doesn’t look polished, and obviously its visual fidelity feels dated after so many years, yet because it’s bursting with energy and color it didn’t age as badly as any other show which was basing its appeal simply on pretty colors.

This part also needs clarification, since I constantly nag about pretty colors meaning nothing if the writing is not good, and Fooly Cooly doesn’t have much of a coherent plot. Why do you hate Bones anime when they are all doing the same thing, you Greek fat piece of shit? The big difference is, Fooly Cooly is thematically very rich and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s doesn’t try to last for 26 episodes of constant photo-epilepsy. Watching all the episodes at once is like a two hour movie with a satisfying aftertaste, instead of ten movies worth of nothing to give two shits about besides the animation.

Another plus is the characters who manage to grow beyond stereotypes in a short amount of time. Individually, none of them is special, and they are all essentially horny idiots. Yet the way they interact amongst them creates a very specific chemistry that stands out without making you hate them. For example, The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi is often praised for also having characters who escape their stereotypes, yet when you really think about what kind of people they are, you despise them. Haruhi is a horrible bitch and Kyon is a chauvinistic harem lead.

Yet another plus is how the show is neither preachy, nor about escapism. Staying true to the vision of the once all mighty Gainax, it is not trying to shove a message down your throat. Although superficially it’s about growing up and taking responsibilities, it’s also showing you how adults can be pretty immature as well. And the solution to all this mess is not getting a broken superpower, running away to some videogame fairyland, or becoming the chosen one of the prophecy who is destined to save the universe with his complete lack of personality.

Fooly Cooly is funny without overstaying its welcome. It’s full of action and the characters treat everything as important. It deals with problems everyone is facing while growing up, without spending too much time on couch philosophies. And it’s still not everyone’s cup of tea, since the plot is all over the place and the sex jokes can become annoying, regardless of being thematically relevant.

7/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
7/10 characters
8.5/10 overall

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