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The Adult Swim FLCL Marathon

My first viewing of the anime FLCL began during the late night of Saturday, 5 August 2006, and ended in the early morning of Sunday, 6 August 2006. On the evening of 5 August 2006, I watched the weekly Saturday night broadcast of the Toonami programming block as usual. In those days, the Toonami block ended at 11 P.M., and was followed immediately afterwards by Adult Swim; partly because this always occurred on a Saturday night and hence I could stay up late, and partly because I typically didn't have anything better to do at such an hour, oftentimes I would linger on Cartoon Network after Toonami had concluded its broadcast and see what material Adult Swim would air that night. Sometimes I would watch an episode or two if something I found entertaining (e.g. Futurama) was shown; other times I tuned out almost immediately.

On this particular night, however, rather than airing its usual lineup, Adult Swim aired a marathon of the anime FLCL in which all six episodes were shown consecutively. I recall noticing that the usual show which would air at the 11 P.M. timeslot (I cannot remember anymore what it was) was not being shown, and that instead I was viewing the beginning of the first episode of FLCL, which, at the time, was a series completely new to me. As I enjoyed (and still casually enjoy) anime, and also because I had never before seen this series and was therefore somewhat curious, I decided to give it chance, and watch at least a part of the first episode; because I found it entertaining, soon I resolved to watch the rest of it; when I had finished that, and learned that the second episode was going to be shown, I stuck around so that I could see it, too; pretty soon I was eager to see the third episode; and, finally, when I realized that the entire series was being broadcast that night, I was determined to see the whole thing to the end.

Despite it being a Saturday night during the middle of my summer break from school, I was still young enough that I had something of a bedtime, and I recall that, as the night progressed, my mother became increasingly insistent that I stop watching and head upstairs to get ready for bed. FLCL was just too engaging, however, and I simply could not pull myself away, despite half the time not even understanding what was happening, but nevertheless still being greatly entertained. Often the show's pace would suddenly shift from slower, more mundane scenes to very bizarre, fast-paced sequences of pure madness that matched even the craziness of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (which was a surreal comedy anime that aired on Toonami at the time and which was one of my favorites of the block), and even though—due to my being too young, not knowledgeable enough in anime, or both—I did not understand many of the jokes, regardless I still found myself being highly amused at the sheer absurdity and randomness of what I was witnessing. I can especially remember watching the legendary manga scenes in the first and last episodes, as well as the brief sequences of animation in the style of South Park in the fifth episode, both of which, upon their appearance, caught my attention at once as being something extremely unusual in an anime; even as a kid back then I realized that FLCL was something entirely unlike any anime I had previously seen.

Besides this, the show also features genuinely good and highly memorable music; I particularly like the songs Little Busters (which I consider to be the anime's unofficial theme song) and Ride on Shooting Star (which plays in full during the end credits), both of which I very clearly remember. The end credits sequence, which I each time viewed with complete attention because it struck me as so unconventional, with its distinctive stop-motion sequences captured across a real-world city and its brief, suggestive shots of Haruko (which, at that time, rather unsurprisingly, stood out to me the most), has now been permanently engraved on my memory—it is amazing how much of it I can still recall today as I re-watch it.

It is not only the FLCL episodes themselves that I remember: I have memories even of some of the specific bumpers that were shown that night (which begin at the 0:14 mark of the video and end at the 10:07 mark), such was the degree of focus that I devoted to my TV and the strength of the impression the whole experience made upon me. I understood that I was perhaps a bit too young to be viewing this show, and that I was getting a rare, extended opportunity to peek into the mature side of Cartoon Network (as well as television as a whole) that airs only during the late night.

In the end, I was able to complete the marathon and watch all six episodes in a single sitting. Nowadays, whenever I hear Little Busters or Ride on Shooting Star, inevitably I think of FLCL; and whenever I think of FLCL, I am always led back to my memories of this wonderful night during the middle of my summer break from school in 2006, when I successfully defied my mother to watch this anime on our big-screen TV while sitting on our artificial-leather couch, staying up later than I had ever previously done, experiencing much anticipation whenever the end credits were being shown because I knew (after having seen the first episode) that I could obtain a glorious, quarter-second glimpse of a naked Haruko and thus directing my attention wholly to the TV so that I wouldn't miss it, the entire time having simultaneously a feeling of great relaxation (for I was watching TV late at night during summer break from school) and a feeling of being utterly captivated by the show, and having a sense that I was witnessing an anime that was truly something extraordinary. The entire experience now constitutes a warm and indispensable part of my memories of my summer break from school in 2006, and I am very glad to have first come across FLCL in such circumstances.

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This page last modified on 21 May 2021.