Why You Need To Be Watching "Fooly Cooly"

Why You Need To Be Watching "Fooly Cooly"

An anime review of "FLCL"
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"Fooly Cooly", "FLCL," for short, is a six episode OVA (original video animation) loosely based on a manga of the same title. Directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki (protégé to Hideaki Anno, director of widely popular "Neon Genesis Evangelion") and animated by the skilled individuals at Gainax, "FLCL" serves up a lot of beauty and complexity to the viewer. The show details the life of Naota Nandaba, a 12-year-old boy living in a fictional Japanese Suburb called “Mabase.” Without giving too much away about the very short story, the show revolves around the Naota’s relationship with an otherworldly human-looking woman by the name of Haruko Haruhara.

After appearing in Mabase in a rather comedic way, Haruko becomes a catalyst of change in young Naota’s life. Coming in both physical and internal forms, this change ultimately guides our protagonist to maturity and agency. Without a doubt, this show is an anime about “growing up” and (at least on the surface) offers nothing new to the existing dialogue. Even to a western audience, the “coming of age” themes of "FLCL" might seem a bit stale. Regardless of whether or not the idea is novel, "FLCL" offers up its message in a beautiful and complex way. Important developments during adolescence like sexuality, identity, partnership, and love are portrayed in FLCL’s well written dialogue, masterful animation and interesting metaphors. For many, however, the semantics of the story and the stale message are too big a pill to swallow. Beyond the, arguably, cliché moral, the sexual-metaphors and the pseudo-pedophilic surface of the story, I think "FLCL" is the best anime I’ve ever seen.

"FLCL" is beautiful, especially for the time it was created. During the late 90s and early 2000s anime was riddled with low-budget CGI in an effort to circumvent the cost of paying animators to draw. This lead to a number of anime and even western animations to become notorious for breaking viewer immersion by combining inconsistent/poorly done CGI with drawn image. For whatever reason, "FLCL" didn’t succumb to the tropes of its time and the visuals are worthy of award. Fight scenes are drawn to perfection, emotions are clearly portrayed through facial drawings, and the animation style is never dull. This, in part, is due to the inconsistency of visual style used throughout the show. At several occasions during the short run time, the show will completely flip the animation style without warning or acknowledgement. At one point, the show transforms into a page-by-page manga. At another, it pays homage to the animation style of "South Park." Even if you don’t enjoy the shows story, I think you might still enjoy the awe-inspiring art present in "FLCL."

"FLCL" is short. At only 24 minutes an episode (30 minutes for the final episode) and a total of six episodes, "FLCL" is a quick fix. Along with this shortness comes a lack of time demand for those viewers who want to watch something, but might not want to commit to a full 24-68 episode anime series.

"FLCL" is smart. Thanks to the directing of Tsurumaki, a protégé to the original 2deep4me director, "FLCL" is a complex show. This is not to say that you need to think hard and deep about the story and all of its elements to understand/enjoy the show (there is some surface value to the show), but viewers that want to be able to interpret and contemplate their show will be happily surprised. The show is ripe with metaphors, it is up to the viewer whether or not they are picked and enjoyed.

"FLCL" sounds awesome. The show's OST was produced in its entirety by a Japanese rock group called "The Pillows." In total, the band recorded three entire original albums for the show's six episodes. If that sounds like a lot to you, then you are right. Rarely, if ever, do I recall hearing a repeated song (other than the outro and intro) in "FLCL's" run time. This, effectively, creates a novel listening experience throughout the show. Even when I go back to re-watch the show, Ill find a new song I hadn't noticed before playing softly in the background.

Admittedly, my review of "FLCL" is a biased one. Having first seen it during an emotional crossroad of my adolescence, I created a strong bond with the “coming of age” story and its characters. Consistently, I have come back to watch the show when I’m feeling stagnated or unhappy and, consistently, it has brought me joy. This is not to say that the show does not hold its own from an unbiased perspective, and had garnered enough popularity in the U.S. to gain (and continue) air time on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim.” Somewhat reputable review-site Rotten Tomatoes has even given it a 96 percent, but for the most part it received above average reviews. Personally, I think "FLCL" is the best anime I will ever see because it so succinctly captured so much within a small six episode package. If you watch anime and even if you don’t, you should watch "Fooly Cooly."

Cover Image Credit: Imgur

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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I Am The Girl Who Always Gets What She Wants, And I’m Not Ashamed Of It

I will NEVER just "go with the flow."

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Ever since I was very, very young, my parents have taught me to fight for what I want. This doesn't mean that they spoiled me or that they caved whenever I threw a temper tantrum. I'm also not saying that they taught me not to take no for an answer, because everyone's entitled to their own opinions and points of views, and saying no is perfectly understandable in any circumstance. What I am saying is that they've always wanted me to take my future in my hands, mold it to whatever it is that I want it to look like, and work hard to get to where I want to go.

When I was eleven years old, I watched a documentary called "The Secret" with my dad for the first time. "The Secret" is a book, later turned into a documentary, which basically teaches you how to use the law of attraction. Simply put, the law of attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. My dad told me he'd read the book before, and that he thought I was ready to learn how to use the law of attraction for my own good, even though I'd technically been using it for my entire life without even being aware of it. It's important to note that, when people first learn about the law of attraction, they tend to be pretty skeptical about it. Surprisingly, I wasn't skeptical at all, considering I'd always looked up to Walt Disney and his stories about magic.

At first, I used the law of attraction for things that might seem very small now, but back then I was so very excited to see that whatever I was doing was working in my favor. Whenever I really wanted something, like a light pink Nintendo DS, I would put it up on my vision board, I would visualize myself playing with it, and I would truly believe that I would get it, and so I did. Some people teased me for it, saying that I only got those things because my parents wanted me to believe in the law of attraction, and so they just bought me whatever it was that I wanted at the moment. But then it started turning into something way more powerful.

When I was seventeen, my family and I were planning to go to Disney World for Spring Break, and I really wanted my best friend to come with us. At first, it seemed like an impossible task, considering the fact that her mom had never even let her go on a weekend getaway with anyone, let alone fly to another country. I introduced my best friend to the law of attraction, and we both truly believed that she would come. She ended up coming on the trip with us, and to this day, we're still shocked about the fact that her mother caved and let her tag along.

As I've grown older, the law of attraction has always played a very important part in my thought process, and how I handle and react to things. When I was eighteen, I was able to gather all the strength I needed to break away from a very toxic relationship, and then I found a man who just casually happens to have every single thing I always thought my dream guy should have.

In January of last year, I decided that I would be applying for the Disney International College Program. It was truly fitting, considering the fact that Disney has always been one of my biggest passions in life, and also that I had been to Disney World countless times before. I felt truly prepared to take on this adventure, and so I started preparing my application. Nevertheless, the dates got mixed up, and my school advisor told me it was too late for me to send in my application. But I knew deep in my heart that I was going to move to Orlando. Two days after that, just like magic, my advisor told me that she could still let me apply if I sent in my application as quickly as possible. We all know what happened after that, considering I'm writing this from my apartment in Orlando.

All that magic comes with a price though, and lots of people have recently tried to undermine me. Some people, I guess, are just like black holes. They hate shiny things, and they go around trying to suck everyone else's light to fill up the void inside of them, but my fire is too strong, and therefore, it's impossible to put out. Some people just can't take how much I've accomplished, the things I've seen, the things I've done, the stuff I have, and the dreams I dream.

I've decided to stand my ground and let it be known, once and for all, that no matter what happens, I will always continue to fight and work for whatever it is that I want, no matter how big, small, unreachable or pointless it may seem to other people. What I want is what I get, and if someone doesn't like that about me, then that's their own problem to deal with, not mine. My life, my future, and my destiny are MINE to sculpt, and I will NEVER just "go with the flow."

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