Anime Meta-Review




By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Furi Kuri
  • seen: 1-6 of 6
  • type: OAV
  • grade: worthy
  • people: Gainax
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Wed Dec 20 15:19:01 EST 2000
  • mod: none

This is a very popular title on usenet, one that has caused even the most jaded anime expert to look again. That said it's also the sort of title that makes you wonder why you even considered trying to review anime in the first place. And in case you wonder i've got no idea what the title means either.

That's because this thing has `weird experiment' stamped all over it. And it's by Gainax who are fairly weird and chaotic even at the best of times. It's playful, it's perverse, it's frenetic and story and animation style wander all over the place. It would sit very comfortably in the `weird' category. But, and this is a big but, it's almost undeniably a successful experiment having an addictive energy and complexity that makes viewing it an experience worth having.

Describing the story is not going to be easy and might not even be important. It's set in a near future, in a normal small town in Japan. Well, mostly normal, there's a strange immense and newly constructed factory, for making mechanical medical robots, that dominates the towns skyline and occasionally belches forth immense clouds of smoke. But other than that completely normal, which is comforting to the 12 year old boy we follow who seems to prize what normality he can find. Although we can see why he values it, his father is pretty weird and wanders off into strange obsessive diatribes. He's also in a pretty weird relationship with his older brothers `girlfriend' who's 17 and definitely more than a little strange.

And then the story gets downright strange, with the arrival of a moped driving, pull-started guitar wielding self proclaimed alien. She attracts the boys attention by running over him and braining him with the guitar...prior to moving in as his families maid. She's surely one of the worst maids in existence, definitely weird and overtly physical but also seeming to have some important secrets hidden away. And then, as if life hadn't got weird enough, it seems that the guitar blow to the head has caused a rare medical condition. Although what sort of problem would lead to growing `horns' that eventually cause large robots to burst from his head remains to be seen.

Thus the lead struggles to lead a normal life, despite the fact that he's now incredibly strange himself. Add that he's surrounded by weirdness, including one of the robots joining the cast, and it's obvious he's got his work cut out for him. But this isn't simply `manic and madcap' oddity because Gainax are way too clever for that. There's some wonderful dialog, which subtext hunters can go to town on, and potent character moments. This mixture of energy, brutal style and odd intensity (even when being normal) is truly the mark of very capable producers. And over all this is the sense that there is a meaning that will become clear at any moment. This powerful sense of hidden meaning makes the anime fairly addictive and underpins the exotic characters, weird energy and hectic action.

On the other hand it's also possible to see it as an astonishing mess of uncompleted story elements. An anime full of disconnected scenes selected only because they were fun to do. An anime full of intensity because the reality depicted is so mutable. And both of these views are possible. It's raucous, chaotic and completely scattergun in it's approach. If you like solid and serious anime then this might not be to your tastes. But, even with this in mind, there is a sense of quality and strength to this production that makes it feel worth finding out about.

The anime is also an experiment in production. It's generally believed that this is a test for how digital production of anime can actually be integrated with the feel and style of anime. And while Gainax's style might never have been considered a normal anime style the experiment does seem to be successful. It looks good, the action scenes are fantastic and complex, and even the weird bits are enjoyable. Theres quite a few clever tricks, like pans and rotates, which are actually surprisingly cool. This is very different but very exciting production, worth seeing if you get the chance. The voices are as exotic as the characters, which seems fitting. The music is electric guitar based stuff which actually adds a strong sense of energy to the title.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:18 WST 2009