After his brother moved to America, Naota was left to his own mundane existence with his grandfather and father in his small town. However, one day while walking home with Mamimi, his brother’s ex-girlfriend, Naota is hit by a Vespa. Its rider, a crazy pink haired woman, gets off, kisses him, smacks him on the head with her guitar, and then speeds away. This marks the end of Naota’s boring life and the beginning of a never-ending string of weird events.
How do you give anime recommendations for a show when you are not particularly sure what the plot actually is? You just get it in the ball park and hope the upcoming sequel starts explaining some things.
For Fans of Abstract Craziness
Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
Arumi and Sasshi have been friends since they were children as have they lived in the Abenobashi commercial district in Osaka. However, things are changing in Abenobashi, due in no small part to the area being slowly being bought out to build a mega-mall. One day, after an accident, the two friends find that Abenobashi has really changed – into a medieval RPG world, a dating sim game, a space opera, or a film noir movie. It is one wacky adventure after the next as Abenobashi takes on the form of Sasshi’s otaku interests.
The spoofs, random craziness, just a touch of philosophy, and some major coming of age overtones are the similarities between these two series. However, the more pleasant thing about Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi is that you generally know what is going on and it establishes the why of it all pretty early in.
Hyperactive Excel is a faithful servant of her beloved lord Il Palazzo, who aims to take over the world. Throughout her quest to help him achieve his goals, Excel and her partner Hyatt travel all over the world where there adventures often take a turn for the weird.
Consider the insanity and randomness in FLCL an intermediate class to prepare you for Excel Saga. If you can handle the insanity of Excel Saga, you can handle the insanity of any anime. Like FLCL, Excel Saga has a lot of spoofs of other sorts of media, but if you thought FLCL was confusing, Excel Saga might be similarly hard to follow.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
Panty and Stocking are two foul-mouth rebel angels that got booted out of heaven for being themselves. Panty likes sex, Stocking likes sweets, and their afro’d man companion Garterbelt has some pretty twisted fetishes. Together, the three travel the mean streets of Daten City getting into any and every bit of trouble they can find.
As they are both Gainax shows, you can be pretty certain that there is going to be wackiness within. Whether it is aliens, weirdly sexual situations, spoofs, or just general randomness, both series share it to the max. This makes both shows great to watch if, for nothing else, the unpredictability. Get ready to be confused just like you were in FLCL.
For Fans of Over the Top Action
Toppa Tengen Gurren Lagann
Simon and Kamina were living boring lives in their deep underground village when, on an excavation dig, they find a mysterious object that turns out to be the ignition key to an ancient war machine. With their new weapon, the pair are able to fend off an attack from above, but upon catching a glimpse of the sky, they set off on an adventure that will take them out of this universe.
FLCL and Gurren Lagann share a certain passion for utter madness like many Gainax shows. They both excel in high energy and highly original fights, but also suffer from the occasional moment of “what the hell is going on?” Additionally, both series are highly focused on robots. In FLCL, they come out of Naota’s head while in Gurren Lagann they are head-shaped.
Kill la Kill
Ryuuko Matoi is on the hunt for her father’s killer, and her only lead is the missing half of his invention, the Scissor Blade. On her quest, she arrives at the prestigious Honnouji Acadamy that is ruled over by the super powerful Satsuki Kiryuuin and her Elite Four. Believing Satsuki knows who killed her father, Ryuuko challenges one of the elite, but gets beaten due to their special uniforms. After receiving a special uniform of her own, Ryuuko sets plans into motion to dominate the school and find out what happened to her father.
If you enjoyed FLCL for those high energy scenes, whether it was fighting or just having a conversation, Kill la Kill is a good anime to follow up with. As you can likely tell by the concept, it is not quite the normal plot and the art style almost matches FLCL stroke for stroke. It has got the same kind of explosiveness that made FLCL so intriguing to watch.
After the events of Gunbuster destroyed the alien’s star system, the intergalactic war still rages on. Now humanity’s only hope lies with the Topless, an elite group of kids that possess supernatural powers and powerful new Buster Machines. Diebuster follows Nono, a rookie recruit and her team of ace pilots as they fight to protect humanity.
While Diebuster and FLCL actually share a director, fans should also be aware that this is technically a sequel to Gunbuster, though it feels like its own series. Regardless, Diebuster shares FLCL’s colorful and complex animation, though it has been shined up a bit. It also shares the same love for fast, vibrant, way over the top action. With crazy mech designs and a similar style of humor, this is a similarly short series for FLCL fans to love.
For Fans of Coming-of-Age Stories
Renton Thurston hates his boring life in the backwater town of Bellforest. He wants nothing more than to have an adventure, but his grandfather insists he become a mechanic. However, one day adventure literally falls through his roof in the form of Eureka, the pilot of a Nirvash type Zero and member of mercenary group Gekkostate.
Both stories have the main character swept up in something larger than his old boring life. While much longer than FLCL, Eureka Seven actually presents a much more complex coming of age story. Both main characters end up becoming slightly less weak through the help of infinitely more interesting female protagonists, and both feature a lot of similar tropes like alien girls, giant robots, and epic battles.
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Leonardo Watch is an amateur photographer that lives with his parents and older sister. However, one day an incident occurs that gives him the all seeing eye of the Gods, but costs his sister her eyesight. Desperate to help her, Leonardo travels to Hellsalem’s Lot, a city overrun by monsters, to help Libra stem the tide of monsters from another dimension and find a way to fix his sister.
Both FLCL and Blood Blockade Battlefront essentially tell the same story. Both anime series feature a normal boy that, for one reason or another, finds his life turned upside down by a situation that is out of his control. Suddenly their lives become about enduring one odd event after another alongside a cast of quirky characters. Both feature great animation and fast-paced battles, but FLCL is much more condensed.
Yuki Sanada is a socially awkward young man that, due to his grandmother’s job, has to move around a lot. He has all but given up on making normal friends until he moved to the town of Endoshima. There he meets a man named Haru who claims to be an alien. It turns out Yuki was right on one account, he would never make “normal” friends.
Although only a fraction as incomprehensible, Tsuritama shares a good deal with FLCL. Both ultimately feature a story about coming of age that is supported by some impressive artwork and a top-notch soundtrack. However, while both share the plot of a bored boy having an encounter with an alien, Tsuritama lacks the complexities and symbolism of FLCL.
Have your own recommendations for anime series like FLCL? Tell us about it in the comments section below.