FLCLReviews

FLCL Ep. 4: Furi Kiri/Full Swing

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Summary

Haruko is very successful at playing baseball, hitting a home run every time she is at bat. The Martians, the former team of Naota’s brother Tasuka, coached by Shigekuni sit on the bench, upset at how successful she is against them. They bemoan the fact that Tasuka, their best player is no longer on the team and that is brother is so bad. Naota strikes out every time he is at bat and doesn’t even swing the bat. The last time he is up he gets hit by a pitch thrown by Haruko. The Martians, noticing Canti throwing baseballs into a trash barrel, wonder if he’ll be good on their team. They practice playing with him and he is really good. Shigekuni is convinced they now have a secret weapon. Naota heads home finding Haruko who comments on the bandage on his head. Haruko tells him nothing can happen until he swings the bat. Naota comes home finding his father massaging Haruko with his head as she moans in pleasure. Naota fails to notice that Kamon is actually an electrical mannequin plugged into an outlet. Naota leaves in disgust without dinner as the two share some eggs. Outside Naota swings his bat at the vending machine and finds a strange man with big eyebrows has arrived, riding a Rabbit scooter. The man comes inside to buy some spicy bread and talks about Haruko, saying she is a menace and to stay quiet about her. Naota goes to hang out with Mamimi again. On the way back Naota finds Haruko who offers to help him swing the bat. Naota initially says to leave him alone. Haruko says Naota’s head is the only one that works and he has a short vision of her carrying his head. Naota reluctantly agrees. In the back Haruko says Naota has the right stance but needs to swing the bat. She grabs hold of Naota and says to imagine an ark to heaven, pointing to a star in the sky. Naota says the star is blinking. Meanwhile, a group of Galaxy Police agents, led by Amarao, the man Naota met earlier investigate a satellite which upon being hit by one of Haruko’s baseballs has broken through the atmosphere and is heading towards Mabase. Agent Kitsurubami notices Amarao having dissected the spicy bread. He gives her the bread to throw away. She thinks about his eyebrows. Naota wakes up later that night, finding his bedroom empty. He goes down the hall and hears Haruko and Kamon together in his room. Naota looks through the door and is surprised. A red light appears from his head which acts as a beacon to the police. Kitsurubami is still freaked out by Amarao’s eyebrows.

The next day a new baseball game takes place. Naota skips the game and hangs out with Mamimi instead but they are found by Haruko. Haruko asks if they are being perverted and Naota says she is being. Haruko tells Naota to swing the bat and Mamimi says he is not the type to do so. Upon hearing that Canti is playing Mamimi rushes off and leaves with Haruko. Naota tells Haruko he doesn’t want her coaching him anymore. Naota comes home and sees his father sitting there, talking about a mark Haruko left on his neck. Naota has a vision of Haruko coming out of Kamon’s mouth and Myu Myu beating her up. Kamon comes towards Haruko with a jerking motion and Naota hits him in the head with his bat, severely injuring him. Canti meanwhile is beaned by Haruko in the baseball game and knocked out. A blimp appears over the city telling everyone to evacuate Mabase. Amarao shows up at Naota’s house and reads a report about Naota and his family history. Naota denies hitting Kamon, saying he hit the television. He declines some sweet tea offered by Amarao. Amarao comments on how he can only swing at machines, not in the game. Amarao tells him he did what he did because he was jealous of Kamon’s relationship with Haruko but he’s a victim of hers and it isn’t his fault. Amarao asks if Naota has heard Haruko speak of the Galaxy Space Police Brotherhood and the Space Pirate Atomsk. He tells Naota to stay quiet about them talking. Naota is also freaked out by Amarao’s eyebrows. Naota discovers the plug coming from his father’s body and looks in the closet where he finds his real father, now a dried up husk. Naota, greatly freaked out by this rushes to the bathroom and helps him recover by putting him in the tub and drenching with water. Mamimi sits atop Canti’s head, watching as the satellite approaches the city. Kamon tells Naota he wasn’t good enough for Haruko so he let him use his head and he died for a while. Naota thinks about how Amarao told him about N.O., which allows things to be pulled through other dimensions through the head. Kamon wasn’t good enough but Naota is. Amarao tells Naota to ask Haruko to swing the bat one more time and protect Mabase from the satellite. Haruko drives in on her Vespa, running over the mannequin. Haruko says it will be expensive. Amarao says they need to keep the satellite bomb a secret since it was their back up in case of emergencies. He calls Haruko “Raharu” and says she plans to infiltrate them, the foreign embassy and Medical Mechanica and caused the satellite to fall to pull it off. Haruko drives Naota towards the Medical Mechanica plant. Mamimi wonders if they’ll cancel school due to the satellite falling. Haruko shoves her hand into Naota’s head and pulls out a guitar, which she calls his bat. All the police women’s noses bleed upon seeing this. The satellite starts breaking apart and picks up speed, revealing it to be a giant glove surrounding a ball. The glove throws the ball. Naota thinks it is impossible and finds that Haruko has disappeared. The ball starts spinning, revealing it to be a sinker pitch. Naota swings the bat and his head glows with a red symbol. Naota holds back the giant ball but it starts glowing, about to explode. Haruko arrives and swings at it as well, causing it to fly into orbit. Mamimi says Naota really swung the bat. Haruko laughs maniacally as she drives Naota back on her Vespa. One of Amarao’s eyebrows falls off, shocking Kitsurubami.

Commentary

After a few episodes focusing on some of the other characters in the show, this one focuses more on Naota again, and moves the plot along, introducing Amarao and the Galaxy Space Police Brotherhood. Amarao is convinced that Haruko is up to no good. He has a point, as she caused the satellite to fall on the city, although she did end up helping Naota save Mabase in the end. Nori, a type of seaweed was actually used by the animators for Amarao’s giant fake eyebrows. The episode features some of the show’s darkest sequences when Naota hits his father with his bat, later revealed to be a mannequin, and finds his father’s dried up husk. This sequence, inspired by some incidents in Japan where children actually beat their parents to death with bats, was toned down from the original concept, where Naota hit his real father. The episode is very baseball-centric, with baseball being one of the most popular sports in Japan. The swing the bat metaphor represents Naota’s unwillingness to try due to fear of failure, which Haruko helps him get over by the episode’s end. The episode features a reference to one of the first anime I ever saw, Galaxy Express 999, when Haruko claims she is a manifestation of Naota’s youth. The episode also features one of the song’s better songs in “Crazy Sunshine” when Naota and Haruko stop the satellite.

Overall Rating
4/5
FLCL Info


Director:
Kazuya Tsurumaki

Writer:
Yoji Enokido

Mechanical Designer(s):
Junya Ishigaki
Shigeto Koyama
Bukichi Nadeara
Yoshitsune Izuna

Character Designer:
Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Musical Composer(s):
Shinkichi Mitsumune
The Pillows

Video Release (OVA):
Japan 04.26.2000 – 03.16.2001
U.S. 09.03.2002 – 07.22.2003

Theatrical Release:
Japan 10.01.2006

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