List of FLCL characters

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The cast of the first season of FLCL. From left to Right:(Top) Commander Amarao, Lieutenant Kitsurubami;
(bottom) Shigekuni Nandaba, Masashi, Gaku, Kamon Nandaba, Canti, Haruko Haruhara, Naota Nandaba, Eri Ninamori, Mamimi Samejima

The central character in FLCL (also known as Fooly Cooly), a 2000 Japanese anime produced by Gainax and Production I.G, with two additional seasons to be released in 2018. The first season covers the story of a sixth grade student named Naota Nandaba whose life is greatly changed after he is run over by the mysterious alien troublemaker Haruko Haruhara. The second season covers the story of a seventh grade student named Hidomi Hibajiri whose life Haruko also intrudes.

Main characters[edit]

Haruko Haruhara[edit]

Voiced by: Mayumi Shintani (Japanese); Kari Wahlgren (English)[1]

Haruko Haruhara (ハルハラ・ハル子, Haruhara Haruko), her actual name Haruha Raharu (ハルハ・ラハル), is the mysterious pink-haired alien who is the central character in the FLCL series who serves as the catalyst for the series abnormal events. She is an energetic and unpredictably reckless sociopath who is nick-named "Vespa Woman" for riding a sunglow Piaggio Vespa SS 180, claiming to be 19 despite Mamimi observing her to look a year older. Haruko is usually seen carrying a midnight blue, left-handed Rickenbacker bass guitar model 4001, displaying knowledge and administration of guitar types the stylings of American classic rock musicians, which is modified to fire bullets with axe and rocket launcher modes.[2] Haruko can also use it to fly and open N.O. Channels. In the manga, she also uses rifle similar to a Mare's leg. Haruko also has the ability to hypnotize weak-minded people into believing anything she wants, such as have someone believe a bad drawing to be a photograph of a fabricated experience.

During the first season of FLCL, having came to the planet years before along with a history with Amarao, Haruko arrives to Earth under the cover of an investigator for the Galactic Space Patrol Brotherhood to find a human with N.O. abilities to help her retrieve Atomsk from the clutches of Medical Mechanica. She eventually finds Naota and established the channel by hitting him with her guitar, moving into his household as a maid to keep tabs on him while her constant presence endangers him and others on a daily basis. Haruko has connections to the Nandaba family cat, Miu Miu, who serves as a "walkie talkie" to her superiors. The cat does not speak (besides its "meows" and grunts) but it is obvious that Haruko is getting some kind of reply, as her conversations with Miu Miu indicate. But ultimately, despite what Amarao assuming her to have feelings for Atomsk, Haruko wants the being's power as her own and is willing to destroy Earth to accomplish it. Haruko eventually convinces Naota to help her free Atomsk to absorb his power, only for the boy to briefly absorb the being into himself to incapacitate a furious Haruko before the entity free in the universe. Haruko appeared to forgave Naoto in the aftermath while tenderly offering him to join her in tracking down Atomsk before retracting the offer, leaving her guitar behind and taking a powerful, double-necked guitar/bass that Naota created while harnessing Atomsk's power when she departs from Earth. At the end of the manga adaptation, a character identical to Haruko appears from Naota's forehead and introduces herself as Haruha Raharu's boss Superior Raharu[3], hinting that Haruko is actually on the run from the Galactic Space Patrol Brotherhood. It is made obvious that it is Haruko pretending to be someone else after she kisses Naota.

Between the events of the first season and FLCL Progressive, as depicted in the latter's credits, Haruko manages to briefly absorb Atomsk. But the experience causes a part of Haruko's being to split off from her while she loses Atomsk in the process. Returning to Earth under the guise of a homeroom teacher in Hidomi's school, Haruko uses the heroine's classmate Ko Ide to weed out Hidomi as her target while being opposed by her discarded fragment in the form of Julia Jinyu.

Naota Nandaba[edit]

Voiced by: Jun Mizuki (Japanese); Barbara Goodson (English)[1]

Naota Nandaba (ナンダバ・ナオ太, Nandaba Naota), is the 13-year old protagonist of the first season. His name is derived from the Japanese word for "honesty". Unbeknownst to him, he has the "right kind of head" to be used as an N.O. channel.

Slightly wise beyond his years and heavily critical of others around him, Naota is cynical, obsessed with appearing mature and devoutly acts nonchalant. This is most expressed in his monologues which open and close each episode where he continues to claim that "nothing amazing ever happens here - everything is ordinary" despite the show's surreal and often absurd happenings. His attitude is largely reserved and bitter, though he can be somewhat smug and content at times. Naota idolizes his older brother Tasuku, carrying around Tasuku's baseball bat, and even hanging out with Tasuku's old girlfriend Mamimi. In Naota's mind, Tasuku is the epitome of what it means to be an adult, as opposed to the other adults in his life (e.g. his father, his grandfather, and his teacher) who he perceives as being immature. Much like Amarao, Naota is picky about his drinks (disliking drinks which are sour or bitter) and hates spicy foods, and shares an intimate bond with Haruko. This being said, Amarao and Naota's childhoods nearly mirror each other.

While at the beginning of the series Naota appears to be bothered by Haruko's presence, her alteration of his regular, mundane life results in him developing a crush on her with overlaps with his initial crush on Mamimi. He embraces her with a kiss in the final episode, and prior to that breaks down and cries while hugging her after she had returned from leaving without notice. Despite this, when his chance to be with her comes, he chooses to let her go and not follow her. His bass is the Rickenbacker 4001 which was Haruko's, but she leaves it behind when she takes the new combination of his Gibson Flying V and Atomsk's Gibson EB-0.

Hidomi Hibajiri[edit]

Voiced by: Inori Minase (Japanese); Xanthe Huynh (English)

Hidomi Hibajiri (雲雀弄ヒドミ, Hibajiri Hidomi), is the nihilistic 14-year old protagonist of season two, FLCL Progressive. While sharing Naoto's outlook on Mabuse, Hidomi frequently dreams of herself as a corpse. She also wears a set of cat ear headphones which Julia Jinyu recognizes to be an inhabitation device as its LED lights change from blue to red whenever she is about to "overflow", making her targeted by Haruko as a result.

Canti[edit]

Canti (カンチ, Kanchi) is a medical robot with what looks like a television set for a head. He was manufactured by Medical Mechanica, but taken over by Atomsk as a way to escape them. After having his head broken by Haruko, he is recruited by her as an assistant; however, he proves to be no good for much other than washing dishes and fetching drinks for the family.

Atomsk can manifest through Canti, with Naota being the catalyst. Atomsk's symbol appears on Canti's screen when he absorbs Naota; the symbol is a corruption of the kanji characters for "adult" (大人).[2] This symbol also appears on him when Naota "swings the bat" in "Full Swing". The symbol that appears when Canti is absorbed by the terminal core in "FLCLimax" is similar, but he uses the characters for "child" (小人) instead. When Naota is absorbed, Canti's physical strength is increased and he gains the ability to transform into an antitank gun, called the "Overdrive Technique" in the manga.

The emotions of Canti are very human-like, despite his looks. He is embarrassed about his broken head (where Haruko hit him) and is looking for the pieces to glue back together in episode two. He wears the box on the back of his head for the same reason. At first, Canti seems to like porn; he was reading it in the 7-11. However it is revealed later in this episode that he was sent by Naota's grandfather to purchase magazines, and what he brought back was thrown at him in disgust while Naota's grandfather shouted, "I told you to get the one with Anna Nicole Smith", a former Playboy playmate, showing that his reading was a conscientious attempt to satisfy this request. However it is stated in the novel, that Canti spends three hours at a time looking through "perverted magazines". He is also extremely polite, extending a helping hand to Lieutenant Kitsurubami even after she attempted to destroy him which thoroughly charms her.

Canti also dons a halo and fake wings which Haruko puts on him earlier in the episode. Mamimi is convinced that Canti is an angel/god. She calls him "Canti-sama" after "Cantido, the Lord of Black Flames" in the video game she plays. The rest of the cast call him by this title throughout the rest of the series. Apparently, he can also eat curry with his "mouth" (which is just a grille), but it is never really explained how.

When first synchronized with Naota, Naota fully connects with Canti through a plug that goes in his eye instead of a screw-in light bulb in the back of his head (broken off in episode one).

Atomsk[edit]

Atomsk, also known as the "Pirate King" (海賊王, Kaizoku-Ō), is an enigmatic being that has been called the most powerful space pirate in the galaxy as his N.O. channel is great enough to steal entire star systems. He is a mass of energy in the form of a phoenix-like creature with a nose ring identical to the metal Ring on Haruko's bracelet, which allows her to detect Atomsk's presence or the activation of a N.O. channel. in general. The director's commentary explains that this is a remnant from the original story, in which Haruko was a space officer and Atomsk was her prisoner with whom she fell in love. They scrapped the idea but kept the bracelet, and a few discreet references to Haruko's past. Atomsk's bass guitar is a 1961 Gibson EB-0.

Assuming Haruko with in love with Atomsk, Amarao assumed him to a humanoid male figure with fiery red hair before being shocked to see Atomsk's actual appearance. In truth, Haruko seeks to take Atomsk's power for her own and used Naoto to release the being from Medical Mechanica's custody so she can absorb him. Manifesting through Canti, ingesting Naoto as a catalyst for the sequence, Atomsk eventually transferred himself into the boy's body to Haruko's dismay before being fully released as he leaves the Earth. As revealed in the credits of FLCL Progressive, taking place between it and the first season, Atomsk is later found and absorbed Haruko for the brief moment that resulted in the creation of Julia Jinyu.

Atomsk is named after the novel Atomsk, by Carmichael Smith (a pseudonym of Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, better known as Cordwainer Smith). In the director commentary on the third DVD, the director states that he is unsure as to how it's really pronounced (in the English version of FLCL, it is pronounced "atomisk").

Original FLCL characters[edit]

Mamimi Samejima[edit]

Voiced by: Izumi Kasagi (Japanese); Stephanie Sheh (English)[1]

Mamimi Samejima (サメジマ・マミ美, Samejima Mamimi) is a 17-year old truant high school student with a quixotical grip on reality who carries a camera and smokes more of the time, hinted to have been bullied at her school and apparently from a broken family as her parents are mentioned are separated or are out of her life. She was originally Tasuku's girlfriend since he saved her from a elementary school fire, which she apparently caused due to her pyromaniacal tendencies to burn things she hates like her old school. It became a ritualistic practice for her in worshipping her personal deity Cantido whom she considered Canti an incarnation of. While Mamimi conceals her destructive nature, her aura of benign morbidness does make her an outcast in the eyes of others, save Naoto who had a crush on her. Most characters refer to Mamimi simply as Mamimi, but Naota's friends refer to her as "Naota's wife", and Haruko calls her "Sameji", a shortening of her last name. Amarao refers to her as "that high school girl".

Her relationship with Tasuku was ultimately based on caring for those who are dependent on her, having a habit of naming things "Ta-Kun" like a black kitten, and leaving them the moment that show any independence. Mamimi entered a sort of relationship with Naota as a means of coping with Tasuku having left for America and getting a new girlfriend, calling him "Ta-Kun" before he realized she was using him and emotionally explodes about her using him as a consolation prize during the events of Brittle Bullet while vowing to win her love. But a disillusioned Mamimi instead found a Medical Mechanica terminal core which she named "Ta-Kun", used it to enact retribution against those who have wronged her by feeding it her classmates' cellular phones and motorbikes before it goes berserk while enacting its program. It is revealed that Mamami, unable to return Naota's feelings despite having a genuine affection for him, leaves Mabase to become a professional photographer.

Commander Amarao[edit]

Voiced by: Kōichi Ōkura (Japanese); Dave Mallow (English)

Commander Amarao (アマラオ) works for the Department of Interstellar Immigration, a middle man for negotiations between the government and Medical Mechanica while seeing Haruko as a legit threat for provoking Medical Mechanica into attacking Earth. Having a history with Haruko, who used him like Naoto before abandoning him for not living up to her standards as his portals are small, Amarao wears fake eyebrows made of nori that appear to negate his N.O. channel alongside sweets. But he is revealed to have no eyebrows with Haruko mocking him by claiming them to cover up his apparent lack of masculinity. His vehicle of choice is a Fuji Rabbit, a motor scooter which was initially produced in 1946 six months prior to the initial production of the Vespa, hinting traces Haruko's effect on him in his youth.

Amarao first appears in the fourth episode of the series to covertly warn Naota of Haruko and her intentions, giving viewers the impression that he is virtually an omniscient character with his dispensing of background information and fairly accurate predictions. But subsequent events would reveal him to be an extremely weak and very shortsighted man despite seeming to grasp what is happening better than most, having a hint of jealously over Haruko's preference of Naota over him despite knowing her intentions for him and knowing he needs to stop her from endangering Earth with her antics to the point of ordering an attempted assassination of Canty which led to him being confronted by Haruko in all-out gunfight before Medical Mechanica's giant robot appeared. Ultimately, unable to convince Naoto, Amarao could only watch the climax unfold before seeing Atomsk fully manifest. In the manga, Amarao's role is greatly diminished but had an important role in visiting Shigekuni and revealed what he know of the N.O. channel to him.

Lieutenant Kitsurubami[edit]

Voiced by: Chiemi Chiba (Japanese); L. Villa (English)

Lieutenant Kitsurubami (キツルバミ) is an attractive young woman and Amarao's second in command in the Interstellar Immigration Bureau, often seen either giving out vital mission data or on the field. Despite Amarao's flirting advances, respecting her superior despite being weirded out by his false eyebrows, Kitsurubami prefers to keep their relationship strictly professional. She also seems to become smitten with Canti, despite her initial attempt of destroying him with an anti-tank rifle while incorrectly calling him a "cyborg". Kitsurubami is also shown to suffer chronic nose bleeds whenever witnessing Naota's N.O. manifestations from his head, though these scenes might be played for comedic effect.

Kitsurubami is named after a light brown traditional Japanese color, which happens to be the color of her skin. Thus, her name could be interpreted as "Lieutenant Brown", although the color Kitsurubami is not the common "brown". She appears to be the only "normal" (or mature) adult in FLCL; however, her apparent dislike of close contact with others adds an element of childishness to her character.

Junko Miyaji[edit]

Voiced by: Yukari Fukui (Japanese); Jessica Straus (English)

Junko Miyaji (ミヤジ・ジュン子, Miyaji Junko) is Naota's eccentric sixth grade teacher. Her students have given her the nickname "Miya-Jun". She seems to be constantly troubled by the shallower problems which Naota seems to create, such as the destruction of her car (which happens twice over the course of the series) or the terrible interruption of a lesson. Even on 'normal' days, however, she is pathetically inept: her attempt to teach chopstick usage to a generation of students raised on sporks ends with the revelation that she is unable to use them herself.

She can be viewed as symbolic of the ineffectiveness of educational institutions imparting any truly important or useful knowledge: Naota constantly characterizes the adults around him as "unable to grow-up". In his mind, Miya-Jun's inability to act like a normal adult (similar to his father, grandfather, Ninamori's father, Amarao, and many others) confirms his theory. Adults like her are contradictions in Naota's life; he wants to become an adult, but the adults around him don't act like adults at all.

Kamon Nandaba[edit]

Voiced by: Suzuki Matsuo (Japanese); Joe Martin (English)[1]

Kamon Nandaba (ナンダバ・カモン, Nandaba Kamon), 47, is Naota's father, a former pop culture journalist working as a freelance writer, with his own trashy tabloid: "Kamon-Mabase" (the title is a pun on "Come on, Mabase"). Compared to the other adults in FLCL, Kamon is the most extremely immature yet shows a surprising amount of seriousness and thoughtfulness. He also makes the most references to pop culture: EVA, "Monkey-sensei" (referring to the creator of the series Lupin III), Hamtaro, Mobile Suit Gundam, and MTV to name a few.

Kamon has taken a liking to Haruko when she moved in as their family's housekeeper, but she only wants to use him as a potential N.O. portal before deeming him useless to her needs and places him in a death-like coma while replacing him with a robot double to putter around the house. Naoto, believing his father and Haruko are sleeping together, eventually learns the truth when he indirectly deactivated the robot and found the real Kamon whom he revived by being hydrated in their bathtub. Despite this ordeal, Kamon continued to obsessed over Haruko to the point of challenging Naoto to a paintball gunfight which he lost.

In the manga, the Kamon's robot double is absent and Naota ends up murdering Kamon over the misunderstanding.

Shigekuni Nandaba[edit]

Voiced by: Hiroshi Ito (Japanese); Steve Kramer (English) [1]

Shigekuni Nandaba (ナンダバ・シゲクニ, Nandaba Shigekuni) is Naota's grandfather and Kamon's father. He owns the family bakery and coaches the local baseball team, the Mabase Martians. He has a grudge against Mamimi for unspecified reasons, but it is suggested that he didn't approve of Tasuku dating her. Shigekuni values baseball more than anything in the world — he is disappointed in his own son and younger grandson because they are lousy baseball players. He does not defend Naota as the other players mock him, because he holds too much pride for Tasuku. He enjoys taking advantage of Canti as much as Kamon does. He has an affinity for pornography. In the first episode, he mistakes "furi kuri" with "kuri kuri," a sound effect often used to describe any twisting motion, often breasts or nipples.

Tasuku Nandaba[edit]

Tasuku Nandaba (ナンダバ・タスク, Nandaba Tasuku), who is 17 years old at the beginning of the series (current age unknown), is Naota's older brother who moved to America to play baseball. Mamimi believes that, since Tasuku saved her from the fire at their old elementary school, he likes her and it is continually suggested that Naota serves as a sort of stand-in for his older brother (most explicitly by Mamimi's use of the same nickname for both). The actual depth of their initial relationship is unknown. In "FLCLimax", she seems to have lost hope in him, allowing the destruction of her mobile phone just seconds after looking at his number on a screen. In the first episode, Naota receives a postcard from Tasuku, revealing that he now has an American girlfriend.

Although he never actually appears on screen, he is very significant to the storyline. As the former star of the baseball team, Naota idolizes him, but is afraid of not living up to his brother's legacy, and because of this never swings the bat when at the plate.

There are examples of scenes in which Naota yells out "Tasuk--"; the Japanese audience, at first assuming that he will exclaim, "Tasukete" (Help me!), may be surprised when he instead says, "Tasuku", the name of his older brother. Naota says in the first episode that, for a moment, Haruko resembled Tasuku.

Eri Ninamori[edit]

Voiced by: Mika Itō (Japanese); Heather Lee Joelson (English)[1]

Eri Ninamori (ニナモリ・エリ, Ninamori Eri), 12, is Naota's classmate. In the series, she is referred to by her last name. She is the daughter of the mayor of Mabase and is class president. She projects herself as a proper and slightly stuck-up cynic with good grades while concealing personal information to an almost obsessive degree; like needing corrective lenses, instead wearing contacts while at school. Even with her class president status, however, Ninamori is not above breaking the rules to get what she wants. When news of her father's affair with his secretary is made public with the possibility of her parents getting a divorce, Ninamori rigged the classroom ballots to get the lead role in a Puss in Boots play while having Naota cast as the titular character to his dismay. She is ultimately revealed to have a slight crush on Naota, further hinted by her dislike towards Mamimi and later Haruko.

Ninamori has N.O. powers as well, though a temporary effect of Naota head-butting her as a result of Haruko's antics sending him flying towards her. In this instance, an cephalopod-like Medical Mechanica robot which first appeared on Naoto's head as cat ears transferred itself over to Ninamori at the time it begins to gradually manifest while using her body as a both a weapon and shield in its attempt to capture Canty before it finally emerged after ingesting curry and is destroyed. In the manga, the robot's role is lessened as more of a minor support character in helping Ninamori save Naota from an angered Haruko.

Gaku Manabe[edit]

Voiced by: Akira Miyajima (Japanese); Bob Marx (English)[1]

Gaku Manabe (マナベ・ガク, Manabe Gaku), age 12, is another one of Naota's classmates and close friends and is obsessed with kissing and other things of sexual behaviour. In episode three, "Marquis de Carabas", he plays the part of a mouse in the school play. Gaku also uses the word "chu" constantly, especially when referring to Haruko. This is a pun in Japanese, because "chu" is the Japanese onomatopoeia for both kissing and the sound a mouse makes. In the English version, "chu" is replaced with "smooch" to make more sense to English speaking audiences. He's somewhat hyper (compared to the bored composure of his friends) and is usually seen with Masashi. He is an encyclopedia of bizarre rumors and legends, many of which are sexual in nature. He consistently refers to Mamimi as Naota's "wife", and Haruko as the "kiss-kiss" girl, likely due to her lewd behavior around Naota.

Masashi Masamune[edit]

Voiced by: Kazuhito Suzuki (Japanese); David Lucas (English)[1]

Masashi Masamune (マサムネ・マサシ, Masamune Masashi), age 13, is yet another of Naota's classmates. He is friends with Naota and is often seen hanging out with him, Gaku, and Ninamori. Masashi also has a job as a delivery boy, and drives a truck around, even though he is only in grade school. His father's truck is later eaten by the terminal core when Mamimi loses control of it. Masashi, like Naota, generally sounds slightly depressed.

FLCL Progressive characters[edit]

Julia Jinyu[edit]

Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro (Japanese); Allegra Clark (English)

Revealed to be a created from Haruko's being during her attempt to contain the absorbed Atomsk, Julia becomes an opposition to her counterpart's scheme to recapture Atomsk through Hidomi. While originally a part of Haruko, Julia has a more serious and blunt personality and travels in a vintage Chevrolet Bel Air that can transform into a robot with multiple functions. After finding Hidomi before Haruko, Julia arranges herself to work at the Hibajiri Cafe, through her blunt manner and immense strength works against her. She is voiced by (Japanese) and (English).

Ko Ide[edit]

Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama (Japanese); Robbie Daymond (English)

Ko Ide (井出 交, Ide Ko), Hidomi's classmate resembling Naota who Haruko is currently using for her plans, opening his N.O. Channel as the youth bragged to his classmates about her giving him special treatment.

Hinae Hibajiri[edit]

Voiced by: Kikuko Inoue (Japanese); Julie Ann Taylor (English)

Hinae Hibajiri (雲雀弄ヒナエ, Hibajiri Hinae), Hidomi's mother, she runs a local cafe which Hidomi and later Jinyu work at.

Goro Mori[edit]

Goro Mori (森 吾郎, Mori Goro), Ko's pudgy classmate, known for wearing unusual clothing including a short skirt to class without any guilt.

Marco Nogata[edit]

Voiced by: Masatomo Nakazawa (Japanese); Yuri Lowenthal (English)

Marco Nogata (マルコ野方, Marco Nogata), another classmate, at least part-Latino, who seems to passively absorb the oddities of his class.

Masurao[edit]

Eye Patch[edit]

A regular at the cafe whose real name is unknown.

Tonkichi[edit]

Aiko[edit]

FLCL Alternative characters[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Fooly Cooly". FLCL. Episode 1 – via Funimation. 
  2. ^ a b FLCL Ultimate Edition DVD Liner Notes
  3. ^ FLCL Volume 2, p186, Tokyopop, November 2003