I had been a very, very casual anime fan for a number of years. I wouldn't search out any anime to watch, but if I came across something on TV I'd usually stop to check it out. This was back in the day when SyFy was Sci-Fi, and they used to do their Saturday Anime block. That couple hours of programming showed me the likes of Vampire Hunter D, Iria: Zeiram the Animation and others. That would be the the main anime content in my life for a few years, but then Adult Swim came around.
One night I ended up catching the very first episode of FLCL (Fooly Cooly) on Adult Swim. I wasn't following Adult Swim's programming at the time, so I had no idea what I was watching. I just stumbled upon it by accident, and decided to check it out. All it took was that first episode to completely blow my mind and get me interested in the entire series. The show had done its job...I was hooked.
At the time, Adult Swim was only showing one episode of FLCL a week, and there was just no way I could go that long without seeing the next episode. I hopped online to find out how many episodes there were and how I could watch them. Thankfully there were only 6 episodes in all, which made it easy to do a marathon session that night. I found a place online to watch all 6 episodes, and I sat glued to my computer monitor for the next few hours. When it was all said and done, I was completely changed.
FLCL is probably one of the craziest animes I've ever seen in my life. The thing is, that's just the surface of the story. At first glance, FLCL seems to be one of those anime features that make people hate anime. All the telltale signs are there. It's loud, it's crazy and it seems to make no sense. If you're going to try and break someone into anime, this is not the one to go with! If you happen to have friends that are open-minded, VERY open-minded, then perhaps you could give this a shot.
Once you actually start analyzing FLCL and moving beyond the colorful first layer, you happen upon an absolutely amazing story with tons of twists and turns. There's a ridiculous amount of symbolism here, as well as social commentary and heart-felt emotions. FLCL does so much so well, it still blows my mind that this project came together as it did. It's one of the most solid anime series I've ever seen, as well as one of the most engaging shows I've ever come across in any style of storytelling. I'm not kidding one bit when I say that FLCL gave me a different outlook on life.
FLCL is an anime that demands to be watched over and over again. You'll have to go through repeat viewings before you pick up on even half of what the show is trying to tell its viewers. There's nothing better than a show that makes you think, and FLCL is all about that. It's almost like the crazy, loud exterior was put in place in order to keep close-minded people out. The team involved is clearly full of very intelligent people, and they set out to tell a truly special story.
From there on out, I've been a huge fan of anime. I've seen all kinds of amazing content, and I've only scratched the surface. Hopefully you have an anime that set you down the same path as me. What was that one feature that really got you into anime as a whole?