For anyone who hasn't seen the original "FLCL," six-part Japanese anime series made in 2000-01, the manga version of "FLCL" makes little sense. Even those who have seen the hugely influential animation, Hajime Ueda's manga adaptation is something puzzling and difficult to read. I'm a fan of the original anime, but found the comic slightly disappointing for the following reasons.
First, you know the story of the OVA series directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki, whose intention is clear from the first episode, in which a Vespa-riding girl hits a 12-year-old boy Naota with a guitar. Whatever you may call it - sci-fi action, wacky comedy, coming-of-age drama - "FLCL" is experimental, silly, outrageous, and, most of all, fun. Thematically the anime is kind of antithesis of "Evangelion," though it may share some story elements.
The comic counterpart, which is darker in tone, misses the point, taking itself too seriously at times. In short, where is Haruko fighting in a bunny girl costume? Where is special agent Amarao with his fake (dried seaweed) eyebrow?
The manga version's story differs considerably from that of the anime. That is fine with me. The real problem is, despite the unique drawing style, the panel layout is hard to follow. The story feels rushed and you often get lost between pages, trying to figure out what has happened. (This is what happens in Ueda's next comic "Q*Ko-chan: The Earth Invader Girl.")
Don't get me wrong. The artwork itself is brilliant. The fact is, Ueda is more an illustrator than a comic artist, as is seen in some of his recent works including the great design he provided for the end credit sequence of anime "Bakemonogatari."
After all, "FLCL" is an animation. The comic has its own merits, though. Check it out you are a diehard fan of the original.