Anime can be pretty weird -- just look at series like "Paranoia Agent" and "Boogiepop Phantom." Really weird, sometimes impossible to totally understand.
But for sheer strangeness and kookiness, the winner has got to be "Fooly Cooly (FLCL)." Even as it pokes fun at typical anime, it tells the surrealist story of a very odd coming-of-age, complete with strange plots, oddball characters, and robots sprouting out of a young boy's head.
Naota is a young boy living what he sees as an oppressively dull existance, in a quiet city dominated by the Medical Mechanica building. The closest thing to excitement is fending off the advances of his brother's troubled girlfriend Mamimi.
Then sudenly a girl on a Vespa runs him over, resuscitates him with a smooch, and then bashes him over the head with a bass guitar. That evening, Naota finds that instead of a bump, he has a horn growing out of his head, and no idea what it is or how to get rid of it.
Despite his efforts to avoid her, Naoto's kooky father has hired the crazy Vespa girl, Haruko, as a housekeeper. To make matters worse, his "horn" turns out to be a robot and a giant mechanical hand -- springing out of a channel in his head. And you thought YOU had problems.
The five episodes that follow don't get any more normal, as Naota must deal with the Mayor's daughter getting his strange power, cat ears, more robots, baseball, bombs, the Pirate King Atomsk, seaweed eyebrows, and the interplanetary Medical Mechanica which may or may not be intent on galactic domination. It all clashes in the final episode.
For newbies, "FLCL" is probably the WORST anime to start with. It's a parodic mishmash of anime in-jokes -- giant robots, fanservice, boy falls for kooky abusive alien girl -- and a storyline that is bizarre to the point where you may not be able to understand what's going on. But oh, is it a fun ride.
As if the plot weren't hyperactive enough, the animation is exaggerated and crazy, full of distorted faces and wild robot battles. Lots of action and overdramatic dialogue ("OH NO.... OOOOOOOOO... an American GIRLFRIEND!"). As if it weren't funny enough, the director sprinkles in homages to other shows, ranging from other anime to "South Park."
And the characters are as bizarre as the story itself. Naoto starts off as a typical bored preteen, but slowly gains confidence and guts as he gets immersed in the weirdness. Haruko is a completely off-the-wall kook who is apparently an alien. And there's a bunch of other weird characters -- troubled pyromaniacs, wistful robots, preteen pervs, and a guy from Interstellar Immigration.
"FLCL" is perhaps the strangest anime in existance. It's also enough to blow the top off of your head, with the strange characters and wildly surrealist plot. Fooly Cooly!