Anime can be pretty weird -- just look at series like "Paranoia Agent" and "Boogiepop Phantom." Total confusion.
But for sheer strangeness and kookiness, the one on top has got to be "Fooly Cooly (FLCL)." As it pokes fun at anime conventions, the first volume tells the weird story of an atypical coming-of-age -- surreal storytelling, oddball characters, and robots sprouting out of a young boy's head.
Naota is a twelve-year-old 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 his head.
Things don't improve much in the second episode, where the now-tamed robot is being used for household duties and errands, including fetching Hustler and moving boxes. Naoto isn't pleased with this weird twist -- or with Haruko's continued presence -- but he's powerless to stop either one.
Then the troubled Mamimi sees the robot (wearing a pair of dark wings), and mistakes it for the Dark Flame god Cantide from her favorite pyromaniacal video game. And Naoto finds that he's got some new horns -- and they're about to set off a massive robot battle.
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.
Even the animation is done in an exaggerated, crazy way, full of distorted faces and crazy robot battles. Lots of hyperactive action and overdramatic dialogue ("OH NO.... OOOOOOOOO... an American GIRLFRIEND!"). And it's sprinkled with hysterical little metafictional moments, like the characters griping to the audience about doing "slow motion" shots.
And the characters are as bizarre and spoofy as the story itself -- Naoto is a typical bored preteen, who idolizes his big brother and wants a quasi-normal life, while Haruko is a completely off-the-wall kook who says she's an alien. And Mamimi makes the story even more bizarre -- and a little poignant -- as a lonely pyromaniac.
The first two episodes of "FLCL" are enough to blow the top off of your head, with the strange characters and wildly surrealist plot. Fooly Cooly!