There are a lot of meta anime out there, but there is nothing quite like FLCL or Fooly Cooly. It is one of the most bizarre anime of all time and might be the queen of meta and parody. It pokes fun at the genre many times, breaks the fourth wall on several occasions, and references other anime too. Some of these can be easily picked up today.
However, these errors might have been easier to get at the time since anime was not in its boom phase yet, even if it was not out in the West or were more obscure. So, in the case in which FLCL premiered in the West, here is a quick breakdown.
6 Lupin The 3rd
One of the most popular things about the Lupin the 3rd series is that the character changes jackets between the ages. It went from green to red to pink, and the actual color is blue in episode five. Naotas father Kamon is wearing the red jacket.
Kamon asks if Naota prefers the green jacket from The Castle of Cagliostro. That was a Hayao Miyazaki film, created by Studio Ghibli. Haruko punches Kamon with a boxing glove hidden under her dress.
The Gundam series has sparked interest in FLCL. In episode one, there is a scene that transitions from traditional animation to one resembling manga panels. Kamon talks about mechs and how certain anime is Tomino-esque.
Yoshiyuki Tomino is the creator of the Gundam game. So, when someone calls it a mech anime Tomino-esque, it is like Gundam. In episode 2, Haruko is working on her Vespa with a model of the first Gundam. Finally, Commander Amarao might be a reference to Amuro, who was the first Gundam pilot in the franchise. The names are spelled differently so that last one might be a guess.
4 Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion was one of Gainax''s most popular shows before FLCL. Despite that fact, there aren''t too many explicit references to NGE in FLCL. Naota mentions very briefly his father wrote a whole book on the mysteries of the anime.
The end of Evangelion may be made clear in the sequel. A core ties with Canti, thus creating a super robot that will help overcome the difficulties of the planet with Medical Mechanica. It''s a mistake that happens to Rei in Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion. It''s far from complete, however.
3 Daicon V
In episode five, the inclusion of Daicon V in the series is a deep cut that only hardcore anime enthusiasts would know. Daicon was a convention in Japan. Gainax, before the studio was officially known as Gainax, made intros to the convention in its third and fourth years. This was in the 80s, way before anime caught on in the West. This video combines both intros into one.
Daicon IV is much more powerful and a more fun watch, referencing everything from anime to Western media like Aliens. Haruko dresses up like her in episode five before yelling Daicon V at the gun-toting mech. Gainax never made a Daicon V video, thus this reference was like a spiritual sequel.
Doraemon is a futuristic robot cat who was once tried and discovered in his front pouch, which resembles a pocket.
Junko, a Naotas teacher who has been teaching the class about cats since Mamimi removed his hat and discovered his cat ears, says the fact that the anime was superfavorable. So when Mamimi removes Naota''s hat and discovers his cat ears, she references Doraemon as well. Naota is quite similar to Doraemon as he can also remove things from a pocket dimension.
1 Galaxy Express 999
FLCL does not mention the Galaxy Express 999 by name. However, some argue that it is used in episode four. Haruko, after Naota revives his father, comes crashing into the scene. Naota wants to know where she was and what she is.
Naota replies, "Where do you get that line from, anime?" Basically, Galaxy Express 999 is about. A young boy goes on a journey with an older woman who is kind of like a growing up. It''s a big down to be certain.
South Park is not an anime, but it is too big of a cartoon to not mention in this breakdown. In episode five of FLCL, the animation for one scene involving Commander Amarao getting a haircut. He even sounds more like a character in the show. There is apparently no reason why this happens.
Episode five of South Park is focused on guns, which does not affect the game once more. There is a scene later in which Naota goes inside his jacket to make himself look like Kenny. It just goes to show how popular South Park was at this time on a global level.