FLCL was originally released in Japan in 2000 as an OVA anime on six DVDs by Gainax. Shortly after, the story was also released as a two-volume manga by artist Hajime Ueda, and a two-volume novel serialization by Yoji Enokido (who also wrote the script for the show). All were released in Japan starting in 2000.
In March of 2001, Synch-Point, a North American-based company picked up FLCL for English adaption. In the fall of 2002, the series was officially picked up by Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block in North America. Shortly after, Synch-Point released the series on DVD in three volumes which featured exclusive extras not included in the original Japanese DVDs. The series aired Monday-Thursday at 12 a.m. starting August 5, 2003. On August 12, Time Warner announced the success FLCL, stating it premiered with impressive numbers and even ranked as the 42nd most popular cable television show on Monday, August 4 among adults 18-34. The show ran four days a week for three weeks; the entire series aired twice.
The show occasionally aired throughout 2005, usually during the Saturday night “action” lineup. From the start of 2006 through February 5, the series ran once through on Monday nights until being replaced by Fullmetal Alchemist. Thanks to the exposure on Adult Swim and succussful DVD sales, the show has gained a cult following in the United States.
The manga is a much darker and more violent take on the story (Naota accidentially kills his father with the baseball bat in a rather grisly scene; there is a lengthy flashback with Shinguki and an unamed war buddy who during World War II Japan beat derilect people; later on Shinguki and the war buddy suicide-bomb the Medical Mechanica building), and far more enegmatic and confusing. The novels are a more straight adaptation.
The manga was released by TOKYOPOP in two volumes. All soundtrack discs – Addict, King of Pirates and FLCL No. 3 – were released by Geneon. The CD for King of Pirates also contains ‘drama tracks’, which continue the story in the usual joking manner, such as one segment that has Naota meeting girls with similar names to Haruko and Mamimi.
The original releases of the Region 1 FLCL DVDs contained booklets with interviews and insight into the series. Later releases of these DVDs did not include the booklets.
FLCL continues to live a healthy after-life thanks to support from fans. New FLCL merchandise is still being produced around the world today.