The Vespa is an Italian brand of scooter and is the main mode of transportation for the central character of the FLCL series, Haruko Haruhara. Scooters are also a common vehicle on Earth throughout Haruko's journeys. It is featured prominently in the official art of the series because of how integral it is to her character.
As a member of the motorcycle family, the scooter type is generally shorter in length and wider than other motorcycles. Its design allows for the rider to sit upright with their feet supported while still being protected from wind by the front wing. The Vespa in particular has a unique steel unibody that gives it a sleek look. Haruko's is a 1965 Vespa Super Sport 180 with a thicker unibody than most, a yellow and black seat, and a "P!" sticker on the front wing. Much of the concept art gives the Vespa incredible detail, down to inner mechanisms that will never be seen by viewers. This also, however, results in a discrepancy between official art that is drawn versus animated. The latter gives the scooter a second headlight on the intersection of the unibody and front wing, includes wide chrome borders on the curves, and is generally bulkier to allow for these extra details. Animated art simplifies the design by sticking to a single headlight, replacing the chrome with thin silver, and slimming down the body. The scooter is also subject to minor changes across series as a result of differing animation styles.
Haruko's Vespa is incredibly fast, capable of passing vehicles on a highway within seconds of hitting the accelerator. It still controls very well despite this, though Haruko's poor driving would suggest the opposite. It can also hover, fly, and has an unearthly durability.
- The word "Vespa" literally means "wasp" in Italian.
- In FLCL, its license plate's jurisdiction is labeled Mabase (Japanese: マバセ) and its serial number is "56-56" (Japanese: goro-goro). 56-56 is a homophone for ごろごろ (gorogoro) which is an onomatopoeia sound used for thunder, purring, scattering, and inactivity. In FLCL Progressive, its license plate's jurisdiction is labeled Oozu (Japanese: オオズ) and its serial number is "43-43" (Japanese: shisan-shisan). This is likely because 42 in Japanese is considered an unlucky number as it is a homophone for "die" (Japanese: 死に, shini), and thus is not used for license plates; 56 is also considered an unlucky number when paired with 42, as 42-56 is a homophone for "time to die" (Japanese: 死に頃, shini-goro). 43 can be read as a homophone for "scattered" (Japanese: 四散, shisan).