Notes: It's funny.  I've been doing a lot of searching, and not only are there not many really in-depth sites on FLCL, some of them don't even consider Canti a character and leave him off the list of bios.  Yeah, he IS a robot, but he clearly has feelings and the cast would probably be dead if not for him, so I say he's pretty important.  SOMEBODY holds the robots off until Haruko rides up, LATE, I might add, every time, but I guess she wouldn't be Haruko if she didn't.  So this is my tribute to the often forgotten, but always there when he's needed, Medical Mechanica wonder known as Canti (or Canti-sama if you're Mamimi).

Cast:

Nandaba Naota – our sullen, contemplative hero

Kamon – his oddball, out of control father

Shigekuni – Naota's even less important grandfather

Haruharu Haruko – an Alien Girl with plans for Naota's head

Samejima Mamimi – former "girlfriend" of Naota's brother, maybe Naota's now…

Canti – a robot named for Cantide, "god of black fire/dark angel of fire," by Mamimi

The God of Household Chores and Blackbirds

Only one figure ever moved within the Nandaba house at the crack of dawn, and only with a barely noticeable mechanical whir if you weren't used to it.

Even slightly damaged robots had their objectives, and Canti was no different.  He had to have his priorities, especially in an environment like the Nandaba home, where he was likely to get fifteen different requests/commands inside a minute.  Had he been human, perhaps he might have even complained about such an outrageous workload.

Oddly, Canti had never been programmed for kindness.  The only thing he really knew "instinctively" was how best to interact with most humans.  That in itself was pretty difficult, though; he was quickly learning that humans varied vastly from person to person, and that some of them (Naota, for example) were extremely hard to please.  For Canti, it was all a matter of choosing his moments and temporary masters.

Unfortunately, since pleasing humans pretty much meant doing whatever they wanted, Canti didn't get much personal time.  Fortunately, he was rather efficient as far as everyday chores went, and usually got most tasks done in record time.

* * * * *

No one asked him to cook breakfast.  But then, no one told him not to, either.

Kamon certainly didn't complain, anyway.  Somehow, he managed to stuff his mouth and give Canti his daily chores at the same time.

"…mmph…and don't forget to buy those 'special' magazines we talked about, TV Boy."  He paused.  "You get all that?"

The only reply was a near-silent whir as Canti's head processed all the information in the space of a few seconds.

Name: Nandaba Kamon

Designate: Dad, To Do List

Priority: Low – Normal

Orders: Vacuum House

            Clean Bathroom

            Laundry (All)

            Move Boxes from Dad's Office to Garage

            Pick Up Medicine for Old Man

            Purchase Magazines:  Hustler, Penthouse, Playboy, etc.

Canti merely turned away to finish preparing breakfast.

As usual, Naota didn't eat, and Haruko ate his portion as well as her own.  It was a wonder she didn't eat Shigekuni's, too, but he managed to walk in just in time.

* * * * *

Canti was on his way home from the general store when he happened to pass a group of jeering girls.  At first, he was going to pass them by, but something insisted he get a closer look.  He quickly recognized one of them, and that demanded he do something.

                Mission Parameters: Preserve/Protect Human Life

                                           Follow Human Orders

            Name: Samejima Mamimi

Designate: Red Girl, in hostile environment

            Recommend Procedures: liberate and protect

            Priority: Medium – High

Setting down his bag of groceries on the sidewalk, Canti crossed the street and walked up behind the circle of girls, easily towering over the tallest one.  He reached within the circle, got a firm grip on Mamimi's collar, and plucked her out of the group.

The jeering died down at once, and there was silence for a long moment, before one of the girls finally had the good sense to run like mad.  The others quickly followed her example.

Satisfied, Canti set Mamimi down on her feet and gave her a protective pat on the head.

Mamimi smiled up at him.  "Thanks, Canti-sama," she said quietly.

Canti rubbed at the back of his busted head, before going to retrieve his bag of groceries.  He was not at all surprised when Mamimi followed him.  Shifting the bag to his left arm, he wrapped the right one around her shoulders, in case she got lost along the way.  Most humans didn't need that sort of guidance, but Canti thought perhaps she did.  In fact, she got lost quite often, sometimes in her own head.  Anyway, she gave no sign that she wasn't enjoying the contact, so with that, they made their way to the Nandaba home.

* * * * *

Dear Diary:

I know he's not really a god.

But he can fly, and he protects me, and nobody can beat him.

So why he can't he be my own personal god?  People worship money and cars and other people.  At least what I believe in will never betray my trust or abandon me.

Maybe I'll even start calling him Ta-kun, just to see if he likes that name better…

* * * * *

"C'mooooooooon, Ta-kun!  Just try one?!" Haruko whined.

"NO!  Get away from me!" Naota shouted.

It was probably none of Canti's business, but he decided to break this up before it came to blows and Naota had yet another bump on his head to cover up.  He opened the door to Naota's room carefully.

The upper half of Naota's body was buried under his blanket, while the rest of it was struggling to get away from Haruko.  The alien woman had managed to get one arm wrapped around his waist, and was trying to force him to try some apparently very sour candy.

"Just taste one, Ta-kun!" she wheedled.  "You'll like it!"

"I won't!  You KNOW I won't!  Leave me alone!"

                Names: Nandaba Naota, Haruharu Haruko

            Designates: Mad Boy, Crazy Girl, in struggle

            Recommended Procedures: rescue Mad Boy, avoid Crazy Girl

            Priority: Medium – High

Haruko noticed him first.  "Hey, robot!  Help me get him outta here!"

"Canti?!  HELP!" Naota yelled, though it came out muffled.

Canti walked over and plucked Naota from the bed, holding him up the same way he had Mamimi.

"Great!  Now keep him right there while I get a bunch out of the box!" Haruko cackled.

"NOOO!!!" Naota wailed, throwing an arm over his face.

While Haruko had her back turned, Canti opened the window, stepped onto the sill, and dropped out of sight.

Haruko turned back around, blinked, and scratched her head in a puzzled manner.  "Hey…where'd you guys go?  And why's it cooler in here all of a sudden…?"

Canti landed and carefully set Naota on his feet.  Wordlessly, he walked past the boy, going up the hill.

Naota watched him, shrugged, and bounded after him.

It wasn't long before they came upon Mamimi on the riverbank.

She took one look at Naota's hair.  "Another fight with Haruko?"

Naota grunted an answer and sat down next to her, more out of habit than out of choice.

"Cheer up, Ta-kun," Mamimi said, resting her head on his shoulder.

He would never admit it to anyone, but there was something comforting about her hair tickling his ear like that.

Canti watched them for a few minutes, before deciding he was no longer needed.  He began to wander off, but paused and glanced back one last time.

Mamimi was watching him.  She smiled and waved, as if thanking him for brining Naota to her side.

If he had a mouth, Canti suspected he would've smiled.  Instead of returning the wave, he did one better and flew into the air and drifted away, knowing nothing gave her quite the kind of pleasure that watching him fly did.

For Canti was many things to many people, and if all Mamimi wanted was to be her personal god, just by being himself…well, that was all too easy.

The End.

End Notes: One FLCL site made a very good point: "Ta-kun" is actually probably NOT a shortening of Naota's name.  It's far more likely a shortening of Tasuku, Naota's big brother, who Mamimi was probably obsessed with (and never actually dating) since he saved her life.  Naota may only think Mamimi is his brother's girlfriend because 1) she calls herself that, and 2) his brother never said anything to the contrary (maybe he enjoyed all the attention).  Mamimi is finding replacements for Tasuku, so she either consciously or subconsciously calls everything and everyone she cares for "Ta-kun."  An odd habit, but I guess it's better than her forever going, "My binky! Yaaay!"

Must give credit to the FLCL Resource Site (I'd put the URL in if FF.Net would let me…)  There is however, three w's, an agefive, a dot com, slash FLCL, slash html, slash navigation, dot html.  OR you could just go to Google, search for Mamimi, and look for the address there (it's the third result on my screen)  You owe it to yourself to check it out.  You might even learn something, and I daresay you'd find an answer to any questions about the series you have.  Not to mention the nifty picture galleries.  So go.  Now.  Because I command it.