Posted on 22 February 2017 with categories: Flip Flappers, Other:, Top 10 Anime

And I return back to arguably one of my favorite anime of the last decade for the list of most randomness details in Flip Flappers’ universe. Which by all mean isn’t a complaint. Flip Flappers is a show that relies heavily on visual language, and while most of the time its heavy symbolic images represent something much deeper about adolescent and identity, sometimes we have some quirky details that just purely out of the whims, making me wonder if the creators were on some kind of LSD effect. Those randomness details below might not add up much in terms of plot or theme, but the sense of wonder is always shining bright here. Granted, they aren’t at all useless, after all those details create quirks that pretty much bring identities to Flip Flappers, making it… well, Flip Flappery. And truthfully, that’s one of the reason why I love this show so much: the ability to let loose and embrace on your weirdest dreams. This list therefore functions more as a celebration of creativeness, of bringing original ideas to the table.

As I stated earlier, even readers who haven’t checked out Flip Flappers, feel free to read this because it’s… useless details anyway. I will list them in order of usefulness, from most to least. Enjoy!!

  1. The Plugin/ Transformation items (episode 5)

Those tokens (the stick/baton and the bracelet) are supposed to be their precious items in real life so that they can use it a reminder to differentiate between this world and the Pure Illusion world (think Inception), or are they supposed to be a material requirement for the girls to tune in? No one knows for sure as the show didn’t attempt to explain at all. First, they ain’t even precious, at least to Cocona, and second, we never heard about them ever again in our lifetime. Oh, you mean they were carrying those items the whole time but just didn’t show it? Well, fair enough, but in later episode the girls were stuck in one Pure Illusion world wearing swimsuits, where the hell then did they hide the long stick (just the right length, they even commented) in the tight swimsuit? Unless they put it… Let stop here.

  1. The mysterious unconscious girl (episode 1)

That unconscious girl was shown from the first few minutes into the show, gathering a debate of what the hell the Flip Flap organization was doing with her. Then that poor girl never get addressed again (or even hinted to) and disappeared into thin clouds like she was never there at all. Was she just a bad dream that I had while watching Flip Flappers? Was she just in my imagination?

(Read More)

Posted on 6 January 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Flip Flappers, Reviews by SuperMario

What makes Flip Flappers stand out from the rest of the anime field? I found a lot of people asking that question along the way. Well, first off, Flip Flappers isn’t your ordinary anime offering, that’s for sure. Its visual styles are too much and too incoherent for one thing, the narrative never really reveal anything until halfway point for another thing. At the same times, this is the one rare anime that inspired many analysis, essays trying to decode what it is actually about, drawing thematic relevance out of their visual motifs and symbolism. So, what’s all the fuss, really? Let me get into that now.

On the surface, Flip Flappers is an adventure stories between the timid, shy Cocona who was dragged by the impulsive Papika into “Pure Illusions” worlds, the alternative realities that might or might not represent the inner psyche of its human’s subjects; to collect fragments that would grant wishes. Originally billed as a magical girl, the show hops through variations of genre, settings to whatever it pleases. In one episode Papika and Cocona were in the middle of a wasteland for an action Mad Max-inspired adventure, to the next they were trapped in a Class-S circle that would actually surpass many psychological horror shows out there, to another episode where they mysteriously became one identity that would make any David Lynch’s fans proud. It’s that freedom to break the rules and pick whatever content and styles they see fit made the show refreshing and unpredictably, which actually very fitting to how adventures should be like.

Moreover, Flip Flappers is a very visually arresting show, a true “show, don’t tell” kind of series. We’re no stranger with shows that are more about styles, shows that are showcases for young, talented animators to experiment with new styles and visuals, Normally, I don’t mind those kinds of show because we do need something like this to push the boundary of anime medium, but more often than not those shows don’t have any proper storytelling at all. Great visual doesn’t mean great storytelling anyway. Flip Flappers walks that very thin line as the show seemingly try to overwhelm us with its abstract visual, vibrant imaginary; color and resonant emotions in an expense for coherent plots; but I will give the show this: while Flip Flappers not always make sense narrative, it more than makes it up thematically as those wild visuals and motifs are in service for of its adolescence themes.

In fact, if you look a little deeper behind its fun adventures, the show constantly addresses many of its coming-of-age concerns throughout its run. First and foremost is the theme of identity, as for its 13-episodes long our main Cocona had to figure out who she wants to be, whom she can be trusted. The identity theme is continuously directed in many forms, both visually and symbolically: from Cocona being a constant source of being manipulated and controlled by others, those two girls are trapped in a false, repetitive cycle of “safe” environment, the girls represent the same character or even to other extreme, Papika appears continuously as various different identities. Papika and Cocona’s relationship, on the other hand, function like two sides of the same coins of being growing up. The show is a constant adolescent journeys that make up from opposing force between the urge, freedom and emotional directness from Papika and compassion, responsibility, think before act quality from Cocona. It’s a legitimate fear of growing up and becoming an adult filled with responsibility and burden; but as the third girl Yayaka and our Cocona later figure out, maybe small steps like be honest to your feeling could be what it takes to become a fully-grown person and overcome that fear.

The show’s climax, while closing down nicely Cocona and Papika’s relationship and give Mimi just about enough development to become a fearsome antagonist; I still consider it a lackluster final arc that keep me from giving it a higher score, especially coming straight from a spectacular middle part. In fact, the only time I would consider as brilliant in this last arc was Yayaka kicks ass and getting a well-deserved transformation. The rest of the cast unfortunately don’t have much roles in the final showdown. Judging those side characters as a whole, we actually know very little about them despite the twins and the staffs from Flip Flap organization appear in nearly every single episode, which is a shame. The late addition of Nyunnyun and the very role of Bu-Chan are also hugely unnecessary, as they don’t add much to the big picture and moreover, the inclusion of them feel a bit awkward to the rest of the story. Dr. Salt, on the other hand, had a bit of development but the show still doesn’t know how to use him to full potential as his role in the show function towards Mimi only; as a result; although it’s pretty much confirmed that Dr. Salt is Cocona’s father, I have a hard time believing that because there was no chemistry between them. Maybe that’s a whole point as he felt awkward towards Cocona based from his guilt, but I have a feeling that the show doesn’t seem to try even that.

But as I said in my weekly post, judging the show by how well it plays the rule isn’t a right approach, for Flip Flappers is the show that determines to break free and walk its own path. So back to that very first question: What makes Flip Flappers special? Well, I will put it this way: the show is a sublime example of animation in its purest form. Shows like this further highlight what makes animation so unique and appealing (I’m not talking strictly about anime, but the whole animation medium) that others medium can’t be able to express. Story like this can only works in animation form and the show successfully remind us the pure magic of animation and really why we fall in love with animation in a first place. With show as confident and creative as this I have a pretty optimistic feeling for the future of animation. Cross my fingers.

Posted on 30 December 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Flip Flappers

I’ve said right in the beginning that Flip Flappers is a show about adolescent and the fear of growing up, but never in my wildest dream I dare to think the show would go even farther and touch the issues of womanhood and the fear of being a motherhood too. Mimi’s descend from a responsible mother to a totally control freak is a solid development and the more heartbreaking when the intention came from a genuinely good place: “to take a good care of Cocona”. But her overbearing control is plagued with dark and extreme actions that Mimi herself deforms into a beast, a cold-blooded creature. Mimi’s dark version was born during the time of Cocona’s pregnancy, and for me that extreme thoughts of keeping the child all for herself and protect the baby at all cost are the very thoughts that any woman during pregnancy had to undergo. A woman becomes a mother when she gets pregnant, a man becomes a father when he sees his baby. She’s getting frustrated that everyone she cared for: Cocona, Papika and then Salt opposing her for what she sees as the good cause. The last moment where she is defeated, sitting on the shallowness lake and embracing herself perfectly concluded her villainous act. Her role as an antagonist might come as a bit too sudden but it still packs a huge emotional punch and still pretty relevant to the theme of identity the show keeps addressing so far.

With only this episode left, it is the time that the main focus sways back to Cocona and Papika. In fact, they share many great moments together: from the surreal encounter when Papika reversed back to a child and lose her memory (from Papika’s perspective); to their completely honesty to each other about their eternal love (from both girls’ perspective. Another confession? What’s up with all the shows I’m covering this season??), to the teasing Pure Illusion world at the end (from Cocona’s perspective). Their chemistry has always been the show’s main emotional focus, so it is nice to see after many episodes of distrust and falling apart, they’re again together for new adventures. Speaking of the possibility of new season, while I’m normally against milking on the success of the first season on a story that already completed (think Yuri!!! on Ice), the adventures segments of Flip Flappers are so inventive and awe-inspiring that I personally think it’s a waste not to spend more time into those Pure Illusion worlds.

While this Mimi act and the show as a whole does end on a satisfying note, there is not without its problems, too. I still can’t figure out the reason Dr. Salt using ELPIS. He’s planning to put another layer to that world, appears in front of dark Mimi declaring he’ll oppose her, and waiting to get killed? Then the good Mimi descends from the sky to save the day, is it what he planned as well? Hell no, this is a weak writing for me, such a shame because Flip Flappers’ still unsure how to use his character to its full potential. On that same note, the twins and the third Amorphous girl Nyunyu don’t have much roles in this climax. Nyunyu (and Bu-chan, for that matter) is a shining example of character without any real purpose, so their main role is just hanging around, having fun and doing crazy stuffs, at the same time serve as a perverted lensed for the show. They are the worst kind of characters to be completely honest.

But judging Flip Flappers in term of how well it plays the rule is a wrong approach, me think, because simply the very existence of Flip Flappers is to break free with all the common sense throw out of a window. At the end of the day year, no other show makes me feel optimistic about the future of anime (or animation as a whole) like this one. The full review will come out next week but be prepared for a highly positive one.

Posted on 25 December 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Flip Flappers

We have a recap episode of sort this week as our new pair Papika and Yayaka had to travel pass the previous Pure Illusion worlds we seen throughout the season. It sucks for the Cocona-rescue team of course since the closer they get to Cocona, the more Mama Mimi made them detour around those worlds and of course fight more monsters. That means the awesome seductress villain from episode 3 is back, the giant mecha robot reappears, and those snow creatures return. Well, all the usual suspects. But Yayaka is even more kick ass than Cocona will ever be, so instead of spending the whole episode to destroy those monsters, the new team just takes mere minutes. Her fight between the seductress is pretty amazing as well, easily the highlight of this episode. But even someone as badass as this one still suffers from the usual’s villain pitfall: Talking way tooo much; so that Yayaka has a chance to blow her up… and then Yayaka transforms. With Cocona being Pure Blade (Red), Papika being Pure Barrier (Blue), of course Yayaka is becoming Pure Kick, and green is the color of the day (another basic color). I never would have expected to see another new transformation this late in the game, but wayyyy to go Flip Flappers because this transformation is a nice conclusion to Yayaka’s character growth throughout the series, and she freaking earned it.

But the crazy parts don’t stop there. Mama Mimi’s getting more and more extreme by the minutes to the point of manipulating her only friend into submission. But the evil Mimi couldn’t control herself (to be more exact: her good self) to appear in front of Cocona, then Papika when it counts most. This turn of events isn’t unlike Deux Ex Machina in execution (good Mama Mimi: “hah! I just wait until all the fuss is over and then jump in and save the day!”), but anything that force Cocona out of that stone face is good on my book. You want something crazier? How about MUSCLE? Out of nowhere, Hidaka presses the button (he must carry it all the time since this is a new lab, right?), and Bu-chan got a whole new ridiculously muscled body, attached by- what I assumed- brains, just so the very next moment got swept away by the snow caterpillars. This moment was so Flip Flappers-y that I can’t help but cheers along the way. Just let the sequence writes itself and logic out of the window. Finally, what’s that in the end after their hands touch each other? Another new transformation, Cinderella-style with wings? OH MY GOODNESS. I would totally understand Mimi’s frustration here: Why so lame??? Why not something cool like a dress on fire? I come to believe that the main theme of this episode is about transformation; as our main characters are all “level-up” based on what they grow emotionally, by being able to address their own feelings.

The plot at this point pretty much reach its full potential that not much left really for us to say, but there’s still some interesting plot points going on. Namely, what Salt is up to with the ELPIS? In order to show Mimi something? (Also, that totally random bike is cool). For the first time though the show mentioned about Cocona’s father, so let see in the next episode whether or not Salt is her actual father. The twins also for the first time show some sort of personal feelings, which is always welcome and that third girl is still having a lot of fun screwing around at the moment. But her role is not purely a red herring though. Given the fact that they are the Amorphous child, it’s mean that they are somehow a part of Mimi so those Amorphous children are the key in order to destroy the Mama-knows-best Mimi for good. Only one episode left so whatever going to happen in that last 20 minutes, I know there’s going to be good times.

Posted on 17 December 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Flip Flappers

What a gripping episode! With this we almost clear about Mimi, Papikana and Salt’s past and the show sets things up nicely for a final showdown. For a show that have always been light on plot progression, this episode took me by surprise how neat every single variable develops, from what happened in the past that lead up to the characters as they are now, the twists and turns of this Mimi/Papika villain and the ultimate approach on the identity and individuality theme again. In a nutshell, Flip Flappers is a show about adolescent and self-doubting when growing up, and it’s only fitting now that Cocona’s identity is again swapped by her mother Mimi, even Mimi herself seems to be possessed by her darker side. Even the show goes all-out with the theme, as at one time Mimi makes it clearly: “People have several faces, and they’re all true” and that optical illusions we see in the screenshot there.

This episode sure is a stunner. The visual again is wild and crazy and stand out but at the same time it actually elevates the theme and the development of our characters. I mean, how impressive is that to witness Mimi killed off the guards by planting flowers all over their body; and that flowers were the ones we seen on the first time Papika recalled Mimi? Flip Flappers always has that dreamy side of them, and even in the episode that doesn’t feature any Pure Illusion world like this one, that quality still sticks out a mile. This episode jumps freely between the present and the past, between what happen in real “life” to inside the consciousness and then mix them all up together, but we never feel any sense of lost because the themes are progress gradually and the emotions are all there. This episode is also an emotionally charged one as we here to see every single one of them proceed to losing their minds. Cocona losing herself is nothing anew, but even Mimi’s losing it and Papika is starting to (Well, technically, she did lose her mind before but this is another kind of screwing her mind).

But I’m also happy that heaps of things have been clarified after this episode. Now we know that Papika is indeed reverted back to her kid form with her memories “sealed” away (I prefer her kid version much better than her adult counterpart). In one of the Pure Illusion world, they “accidentally” modified something inside Dr.Salt’s father subconsciousness, as a result he became even more overly obsessed to the possibilities of Pure Illusion. The show doesn’t confirm though on how Cocona was born, so at least for now I ain’t buying it that Salt were her father. I love that the cult organization turn out to be completely useless and easily disposable (a true red herring) because I always feel their roles in the story to be very vague and weak, so it’s better not to give them any significant role in the climax at all. Most importantly it is now confirmed that the Pure Illusion is linked to each individual’s consciousness (We all guessed it but it’s always nice to get a confirmation), but that also means the last Pure Illusion world they gathered (episode 9) was Yayaka’s? Hard to tell but consider she got a major development that week, it’s safe to assume it was hers.

But what really wow me over is how this episode a natural progression of everything that come before. Many of those elements had been hinted well in previous episodes and now they take a massive payback. We saw Cocona as a villain way before in episode 3, brainwashed by the insecurity of herself (also, did everyone see the masks the scientists put on the girls a resemblance of Cocona’s evil mask?). We see that thing wrapped up Papika’s ankle before but now we know what its main purpose is. We witness how Cocona and Papika could change a person’s mind through their trip to the Pure Illusion, so the reveal that Mimi and Papika did the same to Salt’s dad feel like an appropriate step. We see the garden of Mimi and the gang hang out and enjoyed their times before, so when Mimi uses that lethal floral as her weapon, it’s again a nice development. We get a sense that the first Pure Illusion world was the representation of Cocona, so it feels only right that she feels at home with that world. We also know that only Yayaka and Papika see Cocona as who she truly is, so it makes a lot of sense that they are the one who will bring the real Cocona out. Flip Flappers is the show that knows how to use its creative visuals right, as those motifs not only hinder the characteristics of our characters, but also a way to signal the character’s progression as well.

Frankly this episode exceeded my already impossibly high expectation as it consistently topped itself week after week. I heard this show isn’t sell well at all, which is a real crying shame because sometimes anime need shows like this: creative, inventive and willing to let itself loose to bring something fresh instead of sticking to the well-worn formula but also never forgets to be fun. Count me in as one of its fan now.

Posted on 9 December 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Flip Flappers

So her whole life is a lie, huh?

Now that she realizes Yayaka’s friendship as a fake, Cocona’s partnership as a substitute, Flip Flapp organization downright used her for their gains, obaa-chan even betrayed her; Cocona is on a verge of complete breakdown, but who would’ve thought she transforms into the-other-dark-magical-girl-show level of insanity? Struck down your own house by summoning “meteors” falling from the sky? Floating from the ground so she doesn’t have to step on fallen pieces of the robots and her obaa-chan? Totally mean but serve you right, obaa-chan. But girls, here a lesson for you: if you want to confess your sins or tell your dear friend a secret, DO IT RIGHT AWAY; don’t wait until the robots attacking you and then they will somehow ruin the mood by spoiling what you’re about to say with such meaner spirit.

Kidding aside, everything starts to make sense now that we know the true nature of who Coconami…uh… I mean Mimi is. That’s Cocona with long hair and red collar. She seems to be the first one who can enter Pure Illusion world, who partnered up with Papika(na) and young Salt in the process. It leaves another clue to Papika as somehow she hasn’t aged since that time and started to regain her memory once the fragments were completely collected. Which still doesn’t explain how she screws up on answering that simple question from Cocona’s (and ours for a full three weeks): “Who’s Mimi” that leads Cocona to completely distrusts everyone around her. I wonder, instead of that 5-minutes flashback (I counted it), Papika could have just answered: “She’s your Mom” and all the misunderstanding will be resolved in a flash. You can argue that she lost her memories but the fact remains that Cocona is an exact replica of Mimi so it’s not hard for her to reach a conclusion, ya’ know.

Okay, I’ll be serious now. I swear I have heaps of fun talking about this episode. The sad news is, with the fragments collecting comes to an end, it means there could be no more Pure Illusion world for us to enjoy. I already missed those adventures where under the surface might or might not have a deeper meaning, but it sure is fun to talk about those worlds. Admittedly, I think we will encounter the ultimate Pure Illusion world, which I guess the clue of that world is the big painting from Iroha-sensei that Cocona was quite interested in. Now, the Cult going full force in order to capture Cocona so that they can complete the mission and step up to rule the world, and that new amorphous girl is yet to reach her full potential so I expect the match between her and Cocona in coming episodes.

Looks like we will learn a bit more about the backstory of Papika, Mimi and Dr. Salt in next episode, but judging from the brief flashback couple episodes ago, Dr. Salt was already mature at the time of the “incident” so it would be 4,5 years after this week’s flashback; and the baby that Mimi hold is none other than Cocona. It’s pure speculation but I guess something happened in the Pure Illusion world and Mimi was shattered into fragments, one of which implanted inside Coconas thigh. That might be the reason why Cocona is rather famous in that world: is totally controlled by fake life, fake friend who was assigned to be near her to keep an eye on the fragment and that might be the reason why she was chosen by Papika in the first place. This episode surely is a life-changer in terms of plot, connecting all the connective tissues and making it a collective whole. For one thing Flip Flappers might be one of the rare shows that you won’t see what come next, it could go west or east or up the sky depending on its moods and I’m totally fine with that. Let’s hope this wacky little show ends on a high and conclusive note.

Posted on 4 December 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Flip Flappers

Again this week, Yayaka takes up the stage and by the end of this episode her arc is basically over, now that she is abandoned by the Cult and is taken over by Cocona and Papika. But what an emotional ride this episode delivers. I’m particularly taken not only by the action and consequence she ultimately took, but by how the show frames these through its visual and symbolism. Watching Yayaka smashing the mirrors of her childhood friendship’s memories in pursuit for “what more important” resonates with me a hundred times more than she says it out loud. Watching the wrapped bud changing shape according to Cocona’s emotions tell me a lot about how these two forces matter to her. Watching the two unlikely friends sitting back to back to each other talking about food brings warmness in my heart more than anything I’ve watched this season. That is one of the strength of this medium, an ability to convey theme and message through impressionist, abstract images that added much more layers to the context.

But first, it’s hilarious to see Cocona gets so worked up over the randomness Papika murmuring last week. After all, calling out wrong name is a serious crime, but the way Cocona reacts make it clear that their relationship is not unlike an actual couple. She being difficult further reflects her insecurity towards her relationship with Cocona (the more hilarious when at the end Papika declared that Mimi was her partner). But what surprise me were even when they having a fight, their impedance is stable enough for them to get through the Pure Illusion world, and one of the Pure Illusion world is… outer space (because when you think about it why the hell not? I swear we will get an underwater Pure Illusion world sooooon enough). In other notes, last week shows us how confident the show handle their fighting scene, and this week viewers who look for spectacular fight won’t be disappointed. All the fights have great energy and the choreography is remarkable, and I have to hat off to the music during that second fight, which totally intense and thrilling and I can sense the sadness behind the score as well.

Per usual, what do we have in this week’s world? We have the most simplicity world, a vast, empty, pure white world (with ceiling on top!) with no place to belong to that really for me represents the blank state of emotions and the tough spot Yayaka is currently in. As soon as Cocona and the twins reached the fragments, the place closed up which for me signifies the confused state of Cocona over which friends she had to choose. The inside of the place where Cocona and the twin got trapped, as contrast to that empty world outside, is like a cozy, warm and dark room with some decors. Comfortable but again completely isolated. I have to say that Cocona being “trapped” inside is pretty much the show’s motif by now. As long as she decided who she stands for, the thing broken apart and freed them. I also really like the idea of them swapping pairs this time, so we have the very unlikely but hilarious moments of Papika and Yayaka, and the brief but peaceful moments between Cocona and the twins. Actually, Yayaka and Papika are getting along surprisingly well. Though Cocona is an only mutual link they share, they actually have a great chemistry together. Yayaka knows how to “handle” Paprika and Paprika knows how to bring emotions out of that girl. This duo is priceless.

But Yayaka and her relationship with Cocona again shines the brightest this week. We get the flashback of the two meeting together, symbolized heavily by that pink flowers (which I don’t know the name of). Maybe the flowers symbolize their friendship? We already see Flip Flappers pulled this off on episode 6 when the duo role represents the lonely, entrapped situation of Iroha-chan, but this episode is much more emotional because we follow Yayaka and her struggles throughout the entire series. Her place in her own organization is pretty much unstable, and her best friend Cocona is further and further away from her. Speaking of that it seems that the two young girls were tested for the organization? That last fight between Cocona and Yayaka is without a doubt a highlight of this episode, most notably on how Yayaka desperately try to get what she wants. As I said above, the mirrors that reflected their own relationships being shattered brings so much raw emotions to their bonds, and although I would prefer much better if she indeed stabs the girl to get the fragrance, the way she couldn’t bring herself to do it, and later shields herself to protect Cocona, is emotional satisfy that bring tears to my eyes.

For the third time in a row, the show ends with that “Mimi” cliffhanger, now that Yayaka arc is over, this is the damn time now that you give us something more than just a tease, don’t you think Flip Flapper?

Posted on 27 November 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Flip Flappers

Yay, I’ve reached 100th post here at this site, and if you can probably tell from my still-clumsy writing this is also my first 100 blogging ever. This isn’t much to be completely frank but it’s a milestone for me nonetheless, as there had been a fair amount of commitment for the last 8 months back from my first post. I’d like to give my special gratitude to Aidan who figuratively pick me up from the street and let me run loose here. I’ve enjoyed writing these so far and don’t plan to give it up anytime soon (meaning ya’all still stuck with me for a long, long time) so here’s hoping the curses of RL commitment and anime burn out won’t get to me soon. Thanks for having me here guys.

Alright, sentimental time is over (after all, sentimentality is only for farewell), and let get to what you actually come here for: Flip Flappers. This week, our girls were sucked from a swimming PE class (I think it’s an excuse for the girls to wear swimsuits the entire episode) to the metropolis Pure Illusion world which again is striking and impressive on its own settings. Again, what do we have in this Pure Illusion world this week? A metropolis city, was built entirely by one man (Totalitarianism?), no citizen actually living there except for those birds that shoot laser. The man himself is half the size of normal human (haha, totally randomness) but these buildings are in their actual sizes. Then those birds and the giant robots come literally from the sky to cause havoc to the city (they are created by the fragments by the way. What really are those fragments anyway?); and of course; mecha-robots. The metropolis setting allows the extensive use of neon light, pink colors that I never get tired of (while at it, check out the cartoon Moonbeam City which have that exact aesthetic neon retro style, but unfortunately bugged down by their dumb story). Well, the setting alone is on par with the show’s most imaginative worlds for that alone this episode is already worth checking out.

Damn, Flip Flappers. In the very beginning we billed you as a magical girl show with some sort of fairy tale-inspired, and what did you give us this week? A metropolis city with some random mecha robots fighting? I am giving up to even guess what you would do next. Not only the show had fun to spend extra details to those battles: the fighting looks gorgeous and carries a lot of energy; they also have extra fun when it comes to designing and naming those level-up robots: PapinaKing, Yapico Boy, Great Pacoya. Stay true to the term “adventure”, the show freely hops from one genre to another each episode. So far, we’ve encountered them experiencing with dark children fantasy, action, horror, psychological and now mecha genre. That free style allows this show to bend the rules and bring a lot of refreshing ideas and creativity to the table, and while I consider this episode an outsider from the rest of Flip Flappers episodes in terms of theme (there’s no identity theme this week, but the coming-of-age theme is still going strong), this episode still fits into the show’s canon of exploring those self-contained worlds while tackling multiple genres the show come across.

Yayaka obviously become the true star in this episode and her motive becomes more and more in favors for the wellbeing of Cocona (I’m hesitant to put Papika here, as she and Papika get along so well just like water and oil). For all of her coldness tsundere appearance, she deeply cares for the girls and this episode forced her to be honest with her feeling. I don’t mind she joining up with the two girls at all (Man. That Great Pacoya is ridiculously awesome) and next episode it seems like we will have a little bit of flashback between Cocona and Yayaka which I can’t wait for it. Not only Yayaka, but Cocona also grows a lot this episode. She’s always afraid that her actions could bring consequences to the real world. But by reflecting through the old man’s frustration that he would lose himself if he loses what is precious to him, Cocona’s now willing to take actions to protect her precious things as well.

Under the effect of fragment, Papika again mutters the name “Mimi”. I was overlooked last week, but it seems more likely now that name is a connection to “Shard of Mimi” AKA the fragments. So we might after all have the long lost search for love from Dr Salt, and that Mimi is somehow shattered into amorphous fragments so Dr Salt had to collect them again? Speculation aside, I am more sure now that Mimi and Cocona’s dream have some connections to each other. But no, I’m not going to put more thoughts on that because a) I know the show will mind-screwing all my expectation somehow and b) I enjoy the show simply because it brings me something different each week, so as long as the show pleases me on that front I’d die a happy man.

Posted on 19 November 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Flip Flappers

And here I thought I know what to expect from this show, yet I would never anticipate a Flip Flappers episode that is a direct continuity to the event of last week. In addition, this episode serves as a nice contrast to last week thematically as well. It only makes sense that after the episode concentrating about two girls performing same role, the next one will be about one girl who carries several roles, right?

Upon noticing that Iro-senpai has been changed in terms of her behaviors since their last Pure Illusion trip, and then later was confirmed by Hidaka that digging deeper into Pure Illusion level can alter the current world, Cocona doesn’t take it too well. It’s understandable in her case, since she’s fine as long as those crazy worlds are all fun and games. But when actions in these universes could potentially bring out consequences, it’s another matter altogether. The Pure Illusion world that Cocona got in this time carries out many characters that directly associated with her characteristics: that world is surprisingly grounded, mundane and completely isolated. That is when Papika multiple roleplaying really makes sense narratively to this episode. She represents the changes. Many roles she performs here aiming to assist Cocona to try something new and at the same time to have fun, demonstrated by many scenes like when the classmate boy who suggests her to skip class, or that emo girl who keeps pressing Cocona to open the drawer (for the meaning of that nail-clipper though, I have no idea but frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn), or trying new clothes. Ultimately, Cocona learns that many things might have been changed by Papika’s and her actions, but changing isn’t always mean bad. In Iro-senpai case, I’d definitely say that she’s happy with herself right now. Isn’t it satisfied enough as long as they bring the happiness to others?

Papika performing various characters also serve as a direct reflection to her own role in Cocona’s life. Take notice that all the roles she plays can be seen as Cocona’s personal and social relationship. She starts as Cocona’s little sister (so cute!), the insecure child who takes care for Cocona and always seeks her attention; then as a classmate boy who genuinely cares for her; then as various social friends who spend time with her, and finally as her sensual lover. All those roles serve as substitutes towards Cocona relationships in order to raise a central message: Where would the real Papika fit in? Is she her family, friend, or lover? Cocona’s for this whole episode trying to sort out her feelings about Papika through having fun times with those variables, and Cocona soon realizes Papika’s none of the above. She holds a special place in Cocona’s heart that raises above all other alternatives.

Moreover, the use of multiple roles also makes a whole lot sense in the context of identity and growing up. Never in any other shows that I’ve seen the constantly jabbed at the role of identity like this one. The first read is of course multiple personalities, and I don’t mean it in a disorder viewpoint. Not unlike the class S, yuri genre where they hold a belief that mutual crush between two girls is a necessary phase for girls to mature into normal, healthy woman; multiple personalities can be interpreted as an adolescent phase, where kids put up many masks of personalities to fully understand who they are, who they are not. The play on gender roles could be seen as a second read, as Papika freely transforms from one gender to another, indicating the break from societal norms towards what are expected for them to perform. Lastly and not really related to the multiple roles, but learning to take responsibility is also another theme that this episode going for, as Cocona learns exactly that from the consequences of her last Pure Illusion trip.

So again, what do we learn this week? Things seem to go badly for Yayaka, as we now know that her place amongst the organization is pretty shaky. And the twins are referred to as the amorphous children, which could mean that they are artificially created by the power of the amorphous. Now it’s an interesting concept if you ask me. It is also confirmed that the deeper level of Pure Illusion world could alter the present world, which could mean the stake is higher next time knowing they have real consequences, but frankly I’d have preferred much better if they don’t try to explain it at all. After all, this is one of those things (the willingness to keep us in the dark that is) that make Flip Flappers so charming and adventurous in a first place. Finally, Papika just mutters “Mimi” out of nowhere to the new sets of character we never heard from before (Mimi’s holding a child if you notice closely, and looks like the guy who is busy with his PC game is the person in Papika’s flashback- or is it Dr. Salt? Hard to tell) and in any ordinary anime that would be a recipe for nightmare kitchen, but it’s Flip Flappers for Christ sake so I know the show will find a way us care about those new characters.

As much as I see many layers toward this episode, as I mentioned before Cocona and Paprika alone can’t carry the episode on their own and this episode was just thisclose from being dragged out, and the lack of interesting visuals certainly won’t help. That doesn’t mean this episode is bad either, and my expectation for the show is still as high as ever, but this episode also isn’t among their best effort.

Posted on 11 November 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Flip Flappers

This episode was magnificent. I always know that Flip Flappers is capable of being inventive, but I’d never have thought that they can pull an episode that emotional satisfying, while never swing away from its main adolescence theme. Moreover, the execution is both awe-inspiring and ambiguous. Seriously I think this series is like a stairway to dreamland, with each step we reach a new high bar and the ambition is getting higher and higher. What’s await us in the destination then? Hell if I know but I am enjoying in every steps they made so far.

First, I actually think it’s a very good idea of Flip Flappers to use its transformation sequence as a transition between the real world and Pure Illusion worlds. We don’t really follow their every Pure Illusion world either so the creators have more freedom to put on whatever they like. In this Pure Illusion for example, Cocona and Paprika have to fight with the multi-eyes spider-inspired monster with its colorful threads, but the important bit is what come afterwards. For the first time, there is an abnormality in this Pure Illusion world – there is an entrance to someone’s memory (So, what exactly is Pure Illusion anyway? Someone’s streams of consciousness? And the fragment? Their memories?); and the rest of the episode goes to completely different fashions than previous ones, instead of seeking for the fragments, they digging deep into someone’s consciousness.

The theme of identity again is apparent in this episode, as the two girls both play the same person: Iro the kid and the plot involves her trying to get her name remembered again. That kid doesn’t have an ideal family life to say the least. Her parents just plainly neglect her, she’s confined in her room, where she keeps drawing as passing time. They even go too far as commenting her drawing “weird”, discourage Iro to paint. She finds herself happy with another parental figure: Obaa-chan (hmm, I can draw a line between this Obaa-chan and Cocona’s grandmother here), who spends the time with her, cares for her and teaches her happiness. The fear of losing someone dear to you because they forget who you are (the theme of insecurity) is pretty poignant. The symbolism of nail polish is pretty dominant in this episode. Nail polish, apart from being closed to oil-painting; is also a part of growing up, when at that stage one start to grow self-esteem and attractiveness. I say this episode’s main message is about kid’s development through family issues and the story about Iro and Obaa-chan alone is solid enough on its own because of its emotional resonance.

But the execution is what make this episode stand out. By making Cocona and Papika keep changing roles (but we mainly followed Cocona’s narrative), this episode both maintains its dreamlike structure, and speak well to the theme as well. There are always two versions of young Iro life: an orange-heavy, happy life with Obaa-chan and the blue, almost empty world in her house. Whenever she feels blue, herself painted in blue, as did the world around her (the world has consumed her). The highpoint of this is when she realizes that Obaa-chan forget about her, she turns into blue while the surrounding is still orange bright, stressing her confusion and sadness. The sequence that show her parents in a really trippy, Masaaki Yuasa-inspired art style with very rough, scratchy designs is another highlight of this episode. God, apart from the show usual experiments with colors, this episode shows their willingness to experience with the art styles as well, and boy how it paid off.

Overall, I had believed that the show could never top last week’s quality but it succeeded. This episode has to be the most heartfelt moments Flip Flappers ever commit itself to. Paprika and Cocona’s journeys proved to be everything I could ask for in an adventure: inventive and ambiguous but never forget to be fun and entertaining and always stay true to itself. Remember I said that I have my title for AOTY? Well, at this rate Flip Flappers has a real shot to challenge that top spot.

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