It’s a season for magical girls! New dimensions, mysterious organizations and flying surfboards, Flip Flappers is coming to us with a sense of craziness and wild abandon as we follow two young girls and their robot companion.
The quiet, introverted Kokona is living an ordinary life with her grandmother, and is having trouble deciding what high school she wants to attend. Thinking by herself, she runs into the ultra-high energy and extraverted Papika who takes an immediate liking to Kokona. They are immediately taken to what’s called “Pure Illusion”. But there’s more here than meets the eye. What is this alternate dimension? Who are these people looking for Kokona and what do they want? And how does Kokona suddenly develop powers of her own?
Episode 4 Impressions:
Airing October 27, 2016
Not much to say this week. After 3 episodes of going through strange, fantastical worlds, Papika and Kokona take us on an adventure in their own mundane world. It’s another basic magical girl trope: the girls just don’t work well enough together yet so what better way to improve their teamwork than with a sleepover! Well first we gotta get Papika that matching school uniform! And then the sleep over in the magical pipe that took them to the winter wonderland of episode 1 of all things. Of course Papika sleeps in the nude. But seriously, where and how did Papika get all that stuff into the pipe? Which leads to my next thought: Are we sure that the “normal world” really is truly normal?
I mean, first is Papika’s crazy pipe and all the things she somehow fit inside it, including that poor hermit crab. Lots of strange fruit and ornery kiwi birds also behind that school (Kiwi Birds are native to New Zealand ...?). But then they go to that abandoned island (it has a lighthouse though? Yeah I don’t know) that’s close enough to the main land for them to hoverboard there, but far enough that they end up stranded there for days. A couple days out in this wilderness, a couple of baths in abandoned barrels together and a couple of conversations underneath the starry night sky and Papika and Kokona successfully grow closer together. But not for long because they get sucked into Pure Illusion once again, with Asclepius not far behind since they get a notice too.
Back to the more mundane parts of the episode towards the beginning. Kokona had the strange dream on the river with the girl with no face, who says “Welcome Back”. Still not a lot of clues about that just yet. We again spent time with the girl from the art club, though nothing of consequence really happens before Papika comes in like a tornado to pull Kokona away. Finally, Yayaka invites Papika and Kokona to join them in finding the fragments/amorphous. While Papika is immediately confrontational, Kokona is understandably a little confused about it. Kokona asks her childhood friend what their goals are, to which she mysteriously responds ,“World Conquest”. What that means, we’ll probably find out a little more when they meet in the next illusion in episode 5.
In one line: Nothing like a little girl time together in order to power up our magical duo.
Episode 5 Impressions:
November 3, 2016
Another typically excellent episode from Flip Flappers. While it was presented in horror movie fashion, it actually succeeded in being one of the scarier anime episodes I’ve ever seen. The way of speech, the teleportation of the girls, and the way that they accompanied them to everything they did (including the bath if you were attentive) it truly was the best presentation of creepy I’ve seen in a while. Also, extremely creepy dolls are a surefire way to get me totally creeped out.
But I’m starting to get a separate sense of subtlety with Flip Flappers. The lilies everywhere, the perfect school life, all of it seemed to portray one of those perfect yuri fantasies that while magical girl shows do well, but shows about shoujo-ai or Girl-girl love. That absolutely perfect purity and that seemingly never ending cycle that is a staple of these shows. Where they always hint at relationship progress, only to hold back at the last moment so that we are stuck to the very beginning of the relationship cycle again and again. This is doubly represented by the fact that the clock in Pure Illusion resets back to the same time every single day. And so our duo are forced to repeat the same actions every day but if they ever try to physically escape the school and this cycle, they die and return back to the beginning. For a while, Kokona and Papika were tricked and stuck in this cycle.
It’s interesting that it’s Yayaka that’s the one that snaps Kokona out of the loop. Papika certainly wasn’t going to do it. She seemed perfectly happy to stay in this Yuri loop forever and ever with Kokona. Kokona was always this quiet, almost repressed sort of individual, and while Papika is doing her best at dragging the more emotional, more wild side of Kokona out, Yayaka doing it to seems to signify that this story won’t be as clear cut as I may have thought going forward. Sure Asclepius seems like not a great organization, but we haven’t seen any reason to really believe Flip Flap either. And I can’t help but keep feeling that nagging sensation that Papika isn’t as great as we all may think. Who knows whether that will inevitably come true. In any case, Flip Flappers is obviously showing a hell of a lot of subtlety and also maturity that not a lot of other anime series do.
In one sentence: The symbolism in this episode alone could spark up any number of thesis papers.