Flip Flappers Series Review


Cocona is an ordinary kind of girl not looking for adventure when Papika (a definitely not normal girl) rushes into her life and literally drags her into various adventures. I reviewed this week to week so if you are interested in my thoughts on individual episodes click here. However, it’s now been two years since this originally aired (updating March 2019) and the question I ended up asking myself was whether or not my view on this anime had changed.


Flip Flappers was always a difficult anime to review. There’s so many bright and wonderful things about the anime, with sparkling characters, interesting themes, and fairly solid visual presentation (also great music). And yet, even two years later I can’t shake that overwhelming sense of disappointment that it couldn’t pull itself together. I really wanted Flip Flappers to be good. I wanted it to pull all of those ideas it had scrambled about the screen into a coherent plot that just blew me away.  I wanted so much from this other than ‘ooh, pretty’, but unfortunately that was a wish not realised. And two years on, I’m still kind of feeling that Flip Flappers had most ideas and potential than what it actually realised during its run.

My impression the second time through was once again that Flip Flappers sets up a fairly impressive story and characters in its first four episodes. There’s very little to complain about during these episodes as we get introduced to the world and ideas and become charmed by the complimentary personalities of Papika and Cocona. Unfortunately, as Flip Flappers moves beyond establishing itself, it ends up on some shaky footing and by the time we get to the introduced villain at the end and a frantic conclusion that doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny, while there are great moments speckled throughout this series, the narrative as a whole is unsatisfying.


However, let’s look at the positives. The beginning of the story is pretty amazing. It’s beautiful and colourful with lots of rich symbolism and sequences that draw you in to the adventures the girls are having. It raises question about the nature of the adventures and the relationship between Cocona and Papika. Essentially, it does everything it needs to hook the audience in and make you want to watch more. However, even in this early phase of the show we realise that from a narrative point of view there are issues. Conflicts within the episodes are solved through fast paced action sequences or sudden power-ups. Little is explained or given reason. While this ties in nicely with an Alice in Wonderland-esque feel it isn’t overly coherent. Which is fine for the early phase of a fantasy adventure story provided its followed up by something of note.


Then we get to episode 5. The girls are on yet another adventure. We’re in the middle phase of the series so should be gearing toward the greater narrative or learning more about the characters, or something should be happening and instead we just go around a time loop with the girls before they run around in a mad-cap type sequence before engaging in a fight that has no real context and somehow everything is okay. Episode 5 can kind of be held up as a model for how the narrative of the entire series goes. We don’t know how they got into the situation. We don’t know why anything is occurring and why it might be good, bad or otherwise. The villain shows up out of nowhere toward the end. Run around lots and lets fight. Whoo!

But I am getting a little sidetracked.

Episodes 6 through 8 continue the character’s adventures through the illusionary world of Pure Illusion and give us even more questions about what it is and why are we collecting these shards? These episodes would be a very reasonable follow up to the first 4 except for one thing. When we finally get to the final third of this series the shards and the nature of Pure Illusion are questions that get tossed aside as almost inconsequential. So, none of the shard collecting really means anything and we leave the series still with no idea what Pure Illusion is or why Cocona (and Mimi) have any connection to it. We don’t know why the scientists were studying it or doing experiments on kids or what anybody hoped to accomplish. So all of these episodes can be more or less disregarded in terms of an overall narrative. Instead, they are a cute diversion into questions that could have been examined but won’t be.

And this is all the explanation we are going to get.

Then we get to the final run of episodes. This is where things go completely off the rails in terms of enjoyment or narrative. We meet Mimi, Cocona’s mother. Which is fine and all except somehow she turns out to be the antagonist we’re going to spend most of this last third facing, even though there was no indication previously that Mimi was going to be an antagonist and it comes at the expense of every other possible conflict that show might have developed. Also, Mimi sucks as an antagonist. She’s dreadful. She just spews the worst dialogue with incredibly horrendous self-justifications for her actions which absolutely make no sense. More importantly, she doesn’t tell us a thing about Pure Illusion that we hadn’t already been told which means we still know absolutely nothing about it of any substance.

Anyway, let’s have a big fight sequence between Cocona, Papika and Mimi and finish the show with a flourish and somehow everything will be all wrapped up. Except, you know, all the parts that aren’t.

I’m going to be honest, watching this again, the flaws of this show are even more glaring and that ending is just kind of… It is almost as if they gave up and realised they needed to end on a fight.

Okay, if you want a visually pretty story with two main characters who celebrate the fact that friendship and/or love can triumph in the face of all reason and just saying it lots makes it true then Flip Flappers will probably be great for you. For me, I really was disappointed by the end of this even though it kind of showed its hand early on.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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Tuesdays Top 5: Disappointments from 2016

Tuesday's Top 5

Having covered some of the best from 2016 I kind of felt I should look at the shows that weren’t necessarily bad but ended up being disappointing before I move on to non-2016 specific lists. Actually, this was probably the hardest list to write because there were just so many shows that had so much potential and they just never delivered. My selection criteria this week was that the show still had to be functional as a show (so probably not one of my worst of the year shows) but due to execution it just hasn’t pulled off what it might have aspired to be. Some of these shows are actually pretty good as they are, but they had the potential to be better. Obviously this is a highly subjective list so feel free to list your disappointments in the comments below.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions go to: Trickster, 91 Days and Joker Game.

Number 5: Food Wars Season 2

Okay, I already know some people are going to dislike this choice but honestly I found this second season a severe let down. Individual moments in season 2 still capture some of the fun energy of season 1 but the competition just drags on and on and to be honest I’m just not that interested in watching continuous cook offs with some of my least favourite characters from the show. It would have been great to spend more time with the support cast and more time just having character moments rather than watching an endless array of food preparation (which I know is a petty complaint given it is a show about cooking).

Number 4: The Morose Mononokean

I’ll admit, my disappointment with this show was entirely my fault. Right from the start it reminded me of Natsume but never quite captured the magic Natsume had and the comparison didn’t do this show any favours. Going forward though this show didn’t really manage to create its own identity and seemed content with being watchable rather than ever really striving for more. Key moments of tension were deliberately wasted and the characters never really got fleshed out beyond a few hints that there were other stories to be told. All and all, this show has a cool premise, is really pretty, is perfectly pleasant and watchable but is equally pretty forgettable.

Number 3: Flip Flappers

I’m surprised as well that this is only number 3 but I guess the reason this didn’t disappoint me more on reflection is because I kind of predicted from the start that unless this show managed to pull everything together it was kind of going to be pretty but not a lot else. When that ultimately happened I was still disappointed but not surprised. Flip Flappers, the early episodes, is fun, energetic and visually stunning. Unfortunately, eventually they have to try to explain why anything is happening and then they feel the need to introduce an antagonist who serves no real purpose and seems to undermine a lot of what they had built in the series. While there are definitely worse shows out there, the way this ends I just don’t see the point in watching it.

Number 2: Izetta: The Last Witch

This one took me by surprise. I really expected this to be one of the shows I would recommend from 2016 after the first 2 episodes. Unfortunately from that point forward the show continued to slide into deep mediocrity. It wouldn’t be fair to say it actually becomes bad because if you compare it to something like Big Order or Taboo Tattoo, Izetta works as a narrative, is visually appealing, and has a range of semi-interesting characters who mostly serve their function. My disappointment again comes from my own expectations on the show but these were built by the first two episodes. It promised one thing and then stripped that away and gave us a watered down version of it. Also, I really didn’t like the introduced antagonist late in the series (so it has that in common with Flip Flappers).

Number 1: Kiznaiver

I really, really wanted to like Kiznaiver. A medical experiment on students to force them to share each others’ pain sounded like a great premise for a story. And there are some really good moments in Kiznaiver but the overall narrative kind of devolves into we should all make friends kind of thing and the experiment itself is mostly nonsense and serves no real purpose. Again, this anime is perfectly watchable and some people really enjoyed it, but I just kept wanting more from it than it was willing to give and so I finished this series deeply disappointed.

Those are my 5 biggest disappointments from 2016.

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Karandi James.


Tuesday’s Top 5: Visually Interesting Anime in 2016

Tuesday's Top 5

When I made my judgements about best and worst series I make that judgement based mostly on entertainment, characters and plot. Visuals (whether good or bad) play little part in that judgement. So this week I want to look at the top 5 anime in 2016 that I found visually interesting. As always I’d invite you to add you favourites to the comments below.

How did I narrow down this list? I actually remembered something about the visuals other than character designs. Seriously, I don’t usually pay that much attention to backgrounds and the like because I’m all about story and characters so if I actually remember after watching something that it was beautiful or interesting, that usually means it was noteworthy. They also had to be in an anime that aired at some point during 2016 (either continuing on from 2015, completely in 2016, or at least started before the end of 2016).

And then for patrons, I’ve put up a post called Tuesday’s Lesser 5 where I share some of the least visually interesting anime of 2016. I’m still working on providing patrons with extra content and I’ll probably be a bit hit and miss with this until it becomes a routine (I am very open to suggestions from patrons and would be patrons about what content you would like to see). If the post hasn’t come out as scheduled I will fix it – just let me know.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below – massive spoilers for number 5.

Honourable mentions this week go to: Ajin, Mob Psycho 100 (Yes, I hated the look of this but it was interesting), and Erased.

Number 5: Assassination Classroom Season 2

assassination classroom.jpg

Say what you will about this show as a show, you have to admit visually it is very interesting. We have a large cast of characters who each have a distinct look and a main character who by himself is intriguing and then we have the settings which are at times highly detailed and also use a large range of colours nad tones to convey moods. Honestly, the show is a feast for the eyes regardless of how you take to the plot of students trying to kill their teacher.

assassination classroom2.gif

Number 4: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash


I know a lot of people didn’t like the look of this show but I loved it. The water colour look about the scenes that just made everything feel kind of like a children’s story book while this incredibly grim tale was being woven really worked for me and it stood out from the strong colours and character designs we usually come across in this sort of fantasy world. I also liked how they contrasted each of the settings. We had the town, the forest, the ruins and then the caverns and each area had their own look and feel even while the art style was consistent. I also liked that the character designs blended with this environment rather than standing out sharply from it.


Number 3: Yuri on Ice

Yuri on Ice.png

I know, obvious choice, but this anime swept me away with its animation and presentation from the very first opening. The storyline and characters took longer to win me over but I could have watched this series through just on the looks of it. I’ve never seen characters move like that and I honestly don’t care if they were reusing animation, it was amazing. I also liked that the costumes were all beautifully designed and moved with the skaters, the backgrounds, the way they gave us the feel of being in different countries even though we spent most of our time at skating rinks, and so on. The visuals were extremely well done and this show had instant appeal because of it.

Yuri on Ice 1.gif

Number 2: Flip Flappers

flip flappers.png

It’s probably good this show was so visually interesting given the story really struggled to come through sometimes. That said, regardless of what the characters were doing or whether you had a clue what the plot was about, there was always something appealing to look at on the screen. The rich detail, the symbolism, the abstract design at times, the various art styles, all of it demanded your attention and you kept thinking that you’d missed something and sure enough when reading the blogs of others there was a detail you’d completely missed amongst the many things clamouring for your attention while watching this show. No matter your thoughts on the story, this is a visually appealing anime to watch.

Flip flappers2.gif

Number 1: March Comes in Like a Lion


This one may not be as frantic to fight for every minute of your attention as Flip Flappers but overall the visuals are far more cohesive (and more importantly are more suited to my tastes). The sharp contrasts between light and dark and the simplicity of some scenes compared with the rich detail in others will keep you watching and watching closely. Throw in the contrast between the very ‘realistic’ view of the world against the more ‘cartoonish’ view that is sometimes given and there’s always something to look for. Then again, even the opening of this one is mesmerizing and rich in symbolism so well worth checking out. That and it’s just beautiful.


Those are my picks for top 5 visually interesting anime in 2016. I know three of them came from the end of the year but when I looked back at the other anime I loved, they just didn’t visually stand out. What are your favourites from the year?

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Karandi James.


Flip Flappers Episode 13


This episode gave me a sinking feeling fairly close to the start. While part of me just kept hoping that Flip Flappers would actually do something noteworthy other than the visual spectacle the final episode overly relied on the power of love and friendship (without offering anything interesting thematically about either) and pure coincidence. No answers about who funded research into Pure Illusion, where the weird cult came from, who is funding Salt and his group now, who is looking after any of the kids even though clearly the weird cult was responsible for raising them and has now been destroyed, and no real answers about what gathering the shards would have actually done given apparently none of it mattered at all. Let’s just narrowly focus down on Cocona, Papika and Mimi and not give Mimi any real character. She’s either evil, controlling Mimi, or sweetness and light Mimi and neither side of her has any more depth than that. The one moment I genuinely enjoyed in this final episode was when a second  Salt appeared and more or less echoed evil Mimi’s words from a few episodes ago but Salt wasn’t having any of it and just shot his potential evil twin. Just think how much better off Mimi would have been if she’d done similar. And that was the best moment to get you thinking in the entire episode as everything else was pretty visuals and frantic energy but little substance. While this series is still very enjoyable it is definitely the biggest disappointment for me this season. I’m going to give myself some time before reviewing it because right now I’d be pretty negative about it.

Flip Flappers is available on AnimeLab.

Flip Flappers Episode 12


For most of this series I’ve found Flip Flappers to be a confused mess of imagery and ideas and there was always some kind of hope that coherence would be found. Episode 11 attempted an info dump to try to somehow make sense of the senseless and it did, kind of, but at the expense of the wonder and mystery or anything that may have actually been interesting. Episode 12 takes us to the nightmare after the dream, almost the moments before waking, where all the ideas are mushed together and we are running from set-piece to set-piece revisiting images we’ve seen before but in a new and horrific light. Which sounds kind of interesting until you realise that in the entire episode Papika and Yayaka chased after Cocona and Salt walked to the cult base and may or may not become relevant next week. All the emotional screaming and calling out of names amounts to nothing. The undoing of the transformation sequence before an instant new transformation (Princess style no less) amounted to nothing. Yayaka finally getting to transform just allowed the running around to go on for longer because this story feels the need to never allow Yayaka even a single moment of glory without punching her in the guts right after. Yep, Mimi is our final boss (unless you count Cocona’s own uncertainty which is probably equally to blame at this point), but only evil Mimi. There’s good Mimi as well from time to time. Sorry, but evil Mimi with overly possessive parenting tendencies is just not enough after all the build up this series attempted. It does link most of the ideas together but it just isn’t satisfying. We’ll see what the final episode delivers but at this point I’m really not expecting much.

Flip Flappers is available on AnimeLab.

Autumn 2016 Week 12

This is pretty much it. Some shows have wrapped and others are on their way to final episodes. A handful of shows will continue on. I’ll have one more Autumn overview and then I’ll start thinking about my final thoughts on the season and what I’m going to watch next.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this season in the comments below.


I Must Keep Watching

  • Yuri on Ice (Ep 12 – Finished)
  • Natsume Yuujinchou Go (Ep 11 – Finished)
  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Ep 10)

Yuri on Ice – wow!

Natsume delivered a fairly ordinary last episode but ordinary for Natsume is still actually pretty good so while it is not going to be my favourite episode of the series or even the season it was a nice close to the fifth season. Glad we got a season six announcement for 2017 though.

Fortunately March Comes in Like a Lion moved away from dancing cats and slice of life antics and dove back to Rei’s emotional journey which is where the show really shines (for me at least). Honestly, at this point if I could trim this series down to just the serious parts this would be a near perfect series, however the slice of life and comedic moments do serve a purpose even if I don’t find them as compelling.


Still On My Radar

  • Lostorage Incited WIXOSS (Ep 11)
  • Days (Ep 24 – Finished)
  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Ep 36)
  • Bungo Stray Dogs (Ep 24 – Finished)
  • Izetta: the Last Witch (Ep 12 – Finished)
  • Flip Flappers (Ep 12)

WIXOSS is going well and while this is never going to be one of my must watches (it just isn’t the kind of show that I get super into) this has been a really pleasurable watch this season. Looking forward to how it ends.

I really enjoyed this final installment of Days season 1. Definitely not my usual thing but its been a real joy following this even while I can openly acknowledge this is not the greatest anime ever and it has some glaring flaws at times particularly with pacing. That said, it is just fun to watch and spend time with the characters. Of course, zero resolution because why not wait for season 2.

Iron Blooded Orphans feels a bit like it is losing its way now. Season 2 has lacked a lot of the oomph of season 1 and now it feels like we’re just throwing big things around so that there is someone or something to fight against. Hopefully it pulls itself back together but I see this getting worse before it gets better. I’d be happy to eat those words later though.

At least Bungo is finished now and can’t drop further but really these last three episodes have been pretty bad. And then we set up for a continuation that I just don’t know if I really care to watch. I might. I am a glutton for watching things that annoy me and there has been just enough good in this show to keep stringing me along.

Izetta had such a promising start and I guess it never really got dreadful but it wasn’t good. Perfectly watchable, yet without substance or feeling by the end really. Okay, Sophie was dreadful.

Flip Flappers has kind of left me feeling a bit disappointed and I’m really not looking forward to the final episode. It all just feels kind of messy and like there was a lot of build up for not very much. Still, it isn’t finished yet so maybe it can pull something off.


Not Dropped But Not Sold On These

  • Kiss Him, Not Me (Ep 11)
  • Trickster (Ep 12)
  • Bloodivores (Ep 12 – Finished)
  • Nazotokine (Ep 12 – Finished)

Kiss Him, Not Me continues to be pleasant enough but continues to skirt just this side of inappropriate in terms of its set ups with a dash of making me feel uncomfortable even while I’m kind of enjoying it.

I’m seriously hoping for some decent Winter shows so I can justify dropping Trickster mid-season at this point. I just don’t see me making it through 24 episodes of mediocrity.

The only reason Bloodivores isn’t last on this list is it at least pretended it was going to go somewhere and while it made me face palm a number of times it didn’t bore me like Nazotokine. Still, not good. Not good at all.

Nazotokine is the show I definitely should have dropped. It isn’t dysfunction like Bloodivores but it is incredibly repetitive and dull. Seriously, even Taboo Tattoo was more interesting than this.



  • Cheating Craft (Ep 4 – Dropped)
  • Girlish Number (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • Nanbaka (Ep 2 – Dropped)
  • Magical Girl Raising Project (Ep 2 – Dropped)
  • Matoi the Sacred Slayer (Ep 2 – Dropped)
  • Touken Ranbu – Hanmaru (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • To Be Hero (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • Occult;Nine (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • Dream Festival (Ep 1 – Dropped)

Question this week, which show do you think won my reader’s poll for best anime of 2016?

Flip Flappers Episode 11


Any hope I had of Flip Flappers coming to something resembling a satisfactory resolution was dashed to little pieces (or rather exploded in a flowery mess) after watching this episode. While as visually tantalizing as ever, Flip Flappers essentially info dumped the whole plot up to now into one episode (and in the process eliminated the need for at least 60% of everything we’d seen prior) and then set up for an action-type show down in the next episode. Or maybe it will be a battle of wills. Either way Cocona fighting her mother for control of Pure Illusion or her body doesn’t seem like a particularly interesting way to end this. And that shady cult turned out to be worse than useless. They don’t even serve as a red-herring to the plot. More like the Team Rocket of the show when all is said and done and that really isn’t a compliment.


I think the worst part is Mimi herself. Seriously, the way she ditched Salt at the drop of a hat on three separate occasions just kind of makes me really dislike her as an individual. Even if she did deliberately give him the amorphous as part of some attempt for her non-evil personality to help out in the final round, she did it by stabbing him through the hand.

Oh well. It will be over soon and at least it has the ‘ooh, pretty’ factor to sell itself on.

Flip Flappers is available on AnimeLab.