Flip Flappers this week seemed mostly pointless to the plot but fairly important for the characters covering Cocona’s inner conflict about what she was doing and the consequences of last week. That said, there’s very little that is new here. This is Cocona reverting to the cautious person she was pre-Papika and being frozen by her own uncertainty. However, the real payoff for the episode comes right toward the end where we may or may not have actually found out something about Papika and her mysterious past. Visually, this episode was average for the season but couldn’t hold up to the impressive visual display we were given in episode 6. This show continues to intrigue but also continues to delay any kind of overall satisfaction by obscuring the overall objectives at every turn. Even when the scientist guy was asked directly to explain something he instead went on an ambiguous rant that mostly amounted to ‘I don’t know’. Which might be true or might be him withholding information and there’s really no way to tell at this point.
Flip Flappers this week just made me wonder all over again if all the symbolism and visual metaphors are actually going anywhere or are we just getting a splattering of ideas that may or may not ultimately mesh. If you wanted, you could probably spend the better part of a week deconstructing every image presented this week and the use of colour throughout the episode but all that will leave you with is a really long winded analysis of something that each viewer is going to have a totally different reaction to. The only coherent thread I’ve found so far in this narrative is Cocona and her becoming a more emotive and whole character, and we see her continuing to search for her identity and getting pushed into action (or at least inspired to act) by her counterpart Papika, and this works well enough as a story.
The rest of this episode kind of gave us a bit of back story about the art student we’ve seen a few times (though how much of this back story is real and how much is entirely illusionary or symbolic is questionable) and we learn that actions in Pure Illusion actually are changing things in the real world (or at least the action this week did). That said, this was definitely the long way to get to that revelation and the question of whether or not this series is any good or just really colourful is still up in the air.
I know I’ve said it before but it probably will be the end of this series before I decide whether I like it or not and my answer will probably entirely hang on whether or not they manage to stick the landing as we tumble down this rabbit hole. Is there a final destination and will it be worth the journey?
We get another adventure inside of Pure Illusion though this one is a time loop so be prepared to watch the girls to through the same steps about three times (admittedly just a montage like version of the day) before anything happens. The problem is they don’t use any clues or anything they found from the loops to solve anything. They just kind of mad-dash and then everyone is fighting and hey let’s just smash the thing and everything will be fine. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration but it really felt like they took random plot events to a whole new level this episode. Which is odd considering how linear the story was compared to some of the other episodes.
If I’m honest, I didn’t have a lot of fun this week with this show and I’m not sure that anything was really gained through this episode. I don’t feel the girls understand each other better and we learned nothing new about the three other girls who are also looking for shards. All we get are a few more hints that Cocona and Papika are in over their heads and we knew that already.
They really are pushing the Alice in Wonderland theme at times and the inclusion of a tea drinking scene and the design of Papika’s ‘house’ just kind of reinforced that this episode. Of course, they are also pushing all and any symbolism to do with illusion and the idea of two things being one. At least the symbolism and themes are consistent as the story is all over the place and the pace doesn’t know whether it is going full speed or just chilling by the side of the road.
This episode hit us hard with the cliché of two characters being asked to live together before the opening theme had even played but then managed to breathe some life into the trope when we see Papika’s house and then the girls go on a bit of a trip (and for once not into Pure Illusion although we’ll clearly be heading there next episode).
I’ve decided now that I’m definitely wanting to know where this show is going. Other than the still images we get of the school and other students from time to time as transitions, it’s pretty and vibrant and while the story is still fairly ambiguous there’s enough cohesion to enjoy going for a ride with these characters.
That said, I’m really hoping Yayaka (or whatever her name is) has a better goal than world domination.
Flip Flappers is a lot of things but one thing I am not going to accuse this show of being is logical. This episode just kind of continued to throw things at us with frantic energy and kind of hoped the shining prettiness and weirdness of the whole thing would help make it through to the end. Admittedly, the reveals (multiple) at the end of this episode are kind of worth waiting for as they hint at an actual overall plot that has been sorely missing from the first three episodes of random exploration and developing themes of friendship.
Probably my biggest issue with this episode was how many clichés we ran across in quick succession. From a Sailor Moon style transformation (had they transformed in a sequence before because that seemed to come out of left field), to a that’s not their true power comment, and so on an so forth. Actually, the tone of this episode kind of reminded me of Gurren Laagan.
Why am I finding so many comparisons? Because there is genuinely no way to explain what is going on in this anime without just taking you scene by scene through it. I keep hoping that this finds some cohesion because all the parts are interesting but I still feel like we’re only just being introduced to the world three episodes in.
Cocona is a bright girl who is uncertain about her future, however, while wondering which path to take she encounters Papika and thus begins Flip Flappers.
Review Episode 1:
Okay, having watched the whole of episode 1, I’m still kind of clueless about who anyone is or what they want or where we are going with this story (or why the robot was pulling at the girls’ skirts earlier in the episodes).
There’s the typical girl taking her practice exam and agonising over her future and then, after the free spirited Papika runs into her they go into a tunnel but really kind of end up in some-sort of other dimension where they play in the snow before they have to chase down some snow trees (because smart girl’s glasses ended up on them), and then there’s a transformation, a hug, and finally a kidnapping. I’m lost. I have no idea. I was really engaged while watching. That said, episode 2 really needs to give us something resembling an explanation.
Review Episode 2:
So still no idea what’s going on other than they are collecting shard things and they only go to the magic world place when they both feel the same way. This show is incredibly light on explanation but it’s also very good at distracting you from thinking about it.
It’s very similar to Alice in Wonderland in that stuff just keeps happening and Alice is forced to deal with things as they come whether they make sense or not. Throw in the interesting visuals and sense of pace this show is keeping (even though not a lot is happening it feels like it is which is interesting in itself) and you have a show that hooks you in even as you stare puzzled at the screen.
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