OP Sequence

OP: 「Serendipity」 by ZAQ

「ピュアインプット」 (Pyuainputto)
“Pure Input”

When I wrote the preview for Flip Flappers I thought that it’d be the more traditional kind of magical girl show compared to the other offerings this season, but it seems I was off the mark there. The better for straight magical girl seems to be, for now, Soushin Shoujo Matoi. Well, can’t win them all, and in my defense: I have no idea what I’m talking about. This is doubly true for Flip Flappers, which seemed intent on hiding its hand prior to airing and even for this pilot seems loathe to really go out of its way to explain anything. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since mystery is tantalising, but it does mean that when we’re just going through the various anime pilots of the season and pigeonholing shows for the purposes of figuring out what to watch, things get a bit tricky. Certainly, Flip Flappers doesn’t aspire to the same slow, familiar start that may define it as fundamentally of the generic magical girl formula, like Soushin Shoujo Matoi. Instead, Flip Flappers is, well, strange.

To be clear, it’s not necessarily the plot of Flip Flappers that is strange. Even here, there are still some genre conventions that it follows. It’s a coming-of-age story. The protagonists come in pairs: the stoic one Cocona/Kokona (Takahashi Minami) and the genki one Papika (Ichimichi Mao). This time the stoic one is the main character and the genki one is relegated to manic pixie dream girl, but the general shape is still there. Secret power, transformation, hair extension—that stuff we all know. So while it’s true that Flip Flappers never really stops to explain itself, the plot is not especially complex, so when characters-without-context pop up or Suddenly Doombots we can mostly brush those developments aside, accept the protagonist’s own confusion, and continue to follow along.

What does set Flip Flappers apart, though, is certainly in aesthetics. It’s not that, on the whole, Flip Flappers looks whack—the animation is crisp and I have few complaints, and the designs are distinctive and pleasant. It’s that, rather than a single, defining aesthetic, Flip Flappers seems to want to mix in many. To see this most clearly, just compare the OP to the body of the episode to the ED . Flip Flappers just will not sit still. Perhaps that’s what’s appropriate when we’re talking about surreal parallel dimensions (or whatever Pure Illusion is supposed to be), but there is simply a lot of visual data that flows in, without many clues as to what is noise and what is important. Regardless, it is what makes Flip Flappers interesting, and for the most part I enjoyed it and would approve more of it. This is the strength of the animation medium, right? Reality is flexible here, and I do think anime should be bolder about going a little crazy sometimes.

That still leaves us with the question, though, of what exactly Flip Flappers is and what it intends to do. Here, I think we must fall back on the aesthetics, for that is where I think Flip Flappers most strongly makes its case. Magical girls seeking wish-granting plot-devices is probably something you’ve seen enough to be bored of, surfboard action or no, but the storybook backgrounds and general adventure spirit speaks of something almost Miyazaki-esque. Reflexively, I’m reminded of Spirited Away and Nausicaa. The ED sequence wants us to think about fairy tales. And Papika is, I guess, Peter Pan. All taken together… er, I dunno. There ‘s a lot of ideas that could have been baked into Flip Flappers, but at this point how is one to know for sure? And, in any case, a bundle of ideas does not an anime make. What I do know, though, is that my interest has been piqued, and hopefully the creativity hinted in this pilot is not just superficial. I look forward to seeing more of what Flip Flappers intends for itself in the coming weeks.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「FLIP FLAP FLIP FLAP」 by TO-MAS feat. Chima

Preview

25 Comments

  1. Seems like an interesting blend of magical girl x fairy tales x something wacky (not quite wacky on the level of Kyousougiga or FLCL, but still kind of silly).

    The staff involved with it combined with the strong debut episode have left me very hopeful for the show.

    Namazu213
  2. Hansel and Gretel story in the ED was simultaneously adorable and creepy. Anyway, this episode was weird on toast, but very interesting too. It was quite amusing how Papika proceeded to stalk Cocona throughout her day.

    …And I just realized that that garden where the two of them met is on the school’s roof! What kind of school has a multi-acre park with trees and everything landscaped on its roof?!

    Wanderer
  3. So what can us intrigue about Fip Fappers? Certainty not the action. I’m not convinced the story will do it. But the beautiful and diverse art will maybe carry the show.

    Enan84
  4. I enjoyed this alot. It felt like a mix of light horror and light comedy, it was definitely entertaining. I love Papika’s personality, she’s so carefree.. “probably because she’s ridiculously strong” was my first thought but then goes and almost dies.. No, she would have died if not for Cocona, so now I’m thinking that girl needs a reality check, heh.

    The brain scene was so hilariously random, I couldn’t stop laughing!

    JayDrink
  5. Some random observations:

    * Early on (about 0:37 on my copy) there’s a presumably dead girl that looks like Cocona in the facility Papika is leaving (when she says “but this was another bust”)
    * Hourglass on the window in Cocona’s room
    * Hourglass is prominent in the intro and mock exam scene
    * Looks like the blonde girl who slept through the exam is the same as the one in Passerby’s 4th picture

    anon234
    1. Papika notes how Cocona is “alive” after the transport, so yeah, the other girl probably died. Hope not though, cause if she did and Papika just rushed off to try with someone else it kinda shows that she really isn’t thinking about her partner’s safety that much. I’d rather her be a genuine and reckless airhead than a hyper but shockingly apathetic loon.

      Aex
    2. edit:

      * Based on her phone, she has 12 friends and her gradnma is her only relative. Not a huge relevation given her grandma woke her up in the first segment.
      * Grandma probably knows the truth about the dream on the boat
      * Maybe the boat dream is related to the probably-dead girl shown after Papika says “but this was another bust”
      * When Cocona came back with the fragment, Dr. Salt’s necklace piece glowed blue while the “KKK guy’s” head glowed red. The robots/soldiers were also red.

      anon234
  6. I’m pretty keen on story business, but I’m also pretty keen on what kind of things they establish in their worlds. I’m curious about the story as well, but strangely, the biggest question I always asked myself was “Why so much care for these glasses?” Because I actually forgot she had them until she wore them the second time in the Pure Illusion, which is when they get lost on the creatures. I just thought that bit of commitment was weird.

    But so much about the colors, the character interactions, the way they went about situations, I got into that, they were all interesting. And the animation was really pleasant. It’s certainly a way to start off with a lot of unique visuals. It won’t grab everybody at the start, but it did a lot for me. But yeah, after that episode, I’m hoping to see more story solidity. Like right at the end, I’m curious what these…vague but more than likely evil beings are. Something needs to tie this all together!

    Fuwa Fuwa
    1. From how Cocona looks fine in the preview I’ll guess that the guys at the end were sent to bring Papika back to wherever she busted out from, or kidnap her to somewhere different. If it’s back to “home” then maybe they’ll bring Cocona along and we’ll get some info, if it’s “kidnap” then Cocona will probably wake up at home and try to tell herself it was all a dream. No idea!! XD

      Aex
  7. I like the dream-like visuals, and I like that they stick to the “show, not tell” rule. Definitely giving this show a chance with three episodes rule.

    Also, am I the only one who looks at Papika/Kokona and thinks Uzuki/Yayoi?

    puppygod

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