「ピュアXLR」 (Pyua XLR)
If you had asked me, before the season started, what kind of anime I thought Flip Flappers would be like, I definitely would not have said Fist of the North Star. No, that would have been very far down on my list of likely models for Flip Flappers, next to Junjou Romantica and Grave of the Fireflies. Yet here we are, in the year 20XX, punching people in the post-apocalyptic desert wasteland. And along with Fist of the North Star there also seems to be some Mad Max and, judging from the Jawa vs Tusken conflict, some Star Wars as well. Everything featuring ‘guest star: sand’. Point is, those aren’t exactly magical girl titles. Unless you make an argument for Princess Leia (spoilers).
Despite the insolubility of this episode’s genres, Flip Flappers still insists on sticking to being a magical girl show. Actually, wait, does it? Sure, we finally have a full transformation sequence three weeks into the series, but when it is triggered not by the powers of love and justice but by the powers of magical sweet potato, yet still goes full Sailor Moon anyway, one has to wonder whether we’re actually in parody territory. How serious is Flip Flappers about, well, anything? Not that it doesn’t play things straight, per se, just that sometimes playing things straight is actually ridiculous. In a good way, perhaps, but still we wonder, as our girls pull out a giant cigarette lighter to fire like a cannon, what Flip Flappers actually is about, three episodes in.
Perhaps it’s because Flip Flappers is one big mass of symbolism, and freely open to interpretation. What you get out of Flip Flappers, I suspect, depends much on what you see in it, subjectively. It’s something of an anime Rorschach test; some will see a butterfly, some will see an ugly smudge. For example, perhaps in this episode Flip Flappers juxtaposes the magical girl transformation, which is supposed to symbolise purity, with an antagonistic cast of sadomasochistic hedonists as a commentary on sexuality and the release of the untrammeled id. Or perhaps it’s all just fanservice. Don’t stare at it too hard.
For now, there is certainly some strength in Flip Flapper‘s fluidity. Being set in a surreal world, things just happen, without a reason. In other words, Flip Flappers to just do whatever it wants. Sure, quite a few relevant plot details popped up this week (oh hey, these robots look familiar) but it’s mostly cryptic nonsense anyway. And it’s important that there’s some level of obfuscation. For one, mystery is tantalising, so it keeps viewers hooked, but also because if Flip Flappers starts making too much sense it’ll lose its surrealism and in turn its ability to go wild. And I anime should indulge in a bit of crazy now and then. Reality has been done to death.
Verdict after three episodes: Flip Flappers remains one of them most interesting shows of the season. I would definitely recommend it, even though that’s not actually easy to do because it’s so hard to describe to the uninitiated with just words. That in itself makes Flip Flappers a worthwhile watch, I think. However it turns out, I think It’ll certainly at least be an experience.