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Flip Flappers – 05

「ピュアエコー」 (Pyuaekō)
“Pure Echo”

I was looking through some of the concept art for Flip Flappers the other day, and I must say, it made me appreciate the show just a little bit one. For one, the art’s gorgeous—that goes without saying, no?—but one can also see in them, perhaps, the process by which Flip Flappers was created. It seems to me, almost, that what the production team did each episode was throw out a piece of concept art and just run with it. The script? Probably something they leave until later. Sure, there is something of an overarching arc to Flip Flappers, something which they attempt to explain more and more with each episode (sometimes by way of Wikipedia), but for the most part the forays into Pure Illusion are self-contained, and also where most of Flip Flapper‘s entertainment is to be found. Each episode’s Pure Illusion is a different ‘monster of the week’, so to speak, and I think first and foremost designed around an aesthetic. You can just imagine how the planning for, say, episode 03 went, right? Someone enjoyed Mad Max a bit too much, had a thought about crossing their magical girls with Fist of the North Star, and then away they went. It’s just the general air of whimsy underlying Flip Flappers. Look how easily it implies stories left off-stage that could easily have been just as crazy as any other episode. And I don’t really care how they got there. I’d watch it.

The other advantage of the fluid world of Pure Illusion is that it allows Flip Flappers to basically change genres as it pleases to keep things fresh. And so Flip Flappers decides what it really wants to be was horror, and off it goes. Perhaps not in a complete genre shift, for Flip Flappers still adamantly remains a magical girl show, with this episode being the one where the protagonist magical girl (specifically in our case it’s a duo) actively confronts her ‘rival’, and perhaps starts to build a rapport. But this is all interpreted through a markedly shifted aesthetic. After giving us a closer look at Cocona’s weird but still oddly charming school last episode, this week Flip Flappers turns off the lights and tries again. The horror is not in the plot line, per se, but in the aesthetics. Flip Flappers trots out basically every single campfire horror story or monster B-movie trope in both camera work and setting design. We’ve got the random blood, the creepy doll, the ominous rooms, and more besides. In fact, it’s so overboard that, like in episode 03, it’s not always easy to tell if it’s not all just a massive parody. On some level, it probably is, but I don’t think that’s the main goal. It’s still sometimes serious, and still overall rather unnerving. The point, I think, is to run the magical girl story through a different filter every week. Again, imagine that the team started with two pieces of concept art—say, the school after dark, and a world of clockwork—and the challenge is to bespoke the story to these concepts. And this is the result.

Overall, it worked pretty well, in my opinion—but then again, I love a bit of a psychological unease in any story, and clockwork is plain cool. I’ve been finding the episodic adventures consistently entertaining at least. The overarching plot, I’m not as sure about. Flip Flappers gets more technical with its plot as it goes, needing to explain its own jargon and mechanics, but it’s hard to place the need for such exposition when there’s, y’know, magic. And the more Flip Flappers explains the more questions arise anyway; for example, why do they need to bring a totem into Pure Illusion all of a sudden? Because Cocona is transferring to Hogwarts? And so at some point I just let all the explanation go over my head and stop paying attention to it anyway.

More important than explanation, methinks, is simply putting things into place. Next week, more of tea-and-paint-Senpai. We don’t need anyone to explain that she’s an important character; we know simply by her showing up more than once. And the less they explain of her appearances, the more important she feels. It’s the power of mystery. And I think Flip Flappers is best when it never tries to explain anything.

Full-length images: 20.

 

Preview

November 4, 2016 at 10:14 am
11 comments »
  • November 4, 2016 at 11:42 amdean

    This episode was actually a parody and criticism of Class-S school girl lesbian shows like Maria-sama ga miteru. This episode felt more like something from Ikuhara. The yuri subtext was extremely blatant and forced and so was the Lilly imaginary. Of course that was the intended effect, since it was forced by the moster, who probably as the representation of the japanese otaku had a voyeuristic enjoyment seeing the two girls engaging in subtext (Cocona and Papika were literally watched as they slept, bathed and sucked blood), but since everything reverts back into to how it was before, the japenese viewer doesn’t have to worry that their proper japanese girls could actually develope into a real lesbians. Instead they just engage into subtext he can enjoy.

    • November 4, 2016 at 2:26 pmsonicsenryaku

      yes, absolutely all of this. I saw a comment saying that all the yuri subtext was very blatant and im like “yea; that’s the point”. Look how the distorted ghostly figures are always watching, or clapping and giggling whenever they watch the girls conform to what they want to see. It’s like “this is what ya viewer’s want”

  • November 4, 2016 at 11:51 amMagewolf

    This episode was Yuri as horror. It was a high class girl school with all the yuri undertones and time being reset so nothing ever comes to fruition.

  • November 4, 2016 at 11:54 amyoloalchemist

    Yayaka is a mystery. She strikes me as someone who at least has some level of care for Cocona, but then she’s primarily driven by her goal.
    Speaking of goals, we really haven’t yet established clear good vs. evil sides here. It could be anyone at this point, the people Cocona and Papika work for, or the people Yayaka and the twins work for. And Yayaka’s cryptic words to Cocona in the end don’t help either. But I’m a patient person, and yes the power of mystery here is good for the show, for now at least.

  • November 4, 2016 at 12:02 pmFuwa Fuwa

    Different strokes for different folks. I can see the disturbing appeal, but I couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of other worldly beings that yell dubstep whenever they “speak.” Still amused by what this episode offered.

  • November 4, 2016 at 2:24 pmsonicsenryaku

    So far ive really enjoyed how flip flappers has executed its more difficult exposition moments. I think stilts brought it up one time in one of his posts about how to do exposition right in which he stated that smart exposition is achieved when the viewer or reader has already been exposed to the mechanics of the world without being told how they work, but rather having been giving clues as to what is going on; then later on, the show just gives a super brief explanation that only affirms what we were already on the verge of figuring out so that we dont feel left in the dark. A good example is today’s ep: We were given enough clues from the girls foray into pure illusion that like a dream, you’re mind and body succumb to the nature of the dream or world. Yayaka briefly mentions this as an explanation to the dangers of pure illusion yet at the same time, confirming things that may have puzzled us initially. Now this may have seemed like a trivial piece of info but then it creates aha moments like with cocona and papika knowing how to do all those fancy fighting moves in episode 3.

    The little ewok characters of that episode mentioned “the gentle fist” fighting style that is rarely seen. This indicates to us that this is a staple of the world that they are in, a staple that cocona is being influenced by because pure illusion influences your nature. The mask only amplified cocona’s latent emotions. As for the explanation for our duo having to bring inanimate objects to pure illusion, that’s yet another bit of exposition that is handled nicely. The scientist tells them that a living being couldnt be used otherwise it would die. From there, we are able to draw the dots to what probably happened to the girl who was lying on the ground lifeless in episode 1. Also, we have been shown so far that when the girls are emotionally charged, they can use the power of the crystals but they need an efficient way to tap their emotions. In episode three, the conduit that allowed their transformation to happen was the gung-ho potato. After coming to terms with the fact that the girls felt bad for hurting one another, by eating the potato (food is a universal thing that one can have powerful emotions from) they had the necessary conduit to induce their transformation. From all that, we can understand from the really short dialogue of the scientist that the girls have probably been having trouble channeling their feelings and so they need an object that they are attached to that can focus their emotions and induce a transformation. Exposition is done very intricately in this series and coming from a director who has so much experience as an animation director, it only makes sense for him to be able to “show and not tell”. And yea, this whole ep was one giant satire of yuri culture with horror trappings and man was it good. Yup, flip flappers is easily top 3 this season for me

    • November 4, 2016 at 3:40 pmFaolin Eye

      I’ve really liked your insightful observations in this comment, so I tip my non-existing hat to the effort you put into phrasing all this.
      As you’ve rightly pointed out the exposition is done smoothly and effectively, all the while moving forward the narrative and presenting enough subtextual content that the viewer starts looking for more and more questions about the main characters and Pure Illusion.

      • November 4, 2016 at 3:54 pmsonicsenryaku

        thank you (passerby’s great posts just get me into the mood to writing about this series); i would have also got into the whole yuri subtext and how this entire ep serves as character introspection for our cast but somebody at the top of the comments already mentioned a bit of it. Plus i know a write-up of this episode that can articulate the whole layer behind this episode better than i could: http://www.anime-evo.net/2016/11/04/flip-flappers-5/

      • November 5, 2016 at 3:43 pmPasserby

        Well, if I was actually able to inspire anything in anyone, that’s a very high compliment. Glad to hear.

  • November 6, 2016 at 8:17 amKF

    It felt like I’m watching a Kingdom Hearts show.

  • November 10, 2016 at 7:56 amiron2000

    Why! Yayaka!
    Why won’t you just say it.

    Maybe if she made it clear then there would be one less mystery :P
    One less pull to watch.

    Can’t wait for things to open up and explanations to come.
    Lots of questions I hope will be answered as the show progress.