「ピュアプレイ」 (Pyuapurei )
Whatever one might say about Flip Flappers, one thing’s for sure: it oozes artistry. The concept art and background art are stunning, to be sure, but many shows have that; what pushes Flip Flappers one step further is how much it invests into its style. Sure, it’s also a bit self-indulgent at times (like in this episode, about a budding artist with family issues who’s isolated for being ‘strange’; I hope we’re not being autobiographical here), but not to the point of pretentiousness, at least. I haven’t looked too deeply into the full team behind Flip Flappers, but I can imagine a bunch of animators tired of churning out the same old, and going into Flip Flappers with the intention of really cutting loose.
Art directors gone wild has always been the underlying theme of Flip Flappers, so why make a point of it now? Mostly because I think that now we have gotten over the initial shock factor of Flip Flappers, everybody is more comfortable with the general tenor of the show, and Flip Flappers is steadily using its stylistic tools more in its storytelling. Before, Flip Flappers was more episodic adventures that didn’t really feel much need to have an overt narrative outside of the ‘collect the shards/world domination/yada yada’ thing. Its stylistic flairs were mostly for atmosphere, or as parts of a loose theme. That stuff was great, of course, but now, quite suddenly, we have an honest-to-goodness piece of backstory, about a girl who doesn’t understand dementia. That is not an especially extravagant plot, but its power is in the telling. Very few shows other than Flip Flappers could so easily dip into Expressionism to show a child’s emotional state, or so blatantly colour-code the entire episode. And perhaps we should wonder why that is, because as I’ve touched upon lightly before, anime doesn’t need to ever confine itself to reality. So yeah, go all out with the blue and orange juxtaposition. You’ve already got blue hair. What’s stopping you from doing blue everything?
Of course, I’m only this enthusiastic about anime boldly stepping out of its comfort zone because, here, it works. I do believe that Flip Flappers is getting better as it goes, and here in Pure Pay we can really see it coming together.
The most important thing about this episode to me, though, is that Flip Flappers has proven that it can be engaging not just visually, but also emotionally. Before the season began we could have perhaps reasonably questioned whether Flip Flappers was going to be all style and no substance, and I think we can safely say that this episode—combined with those before it—repudiates those doubts. In taking a relatively simple tale and effectively translating it into its own style, Flip Flappers shows that it, at the very least, knows how to tell a story. Sure, I’m a little subjective here, having experienced dementia in an aging relative before myself, which may play a part in why the episode moved me, but I don’t think I’d have connected so well if it wasn’t such a fine job. I can’t be the only one, right? This is a damn good show. I hope people are watching it.
Full-length images: 06.