Cocona is a model honor student, cautious and slow to embrace new opportunities. This makes life complicated when a mysterious girl named Papika suddenly appears, fearlessly searching for a wish-granting crystal called the “Shard of Mimi.” When fates collide and they're given the ability to transform into powerful fairy-like beings, where will the dangerous journey into “Pure Illusion” take them?
Source: Sentai Filmworks
(Spoiler Free) In short Flip Flappers is a wonderfully crafted odd little adventure that captivates the imagination with it unique worlds, characters, and designs. It is a show built not on the foundation of a cash grab but genuine care and love with a suprisingly deep characterization. However, it is not without its flaws and suffers from what I call "13 Episode Syndrome" which is the senario of a anime with a lot to tell, story or character wise, but runs out of time to portray these elements and must rush to fill in gaps. Overall it is an enjoyable experience and is worth at least one watch and I highly recommend (No Major Spoilers, May Contain Minor Spoilers) Flip Flappers follows the journey of two adolescent girls, Cocona, an average japanese middle schooler trying to find purpose in her life, and Papika, a energetic, adventure loving character who befriends Cocona. For the majority of the series their adventures happen through the world of Pure Illusion as they attempt to find these "Shards of Mimi" for the organization Flip Flap. Story The story of Flip Flappers in the beginning is a mysterious entity that does keep you invested on whats going to happen next, and the characters and worlds the main characters interact with go to help fill up any void left by the story. However, after a while the main story does drag on with its plot, barely revealing much except a few small snippets of information only to sprint to the finish during the last 3 episodes. To be completely honest I would rate episodes 1-10 standalone a 8/10 despite being slow to reveal much. This is mostly because you have no idea where the series is going after watching those episodes. (if you do know where the show is going then congratulations on being significantly more attentive then me) Episodes 11-13 left me confused, not because I didn't understand it, (even though that was my inital feeling while watching) but due to the sheer amount of plot elements being taken in and out of the series in such a short time with built up plot points being resolved as though lightning had struck them and then from the ashes two new plot points are born. These episodes are what ultimately hurt the show for me and is the reason why story suffered and gets a 6/10 rating. 6/10 - Above Average Animation Flip Flappers has wonderful animation and scenery. There are moments where it does faulter and becomes flat (mostly in episode 11-13) but overall wonderful animation, not the best but pretty good. On a side note I must say the opening and ending is an amazing work of art and depicts what to expect from the series and the characters beautifully. 8/10 - Very Good Sound The opening and ending to Flip Flappers is by far the best music the series has. There are a few other tracks that play well with their respective senarios, but some music is reused in a few instances and I instantly picked up on it because these tracks are not that memorable. They only serve to help convey emotion during certain moments in the series so it did annoy me at times when I felt a more appropriate music choice would have been in order when they were reused. Voice acting feels supurb and I had no quarrel with how any of the character were voiced nor how they delivered their lines. 7/10 - Good Characters By far the strongest element this show has. Cocona is a introverted, dependent character with little direction in life, a leaf in the wind kind of character. Papika is a energetic, outgoing character who doesn't plan ahead well and mainly reacts to the immediate situation and goes from there. It was a joy to see these two characters interact with each other from their cold and distant beginnings to there full blown love for each other, and while I feel that Papika had little in terms of growth, Cocona by the end of the series is certainly a stronger character and that is in part thanks to Papika. Secondary characters have interesting quirks and personalities so they come off as likeable and colorful. The Antagonists are mediocore to say the least and aren't really that investing except to make a KKK joke everytime they appear. The only exceptional antagonist would be Yayaka who I feel was handled well, but certainly needs more development like the other side characters. 9.5/10 - Fantastic (mostly for Papika and Cocona's relationship, which is the focal point of the story) Final Thoughts I feel there's a lot of love behind the development of this show and it would have been better if the creators went out on a limb and pitched it like that. I could easily see this series to have gone on for 3 to 4 seasons. Maybe that would have resulted in a 13 episode cliffhanger, but at least with a ending like that there'd be fans demanding a second season and a chance that maybe not the following year but after a few years of gaining momentom it would return. For what the show is it is good and I reccomend watching it, but I certainly feel the show could have gone in a much better direction if it didn't suffer from "13 Episode Syndrome" 7.6/10 - Good
For me personally, Flip Flappers earned a couple of titles: Anime of the Season in Fall 2016, Anime of the Year 2016 and, most notably, Surprise of the Year 2016. Because I really didn't expect to enjoy this show to this extent. I mean, looking back at the fact that I almost dropped it after episode 2 still makes me shudder at the thought of missing this experience. - I tried to keep spoilers at a minimum - Story So, what the flip is this anime about anyway? Well simply put, it's about the "normal girl" Cocona, who gets dragged to a weird alternate world called Pure Illusion by "weird girl" Papika, to go collect mysterious shards who could supposedly grant wishes. Of course, no sane person would keep watching this if the entire plot would be such a generic magical girl story. For one thing, that description completely disregards the competition in the search for the shards. And it also doesn't really express just how weird it really is. Or just how well the characters develop (more on that in the characters section). But most of all, it doesn't do justice to the huge variety of stories this anime contains. Allow me to elaborate a bit on this last statement, by telling you a bit about how the show is built up: First off, there's the set-up in the first 2 episodes. As stated before, I almost dropped the show there, because it didn't seem like it was all that well done (looking back, those episodes were better than I thought, but hindsight doesn't help first time watchers XD ). Especially the fact that it seemed like the show wanted to "be weird for the sake of being weird" wasn't exactly to my tastes. There are a lot of things here that are important for later though, so don't skip them :p "Part 2" actually also contains some parts of episodes 1 and 2, because with this "part" I'm actually referring to the seemingly pointless episodes with fun things in them. But every episode also contains a part of the "puzzle" that forms the overarching plot. The best thing by far in these episodes is the way how Pure llusion is handled: it goes from a horror to a serious drama to DBZ-like fights without feeling jarring, making it a show which has at least one episode everyone would love. Doesn't matter if you love DBZ, or over the top mecha like TTGL, a good horror or a dramatic/feels episode: there's something for everyone. Which is also what I meant with the "huge variety" mentioned earlier. And then, of course, there's a finale: everything comes together quite nicely, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place - although you have to make some of the pieces yourself, because of the style of the storytelling. In regards to the style of the storytelling: it's so interesting that Crunchyroll has written a total of four articles about it (might contain spoilers!): one - two - three - four (there could be more, this was just after a quick google search). Basically, the show uses it's visuals to throw around references, symbolism and surrealism. So yeah, while the start was a bit rough, the overall energetic atmosphere, versatility of the show, the style of the storytelling and the great finale made me decide to give it a 9.5/10. Characters As is magical girl - tradition, this show is also partly a "coming of age" story for Cocona. Which means, of course, that she is the one who gets fleshed out the most, and who develops the most. On the other hand, this does NOT mean that other characters don't get any attention. Be it the obvious Papika, Yayaka, the enigmatic Dr. Salt or the stoic amorphous kids: they all get the screentime necessary to explore their personalities... except Nyunyu ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . Animation and artwork Well, I first picked up Flip Flappers because I saw a short clip of the great animation in episode 1 (Papika on her hoverboard), so I guess it's obvious that it's top-notch. Fights look pretty damn great too (probably the best animated fights I've seen since One-Punch Man). The artwork is already adressed a bit in the style of storytelling: it's really creative and interesting. On top of that, there went a LOT of care into the backgrounds, to the point where it's often Ghibli-level. (Crunchyroll has an article about this too: link) The only thing I didn't really like at first was the way the eyes were drawn, but once I got used to that it didn't bother me anymore. Sound The only thing I can objectively think of that outshines the animation and artwork, is the sound in this show. The voice acting is perfect; the OP song is great and energetic, and gets you hyped for the episode, the OST and insert songs are really nice and the ED is one of the most addicting songs I've heard in ages (yes, a rare case of ED being better than OP!). I really have no reason at all to subtract any points in this category, so I'll just leave it at 10/10. Overall This show is like an energetic little hamster, doing all kinds of random, creative crap to get out of the labyrinth it's confined in. While the first steps it takes seem boring, the middle part is tons of fun, and the finale is fantastic! Combine that with great visuals and sound, and you get a great show. Now, go watch it!
Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars / 9 out of 10 Pros: Gorgeous animation Unique narrative that is layered and weaves together the random elements of the first 6 or 7 episodes into a longer narrative "pay-off" The random episodes, even seemingly without a coherent plot, are a true joy to watch Cocona and Papika's evolving relationship Never knowing what to expect Cons: Exposition at the end felt a tad bit rushed Character introduced towards the end with no narrative importance There is an instance in episode 11 where the animation was still frames for 5 seconds. This did not effect the story Not everything was fully explained in the end but the conclusion is still satisfying Review Summary: Innovative anime with lots of hidden nuances and metaphors behind all the fun insanity. The story is deeper than it first appears. You may like this if: You enjoy FLCL, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, or Paprika. Recommended
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