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.
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
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
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
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)
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 -
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
synopsis: Flip Flappers is a show about Papika and Cocoona, toto, mimi, yayaka and many other characters with repeated syllable names. Watch them as they suffer through Cocona's parents (does she even have a father?) divorce through the eyes of this chuunibyou couple. Will Cocona manage to calm down her enraged mother and find the caring one again? Experience their weird adventures and realize what it feels like while being high on LSD feels like in this animu.
No, but seriously... I cant get myself to like this anime. Starting from the "mahou-shoujo" transformations, the episodic style of its episodes, the dream-like worlds they go into... I dont know, not my thing.
As I said in my fake synopsis, It just feels like a couple of girls with a grave case of chuunibyou. Is yayaka of a frail complexion and needs to go to the infirmary a lot? - While in their minds she gets beat up in their adventures? I don't know.
On top of this, there are a lot of loose ends. Who are Papika's parents? Who is Cocona's dad? There is no cloning mentioned, so do we have a case of children abductions? Why can they go to school happily then, didnt all those other test subjects die?
What is the backstory of Pure Illusion? Seriously, there nothing explained about it. They have a research ongoing for "millions of years" and there is no mention on what it really is? (Again, I can't help but to think of chuunibyou - its all in their heads)
And I could keep going on and on. I feel like Cocona, having absolutely no idea of whats going on around.
Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars / 9 out of 10
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.
I'll try to be general: If you are a fan of Trigger/Gainax studios and you don't need a complicated plot to get yourself amused, I would highly recommend Flip Flappers to you. There is not that much going in the story, but the flurry of colours, the speed and relentless waves of surreal pictures, lots of exposition, mindless action and illogical flow convert this piece in a weird state of art and entertainment. It definitely is not for everyone.
There is not much going on in the beggining. The audience is thrown into a twister of information, hardly grasping any sense and question the direction of the show. Not much is revealed and unplotted until the last episodes, where the story picks up all the lose ends and finishes in an acceptable manner, but hardly satisfying. There is not enough of explanation and one would feel it rushed, underdeveloped and the clichéd "power of friendship" is such a boring and awful topic to hang on. The other matter is reference vs soulless robbing. Where is the edge between those terms? There are tons of scenes/pictures/symbols which clearly resemble known shows, but there are just so many of them which leaves me questioning if it doesn't spend more time with the "references" than telling the original story.
Animation is decent. If you are again a Trigger fan, you will see where the inspiration and style comes from, which is very fitting with the frenetic behavior of the characters and the madness going on screen. It is easy, using round shapes and lof of vivid coulours, but the lines loosens a bit getting closer to the finish.
Tough to call, since it is very hard to focus on with the packed action going. I can't stress enough how annoyed I was with the neverending "Papikaaaa!" & "Coconaaaa!" callings, since it fills about 50% of the words used by the main duo. But the battle sounds are ok and music is average.
This section was very troublesome for me to analyze. Cocona and Papika are very contrasting, which is a welcomed fact, but only Cocona is rather the one focused on and is the one which undergoes a decent character development. Papika's character is just a catalysator and switch from normal to crazy, the hyperactive factor not possessing the most genius brains. Even Yayaka, the arguably third most important character was not characterized enough, we know very little about her. I wonder why we spend the first episodes pretty meaninglessly, having fun and exploring the unbound borders of the Pure Illusion, where we could get on the characters right away and deepen the plot with them.
Overally, I feel this was not my tea at all. By no means it is a bad show, but the main selling point is fun and entertainment and in this the anime didn't deliver to my taste. However I have been pretty subjective and don't deny that fact at all. Give a try, don't drop it after 2 episodes and you'll see if it is your show to enjoy.
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