Flip Flappers – Mid Season Review
Note: Due to injury, Linny will be taking a diminished roll through the Mid Season reviews. She will return for the full reviews at the end of the season.
Original Air Dates: October 6th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Cocona is a model honors student, cautious, slow to embrace new opportunities. It doesn’t help that she’s unsure of where she wants to head in life, unable to even imagine what she’d like to do. But her life takes a complicated turn when Papika suddenly appears, a fearless hyperactive girl in search of a wish-granting crystal, the “Shard of Mimi.” Fates collide and the two gain the ability to transform into powerful fairy-like beings. Just where will their journey take them as they explore the lands of “Pure Illusion?”
Mid Season (6 episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Originally we’d noted Flip Flappers as having a Ghibli-esque artstyle, one only hindered by a more normalized budget. But as we’ve spent more time with the series it’s become clear that’s not really an accurate assessment. Week to week Flip Flappers’ style changes, allowing for a more anthology like approach as the girls, Cocona and Papika, travel from world to world in “Pure Illusion” with wildly varrying forms of artistic style. The show is a visual feast, offering up new, amazing art each week, keeping the audience unsure of exactly what they can expect and each new approach is a true delight.
Trouble is this focus comes at the cost of other aspects. Namely characters and story. Cocona herself is decently likable, but feels rather uncompelling. She’s a directionless lead and while that has the potential to speak to audiences, it rarely feels used. Instead that aspect of Cocona’s personality feels more like window dressing than something that influences the story week to week. The same goes with Papika, who’s a bombastically exciting, lovable character, but feels like little more than that description. Each girl goes through emotional journeys from time to time, but what arises from those developments doesn’t seem to stick, or matter in the grand scheme of Flip Flappers’ story. There’s a bunch of other characters as well, but none seem to matter, or exist as more than mere pawns for which to drive the story forward. I don’t know any of these characters, or find them memorable as we spend so little time with them, never more than enough to hint at future developments, or help drive the characters towards another Pure Illusion outing.
Flip Flappers’ story is another issue. While the narrative gradually becomes less confusing, it continues to lack definition and any real draw. It’s hard to feel like the narrative offers any compelling reason to keep watching as it’s such an underused component, feeling like little more than the flimsy reasoning for why Cocona and Papika are venturing into Pure Illusion in the first place. Flip Flappers’ interests lay more so in its weekly experimentation through animation and bizarre worlds than defining its narrative or characters.
But Flip Flappers’ animation is a big draw, and while I don’t feel compelled to watch it week to week like other offerings this season, I’ve never felt bored during any of its episodes. It’s that visual flare, and loose, shifting style that keeps the show feeling fresh and engaging. It’s just a shame there aren’t deeper reasons to keep me hooked.
Linny’s Addendum: If you are uncomfortable with fan service or sexual content, be aware that Flip Flappers has an episode where it shows masked women walking around naked in a stylized manner. It’s the only episode that has had such strong sexual content but it definitely startled some viewers. Other than that, there’s one shower scene where the camera pans up a soaped up Cocona. If you are extremely uncomfortable with fan service, those two scenes might prove to be an unpleasant watch.