Flip Flappers – Preview
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 of 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?”
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Flip Flappers visual style might remind you of Miyazaki’s work, or really any Ghibli style film with vibrant, simplistic backgrounds that contain that same whimsy and feel Ghibli is very much known for. The characters too have a Ghibli-esque feel. The animation quality, however, isn’t nearly as consistent, with dips in longer shots, a lack of detail at times, giving me a conclusion that Flip Flappers’ art is “Ghibli on a budget.”
Linny: “Ghibli on a budget” is definitely how I felt about the show’s visuals but it is in no ways meant to be derogatory. While the show obviously cannot match the quality one has come to expect from the Ghibli name, it still has that whimsical vibe that will make you feel engaged and entranced. The backgrounds and characters are extremely colourful, giving the episode a lively and magical feel to match the fantasy elements of the story.
Tom: Cocona, our lead, is pretty downtrodden. She’s a borderline emotionless girl weighed down by her indecisiveness, unable to dream ahead for what she wants to do in life. She honestly isn’t all that unique, making her a mediocre lead for more experienced fans who’ve perhaps seen this archetype one too many times before. Our other lead girl is where all the energy is, as Papika is bouncing off the walls. She’s crazy, hyper, a total nut ball and maybe not really all that bright. She’s not all that unique either, but is lively enough to add a sense of whimsy to the whole production.
Linny: Cocona almost feels too emotionless and unmotivated but it’s all clearly a lead up to her discovering a new passion for life and adventure through the events of the show. She’s bland to start but it’s clear the show is planning to inject her with more personality. If you’re bored by her, there’s still a chance you could be won over by Papika, whom like Tom describes, is the complete opposite of Cocona. Papika came off particularly adorable to me at the start because her voice acting reminded me strongly of young, adventurous female characters from Ghibli movies, which in turn only made the Ghibli vibe more pronounced for me.
Tom: Flip Flappers mainly focuses on our two girls, although there seems to be a little screen time for a handful of characters lurking in the background. There’s a set of twins, an older man in search of crystals, and his support staff, and of course the robot that accompanies both girls into Pure Illusion, a magical alternate world that goes largely unexplained. There isn’t much to say as all these characters have such little presence it’s unclear what role they’ll play going forward. In fact, that’s Flip Flappers biggest issue: confusion. The narrative took a backseat as we explored the budding relationship between Cocona and Papika, uninterested in cluing the audience into exactly what Pure Illusion is, or the magical powers Cocona displays late into the episode’s run time. A lot of details are left on the floor and that’ll be frustrating for viewers who like their entertainment more laid out and sensible.
Linny: Flip Flappers packs in a lot of pretty and impressive visuals and action scenes in its premiere but that has resulted in a lack of story that is bound to leave some viewers feeling confused. In fact, some of the sequences in the episode remind me of gifs and images that people post online and joke about looking like LSD trips. These scenes only add to the trippy and abstract vibe that in turn, furthers the vagueness of the story. The most concrete information we know about these girls’ activities is that they’ve been sent to another dimension(?) for testing purposes but what exactly is being tested and how or why it is being done hasn’t been addressed or explained.
Tom: Flip Flappers is all about style. It’s that Ghibli-esque art quality and atmosphere that sells me on the series, even when the narrative feels like it’s taking a backseat. There’s a lot we don’t know yet, and if Flip Flappers isn’t careful it’ll end up as little more than an art piece like K the anime did. But, if Flip Flappers opens up just a little, keeps its narrative coherent, and maintains its “Ghibli on a budget” art style with acceptable quality I think it could be a real treat this season.
Linny: Flip Flapper’s art is definitely one of its main selling points so far, especially if it induces the Ghibli nostalgia and vibe in others like it did for us. While the story is still a bit obtuse, viewers can become invested or attached to one or both of its leads and, hopefully, upcoming episodes will clarify the mysteries and unanswered questions that linger. However, if you don’t like your stories obtuse and visuals abstract OR you dislike emotionless protagonists, you might struggle to warm up to this show.