Flip Flappers – A Slow Start

  • Titles: Flip Flappers
  • Genre: Adventure, supernatural, Magical Girl, school
  • Episodes: 13
  • Studio: Studio 3Hz

It can be tough to make friends. Even when you’re in middle school, sometimes it’s not easy to find someone to really relate to. But it’s not like Cocona is all alone. She has her grandmother and her childhood friend Yayaka. The senpai at school is really kind as well. But when Papika explodes into her world, she suddenly realizes that maybe she never truly got to know the people around her. And Cocona would like to do that now but she’s a little busy. She did just find out that she’s some kind of magical girl on a mission to recover the shards and all that.

I kept getting Flip Flappers confused with Hand Shakers in my head. I don’t actually know if the two have anything in common but because everyone told me not to watch Hand Shakers, I ended up not watching Flip Flappers. Brilliant!

on it!

As some of my more shrewd readers will have figured out by now. I did in fact eventually realize that Flip Flappers was not in fact Hand Shakers and promptly put it on my watch list.

I gotta say, for me the production of Flip Flappers was its greatest asset. I just loved the visuals in this show. The art style has that scratchy quality to it that almost makes it look like animated sketches. Something that is right up my alley. The colours are just gorgeous and the animation plays a lot with perspective and moving camera angles to create some truly memorable action scenes.

It’s a show that is beautiful to look at. There were some occasionally rougher moments in fighting sequences or for far away characters but unless this thing had the premium budget attached to it, I really can’t blame them for that. Studio 3Hz did a tremendous job and I will try to look into their titles more.

they seem to have some pretty boy shows

I can’t say much for the sound design, I mostly didn’t notice it. As for the acting, for reasons I will explain below, I switched to the English dub fairly early on so I can’t say much about the Japanese cast. The English cast was alright. A bit forced at times but not offputting.

So the basic premise of Flip Flappers is actually pretty cool. Cocona meets Papika and together they find that they can enter a world called Pure Illusion where they have magical girl powers and need to collect shards. Every time they enter Pure Illusion it’s a completely different place with different rules and dangers.

On paper this sounds wonderful, in practice, I could barely get through the first few episodes. I just found it boring. So I switched to English and put it on while I was cooking or doing activities that would allow me to still pay attention to the episode but have a little something else to pass the time.

this is from episode 5

I should say, I really loved episode 5. It was an amazing episode!

So why didn’t this gorgeous show work for me? It had all the elements I like. Well, for one thing, I just didn’t have any connection to the characters. They stay fairly undeveloped for a while and for me the classic Genki girl with serious girl combo just wasn’t enough to keep my attention. I should say, there is a twist in the story that is revealed around episode 9 and the characters start to get a lot more development after that point but before that, they are kept purposefully vague.

Unfortunately, the relationships are also kept at a very superficial level and that is something they never find time to rectify in the show. So I couldn’t latch onto that either. I should say, I’m sure some people will (did) love the early characters as well. From what I can tell from my comment section, most people prefer plot-driven anime. I’m sort of a stickler for character stuff.

the show kept reminding me of Kill la Kill in some ways

Similarly, the worlds of Pure Illusion suffer a lot from too restrained world-building. Partly because some of the information is kept for the reveal, but mostly because they only had one episode to set up an episode-specific plot, get a lot of action in and then establish an entirely new universe, every week. As a result, most of the time the stakes felt very unclear and as such fairly inconsequential.

I said it a few times already, Flip Flappers has a twist. Maybe everyone else saw it coming a mile away and it wasn’t really a twist for them, but it was for me. And although I do think a bit more consistent foreshadowing would have served it better, I did enjoy the reveal as a whole. I found it added to the story and characters and it wasn’t so out of the blue as to feel contrived. Good twist!

My experience with Flip Flappers was peculiar. The first episode I actually enjoyed was episode 5 and only those amazing visuals kept me going before that. After that, I started to consistently enjoy episodes 9 to 13. so that’s not a great track record. But I do think even the parts that weren’t for me would appeal to a lot of viewers.

most viewers even

In many ways, I think Flip Flappers is the type of show that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who enjoyed Kill la Kill on a textual level. Not saying it’s the same type of show but there are elements in common and the camera work and framing is very reminiscent. Flip Flapper also has its share of fanservice but it’s mostly trying to look up the skirts of middle school girls. So if that freaks you out, be warned there’s quite a bit and it’s offered up without commentary.

Also, if you had heard that Flip Flappers is a Yuri title, you should probably know that it’s not. Well not really. It’s just one of those shows with a lot of scenes where two girls lean into each other really close, tell each other they love each other and end up naked in tubs together so the fans can super easily ship them. However, there are zero canonical elements of any sort of romantic relationship. And considering the reveal, that’s actually a really good thing!

I started up not really liking Flip Flappers and I really thought it was a show that was worth it only for the production. But the story did win me over in the end. That’s pretty exceptional when I think about it. For me, it’s still a series I could have skipped but I can understand how someone else would be way into it despite some of the hiccups.

Favourite character : TT-392

Suggested drink: Whiskey Flip

  • Every time Grandma whishes Cocona good morning – take a sip
  • Every time a schoolgirl skirt gets lifted – take a sip
  • Every time there’s a Papika explosion  – cover your ears
  • Every time Cocona snaps at Papika – take a sip
  • Every time we see a shard – take a sip
  • Every time Papika eats  – get a snack
  • Every time we see a new world – take a sip
  • Every time Cocona gets flustered – take a sip
  • Every time Yayaka saves the day – raise your glass
  • Every time there’s a boy – cover your eyes
  • Every time Senpai’s painting – take a sip
  • Every time the girls end up in a bath together – take a sip
  • Every time Mimi shows up – gasp
  • Every time anyone changes hair colour – take a sip

In case you’re new here, I have a Pinterest with all my screencaps (there are a lot!). If you can’t find a show you are looking for in my main boards, just go to Anime Screenshots. I move the shows I have reviewed there. Of course, I’m still going to add a few images here!

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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17 Responses

  1. ramon3ljamon says:

    First thought, whoa, was this really released in 2016? How time flies.

    Flip Flappers didn’t leave much of an impression on me, trippy visuals aside. What was the central narrative again; Red helping Blue on a journey from crippling self-doubt to candid self-agency? I am normally drawn to intimate stories of self-discovery & actualization, but I think perhaps the writing here was too messy & abstract to have me connect with the characters.

    One brief aside, I do remember viewing Blue’s burgeoning (queer) sexuality, along with her growing awareness of it, as an important facet of the show. For instance, Episode 5’s nightmare stifled that awareness, dooming the girls to an infinite loop of aborted romances — with their close friendship forbidden to bloom into overt passion, in line with traditional Class S tropes. The nightmare’s eventual rejection would later pave the way for an earnest exploration of the nature of their bond.

    Further, I also vaguely recall a dream world in which Blue visualizes Red as a boy. Which I take to say, Blue is so wound up about what her relationship with Red means, that she sometimes views an aspect of it (romance) through the only prism a confused queer girl is conditioned to conjure — heterosexual love. Plus, doesn’t their final power-up consist of linking hands while wearing wedding dresses, as they wildly proclaim their love for each other? (The funniest moment in the entire show, couldn’t help chuckling when I noticed the image in your post.)

    I don’t like Flip Flappers enough to take another look at this subtextual thread, but I can safely say my gaydar was pinging quite loudly back in 2016. And yes, that does make the reveal absolutely hilarious!

    • Irina says:

      I read it more as throw in lesbian subtext for sales. Red is Blue’s aunt so you got some incest for fun too!

      • ramon3ljamon says:

        That certainly could be. I personally saw it more a matter of ambitious creators biting off way more than they could chew. Episode 5 aside, credit where it’s due — that was masterful on a few levels.

        • Irina says:

          Maybe – the writers did go on to do Given, A3! and Idolish 7. That’s actually really unexpected to me.

  2. Dawnstorm says:

    I liked the show quite a bit, but still not quite as much as every other fan seemed to. And now I barely remember it. For example, not only don’t I remember the twist, I didn’t remember there was one, and now I have this very vague hunch of the direction it might have gone in. (Interestingly, I immediately thought that episode would have been the one you liked, but then I thought it came later and wouldn’t be episode 5, so I wondered what else episode could apply. Then read the caption of the screenshot, and… it was episode 5 after all.)

    I did really like the ED, song and animation.

  3. I like, like like this show!
    I do think this one is benefited from a slow watch, I watched it one episode a week and it gave me some time to digest a lot of the worlds and their deeper meaning. Each world is based on something in the psyche and that puzzle entertained me a lot.

    Episode 5 was great, but I also really love episode 3! I do think I would have liked the series less if I watched it back to back. I loved the weird stuff and just brainstorming what it could all mean, even if it didn’t mean anything fantasing was so fun.

    I could have done with a bit more Magical Girl Yayaka.. she deserved an OVA or something. I do think Cocona can be a bit of a wet blanket, especially early on, but given that a lot of the story is about making choices I kinda get it, I just wish it would have taken up less of the shows run time. I think they pair argues 4 or 5 of all episodes which is a bit much.

    It has it flaws I agree but I love it despite it flaws , one of my favourites!

  4. Salman Al Farisi says:

    David Lynch’s favorite anime if he was an Otaku. 😅

    Really love this anime by the way.

  5. TheAwersome says:

    Super interesting. I had almost the opposite experience, in that I fell in love with it right off the bat, specifically the artistic aspect of it. It was the end story bit for me that made me say “Oh, well not quite a masterpiece then.” I almost would have preferred it stick to a primarily episodic structure (which is funny, because for other shows I’m completely the other way around). It sounds weird, but it always makes me happy to see someone like an aspect of a show that I didn’t.

    While my review post isn’t due for another month or two, my favorite episode was Episode 6, which is one of my favorite episodes of anime from any series.

    • Irina says:

      O also don’t think it was a masterpiece but I do appreciate that they had a unifying theme after all. The subtext on this one is highly inconsistent for a while that makes it feel like there was some disagreements in the writer’s room, you know?

      • TheAwersome says:

        Oh definitely, I’m not saying you thought it was, just that for me it was heading there and didn’t stick the landing. I definitely agree about the disagreements in the writer’s room bit though.

  6. David Boone (moonhawk81) says:

    I’m hardly surprised you liked ep 5 so much, given your warm reviews of Shadow House. Personally, I loved this show but–you called it!–I also loved Kill la Kill. The artwork was mesmerizing, but I liked the story, too, the whole “finding out what friendship really is by finding out who your friends really are” aspect. . .

    • Irina says:

      I’m also a big fan of stories that include any type of nonlinear time element. That was the big draw for me

  7. Jessi Silver says:

    I liked this series but agree it was pretty uneven (the creator was previously mostly an art director and the show lost its main writer partway through, or so I hear). But I agree episode 5 is great and something I like to re-watch around Halloween 🙂

    • Irina says:

      Oh wow – that production record does explain a lot. It had some really good ideas but it did feel a little scattered.

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