Genre(s): Magical Girl, Sci-Fi, Supernatural,
Age-Appropriateness: 13+ (Violence, profanity, suggestive themes)
TheAwersome Rating: 8.6 / 10 (Unique and Beautiful)
Premise: Cocona is an average shy, level-headed middle schooler living with her grandmother. Uncertain of what she wants out of life, she comes across a carefree, bubbly girl named Papika who takes her to a whimsical parallel dimension called Pure Illusion. There, they can transform and go on adventures searching for magical crystal shards that can grant wishes when assembled. When confronted with a rival trio who wish to collect the shards for nefarious purposes, Cocona and Papika must learn to work together and synchronize their feelings if they want their transformations to be effective enough.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: I have tried time and time again to describe this show as a combination of multiple other shows, with flavors from other ones, but it’s too unique to be done accurately. If you want to get somewhat close, think Alice in Wonderland meets Evangelion, which then crosses with Kill la Kill and Madoka, and you’re about 60% of the way there. The art style is sharp and very stylized, so I was very surprised that this wasn’t a Studio Trigger piece. Animators were definitely allowed to go wild on this one and it pays off as a gorgeous piece of animation, to say nothing of the emotional experience this show is.
Each foray into Pure Illusion presents a very differently themed world, so one episode will have strong Mad Max vibes, another will be straight Cyberpunk Mecha, while another is a truly unsettling horror piece. It’s these various explorations that really gives Flip Flappers its charm in my mind. While an overarching plot does develop and play out in the last few episodes, I almost would rather it stuck to the episodic vibe.
TLDR: A gorgeous and emotional trip with unforgettable moments.
I’m sure I could go in deep and really explore some nitty gritty symbolism throughout this show (someone even wrote a full thesis practically) . There’s a lot centering on the themes of adolescence, independence, self-discovery, pubescence, subconscious perceptions, motherhood, etc. For me, this was an exhilarating magical adventure series that unfortunately didn’t quite stick the landing that would have gotten it into the 9.3 range if it had. It’s kind of the Doctor Who problem where you have fun, different episodes that don’t necessarily relate to each other, but are fun little adventures. Once pieces of a grander series arc start getting thrown in, they don’t seem to really fit together at the end, or at least don’t fit in with the same vibe as the rest of the show.
There’s a lot in Flip Flappers that isn’t explained so if you need to know what canonically literally happens amidst the abstract expressionism, you’ll get bummed by the last bit. That isn’t to say that the ending overarching story stuff isn’t impactful, emotional, and full-on goosebumpy. It just felt to me like it kind of threw away a lot of what it had established.
Episode 6 goes down in history as one of my favorite episodes of Anime ever, and there aren’t a lot of those. Maybe four or five are in that club.