FLIP FLAPPERS is a thirteen episode magical girl/science fiction anime series. The director for the series was Kiyotaka Oshiyama, whilst it was written by Yuniko Ayana. The studio that produced the anime was Studio 3Hz.
FLIP FLAPPERS aired as part of the autumn 2016 season, and is available on both Crunchyroll and Viewster.
The plot of FLIP FLAPPERS focuses on two girls who venture into parallel worlds known as Pure Illusion, in order to seek fragments said to be able to grant any wish.
Cocona and Papika work to retrieve the fragments on behalf of the FlipFlap organisation, though they also collide with a rival organisation called Asclepius.
Cocona Kokomine is one of the main characters. She’s pretty much just an ordinary schoolgirl. Being a cautious lass, Cocona tends not to take up any new opportunities that are presented to her. Cocona lives a pretty typical life, right up until she meets Papika.
Papika is always full of energy, and seemingly knows no fear. However, this does give her something of a reckless nature so she does tend to get into troublesome situations. Papika has no reservations about letting Cocona just how much she loves her.
Whilst Cocona and Papika play the role of main protagonists, there is a third girl who is a key part of the plot. She is Yayaka, a childhood friend and classmate of Cocona’s. She has a cool and strong-willed personality. As the series goes on, it becomes evident she has feelings for Cocona, too.
The supporting cast consists of Cocona’s grandmother, the FlipFlap organisation and the Asclepius organisation. Salt, Dr. Hidaka, Sayuri and the robot TT-392 (otherwise known as Bu-chan) make up FlipFlap, whilst Asclepius consists of people in pointed white hoods and two young twins called Yuyu and Toto.
FlipFlap allow Cocona and Papika to travel into Pure Illusion, whilst Yuyu and Toto serve as competition for collecting fragments.
Another character of note is an upperclassman of Cocona’s – she’s an artist, and a particular trip to Pure Illusion is connected to her.
As for Pure Illusion, no two trips into the parallel words are ever the same. There are some visually spectacular landscapes to be seen. There’s snowy landscapes, a desert and even a neon city amongst the different version of Pure Illusion on offer.
It’s not just some pretty landscapes, either – there is some really top notch animation present during the course of the series. FLIP FLAPPERs is a real visual spectacle.
In earlier parts, FLIP FLAPPERS divulges very little information as to what is going on. Sure, there’s a lot of visually impressive stuff happening on the screen, but there isn’t too much to tie the episodes together.
However, as the series progresses, answers to questions the viewer may have about Pure Illusion begin to crop up – this does occasionally feel like the exposition gets dropped all at once, but ultimately it doesn’t really deter from the overall experience.
Cocona’s growth as a character is a central part of FLIP FLAPPERS, with a few of the girls’ trips into Pure Illusion being symbolic of that. In particular, the theme of Cocona’s sexuality is one that recurs throughout the series.
When we’re first introduced to Cocona, she’s the type of person who prefers to remain in her comfort zone – however, Papika pulls her out of that.
The Pure Illusion worlds that revolve around Cocona’s desires tend to be about her coming to terms with her own sexuality. The first example of this comes from the third episode, but we also get trips to Pure Illusion where Cocona and Papika end up in a Class S style world and another where Cocona meets many different versions of Papika.
Whilst Papika is not shy about declaring her love for Cocona, Cocona herself is much more reluctant about Papika’s advances. Cocona’s development over the course of the series sees this change, and the outcome at the end is satisfying.
The variations of Pure Illusion that Papika and Cocona visit result in FLIP FLAPPERS covering a range of genres – the aforementioned third episode goes a bit Mad Max on us, whilst we also get both mecha and horror genres explored too.
This variety of alternate Pure Illusions keeps FLIP FLAPPERS an interesting experience, as you never quite know what will happen next.
The magical girl genre runs throughout the entire series, with the first proper transformations cropping up in episode 3. The transformations play out just like something from PreCure, and that allusion is continued with Papika and Cocona adopting the names Pure Blade and Pure Barrier for their magical girl forms.
There are some things about FLIP FLAPPERS that aren’t too great – for one, it introduces a character who serves practically no purpose fairly late on. The lack of information at the beginning might serve to put someone off, though there’s also been those who feel that the info dumps towards the end detract from what was set up at the beginning.
Regardless, FLIP FLAPPERS as a whole is an incredibly memorable experience and the positives far outweigh the negatives.
FLIP FLAPPERS is a series that is just pure joy to watch. From the interesting and varied worlds of Pure Illusion to the superb animation, as well as Cocona’s development and relationship with Papika, there’s a lot to love here.