The Gist: Cocona is a quiet but average girl that doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. Papika is an infectiously cheerful girl and/or science experiment that rides a anti-grav surf board, is fearless, and has a robot friend. Through a not-likely-coincidental meeting, these girls are taken into ‘Pure Illusion,’ an unexplained reality.
On the surface, the adventure is safe fun and games. However, a twisted darkness is hinted at below the surface. Papika is happy ‘Cocona didn’t die’ during reaching Pure Illusion, The cute robot friend has a groaning pulsating brain plugged into it (which the girls see when it is damaged) and grim looking soldiers (robots?) capture the girls upon their return.
You should check out Flip Flappers because it’s a pleasant and mysterious adventure with likable characters. The animation is quite good, featuring interesting angles, action, interesting character and creature design, and sweeping fantasy vistas. The style also has a pencil and watercolor-like quality, which is hard to capture with stills.
However, what raises my appreciation is how efficient the production team has worked. When action is simple and mundane, they reduced the number of animated frames per second — but did not resort to ‘bouncing heads’ or ‘sliding figures.’ When action is dynamic, the frames per second go up and it looks close to top shelf anime.
There are not many reason to pass Flip Flappers bye. There are certainly better looking shows this season, though not as many as you’d assume. There are certainly other bright/dark stories and satire of Japanese students being overly tested this season, though their stories are more obviously spelled out.
Cocona’s introverted personality may bother you or, during the course of the season, the plot may deteriorate into something eye-rollingly silly, or they could run out of money, but that’s about it.
The Verdict: the mixture of a care-free fairy tale adventure and a dark conspiracy is certainly not new. It’s not even unique this season. However, Flip Flappers feels fresh and independent, especially because it has explained so little about it’s world and its characters agendas.
I’m even more impressed because no one on the cast or production team is particularly noteworthy, but they all put on a solid performance. I especially enjoyed Papika, who seems aware of the life threatening situation they are in, but responds with ‘wow this is hard’ and other enthusiastic cheers, that some dodge the cliches of insanity.