The Gist: Papika walks across a burning desert littered with wrecked ships and submarines. She colapses and is taken in by some Jawa’esq creatures and slowly brings us up to speed on how she and Cocona were separated…
which involves a BDSM flower girl who pretends to be a friend at first but has our friends fight each other by way of an emotion amplifying mask and…
yeah this episode is a tremendous run-on sentence of a plot!
The important take aways are: Pure Illusion can be populated by a variety of sentient beings, Papika and Cocona can transform magic-girl style (including magic weapons that can merge into a magic gun) in addition to powering up, and Yayaka works for the mysterious group of Robots from the end of the first episode.
If all these details feel heaped on and difficult to absorb, the decision to flash-back in the middle of the episode to explain what was going on, only served to make it more a of a mess. Yes, the short reveal of Cocona as a bad-ass villain in a mask was, yes, ultra bad-ass BUT the same effect could have been achieved in a more cohesive fashion.
While the episode made me feel like it belonged several episodes deeper into the series, or part of an entirely separate anime, not all was lost. The animation remains tremendously fun to watch, with stylish and swift gestures and lovely character design. Think something between Final Fantasy the Legend of the Crystals and TTGL and/or Die Buster. (Nono from Die Buster even feels incredibly similar to Papika)
The Verdict: Animation aside, abrupt narrative shift aside, Flip Flappers remains lovely on an emotional level. The characters are warm, fun, and surrounded by a blend of oddly grim and magically dream like. I can not recommend this enough!