The Gist: Papika and Cocona’s normal adventure/battle with Yayaka in Pure Illusion is interrupted when they ‘break through the ground’ of their battle zone and discover a Stone Henge’like gateway deep below.
What follows is a lovingly rendered and constructed tale of Papika and Cocona living another girl’s life up to the point of tragedy. That girl is Irodori Iroha, the upperclassman in the art club that the girls have encountered since the beginning.
The tragedy is Iro’s dear Auntie falls into dementia and Iro, as a child, ran away from her instead of keeping a promise to reintroduce herself each time. This arc is wrapped with a warped home life, whispering neighbors, and a duality of perspectives because Cocona and Papika are inhabiting an individuals memories at the same time. But it all ends with the girls going back and correcting the ‘wrong’ on Auntie’s death bed…
Which carries over into the real world, with Irodori-senpai being much happier and finally able to wear the nail polish her Auntie had given her years ago. The polish she had, until recently, said she did not deserve to wear…
The Verdict: Wow. Just ****ing wow. The range of art styles, starting with a painterly style of this week’s initial Pure Illusion that implied there was a connection with Irodori, to the soul crushing world of parents fighting at home and how well its colors and line work and point of view and figure distortions captured the emotional state of the child Papika and Cocona were inhabiting… this is easily the most artistically thought out episode of all shows this season!
However, what earns this episode’s master marks is its greater impact on Flip Flappers as a whole. Pure Illusion clearly connects to the minds of the world’s characters and it can greatly effect those minds. That construct absolutely makes me want to go back and watch the previous 5 episodes and see if I can tie previous dives directly to a cast member and see if tangible changes apply to those characters after the fact.
Because this ‘twist’ is delivered in such a matter of fact way — not even Papika nor Cocona respond to this as a twist or as anything surprising at all — it de-“what a twist!”s the entire experience, which makes it feel genuine. I cant name a single show that’s pulled such a feat off.
Almost retroactively makes All of the previous Episodes a 10!