In my humble of opinion, Flip Flappers is currently one of top anime of 2016, landing 3rd. This show was a pure joy to watch and I recommend everyone to at least give the show a three episode chance. I’m not saying this because I am have fallen head over heels for the show. I understand that this show won’t capture and captivate everyone, but I do feel like it has earned a shot to at least try and win you over. As this is my first review, I ask that you do forgive me for not having a concrete structure. I plan on playing around in this space for awhile until I find my stride and get comfortable. Because of that, here is the preview for the show!
The synopsis of Flip Flappers goes like this. A middle school girl name Cocona who is reserved and introverted meets up with a vibrant and eccentric redhead named Papika who completely throws her world upside down as she takes Cocona to a realm called Pure Illusion. Together, they traverse strange worlds where they discover this mysterious glowing rock fragments that are said to grant wishes. On the search for these fragments, they learn that there is another group also gunning for them. (I try my best not to give away anything to could ruin the enjoyment of the show so that is vague as I can sum it up.)
Now honestly, the reason why I recommend at least a three episode buffer before you decide whether or not to drop the series is simply that the story starts off slow and confusing. It feeds you bits and pieces of the plot in the form of clues that will get explained later. The problem is that the episodes take place in a different world with its own unique theme (often playing off other popular forms of media such as in episode 3 Pure XLR) and with different themes and random adventures even by the third episode, you won’t have a concrete grasp on the story but you will definitely know whether or not the show is for you.
I can also tell you that the reason that this show captured my heart so much was that it manages to tell a story that I as an adult could relate to with its hidden undertones and messages without sacrificing the warm-hearted fun. It reminded me of shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender or Pixar films that are able to teach lessons that both adults and children can learn and enjoy without beating the message over your head with a bat. It allows you as an adult to revert back to a child and experience everything in a childlike wonder while appreciating the subtle messages sprinkled throughout.
One of the standouts of this show is the charming relationship between Cocona and Papika with the strong third string being Yayaka. This is the part of the show that made me come back episode after episode. Over the course of their journey in each episode, their personalities clash and create conflict. This is turn allows them to establish a bond that is built through disagreements and discovery. It is a story about how the relatively normal and reserved Cocona and the adventurous and innocent Papika become friends. All of their adventures throughout the series and the lessons they learn along the way make their relationships more heartwarming and genuine. Speaking of genuine…
Studio 3Hz should be given credit for their choice of art and animation. The one thing that drew me to this show was the trailer which I would praise for the beautiful animation under a unique umbrella.I know I can’t be the only one that got the Ghibil vibe from it. From the use of what appears to be a hand-drawn art style and the vibrant colors and imagery used create the fantasy setting, they perfectly capture the essence of wonder. Character design was extremely cute and simple. I found myself admiring the eyes of our cast. It is something about them that feels so expressive and lively. (especially Papika) Backgrounds and landscapes perfectly fit the story, often times helping with setting a mood. Most of them were vivid and lively, making each one feel special and memorable in their own way. The animation I felt was everything it needed to be and more. When things got intense, it was displayed a fluent array of stunning special effects. Action scenes were nothing short of brilliant though I did notice a bit of a dip in the last couple of episodes. I showed off episode three to all of my friends because I was so taken away.
Lastly, I would be doing this show a disservice if I did not mention the soundtrack. The score for this anime is nothing short of a masterpiece in my eyes. Even the music in the preview above makes giddy! Regardless of the scene, which song chosen only amplified the mood. I have to give a shout out to my favorite tracks which were the song that plays when Papika escaped in search of Cocona (which is also played during the preview of the next episode). I have others, but that, unfortunately, leads into spoiler territory. Flip Flap, Flip Flap by TO-MAS feat. Chima is one of my daily songs, often leaving me smiling contently as go throughout the day. It captures the essences of the entire series beautifully and easily takes my vote for best ending of the year. [Added: the opening them Over The Rainbow is amazing too!]
And the closing cinematic was one of the most unique and true-to-style endings I have ever seen in an anime. I never skipped it. Not once. And I smiled each time I watched it. I provided a link to it below.
So… what we have here is a hidden gem that I hope becomes a treasure because this show deserves to be cherished. It earns a period in the spotlight because if you noticed in my review, I had nothing negative to say about it. Studio 3Hz took a chance with an original series with an unorthodox way of conveying a story. The unforgettable cast of unique characters, the amazing soundtrack, and stunning visuals ultimately creates an experience that warrants this a 10 out of 10. However… I can understand those who can’t take the investment early on because of the show’s intentional lack of concrete story in the beginning. I can even agree with the fact that some of the themes and lessons can be missed as some of my friends asked questions after the episode they watched because they did not know what was happening and why.
But! I still strongly believe that if you give this show a chance, even if you decide to drop it at some point, it will be because it wasn’t for you not because the series didn’t hit the mark. Flip Flappers for me is a solid 9. This series is available on Crunchyroll for viewing for free and because the series is already completed, you can binge away happily.