Another review poll fulfilled and on time too!
I’ll admit that there is a part of me that does come out of Flip Flappers’ final episode a bit unsatisfied. By far, this show’s biggest flaw is how underutilized its supporting cast is. Between the Flip Flap staff and the Amorphous children, I’m left to wonder what purpose they ultimately served aside from simply being in the show. They really didn’t do much even until the end. The worst offender is Iroha whom the show comes back at the last minute to reveal that the changes to her personality have been reverted. That it’s addressed at all is nice but it’s far too brief and I’m astonished how much of a minor character she truly is after the show built her character up so much early on.
Even characters that I like kind of get the short end of the stick. Yayaka is left to the sidelines as Cocona and Papika fight evil Mimi one last time, having lost her Amorphous fragment in the last episode. I understand the decision to keep things squarely on the show’s two heroines but it doesn’t make it any less odd that Yayaka has nothing to do. Mimi’s fate is left a bit vague. I got her good and evil halves merging back and her staying in Pure Illusion to stabilize it well enough but if she’s not dead, why is she staying in that dimension? Salt arguably fares the best out of the supporting cast. There’s a really interesting bit where Salt is confronted by an illusion of his younger self who offers to use Pure Illusion and allow him to change the past. Salt rejects it however as he believes in owning up to his mistakes (plus, it’s a bit too late to involve time travel in the story…). At the same time however, I have no idea what he even tries to do during the fight fight and the fact that you don’t see him reconnecting with his daughter is really strange.
To this show’s credit, it does not disappoint with its two main characters. There isn’t a whole lot left to do with them as their own individual arcs were resolved in the last episode but you do get one last show of unity. During the final fight, Cocona and Papika declare their love for each other (that’s literally in the dialogue) and realize the real reason they went on adventures is to have fun together. Naturally, this gives them the power they need to defeat evil Mimi. It’s cheesy but it’s also satisfying and this is Flip Flappers we’re talkig about.
Later, Cocona finds herself back in the real world without Papika and unable to go back to Pure Illusion to retrieve her. It’s revealed within minutes that the show pulled an Inception and Cocona was stuck in a Pure Illusion within a Pure Illusion but the brief sequence perfectly encapsulates Cocona’s outlook on things. As her life returns to normal, Cocona realizes it’s not the same without Papika and she’d rather go back to the wacky dimension if it means seeing her best friend again. I especially like how the two reunite, a mirror image of how they met in the first episode. Except whereas the scene originally portrayed a change in Cocona’s life, this time it portrays a new normal for her.
If nothing else, the art and animation is as good as it’s always been. I had a feeling the brief and anti-climatic fight at the end of the last episode wouldn’t be it so, I’m relieved to see more. You get one more look at Pure Illusion’s effect on the real world and it’s some of the most surreal imagery in the show, even by its own standards. Evil Mimi transforms into all sorts of things from a lizard monster that shows her, well, evilness to a magical girl similar to Cocona and Papika to a black hole. There’s some vibrant use of color. When Salt appears in Pure Illusion, the ground he stands on is monochromatic as opposed to the greenery surrounding Mimi and Mimi’s final attack as a black hole produces a striking balance of red and blue.
Honestly, Flip Flappers‘ visuals have been such a highlight that watching the show kind of makes me sad for studio 3Hz. Aside from Princess Principal (which admittedly was a co-production with Actas), they just haven’t done anything as vibrant and evocative as this show. From my understanding, Flip Flappers bombed in Japan so maybe they feel discouraged from doing anything more of the like. It’s a shame, really. This show has truly been a feast for the eyes and a strong enough story to back it up, especially during in the middle of its narrative. Then again, who knows what lies in the future. I hope 3Hz will one day deliver their A-game again and if they ever do, I very much look forward to checking it out.