#1 Surreal visuals
Flip Flappers tells the story of honor roll student Cocona. She is very intelligent and hard-working, but also cautious and prone to second guessing herself. And in the face of an uncertain future, Cocona finds herself trapped in indecision. That is when she meets Papika, an orange-haired menace that abducts Cocona to the world of Pure Illusion. A world of dreams, chaos, and adventure.
What initially drew me to the series was its unique artstyle and vibrant presentation. However, it soon turned out that what I’d seen on the internet and marketing materials were only the most “normal” parts of Flip Flappers. Each time the girls dive into Pure Illusion they are brought to an all-new realm with its own artstyle, rules, and supporting cast. Each of these worlds is enchantingly surreal, ranging from beautiful dreamscapes to sci-fi computer worlds infested with monstrous birds.
I initially compared Flip Flappers to a mixture of Alice in Wonderland and Madoka Magica, but in truth it’s more like anime Psychonauts. It has the crazy, colorful worlds with undertones of character exploration and overcoming trauma.
#2 Action mahou shoujo
By harnessing the bond between them, Papika and Cocona can transform into super-powered magical girl version of themselves. And that’s a good thing too, because Pure Illusion isn’t always as pure as it appears on the surface.
Their objective is to go into these worlds and retrieve the amorphous fragments hidden within, for purposes that aren’t immediately made clear. These shards can hide behind all manner of dangers, monsters, and villains that populate Pure Illusion’s realms; leading to action scenes that are a lot cooler than I anticipated.
Fight scenes are frenetic and intense. Characters move fast, throw magic at each other, then close the distance to throw punches and kicks. The choreography is all-around spot-on, so a little extra stretch on the in-between frames is a small price to pay for battles that look this good. And that’s just the fight scenes. There are many other obstacles that Cocona and Papika must overcome where their magic powers come in useful.
#3 Budding friendship between Cocona and Papika
It may sound strange that someone as cautious as Cocona would go on dangerous, magical adventures with a complete stranger. Her participation is not exactly voluntary and, as you might understand, being forced into joining someone on life-threatening adventures is not the best basis for a new friendship. Papika is affectionate and likes Cocona right away, but Cocona tries to keep her at arm’s length.
Naturally this begins to shift as the two fight besides each other and share successes, but there remains the constant sense that they aren’t entirely on the same wavelenght. Especially when the adrenaline dies down and the girls return to the real world. Where Cocona regains her rational mindset and Papika is just her obnoxious classmate.
I enjoyed the ebb and flow of their relationship a lot. It’s not a linear upwards line where the girls quickly become the best of friends and everything always goes well for them. This is further complicated by the addition of Cocona’s childhood friend Yayaka, who staunchly refuses to let her friend get dragged along by some orange-haired, magical weirdo.
More anime & manga like this
Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi: Exploring strange, dream-like worlds to unravel a mystery story.
Humanity Has Declined: An eccentric and magical anime with tinges of surrealism.
Madoka Magica: Magical series with phenomenal fight choreography.