“Pure Breaker”, “Pure Mute”, “Pure Jitter”, and “Pure Storage”
Thursdays 9:00AM EDT on Crunchyroll
Yayaka’s loyalties are divided between her mysterious masters and her friendship with Cocona. After she refuses to take Cocona’s amorphous the organisation ditch her and instead launch a direct assault on Flip Flap headquarters. In the process the truth about the mysterious ‘Mimi’ is finally revealed.
Once again, apologies for my absence – it turns out chest infections are considerably harder to shake off than I’d previously believed. The four episodes we’re looking at here divide pretty evenly into two arcs. The first two deal with Yayaka, her history with Cocona and the gradual cracking of her bitchy facade, whereas the latter two finally add some actually story to Flip Flappers, something I think it’s fair to say we’ve been waiting a while for.
Let’s talk about Yayaka first though, because it’s becoming increasingly obvious how much she’s the glue holding this show together. One of my major criticisms of Flip Flappers so far is that there’s actually very little interesting character work being done. Cocona definitely has an arc but it’s largely one told in very small bits, and Papika is such a broad character its nearly impossible to draw anything close to subtle emotion out of her. Contrastingly, Yayaka is the closest thing we’ve got to a realistically human character in the show, and that definitely helps me relate to her a lot more. Her sharp bitchiness and pragmatic outlook is an important anchor for a show which often becomes dangerously flighty.
Bearing that in mind, the clash between Yayaka and Papika that takes up a good part of episode 9 is a pretty entertaining tussle loaded with a ton of intriguing subtext. It’s always been fairly obvious a lot of Yayaka’s animosity towards Papika is purely jealousy from her stealing the role of Cocona’s best friend, but the revelation that Yayaka herself is a plant adds a nice extra dimension to the whole thing. The idea that a false friendship eventually became a real one is hardly original, as in Yayaka ultimately choosing Cocona over her weird cult masters, but both do well to establish the character and the relationships she has with the others.
As for the overall plot here, there’s some things which I think were relatively obvious, such as Mimi actually being Cocona’s mother. That said, there are some fun surprising twists here, such as Salt’s involvement and the (still unanswered) appearance of the older Papika. I feel a little uncomfortable with the whole ‘child of destiny’ thing, partially because it’s such intensely well-worn territory and partially because I don’t think the weird science approach meshes very well with the overtly fantastical/surrealistic vibe much of the show has gone for up to this point. Granted, there’s been a fair old bit of magitek on display but it definitely feels like there’s a tonal shift towards to the end of this run of episodes.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing though and I’m impressed with how dark and hard-edged the show is willing to go. It’s a bit early to say whether Mimi’s seemingly out-of-character violence and possessiveness is a plot point or just poor writing, though I think there’s enough evidence of split personality to lean towards the former. Stuff like Salt’s father going insane partially through his own hubris, or Cocona’s surprise ambush by her actually-an-evil-robot Grandma add some bite to proceedings, which is important when we’re getting down to brass tacks like this.
One thing that’s always worth mentioning is of course Flip Flappers‘ beautiful visuals, which provide both terrific spectacle but also valuable visual storytelling. The show continues to effortlessly master ever style it attempts, from the cyberpunk neon and urban sprawl of episode 8 to the creepy dream worlds of Mimi and Cocona’s shared fantasy. The continued strength of the animation and the subtext provided through imagery are one of the reasons the show continues to be engaging even when the writing may occasionally falter.
Flip Flappers has set itself up well for its ending, peaking dramatically at just the right time. As ever which shows which base themselves around mystery and the unknown though, the worry is it won’t be able to answer all or even some of the questions that have driven it throughout its run. Given the way the show has been going so far though I expect a slightly messy, but thoroughly enjoyable final arc. We’ll have to see if my expectations can be met.
- The show’s unfortunate tendency towards excessive fanservice is still apparent alas. Putting the girls in swimsuits for all of episode 8 is hardly tasteful, never mind some of the camera angles they then go for. Nyunyu is a walking costume disaster as well.
- That said, also putting Toto in a girl’s swimsuit for that episode is a pretty good gag.
- Needless to say, I was super psyched by the way the last part of episode 8 basically becomes an 80’s super robot show, complete with huge chunky mech designs. The monster is not exactly subtly Evangelion-esque as well.
- Though it’s not outright stated, it’s heavily heavily implied that the leader of Yayaka’s KKK-ish organisation is Salt’s father.
- Is Salt Cocona’s father? He seems the only likely candidate, but again they don’t come out and say it.
- Yayaka’s caped and arms folded appearance at the end is a pretty obvious Gunbuster reference.
- According to rumour, the show lost its lead writer sometime during this run of episodes, which may account for the notable tonal shift.