Anime Review: Flip Flappers Collection

By Drew Hurley 25.08.2018

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Flip Flappers Collection (UK Rating: 12)

While the Flip Flappers collection edition has already landed in the UK courtesy of MVM, now it is bringing the complete collection in a standard release; and it hit retail on 13th August. Flip Flappers is a very different type of magical girl anime. Young Cocona is living the everyday life of a Japanese schoolgirl when she sees a young redhead surfing through the sky. This is just the beginning of the strangeness as the redhead - Papika - whisks Cocona away to a different dimension in pursuit of magical wish-making shards. It's a whole new type of magical girl abune as the pair embarks on quests across multiple dangerous dimensions to track all the shards down.

It takes a special anime to grip from the first episode, but Flip Flappers manages it easily. The strange art direction, combined with some fantastical designs and a promising premise. It's utterly enthralling. The first two episodes are dedicated to these adventures without any sort of explanation to the world. Thankfully, the third episode is stuffed with exposition as Papika takes Cocona to the headquarters of Flip Flap.

This pair of magical girls needs to traverse a series of magical worlds, entitled "Pure Illusion," and in each hunt down the shards. Each of the worlds of Pure Illusion is drastically divergent, as are the stories that the girls experience while there. Turned into Bunny Girls and having to traverse the inner workings of a huge machine, experiencing a shadowy school straight out of a Korean horror movie, a desert wasteland like something out of Mad Max or Fist of the North Star. These shards have granted the pair magical powers also, turning them into classic anime Magical Girls.

The magical girl abilities are glimpsed from the very first episode. On their first adventure, Papika is lost trying to retrieve Cocona's glasses from some gargantuan beasties, and Cocona undergoes some sort of Super Saiyan meets Magical Girl transformation. She explodes in a burst beautiful phosphorescent energy, sprouting an epic anime haircut and saving Papika. As the story develops, Papika gets her own transformation and in the third episode the pair gets the classic Magical Girl transformation sequences - Cocona becomes Pure Blade and Papika becomes Pure Barrier. They aren't the only magical girls in the world, either, as Cocona discovers her classmate, Yayaka, is also tracking down the fragments within Pure Illusion with the help of a pair of twins, each with their own special abilities.

If Flip Flappers just consisted of this, of the two girls going on adventures in surreal, crazy worlds, it would be enough. There are so many fantastic moments across the course of the adventures. The girls engaging in Dragon Ball Z style slugfests, taking on towering demonic Kaiju in Voltron/Sentai style giant robots; just great crazy fun, but it gets even better when at the tail end of the series things get dark. Big twists and a totally satisfying conclusion really round off the entire series.

Studio 3HZ has really gone its own way with the art style, a style that changes up almost as often as in Space Dandy. During the normal everyday real-world moments, the art is completely charming, a strange scratchy pencil and painted aesthetic that works well with the oversized cliché anime eyes and the simple designs. Then when things get weird and the ladies head into Pure Illusion, the art goes up to eleven. A little Panty and Stocking, a little Kill la Kill. Huge over the top designs, massive fluorescent colours, and explosions - it's filled with wonderful insanity.

The bonus features are the usual minimal collection of clean opening, closing, and trailers for some other series. This release does, however, include both the original Japanese dub and a new English dub. In the Japanese dub, Cocona is played by Minami Takahashi, the sweet and subdued Megumi from Food Wars, a good VA but one who has done little. In English, Cocona is played by Luci Christian, a voice actress also from Food Wars, although a smaller part in the English dub, taking the role of the fresh game expert, Yuki Yoshino. Luci has a ton of characters to her name, and some major ones, too. She's played Nami in One Piece, Hestia in Danmachi, Pipimi in Pop Team Epic, and even Ochako in My Hero Academia, amongst tons of other memorable performances. As with Cocona, the voice actress for Papika is more renowned and prolific in English. The Japanese voice actress is Mao Ichimichi. She has a handful of characters to her name, but little of note, what is important about her is she played Luka Millfy, also known as Gokai Yellow, in the undisputed greatest series of Sentai, Gokaiger.

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
An absolutely unique, weird and engrossing show that has likely passed by many anime fans since it launched during the Winter 2016 season. Clips really can't portray just what Flip Flappers is; it embraces the strangeness of the magical girl genre and while it can't live up to the giants that have done so previously (no-one is taking that crown from Madoka), it carves its own path and tells its own story. Even better, it tells a Yuri story without having to bash the viewer over the head, delivers lots of memorable scenes, and, most importantly, is crazy good fun.

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