Episodic Thoughts: Flip Flappers – Episode 5 (Spoilers!)

[Description]: My thoughts on Flip Flappers episode 5.

It really is something new every episode and bringing Flip Flappers most unnerving elements to the forefront of its presentation are this week’s horror influences. In the typical style of Flip Flappers, there’s a diversity to this episode’s horror. At times, Cocona and Papika react comically frightened, screaming and running away with their hands above their heads. At other times however, the scenes become genuinely ominous and even outright terrifying. It’s a new tone for the show that like all of the thematic influences before, doesn’t entirely mask what Flip Flappers is at its core – its sense of unsettling whimsy and outlandish design.

What’s surprising about episode 5 is that, while its significantly entrenched in its newfound horror elements,  a lot of its content appeared heavily gendered. There’s always been this back and forth between Papika and Cocona – themes of sexuality and almost romantic tension between the girls but what this ultimately means for the show and the two characters is still uncertain. There was a ton of lily imagery this episode from the stained glass windows of the school, to the needlework embroidery of the school’s terrifying students, to the flowers in the vase.

I think the thing to take away for now is that – while this episode presses the the ‘yuri dynamic’ of the show almost to the point of overwrought parody, that what it ultimately comes down to is sexual identity. And that’s important – at least for Cocona who the show continues to stress lacks any form of identity. I think these themes play heavily into Cocona’s own journey of self-discovery. Yayaka makes a remark this episode concerning the way in which Pure Illusion influences those within it through its nature though, from what we’ve seen so far, I don’t think its out of the question that those within it influence the nature of Pure Illusion as well. This episode takes place in some eerie, nightmarish iteration of the girls’ school after all and so to see things such as romantic interest or what the characters think about bleed into the construct of the world seems rather par for the course.

The visual design of this episode was wonderful as always – evoking a sense of anxiety and fear through its use of mirrors, twisted hallways, a dimly lit aesthetic, and the horrific design of the school’s students. The way in which the world loops around on itself and that the twelfth hour is visually blocked out on both the clock tower and Cocona’s watch was a nice, perturbing touch. The final visions of the clock tower itself were compelling as well – the many turning gears and cogs reminiscent of machinations and what takes place behind the scenes. This bizarre atmosphere really hammered home the idea of the school being trapped and stagnant due to this ominous construct.

The idea of being stuck in a loop and school life being the manifestation of that feeling might not seem all that unfamiliar to Cocona as in a lot of ways, that’s how we first encounter her in episode 1 – trapped in her own cycle. Similarly so, it’s Papika and the contrasting nature of Pure Illusion that break this illusion but to a greater degree – it is the the collective agency of the girls that frees them from the trappings of the school and allows them to triumph over Yayaka. In order to free yourself from from a routine, you must act and take charge and I think a lot of this show is about Cocona taking charge of her life and finding the agency within herself to act rather than be acted upon.

 

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