[Description]: My thoughts on Flip Flappers episode 9.
This one was certainly one of the heavier episodes thus far as both Yayaka’s internal conflict and the show’s most surface-level developments come to a head. We’ve seen Yayaka waffle over her allegiances all season long and the latest few episodes have put a particular emphasis on this – Episode 9 is where she’s forced to take a side once and for all and I think it played out wonderfully. Unlike many of the previous episodes, this one was a lot more upfront with its subject matter and didn’t busy itself with interpretative material or vague concepts.
This episode featured a ton of great animation and flashy fight sequences but I think the real take away was the climactic fight between Cocona and Yayaka. The way it was animated, its construction, and what it meant for the characters definitely made it the high point of the show this time around. The background music I think deserves praise as well for really conjuring up the intensity and gravity of their fight and the choice Yayaka has to make afterwards. The reflective dome littered with refracting images of the two girls’ happy memories was stunning to look at. Seeing Yayaka inadvertently smash many of their reflections as they fought delivered the perfect tone for their battle.
The last thing I’ll mention about this great scene is the fight choreography. A lot of Flip Flappers’ fight scenes are very fast-paced and while impressive, don’t dwell for long on the individual blows or exchanges with the exception of episode 3. While there are instances of these high-speed exchanges, for the most part it’s very easy to track each individual blow between Cocona and Yayaka. This slower, more methodical style of combat was put to great use in visually telling the story of their relationship. Their fight is drawn out and its purpose is far more about manifesting the turmoil within Yayaka and the conflict within the two girls’ relationship than it is about being flashy or impressive – which it also is. A similar emphasis is placed on a few other key fight scenes to better sell the gravity of Yayaka’s decisions and attacks as she wounds Papika.
As a whole, this was a pretty entertaining episode with a great conclusion. The only thing missing is the context required to really empathize with Yayaka as a character. Why does she want to be of use to the cult so badly, even as a child? What do the amorphous mean to her? What history does she have with Cocona outside of their childhood friendship? Because we don’t know these things it becomes much harder to appreciate what Yayaka is going through. Narrative conventions might insinuate that the head of the cult is Yayaka’s father or a parental figure for her. Once we learn more about her, we’ll be able to retrospectively reassess a lot of her scenes but until then it’s hard to really get swept away by her indecision and pain. There weren’t many overarching details this episode but we do learn that Cocona and possibly Yayaka were subject to experiments at a young age, that Mimi was Papika’s former partner, and that there’s a third child of Amorphous. So those are all things to think about going forward.