Episodic Thoughts: Flip Flappers – Episode 13 (Spoilers!)

[Description]: My thoughts on Flip Flappers episode 13.

If there was any hope for Flip Flappers to pull everything back together and deliver on a redeeming finale, I think that hope quickly wilted away with the first few minutes of this episode. The finale had a handful of pronounced issues, most of which stemmed from the proceeding episode, though it wasn’t bereft of decent moments. Though the presentation of Cocona’s character arc suffered a good deal over the past 2 episodes, the finale at least brought things to a close. She speaks to Papika about how much she means to her and her now conquered fear of regretting her own choices in an untimely heart to heart moment after they are both punched through a pair of boulders. The moth symbolism felt at home within our final exploration of Pure Illusion and at the very least – the show didn’t outright renounce its interest in Cocona’s gradual development. There isn’t much punch to it, but it’s there.

The first thing that irked me this episode was just how aesthetically confused it was. We’re 12-episodes in and so we’ve gained a pretty good idea of what Flip Flappers should look like however the final episode introduces a myriad of new visual concepts that didn’t seem to fit. Mimi and the creatures she summons forth are especially guilty of this. Her horrifying, fanged visage didn’t feel like it belonged to her at all and there was a surprising amount of blood in several of the fight sequences which up until now had been something the show was very measured with. Thus far, Flip Flappers had been all about its subtle and suggestive implementations of the weird and unsettling and this straightforward portrayal undermines that attitude.

The visual cacophony of Pure Illusion bleeding together conveys what’s happening but its chaotic and ugly appearance doesn’t capture any of Pure Illusions’ whimsy or imagination. It just looks like a bunch of colorful, floating blobs. Its abstract but its an utterly underwhelming attempt compared to the artistry that proceeded it. Like the previous episode, there were instances of flashy animation but similarly it looked choppy and incoherent compared to what Flip Flappers had shown itself capable of in the past.

Mimi this episode again and again proved just how one-dimensional of an antagonist she was. Her dialogue is almost laughably bad – saying that mother’s own their daughters and that she would give them a spanking. What she thematically represents is good but her over-protective attitude lacks any form of nuance. On the topic of bad dialogue – while it may seem fitting to have Mimi herself transform during the final episode, her usage of ‘Flip Flapping’ was awkward in the extreme. Up until now I had thought the phrase was simply a nonsense word that both Cocona and Papika could use to trigger their transformations. It’s something that got them on the same page, convinced themselves of their own power, and modulated their impedance. To learn that the phrase acts as some kind of objective pass-code that intrinsically carries weight within the multi-dimensional reality of Pure Illusion just feels weird. It’s like revealing that saying ‘Apple’ 20 times over turns the sky green.

All in all, the finale was a mess. The final trip into Pure Illusion serving as a kind of red herring ending was an interesting idea and I’m glad they subverted that outcome however the show was so confused and damaged by that point that the reveal didn’t even feel meaningful. I don’t think there’s any question that the final three episodes of the series significantly comprised its value – Flip Flappers could have been truly amazing and offered an endearing legacy of creativity but instead it fell apart when things mattered most. I think it’s important to remember that, while the conclusion may have been bad, that the rest of the show was pretty damn incredible. The final sequence of the show was well-animated and fanciful in its depiction of Cocona and Papika flying off into the distance. Had this same scene played out under different circumstances, it might have made for a very whimsical and fitting end to the show.

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