Finally after a long time I could pick up Flip Flappers again. Of the shows I am watching Flip Flappers has been one I have constantly liked the most. It’s themes while often obscure resonate with me , in one way or another and whether or not that if it’s intended way doesn’t really matter. It is a show that made me laugh out loud, squee with glee or cry. This episode managed to chill me… I felt so much empathy I felt horrified to find the truth of Cocona’s story. And then came in the other emotions.
Episode 11 is a surprisingly down to earth episode …. for Flip Flappers. Cocona has now become possessed by her mother Mimi, who finds herself trapped in Yayaka’s organisation. She wants nothing but to keep her daughter safe.. so she transforms the enemies into clovers and daisies which seemingly kills them; it even disables their killer robots. From there on out she makes her way to the Headquarters of FlipFlap which now is destroyed by the attack of the Amorphous children. The third one Nyunyu has a lot of fun hunting it’s last remaining members down.. but she is stopped from killing anyone by Yayaka. Mimi is offered to rule the world with the “evil organisation” but she refuses.. she cares for nothing but Cocona and ends up meeting with Salt.. who holds her at gunpoint. By this time I am completely gonna assume he is Cocona’s father as we flash back to the night of Mimi flee FlipFlap. We see a grown up Papika …I think.. or everyone is just really small.. talk with Mimi about the pregnancy…well we don’t see but it is implied and to Salt they do not mention anything either but tell they want to escape.
He allows them to escape.. after blamining them for a failed experiment beyond that red portal thing.. ruining his father’s mind. Seemingly bitter he does allow the organisation to search for them and bring them back. Papika and Mimi are returned and Salt finds out the woman he is in love with has a daughter named Cocona. We briefly flash back to modern times and Salt tells Mimi she isn’t protecting Cocona like this.. she disagrees and she uses her reality warping powers to easily defeat both him and Papika. In more flashbacks we see her embracing an evil side of her to keep Cocona safe, killing many people within FlipFlap.. the dark side of Mimi is the one in control now as well and her only goal is to keep Cocona safe. As an incredibly over protective mother she keeps Cocona safe in Pure Illusion.. however both worlds now begin to fuse and reality is at stake. Given an Amorphous shard by Salt, Yayaka convinces Papika to join her to save Cocona from her mother.. who meanwhile tries to build the perfect world for her daughter..even if it is at the cost of reality.
While I am not completely sure if Cocona is an actual human or a manifestation of Mimi’s mind, I am fairly sure Salt is her actual father.. though he does seem to care for Cocona very little, we still need pieces of this puzzle..but little by little we get more and more answers and I like it. The whole idea of what Mimi has been put through and it leaving scars or her sense of reality.. by spending so much time outside of it really works for me. We get a “reap what you sow” kind of situation. Even if they made the best of a bad situation.. the damage was still done. Showing friendship and smiles don’t always fix everything.. which I think is a need element to add in a magical girl show of all things. I also very much like the implications it has on Cocona. We have seen the main girl of the show always struggle with making choices in this series and in this episode we see why. She has a hard time making choices.. because everytime she is making such a choice she wishes she could ask her mother. She never had such a bond that can shape a person and is left without it…. and now she gets offered the exact opposite. The chance to never make a choice again.
The scene where her mother and Cocona are in the boat and her mother starts enforcing hairstyles and dress-styles on Cocona and making choices for her , remind me slightly of my own overprotective mother.. While obviously nowhere near as toxic as Mimi I do see similar elements here. Even at a later age. “Wear your hair like this.. people will like you better” .. while actually meaning .. she likes it better but also genuinely being afraid that by making a choice that is not hers I make the wrong one. I sometimes see a mother that wants me and my sister happy and nothing else in the world would matter.. not to the extent of the anime .. but enough for me to feel like I know Mimi. This one just has a dark side she can refer to for all those things she would otherwise feel conflicted about. Because this episode is mostly set in their reality.. it also feels very concrete , the Pure Illusion elements that feature in this episode still back to that moment in the past, where things were alright. Showing something of perhaps.. regret.. and it keeps everything very real. I really do like this episode.
Apparently this is the episode that a lot of people begin to hate this show, saying it is where it jumps the shark. I honestly do not see that, I feel this has all been pretty well set up from the first episode. From little things such as the fact that Cocona can’t make choices all the way to that first Pure Illusion adventure she had such an impact to reflect her love and fondness for Papika. The latter could be shoehorned in.. but all other worlds would have made less of a visual impact to occur in the real world.. it would have felt more out of place. I do however feel that the evil organisation wasn’t really needed all that much. It could have been another cell in Flip Flappers.. it still might be but since most of the organisation is wiped out I am unsure if we will see any answers on that front. The killer robots in reality might be a tad much… then again.. hover surfboards are a thing. It does push the boundaries of forcing an event.. and I can hear it creak..but for me it never really broke.
Yayaka getting a new hover surfboard and her learning to fly it without fault is a bit of a bigger issue and seeing no resolve with Nyunyu felt strange so the episode does make a few missteps but I am honestly not that bothered by it. Nyunyu is not very consistent in behaviour by character so I can see her just losing interest and pursuing other things. I think we will see what made Papika younger in the next episode.. as that episodes should be centered around her but I would have loved to see a bit of an answer in this episode. Some things were left just a little bit too much in the middle for me.. but that makes me very eager to watch the next episode to see if I can get answers there.. so I am not sure if it is a negative yet.. if I do not get these answers in hindsight it will be but for now I trust them.
This is one of those exposition episodes that is done well, I think they have done plenty of foreshadowing towards this and it feels earned and sincere.. I felt compassion by what Mimi had to endure and I could see how her mind would snap from something like this. I can see how someone who really has nothing can get obsessed with that one little thing that it becomes her entire life and consumes her. I can also see why it makes her the bad guy.. and I think it offers an interesting struggle for Papika in the next episodes to deal with this. So despite what I saw people complain about in their reviews I think it was done well. Other people called out the over designed elements of this episode and it’s characters.. and I would like to ask those if they have seen the rest of the show…. that is very much how this show is… and that works for me because this show .. teaches us we are shaped by our choices for better or for worse.. we become more unique through the choices that we make so I think the “overdesign” is to an extent intended.
I do get how suddenly all the domino’s coming down to spell out this message may seem out of place as before we only had single lines of bricks falling and now we move to something so much more intense.. yet I really can not say I mind this… I might have preferred to see some elements be built up just a bit more.. or other elements giving some equal attention but this is great as well. Like if you want a chocolat desert of your favourite brand but it’s out of stock and then picking a brand that hits the exact same notes! It might not have been what you wanted but there is no reason to complain either.. and since there is nothing for me to really complain about that means.. we get a very high score.