Flip Flappers – Episode 2

Flip Flappers’ second episode begins with Cocona waking up in her bed, as if her adventure with Papika were all some strange dream. The sequence of shots here directly echoes the last time she woke up, further emphasizing the unreality of the moment – and even her glasses are intact. But beyond just casting doubt on the reality of the previous episode, this opening’s sequence of precisely repeated shots emphasizes Cocona’s sense of complacency in this life. In comparison with the first episode’s dreary tone, the frightening excitement of Pure Illusion now makes her everyday life seem like a kind of comfort.

And then Papika arrives, and so much for all that.

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Flip Flappers – Episode 1

Flip Flappers begins with a sharp contrast, a vivid illustration of two very different girls. We first meet Cocona, in a series of shots that speak volumes about both her specifically and Flip Flappers at large. The very first shot of the show is an hourglass optical illusion – it tells the time, but it’s also an image of two girls facing each other, and could even be interpreted as a womb. This strangely charged marker of time passing is followed by the reveal of Cocona herself, seated at her school desk, eyes dark. Cocona exists in a blue and silent world, a sterile classroom that feels far smaller and more shabby than most such spaces. Classrooms are ubiquitous in anime, and their prevalence as key settings means they’re often granted great personality, or staged as open and inviting places. This classroom is the opposite – cramped and cold, it tells us that Cocona’s world is a small and unhappy place.

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Why It Works: A Worlds Tour of Flip Flappers, Part Two

Today we conclude our journey through the many worlds of Flip Flappers! This article ended up being more or less a two-part version of the sort of thematic breakdowns I used to cap off each season with. This half starts to stray away from breaking down worlds and get into analyzing Cocona, but that’s pretty much how the show itself works, so it seemed fitting to me. I hope you enjoy the piece!

Why It Works: A Worlds Tour of Flip Flappers, Part Two

Flip Flappers – Review

And unsurprisingly, here’s my overall streaming review for the flip flaps. Flip Flappers was a standout show that I’d really love to see get more recognition, and the review monster is a hungry beast, so this was basically inevitable. Hopefully 2017 will bring us a few more gems of this level!

You can check out my full review over at ANN.

Why It Works: A Worlds Tour of Flip Flappers, Part One

I’m still crushed under preview week at the moment, but the Why It Works show must go on! Unsurprisingly, I’m sending off the fall season with a two-part episode on Flip Flappers’ various mindscapes. It becomes much harder to map these worlds to specific characters as the show goes on, but they all reflect Cocona in their own ways, so I think I’ll manage. Here’s the piece!

Why It Works: A Worlds Tour of Flip Flappers, Part One

Fall 2016 – Week 13 in Review

Welp, only half my shows even aired this week, so I guess we’ll be keeping this one brief. It was all endings this time, which pretty much went down as expect – while Girlish Number’s last episode as a bit underwhelming, both Euphonium and Flip Flappers nailed the dismount, which was a great relief. As extremely good shows near their end points, I often feel more anxious than excited; when you’re competing for the big leagues, all I’m hoping for is an ending I’ll be happy to return to over the years. Euphonium and Flip Flappers both more or less managed that, so I can’t really complain. Let’s start Girlish Number and run these three down!

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Top Ten Anime of 2016

And somehow, another year has come to a close. This has been a strange year for me – as my first full year of wholly anime-related employment, it’s been often terrifying, sometimes uplifting, and always exciting. I’m not sure it means anything that my move to freelance coincided with the world catching fire, but hey, things happen. At least I also write for Crunchyroll now!

As far as anime itself goes, this has been a very solid year in general. The industry is currently at a somewhat unsustainable level of production, and though foreign streaming and other forms of revenue are putting the industry in a more stable place financially, that still hasn’t adjusted the workflow mechanisms that keep animators so terribly underpaid. That will have to change eventually, but as far as the actual shows go, there were plenty of anime I had a great time with this year, and solid hits in a wide variety of genres. In fact, this year’s crop was so good that I even have some honorable mentions! That’s honestly kind of unusual for me – I generally struggle getting to ten shows without including stuff I’m not totally sold on. So let’s start right there, and run down the shows that just barely missed the list before we count off the final ten!

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Fall 2016 – Week 12 in Review

Welp, the year is coming to an end. 2016 has been a tough year for the world at large, and a stressful year for me personally, what with transitioning entirely to freelance work the year before. Fortunately, 2016 was also a pretty excellent year in anime – there wasn’t anything I loved on the level of a Shirobako or an Eccentric Family, but the breadth of the year’s top tier was pretty dang remarkable. This season in particular was a real standout, offering a substantial portion of the shows that’ll make up my final top ten. We’re arriving at final episodes now, which is sad, but I’m never unhappy to see good shows end strong. Let’s run these titles down, and get ready for whatever 2017 may bring!

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Fall 2016 – Week 11 in Review

Most of the shows I’m watching were pretty fantastic this week. Alright, I’m watching six shows, so we can more specifically say four of six. JoJo is nailing its final battle, Chitose is actually becoming a sympathetic character, Flip Flappers is pulling its story together, and March is drawing all possible pathos out of Rei’s anger and resentment. That’s a pretty good ratio! So yes, Euphonium may have dedicated a full episode to a nonsense conflict, and Yuri on Ice may still be a generally underwhelming sports production, but frankly, the standards are quite high this season. With all my shows having around two episodes left, this is still easily looking to be the best season of the year, and a season any year would be proud of. The coming winter may be a bleak wilderness, but let us remember: sometimes anime is good. Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 10 in Review

We’re coming to the close now. With 2016 ending on America electing its first Russia-approved candidate, it’s a little hard for anime to really shock me, and so I’m perfectly fine with embracing stability in my Japanese cartoons. The fall’s highlights all seem to be ending strong at this point – Euphonium has risen from a weak middle arc to some stunning Asuka-focused material, Flip Flappers is actually making a coherent transition into its more straightforward endgame, and Yuri on Ice is finally giving Victor the focus he needs. And if strong new episodes aren’t enough for you, I also made posts I’m happy with for fans at either end of the pool: a next step recommendation list for new fans, and a dive into Studio Pablo’s background work for regulars. But these posts are for celebrating the week’s anime, so let’s get right back to that and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!

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