You know that whenever the main character finds a hidden path, stuff is going to go down.

Summary:

Cocona is a middle schooler who lives with her grandma (her seemingly only relative). She is undecided about what kind of high school she would like to go to. One day, while running to the train station for school, she gets a brief glimpse of a strange red-haired girl flying on what appears to be a surfboard.

After school, Cocona walks around the town’s park, trying to figure out what school to choose. She stumbles upon a hidden grove and stops there to think. However, she suddenly meets with the red-haired girl from before. The girl introduces herself as Papika. Papika’s robot companion drags both girls into another world–a snowy landscape. Except that the snow isn’t cold and it tastes sweet.

Papika’s outfit makes me a little sad but at least it’s not played up majorly for fanservice so whatever.

As night falls in this snowy world, Papika reveals that she’s been searching for some kind of trinket that can grant wishes. It has a sweet smell–like that of Cocona’s scent. The two girls’ conversation is quickly interrupted by a horde of snowy beasts, who are rampaging towards a large lake. Cocona loses her glasses as they fly up on Papika’s magic surfboard to avoid them. Papika then goes to retrieve the glasses, which is lodged on one of the snow beasts’ fur. Cocona is left behind with the robot.

Papika manages to grab the glasses, but gets pulled under the water as the snow beast she was riding on dives into the lake. It quickly starts to freeze over. Cocona, distressed by the situation, magically transforms through sheer force of will. She saves Papika, and the two girls are suddenly warped back to Cocona’s town, where only a few hours seemed to have passed. Cocona finds a strange glowing stone next to her, and Papika begs her to join in her search for more of the stones. However, Papika is suddenly netted, and Cocona is grabbed by a strange humanoid robot and chloroformed.

If the series ends up playing this off as “a strong friendship bond” I’m gonna be kind of disappointed.

My Opinion:

This is another magical girl anime… or is it?

Every magical girl anime I’ve seen in recent years seem to have some kind of gimmick that sets them apart from all the others. Flip Flappers main gimmick appears to be that the girls travel to different worlds/parallel dimensions. This could be potentially interesting or  it could be severely underused. Judging by the next episode preview, this gimmick thankfully seems like it’ll be used to its full potential.

The pacing in this anime was actually quite well-done. We get just enough information to understand what’s going on, but enough mysteries are still left unanswered for us to eagerly await the next episode. Papika is apparently a traveler of different worlds/dimensions. She’s looking for a magic wish-granting trinket. Cocona is somehow connected to this trinket. However, the rest of the story beyond that has not yet been revealed. This episode also thankfully doesn’t spend too much time on Cocona’s life. We get enough scenes to establish her city and her routine, but most of the episode was dedicated to Cocona’s and Papika’s adventure in the snowy world.

What I like most about this anime so far is that it understands the “show don’t tell” rule. There isn’t a long monologue with Cocona bemoaning her troubles (looking at you, Sacred Slayer Matoi), nor is there a narrator describing Cocona’s personality. We get to see it ourselves by the way she acts throughout the whole episode. The best “show don’t tell” scene, in my opinion, is the scene where Cocona flips through her smartphone trying to call her grandmother. She only has one “family” contact, and that is her grandmother. That alone implies that Cocona likely lost her parents sometime before the start of the series. Why can’t more anime be like this instead of assuming its audience are all idiots and need to be spoonfed every plot-relevant detail? (This obviously doesn’t apply to anime aimed at very young children, but I digress.)

Overall, this is probably the first anime that I’m actually excited to see more of. Cocona and Papika haven’t been fleshed out too much yet–Cocona seems like the typical stoic, serious girl and Papika’s basically her polar opposite. Despite this, I couldn’t help but be charmed by Papika’s sunny personality. Few anime can do the “genki girl” character well anymore, but Flip Flappers pulled it off. The art style of the show is certainly very interesting. I do think that the girls’ eyes are sometimes drawn a little too big (making them look kind of uncanny valley), but the art style works well for the tone the series is attempting to portray.

Anyway, this is definitely an anime I’m going to consider blogging for the Fall Season. Will any other anime wow me like Flip Flappers has? I guess we’ll find out in the next few days.

Out of five for this episode:

precure heart2precure heart2precure heart2 and 1/2

*prays to the anime gods that this series doesn’t suddenly turn grimdark like so many other magical girl anime*

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