So recently there’s been some discussion going around about whether Banana Fish, an adaption of a classic 1980s shoujo manga, is properly considered to be a “Boy’s Love” work. Unfortunately I can’t really comment much on that due to not being in that space at all, not watching the Banana Fish anime or having read the manga. But it did bring to mind something I’ve thought on more than once: just what is a “yuri” anime?
And here we are, the final episode. Its been quite the trip these last thirteen weeks. Some ups and some downs. One year ago today the final episode of Flip Flappers aired. As I write this right now is when it would have been airing. There was a lot riding on this episode, many things it needed to get right to have a satisfying conclusion. Most people would agree that it knocked it out of the park.
There are a lot of possibilities for discussion here. How Papika regressed to a child, Cocona finally and explicitly admitting her feelings to Papika, Cocona and Papika beating up Mimi. Salt and Mimi’s reunion, and so on. But I think today we’ll talk about the final part of the episode, when Cocona wakes up and finds herself in “reality”.
I’ve found myself of two minds when it comes to sakuga, not in whether or not I enjoy anime that is well animated. I do, of course. However I feel I don’t put the same emphasis on it that some other people do. Or rather, I find it to be a surprisingly minor part of why I enjoy anime.
If you have no idea what I mean by “Sakuga”, I suggest you check out the Sakuga Blog, a great resource and run by some of the nicest people around.
Only two more episodes left. In episode 12, Pure Howling, all the plot threads finally come to a head. However almost all of them are irrelevant. There is only one thing that really matters now. Cocona. The things that involve Cocona are important, everything else that goes on is window dressing.
Mimi. Papika. Yayaka. The three who could say that what they care about the most is Cocona. Their confrontation is what decides the fate of the Pure Illusion and the world.
Episode 11 of Flip Flappers is where all the backstory and almost all of the core plot is laid out. And almost all of it is immediately disposed of. Things that should be important revelations with grand import happen with little fanfare, to make time for the things that the show feels are important.
Almost all of this is at the hands of a character we truly met only in the previous episode. Cocona’s mother, Mimi.
If episode 9 was all about how much Yayaka’s suffered, episode 10 loads an entire lifetime’s worth of betrayal onto Cocona’s back. Not all of the betrayals are real, but they feel real to her. Even more so, because they validate all her old feelings of worthlessness. That she wasn’t really needed for herself. Just for what she represented or what she could do.
We haven’t spoken much about Yayaka during the FlipFlappiversary. Not because she’s a bad character, but so much of the first half of the series is focused on Cocona’s self-discovery, that Yayaka mostly exists in the background. However, starting in episode 8, and continuing into episode 9, Pure Mute, that changes a lot.
Yayaka’s life kinda blows.
As a general concept I don’t object to “fanservice” existing. There are, however, specific cases where I find it irritating, distracting or feel it does a disservice to the show. By and large I don’t mind the bits of fanservice in Flip Flappers, except for three occasions.
The first is the pan up Cocona as she showers in episode 4. Another is Nyunyu’s rather distressing lack of pants, and the last is a significant chunk of episode 8, Pure Breaker.
So, Episode 7. Pure Component. Maybe one of the most important episodes of anime…ever. Sure, its not the action spectacle of Pure XLR, or the deconstruction of classic tropes like Pure Echo, or the deep psychological dive of Pure Play. But in terms of what it does for Flip Flappers, and for Cocona, its immense.
A bit of a running theme through the last several posts has been Cocona awakening to her feelings for Papika, and more generally coming to terms with the fact that she’s gay.
We will continue that discussion next week, but this week lets pull back a bit and discuss some of the discussion that went on about Flip Flappers as it aired.