Flip Flappers

June 4, 2017

With a strange title and an equally curious poster, that is what got me into trying out Flip Flappers. Although I have never watched Kyousougiga series, somehow I got this feeling that it would be a fantasy sci-fi adventure anime. An original anime not based on any manga or game, the story might sound typical. A normal middle school girl gets involved with a weirdo as they venture into different strange worlds to find pieces of mysterious fragments that is believed to grant wishes when all are gathered together.

Episode 1
Against her superior’s orders, high spirited Papika heads out by herself to find another candidate. Meanwhile Cocona Kokomine is living a mundane and boring high school life. One day she wanders off track into a park. Near a giant cement pipe, that is where Papika finds her. She and her robot, TT-392 AKA Buu-chan are quite interested in Cocona as she is a possible candidate. With the superiors giving orders to test her, the girls are suddenly warped to another snowy world. But there is no one else around. Papika seems to be having fun in the snow while Cocona is still confused over her surroundings. But eventually she succumbs to having some fun like building snowman and surfing around with Papika. As they make camp, Cocona wonders if everyone is hiding from them so Papika assures her they will go on a treasure hunt tomorrow to find Pure Illusion. When Buu-chan starts acting up, a group of snow monsters are ploughing through. At this point Cocona realizes she has lost her precious glasses. Papika spots them on a monster and dangerously rides and goes along with it to retrieve Cocona’s belonging. It hurts Cocona as much as she can only witness Papika putting herself in danger and taking some damage while trying to get the glasses. When Papika seemingly drowned during her attempt, Cocona is overcome with so much sadness that she transforms and releases some powerful beams. This has Papika burst out from beneath the icy waters and into Cocona’s arms. Papika is impressed with her transformation and better news, she has got her glasses. Albeit it’s a bit broken. When they land, Cocona suddenly finds herself back in the park. All a dream? Then what’s that warm glowing thing in your hand? Papika hopes they can go adventuring again but Cocona passes. That’s enough adventure for a lifetime.

Episode 2
Cocona makes her way to school and is having a few muscle pains. Then here comes Papika to bug her to go look more of the fragment (that glowing thing) but Cocona is not interested. In class, Cocona realized too late that her pet rabbit, Uexkull tagged along in her bag. If that wasn’t enough, Papika becomes a transfer student in her class dressed as a magical girl!!! Seriously, Papika can’t stop bugging her! Wherever she goes, Papika follows. Her best friend, Yayaka had to help out in making her escape. But when Uexkull escapes (because it is somewhat terrified of Papika), a strange machine at a park sucks it in. I guess the only way to save it is to follow it down the rabbit hole. Or suction hole? In this strange abstract colourful world, the girls now spot rabbit ears and tail and they can’t stop nibbling things. When Papika finds a fragment, she accidentally activates some machine. Uexkull is now a manly heroic bunny?! This throws Cocona into danger. Although Uexkull tries to save her, they end up in a small cage. They have to escape fast as the cage is sinking closer into the lava! Before they meet their doom, Papika transforms into and uses her power to break them out. They make their speedy escape from all the traps before landing back in the original world. Cocona was worried she was going to die but agrees to go with Papika and her adventures once in a while. Papika then brings Cocona back to her base, Flip Flap to introduce her to everyone. There are the scientists Sayuri and Hidaka as well as the mysterious leader, Dr Salt. Hidaka explains the world they went in is called Pure Illusion and it is their mission to find fragments scattered throughout. And because there is no pay involved, Cocona doesn’t have to worry about going against school policies that students aren’t allowed to do jobs! Wait. Is this exploitation then? It seems they are collecting fragments to liberate Pure Illusion. The girls are now put in some box as they prepare to head to another world.

Episode 3
Papika almost dies of dehydration in the desert but is picked up by some alien tribe and treated like a prison. Only a little girl treats her well and explains the scarcity of water in this world. A group of ruffians invade the place and misuse the water they have been saving. Why do I have a feeling there are some elements of Mad Max here? They think they can bully Papika into submission but looks like they made a fool out of themselves. Till their boss pops up. Isn’t that Cocona in a mask? Papika feels this isn’t the real Cocona and an imposter. They fight until Papika manages to break her mask. She is Cocona and has returned to her original character. She is sad Papika is injured because of her. The perpetrator turns out to be that little girl as she turns into her true form. Nicky Minaj look-a-like? Anyway Cocona recognizes her because when she first entered this world, she found herself in a large bath area with Nicky (temporary nickname) flanked by a large group of naked bondage ladies. She was given the mask that is believed to enhance her inner feelings. Deep down she must really want to kill Papika for her to fight her. Nicky tries to coax her into joining her side and will make her into somebody to fill that emptiness. Since she declines, Nicky will only take her fragment. Luckily Papika has revived to save the day. Both girls transform to kick her ass in this flashy epic power battle that ultimately has them winning. But the one who finishes off this monster is a group of youngsters. Cocona is shocked to see Yayaka part of this group that includes twins Toto and Yuyu. They take the fragment and leave. When they return to base and report about Papika, the boss identifies her as Papikana, one half of the Direct Drive.

Episode 4
Hidaka is explaining to the girls about impedance (feelings). This is important because it allows them to transform. They were doomed to fail from the start when they landed in different places and this allowed their rivals to steal the fragment. So in order to have them bond together, they give Papika wear the same school uniform as Cocona. Oh, they’ll be living together too. It’s so crazy it might work. So the night Cocona sleeps in her bed before she stays over at Papika’s place, she has a weird dream riding a boat on a strange river and a strange girl welcoming her back. In school, Yayaka isn’t around so Cocona goes looking around and ends up in the hospitality of the art club’s Iroha Irodori. When Yayaka eventually shows up, they have lots of questions for her. Apparently she has been doing this for a long time. She invites them to join her to gather more fragments but they decline. As for why she is doing this, it is for world conquest. So this cement pipe is now where Papika lives? Hmm… Creative interior decorations? So they catch weird plants and eggs as meal and take shower in the open. Next day, they hover surf to a deserted island. To their dismay, their surfboard gets washed away by the waves. Stranded. Nobody’s coming. Cocona has a test tomorrow… As they try to find food, Cocona realizes she is empty and useless. But Papika cheers her up by mentioning her good points. Smart, walks fast and can fix scarfs right. That’s about it? Sleeping underneath the open sky, Cocona wonders what Papika would wish if she gets enough fragments. Secret. Cocona? To meet her family. She has been living with her grandma since young as her parents died in an accident. Next morning, they make a raft enough for them to go back. But then they get sucked into Pure Illusion. This time Cocona isn’t panicking. She is on the same level with Papika having fun and happy. Because Papika says she’ll never ever ever ever ever ever ever let her go?

Episode 5
Cocona and Papika have lost out to Yayaka’s team in 3 straight rows. Therefore the scientists have discovered a way to improve their impudence by letting them hold their prized possession and say “Flip Flapping”! That simple? If only Papika can pronounce it right… In the next Pure Illusion, they end up in a creepy dark school. It’s always raining. They thought they saw Yayaka but soon stumble upon a group of creepy ghost girls who can only say “Please to meet you”. Yikes! Then they bleed and collapse. Next thing they know, they are in nice bathtub and the ghost girls treat them nicely, giving them their own room. They do club activities together, study together and there’s always this creepy doll looking at them in the room. The process repeats many times till Cocona bumps into Yayaka. She reveals they are stuck in a time loop. They need to get out of here fast but Papika seems to be accustomed to this world. Even if she overcomes that, there is some sort of time limit that will restart the day. The clock only strikes 11 times at midnight. So they have to find a secret way out and quick because those ghost girls are stalking them! JUMP SCARES!!! When they manage to leave the area and find themselves in the clock tower, they fight Yayaka’s team. It gets confusing and weird here. Not that I really get it. They transform as Cocona deals the twelfth strike on the bell to end the madness. A fragment falls into their hands and this means this world is going to crumble (the fragment acts as its defence). Yayaka’s team escape and Yayaka brings the duo along. She thinks they are even and that they should hand over the fragment. But Cocona won’t since they found it themselves. Yayaka warns them to prepare themselves. Cocona vows to stop her if she tries something.

Episode 6
Cocona wants to know how many more fragments there are to mark their progress but Salt gives an unsatisfying answer until Pure Illusion is picked clean. When Cocona visits Iroha in her clubroom, Papika gets her first taste of her nail polish that she uses in her art instead on her fingers. In their next mission in Pure Illusion, the duo enter a strange ominous gate. Cocona finds herself learning and having fun with an auntie. All seems great till she goes home and enters a room. Papika is seen drawing and she desperately wants to switch. Cocona sees father and mother bickering and this causes her to run back to Papika and wants to switch. Then they are kicked out of the gate. Both claim they were living as the girl Iro. Feeling something isn’t right, they decide to go back into it. Cocona continues to live the fun days with auntie but heard nasty rumours that once auntie dies, the kid she always brings home will be in trouble. Cocona also knows that day will come since she can tell auntie is already feeling unwell. One day she visits auntie but there is nobody home. She waits outside until her parents force to bring her home. She refuses and runs away till she collapses. When she wakes up, she is in hospital. She is happy when she sees auntie. However auntie has a serious case of amnesia and cannot remember her. This makes Cocona disappointed as she runs away back to her room. She wants Papika to switch with her. It gets unbearable as both girls cry. Papika smells something smelly and it is Cocona’s nail polish. This makes Cocona remember the nail polish was a present from auntie. They made a promise that if she ever forgets herself, just say her name. It made Cocona realize she abandoned her. Both return to auntie’s side and say their name: Iroha Irodori. Auntie welcomes her back and both girls return to reality. Papika wants to confirm if that Iro girl is Iroha. So the next day they go see her, they spot her wearing nail polish.

Episode 7
Yayaka warns Cocona not to go near that gate because it’s bad. But Cocona knows she was in Iroha’s memories and this makes her feel something isn’t right. Trying to ask Hidaka about what Pure Illusion is, well, all that mumbo-jumbo means he doesn’t know anything either. Whether it can be change and revert something back is also uncertain. That is when Salt explains all worlds including Pure Illusion interact fluidly in theory but reality isn’t perfect and thus imperfect interaction defines their existence. Huh? I don’t get it either. Because of that, Cocona doesn’t want to enter Pure Illusion anymore since she is afraid it will change reality further. When she goes home, she finds grandma and Uexkull missing. Shockingly, Papika is her loving little sister! Well, time to play along. Cocona realizes she is in Pure Illusion when at school Papika is her male classmate. There are other versions of Papika like a creepy girl hiding under the desk, an oujo-sama, a delinquent, a gloomy girl and even a handsome young lad. So after all that time wasting frolicking, Cocona decides to go look for the real Papika. But where to start? Can’t find her. When the ground starts to collapse, that is when the real Papika rescues her in her weird spaceship. She has been looking for her lost Cocona. Yayaka is frustrated that she is no longer allowed information that she depends on (she wanted to know about that gate). She is further warned if she is unable to find more fragments, they will have no need for her anymore. Cocona and Papika are hanging out in the garden together. Their fragments start shining and Papika sees visions of Mimi.

Episode 8
Pool episode? Not quite. When Cocona slips into the pool, Papika tries to grab her and before they know it, they’re in Pure Illusion. In this futuristic city, they are attacked by monster pigeons. Yayaka and her team destroy the monsters but since there are no fragments, they leave. The duo are almost attacked by another monster but saved by this miniature guy whom we shall identify as Ossan. Bringing them back to his base, he explains he created every nook and corner of this world. But ever since a fragment dropped in, it turned into monsters and started tearing the place up. Cocona feels she wants to help him protect this world. A fragment is detected but it is in the form of this huge monster. No chance of taking it down the way they are now. Because Ossan will not abandon his city as there is no reason to live without it, Cocona expresses she was once afraid to go into Pure Illusion for fear of changing something. But now she wants to use her hands to protect what’s important. Ossan believes they can do it and lets them ride his revolutionary vehicles. Only, the cockpit is so damn small. As individuals they won’t do much damage but they have to combine and sync their hearts (just like Flip Flapping) to merge into this Gaiking rip-off. But it is still not powerful enough and they take serious damage. At this point Yayaka wants to fight too but she can’t answer when Ossan asks if it’s to save them. Like the tsundere she is, she claims she is entering the fray for the fragment instead of helping them. So this knockoff Transformer seems powerful at first but it still isn’t enough. So the trio know combine to its ultimate boxy towering mecha form. This time it is powerful enough to finish off the monster. But parts of the city are levelled too. Not to worry? Art is explosive? The twins are about to catch the fragment but Ossan grabs it from them and says it belongs to Cocona and Papika. Yayaka orders a retreat claiming they can steal it from them anytime but the twins aren’t convinced and will report this. Buu-chan rolls in damaged so Hidaka is forced to take time off his busy schedule to fix him. As the girls rejoice in protecting a fragment, Cocona is shocked when Papika calls her Mimi.

Episode 9
Yayaka is not pleased she is being replaced by a new kid, Nyunyu so she pleads to those cult guys for another chance. Last chance. But this time she must also steal the fragment from the enemy. Because Papika continues to confuse Cocona with someone else, this pisses of Cocona. They end up arguing and with such feelings, can they enter Pure Illusion? So far so good. This time it is an empty space. When they spot a fragment, they race to get it only to be intercepted by Yayaka and co. As they try to grab the fragment, Cocona and the twins are swallowed up by some giant hairball, leaving Yayaka and Papika to duke it outside. The twins suggest a truce till they find a way out. They couldn’t so they settle to watch the outside fight. Eventually Yayaka and Papika got tired running around. With Papika hungry and Yayaka teasing her with her chocolate bar in exchange for the fragment, soon it becomes a fight for food. Yuyu reads Papika’s lips and it seems she is talking all about food and nothing about Cocona. This leaves Cocona sad. When the hairball starts acting up, Papika wants to go save Cocona. Despite Yayaka claiming the fragment takes priority, she can’t help feel she has been a friend to Cocona more than Papika. Flashback to when they first met at the hospital when they were young and hit it off being friends. Cocona and Papika call out to each other and this has Cocona break out and reunite with her. With warning from the twins, Yayaka goes on a full assault on Cocona. She manages to take a fragment but there is one embedded in her thigh. Do it. Unfortunately she can’t. Instantly the twins attack Yayaka who uses her own body to protect Cocona. Cocona becomes devastated upon seeing motionless Yayaka while Papika fends off further attacks. In the aftermath, Cocona brings back Yayaka to the base for the scientists to resuscitate. When Papika wakes up, she is frantically calling out for Mimi. Who is Mimi? Her partner.

Episode 10
Salt wants to kick out Yayaka as she is the enemy. Cocona pleads not to as she is her friend. He only gives her till morning. The cult guys know all the fragments in Pure Illusion have been retrieved and they will press on with their plan. Cocona dreams that weird dream again. When ask who that strange girl is, she calls herself Mimi and looks exactly like her! Cocona is not pleased when Papika continues to address her as Mimi. She cannot reveal more as she doesn’t want to make her sad. Cocona then talks to Yayaka who claims collecting all the fragments will make Pure Illusion bend to one’s will. The twins were purely created to enter Pure Illusion. Yayaka receives such powers later via some facility. She was the only survivor as she was the only one compatible. Yayaka’s goal is to create a world where people didn’t have to hurt anymore. But if she chose a normal life, it meant giving that up and she thought letting others choose for her. The cult sends robots to invade the base. Although they have numbers, the scientists have tricks and traps in their home ground. The twins come to get Yayaka as they reveal inside Cocona is a fragment. Even more shocking it is the reason why Yayaka got close to her to keep an eye on her. Cocona doesn’t believe it but with Yayaka remaining silent, she realizes she has been used. Papika comes to rescue her but with her still talking about protecting Mimi’s fragments, Cocona insists on an explanation. She blames Papika for using her to get into Pure Illusions.

Time to reveal Papika’s side of the truth. Papikana as she was known then was also one of the many kids in a facility. It is her turn to be with subject 33 AKA Mimi. They instantly become friends. Papikana often sneak out of her room to be with Mimi but always end up in young Salt’s room. He is not a subject but a scientist since his father is one. He too is interested in Mimi. As Mimi is the only one who can enter Pure Illusion, they are trying to find a partner that resonates with her. One day Salt and Papikana decide to bring Mimi out of her room. It is the first time she has been outside with nature. Mimi felt great and decided to show Papikana Pure Illusion. At this point Cocona has had enough. Wait. You wanted an explanation and you’ve got it and now you’re mad? Cocona believes everyone has been using her and hates everybody. She escapes the facility while Papika tries to follow her. Once the girls are gone, Salt gives the orders to abandon base. Cocona returns home but the place is surrounded by those robots. Even more shocking is her wheelchair ridden grandma standing up. She orders Cocona’s capture. Suddenly Cocona’s body burst into bright lights. All the fragments in Papika’s possession start flying into Cocona. In the aftermath of the explosion, the house is destroyed and the robots (including grandma who is one) are trashed. Mimi assures Cocona she will protect her from now on because Mimi is her mom!

Episode 11
Cocona is taken in by the cult but she is Mimi. She will not hand over her fragment and kills them off with her plant powers. The scientists escape safely. But they are confronted by Nyunyu. A fight won’t happen since Yayaka intervenes. Salt confronts Mimi who says this is all for Cocona. She blames him for not protecting her. More flashback surrounding Salt, Mimi and Papika. They are very close to each other. One day Salt’s father has created a machine, ELPIS that allows them to enter Pure Illusion. But dad came back a mad person who lost his mind as he claimed he saw a magnificent power. Salt is sad and thus he was in no mood to hear what Mimi had to say. She even wanted to run away from this place and bring Salt along but he knows he can’t leave this place. Then one day Salt realizes what Mimi meant. He saw she had a baby named Cocona. It is then he tries to escape with the girls but to no avail. His father caught them and to prevent Mimi from doing this foolishness again, he is going to kill Cocona as a lesson. Desperate Mimi suddenly finds herself in Pure Illusion talking to her mirror self who claims she can protect Cocona if they switch places. Mimi has some tentacle monster powers as she wipes out the lab. Now she believes she only needs Cocona and nothing else. She disappears and leaves everyone else behind. Now Salt is trying to make amends as he knows the real Mimi wouldn’t want this. Although she overwhelms him, she mocks him to kill her. He couldn’t. Not after seeing her tears. Papika tries to save the day but is defeated and mocked that she can’t decide whether to have Cocona or the old Mimi back. The devastating blow is when Mimi says she hates her. Mother and daughter reunite on the boat. She tells her all she needs is her. But Cocona doesn’t seem to like her mom’s hospitality. Not even if she could make new friends for her. Eventually Cocona succumbs to the temptation of staying in this world with her. Pure Illusion is starting to merge with the world as it is snowing. Injured Salt meets Yayaka and begs her to save Papika after handing her a fragment. Yayaka then goes to mock depressed Papika if she is going to mope forever. Because Yayaka is going to rescue Cocona even if it means fighting her mom. Why? Because she is her friend. Papika goes with her as she wants to rescue Cocona because she loves her.

Episode 12
Salt leaves Hidaka to do some monitoring while he takes the rest to retrieve ELPIS. Papika is able to track Cocona based on scent. They confront Mimi again and this time Papika has her answer. She wants both Cocona and Mimi back. But Mimi thinks they are here to take Cocona away from her and sends them to Pure Illusions they have visited before. Papika and Yayaka must traverse obstacles and beat old foes. When they are lying in the face of defeat, Yayaka could only think about Cocona. She wants to apologize for deceiving her even if there is a chance she won’t be forgiven. She really wants to be friends with her again. Using this and the power of a fragment, Yayaka transforms as she kicks ass with Papika. The cult boss is still alive and orders Yuyu to treat him instead of Toto. But she disobeys and ignores him and continues what she is doing. Papika continues to tell Mimi this is all wrong as Mimi insists this is what they both wanted. Mimi has had enough of Papika being stubborn and lets her know how much she hates her. When Papika tries to tell her that Cocona already has important places to her, Mimi alters her memories about the promise she made. Papika now remembers Mimi telling her she will stay and protect Cocona forever when she is born. Meanwhile the original Mimi confronts Cocona and asks if this is what she wants. Cocona is confused because she thought everybody else should decide for her. Mimi tells her there is nothing to be afraid and thus needs to choose herself. Cocona reaches out to Papika and restores her original memories. The actual promise made from Mimi is that she wants Cocona to choose her own path, the freedom to live the life she sees fit. Papika knows about it because she has been in love with Cocona since the day she was born. Bad Mimi is mad that the stubborn girls won’t listen to her and attacks. But this allows them to transform into some bride cosplay outfit to easily defeat the enemy.

Episode 13
I’m not sure about this scene. When Mimi disappeared into Pure Illusion, Papika grabbed baby Cocona from her. Papika then reverts into a baby. She is trapped in some cage and many years later Cocona visits her. She might not know who she is but remembers Papika’s adult version. They hang out together and to beat their loneliness, they suggest becoming friends. Now Mimi is mad of her bad girls and is going to punish them. Sending monsters to attack? The world is such a messed up place with everything everywhere. Salt is trying to programme and cover Pure Illusion with another layer before going inside ELPIS. He confronts Mimi and I’m not sure what he did because I think he separated the good Mimi from the bad one as atonement. The land starts to crumble. Yayaka is saved by Uexkull (heroic version) while Salt and good Mimi watch over Papika and Cocona fight evil Mimi who now transforms into a dark butterfly form (Accel World?). Cocona tells Papika that she never wanted to go adventuring. She prefers to keep drifting through life on a boat because she was afraid of regretting the choices she makes. Despite all that, Papika dragged her from it. Papika wanted to go adventuring because she loves her and not because it allowed her to go into Pure Illusion. It’s the same for Cocona. She decided to go on adventures because she loves her. With the power of reconciled friendship, they defeat evil Mimi who decides to go back to relive those days spent eagerly awaiting their daughter’s birth. The land further crumbles and they have to quickly get out. Cocona is reluctant to leave Mimi since she just got to see her. Mimi says Pure Illusion is infinite and therefore there are no goodbyes. She wants her to walk down her chosen path proud. Papika puts her in some bubble and pushes her away into the exit. When she wakes up, Cocona is in Sayuri’s company. She is sad to learn Papika is still trapped in Pure Illusion. Cocona makes his way to the base but only hear Hidaka angrily complaining entering Pure Illusion is now impossible as all fragments are lost. Cocona tries to seek Yayaka’s help but she too is sceptical of ever going back there. As Cocona bums around, she is shocked to see Papika. She explains she got separated from Cocona and stayed with Mimi. Eh? Wasn’t Papika the one who pushed her? So it is Cocona who disappeared? From what I understand, they are still in Pure Illusion. After Cocona got sucked in, Mimi smashed that world. Papika was late because she was eating sweets with Mimi. They both transform and go on another adventure. End montage shows everyone else doing fine. Salt, the twins, Nyunyu, Iroha, Sayuri, Hidaka (still watching?) and Yayaka now taking care of Uexkull?

Pure Adventure Time
Wait. What?! Me no understanding what happening in the ending. Just like in animes that are already confusing, the final episode didn’t make it any better because I was confused till the end. So I’m not sure if the world has merged with Pure Illusion or with the existence of many realms, the ending indicates that our girls are free to adventure from one world to another unlike before where those worlds are thought to be as fantasy. So it’s like making them all a reality, blurring the lines of what is real and what is not, or rather the fact everything is real now. And this entire anime was just to get Mimi back? Was getting all the fragments to get your wish just make believe and some sort criteria to find/get to Mimi? Despite I wanted to make a pun of the series’ name as Flop Flopping, I believe this series is not as bad as I think I painted it. It was just too confusing for my simpleton mind to comprehend, that’s all. Well, looks like this is one adventure I don’t want to be going any time soon in the near foreseeable future.

There were lots of praises for this anime and I would have whole heartedly agree with those positive reviews if I wasn’t that dumb enough trying to understand what was going on. You can say that I am as not as imaginative as what this series has offered and sometimes get confused in trying to figure out what is happening in each episode. That takes a bit of the fun from me as I try to comprehend the surroundings and workings of the world and perhaps trying to connect it all to the bigger picture. Maybe I was being too hasty in trying to understand and grasp everything. It might seem that the initial episodes are like standalone and repetitive fillers because the girls randomly go on adventures in different worlds to find fragments and face competition from another theme. So once we delved a bit deeper into the history on the characters, at least that is where the real plot begins to take place.

So one of the weakest links of the series I feel are the characters. Not to say that they are boring and some may even be cliché archetypes. Because while the girls are still jumping through dimensions, we hardly know anything about them. Like Cocona who is living a low profile middle school life till she gets reluctantly dragged away in adventures with her so called new best partner. On the other hand, Papika feels like some sort of idiot in her own world. Her idiotic positivism feels like a distraction not to question her who she is or what is her connection to Cocona. Because of all the people in the world, why Cocona? I suppose they want to show us how close they are, their bonding in the future and the past. Yes, I can see them close enough but not really enough to think some sort of yuri relationship that might arise from all this. Going adventuring is way much better than succumbing to the temptations of yuri. Yeah, the power of (girl) friendship beats everything.

Then there is Yayaka who is always having that hesitating look and angst waiting to explode. She is caught between a wall and a hard place because despite trying to do her duty, she is also torn trying to be real friends with Cocona. Well I’m glad she decided what is most important to her in the end. They try to portray Salt as a mysterious character but when his connection to Mimi and Papika are fully revealed, it somehow doesn’t seem satisfying at all. Ever since that incident he totally changed from a normal scientist to one brooding guy who looks like he is biding his time to get his revenge or atonement as he puts it.

I always keep thinking if Buu-chan was some sort of secret weapon or just waiting there would be some sort of important role waiting to surprise us and catch us off guard. Well, that part he turned into some muscular hulk with increased stats wasn’t one of it. Because this only confirms his status as some sort of comic relief character. He doesn’t do much and if you see him bumming around, you would expect to see something ‘funny’ because like as though this robot has some sort of corrupted programming inside him that makes him act ‘funny’. I mean, there are so many instances Buu-chan was really unneeded and his appearance with the girls feel like it is to ease some sort of tension the scene brings.

Hidaka and Yayaka might not play much of a significant role and do feel like extra supporting casts. But that at least beats this Nyunyu girl who not only came into the scene late, her entire character just feels redundant and could have been done without. What is her role actually except to replace failing Yayaka which actually never happened. I mean, why the need for her then? Another so called twist to throw us off guard? She is also a bit weird and perhaps that is why she gets along well with Buu-chan. What’s the deal with the twins since after Yayaka defected, it’s like they aren’t really prominent anymore. Eventually the montage at the end try to assure us about them but it raises as much questions had they not show it in the first place. Because it’s like it doesn’t matter about them. As long as Papika and Cocona continue to remain friends, that is all that matters.

I’m just confused about Mimi and her other evil alter ego. Like any other mother who wants the best for her child and protect her, it boggles my mind how it ended up like this. Because after the first time Mimi disappeared with Cocona, how come Cocona is then living a normal life? Is reality Pure Illusion as well? Couldn’t Mimi have lived life with Cocona forever together in Pure Illusion? Instead we start off with Cocona living alone with fake grandma. I get it that maybe the fragments were scattered but how were they so in the first place? And it took them this long to finally gather them? Cocona’s all grown up already, you know. Hey, at least it is better than finding those Shikon No Tama shards from Inu Yasha.

Because of the weirdness of Pure Illusion, sometimes I wonder if it is to hide the average art and animation quality. I’m not a person really well versed in arts nor am I one who really appreciates what art is constituted in cultured civilizations. So watching the very odd and peculiar abstract visuals in Pure Illusions didn’t really leave me in awe and more towards raising an eyebrow. Some worlds really felt weird like as though they mashed up whatever the producers could come up with, notching up the weirdness a few levels. And you can’t say it is really bad or anything because, well, it is art. Therefore it makes all the special effects and exaggerations in Pure Illusion feel right at home.

Many of the characters themselves look weird. Take for instance the main girls. They look in between of a Japanese anime girl and something cartoonish. Then there is Uexkull whom I was cracking my head what the f*ck this little monster blob is. At worst, I thought it was a mutated hamster. Uh huh. Uexkull looks more like an alien than a bunny. Weird. Furthermore, sometimes the colouring of certain parts make it feel like as though colour pencils were used. I guess overall the kind of abstract art fits with the sci-fi fantasy theme this anime offers us.

Voice acting feels rather okay. Mao as Papika (Renge in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezvda) has this exuberance and silliness in her voice that matches One Piece’s Luffy. Not that I’m saying that she sounds like Luffy but when you get the idea when you have this lively character who is always in his/her own pace and world to have that kind of carefree confidence in the voice. I recognized Kenjiro Tsuda as Salt and Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Ossan and didn’t for Youko Hikasa’s Sayuri. That Nicky character… Aki Toyosaki? Not sure at first but yes it is. Even Buu-chan and Uexkull got their own voices (Kazuyuki Okitsu and Michiyo Murase respectively) and sometimes I feel it is the easiest lines ever in the series. The rest of the other casts are Minami Takahashi as Cocona (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma), Ayaka Ohashi as Yayaka (Felia in Comet Lucifer), Ai Kayano as Mimi (Inori in Guilty Crown), Jun Fukushima as Hidaka (Kazuma in Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo), Saori Oonishi as Iroha (Miyuki in Shomin Sample) and Marika Kouno as Nyunyu (Hanabi in Shakunetsu No Takkyuu Musume). The twins Yuyu and Toto are voiced by Airi Toshinou and Sayaka Inoue making their debut respectively.

The opening theme, Serendipity by ZAQ has this bursting exuberance that fits the theme of the series. But sometimes I think that the heavy use of the synthesizers overwhelm the overall tune of the song. The ending theme, Flip Flap Flip Flap by TO-MAS featuring Chima is also weird in its own way. It feels like a fairytale song and only enhanced by the ending credits animation of Papika and Cocona in their own fairytale adventure. A special ending theme for episode 11, Find The Wind by ZAQ feels more like an anime pop. There are also a few insert songs. Like in the final episode, Over The Rainbow by TO-MAS featuring Mao and Minami Takahashi isn’t a Japanese rendition of Judy Garland’s ballad. This one sounds more like a happy Christmas song.

Overall, this anime is imaginative and a visual feast in its own right. I won’t say it is more of style over substance since the story and characters are pretty decent although not a masterpiece. It is still interesting despite not having a lot of hype compared to other mainstream animes of the season. It might not break any new grounds but somehow I have a feeling that old things can still feel fresh if you show it from a different perspective. Yeah. I think that is how I view this anime. It goes to show that all of us as humans are gifted with the ability to dream and imagine. You can go experience your wildest adventures just by closing your eyes. Pure imagination. Just be careful not to get mixed up with reality and fantasy. How could we when sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.