DVD Review: Flip Flappers – The Complete Collection

Flip Flappers may have already been released as a ‘Collectors Edition Blu-Ray’ earlier in the year by MVM Entertainment but today we will be exploring the distributors self-authored DVD release of the series; so what can one expect and is it any good? Well let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

As a middle school student, Cocona has been trying to decide what to do with her life. Magical Girl, however, wasn’t a career path that she’d ever considered. When suddenly a strange girl named Papika thrusts her into a secret organization called Flip Flap, Cocona’s outlook does a radical flip-flop. Her views start to change when she is dragged into an alternate dimension called Pure Illusion where she’s charged with gathering crystal shards and fighting strange creatures.

Now, between running missions and facing off against a rival organization, Cocona doesn’t have much time to consider alternate career choices. What are these shards, and why is gathering them so important? There’s a mystery to be solved and multiple worlds to be saved!

Our View:

Colourful and absolutely insane is one way of describing Infinite and Studio 3Hz’s animated project Flip Flappers; a magical girl themed series with a convoluted storyline that makes watching it more of a chore rather than an emotionally entertaining thrill ride that it sought out to be.

Flip Flappers follows the journey of Cocona, a seemingly average middle-school-student who finds herself whisked away into the unexplainable world known as Pure Illusion by the energetic Papika. At first Cocona is in awe of this new world, a world that bends dreams and reality into one; but soon enough she reluctantly wants to return to her normal life. For the opening selection of episodes at least it is about Papika trying to recruit Cocona as she is required in order for Papka to venture into the Pure Illusion; and soon enough Papika introduces her to the organiation known as Flip Flap.

Still shrouded in mystery Flip Flap is an organisation that is set about collecting mysterious gems that, if collected, can grant any wish and so –albeit rather reluctantly – Cocona agrees to help Papika collect these mysterious gems. From here it’s a trend of each episode being stand-a-lone,  with each episode taking place in a new world, with new rules and new enemies. Desert world filled with sand monsters? Check, Technological advanced world with giant mechs? Check. A world similar to Alice in Wonderland? It’s got you covered.

Flip Flappers feels very similar to Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi whereby each episode would feature a different story with a slightly different animation style; and it is the same here. The only difference is that the two main characters, Cocona and Papika, can power-up into Magical Girls with destructive force; a good thing as well as an enemy force is also after these mysterious gems. It’s not explicitly explained  why Papika or Cocona have these powers, nor why the two different organisations exist – but as we go further down the rabbit hole it starts to become clear; well if you can call overly complicated clear that is.

With the arrival of the enemy threat, which is a different organisation in chase of the mysterious gems, we see a ‘fight for the gems’ take place with each organisation overcoming obstacles in pure illusion – or attacking each other – to get the stones. The end result is a harsh realization that Cocona, a child born from the first person to freely move between the real world and pure illusion, is the important key needed to solve the mystery of pure illusion and the power it wields.

At this point the overall story and plot had completly been lost on me. What originally starts as a search for mysterious gems in a fictitious world soon spirals into a storyline which sees Cocona’s mother, and her evil alter ego of some kind, wishing to protect her daughter from the dangers of the real world.

Meanwhile Flip Flap’s organisation leader, Salt, has been working to correct the mistakes of the past; a past which saw Cocona’s move absorbed by the alter ego and sucked into the world of Pure illusion.

From our perspective Flip Flappers is a rather imaginative, overly complex, but mostly disappointing anime series that doesn’t truly know where it wants to go or how it wants to end; but some positives can be had with the unique animation style and colourful cast of characters.

Extras:

In terms of supplementary content then we do not get to see much other than the inclusion of textless opening and closing songs as well as trailers for other MVM Entertainment releases; namely The Grimoire of Zero and Log Horizon.

Interestingly as an ‘extra’ MVM Entertainment have included the ‘English Credits’ which is what Sentai Filmworks usually add at the end of each episode. Either way it’s not a lot of bonus content; but at least MVM Entertainment opted to include them as opposed to leaving them off – as that could have easily been done.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time: 3:02:08 (Disc 1), 1:52:46 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 192kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Flip Flappers is as daft as it sounds; as what sounds like an ever-evolving magical girl storyline transforms into an ever-complex plot that seems to lose all sense of purpose or meaning. At the beginning Flip Flappers followers the adventures of Cocona and her name friend Papika as they venture into the mysterious void known as Pure Illusion and explore what it has to offer.

In reality they are trying to collect mysterious gems, as well as defend themselves against another unknown organisation, in order to collect them all. When all is said and done the true objective remains relatively unclear; but supposedly it involves Cocona’s long dead mother who also shares Cocona’s unique ability in travelling to the void with ‘magical’ styled abilities. It’s colourful, disappointing and over-complex but it does have trends of a traditional magical girl series; especially in case of Madoka Magica. A darker toned anime series with colourful traits.

I don’t just have reservation about the episodic contents either, as this DVD release also has its own notable issues that make it a rather botched release. As a result of Sentai Filmworks dropping DVD as a format this DVD release has been self-mastered by MVM Entertainment and such features some inconsistencies with what you would expect from a DVD related product; especially a Sentai Filmworks related release. First of all the quality (at times) is inconsistent with some dark scenes showing signs of distortion or pixilation while other scenes are perfectly fine. It’s not uncommon for DVD releases to be of low quality, especially PAL authored discs, but this is slightly different.

Its not just the visual quality either as the subtitles, of which are presented in a standardised White format, also feature some concern issues. First of all a selection of episodes (namely Episodes 3,4 & 7) on the first disc have incorrect subtitle timings and as such appear on screen later than they should. Additionally when ‘notes’ on appear on screen it not only displays “?????” but it also fills up majority of the screen.

Naturally these errors have appeared as a result of MVM Entertainment self-authoring the discs and depending on how you plan to watch Flip Flappers will depend on your experience. For instance watching in English, which is actually pretty good for a change, you won’t notice these issues; but those watching in Japanese with English subtitles will no doubt experience these disrupting experiences.

Overall Flip Flappers is a disappointing release; not solely because its bizarre and over-complicated-storyline that seems to do what it wants, when it wants; but because the DVD release itself (especially Disc 1) is rather botched. Sure enough it’s a nice attempt but ideally fans of this series would want to go for the Blu-Ray; unfortunately I can’t recommended this series (or DVD release) unless you enjoyed shows similar to Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi with a blend of Magicl Girl elements.

Score: review-stars-2

Flip Flappers is now available as a Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray and will be available on DVD from the 13th August 2018 via MVM Entertainment UK.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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