A little while ago, I wrote about the temporality of meaning in Flip Flappers. Due to the story not being completed, that post was more speculative than I would have liked. This essay will act as a redefining and expansion of the arguments in the original post. I recommend you check out that essay if you haven’t, as I will be trying not to repeat myself too much and will be referring back to my original work throughout this piece. With all that being said, let’s take a fresh look at how Flip Flappers plays with meaning.
But first, a quick refresher! To start, Flip Flappers encourages viewers to engage with “immediate” latent content by making adventures in Pure Illusion act like parables, beating us over the head with symbols, or straight up telling us the point. This gives us initial interpretations of events/characters/symbols—let’s say: coercing us into a particular analytical perspective. As we move forward, we discover that our initial interpretations weren’t exactly wrong, just that they weren’t complete or we were right in ways we hadn’t intended. This reflection on our own perspective is the essence of Flip Flappers’s unique storytelling and content temporality. Note: I originally call this “temporality of meaning”, but as I thought more about the show I decided “content temporality” is more accurate. It’s not just meaning that morphs, but perceived purpose and other qualities as well. All the content we take in changes.Read More »
There are spoilers ahead. If you see a show title you haven’t watched yet, you might want to skip it until you have.
The time has come to reflect back on our most questionable hobby: seasonal anime. According to my research, a lot of anime was released in 2016. Too much. My home and body fell into decay trying to keep up with it all, but I regret nothing. I lived my life as a moe-infected caveman in order to make this retrospective possible, and I’d do it again. I live for the list, you could say (the secret is to drop all the boring trash immediately). Thus, as I finally shave, as sunlight breaks through my shades for the first time in months, let’s recap the five anime of 2016 that I am most likely to remember. The five anime that will define—for better or worse—2016 in my mind.
I’ll be applying the same rules as last year, so that means no shows continuing from cours or seasons that began in 2015 (or earlier). Additionally, I won’t be including any movies. This is primarily because I prefer/have to wait for disc releases. With all of that out of the way, here we go!Read More »
Western anime critics—particularly those featured on Crunchyroll and YouTuube—are now in a position of unchecked power over public opinion. While this is beneficial to the community at large by allowing a rapid dispersion of important or interesting info or criticisms, it is also a weapon prone to misfiring. This misfiring is the result of poor communication, faulty argument, and a general lack of standards. Before I go any further, I want to reiterate that, as with all of these posts, individual creators will be referenced to exemplify my points, but my intention is not to attack or praise them as individuals. I have great respect for anyone who spends time talking about the anime they love/hate. I write this because I respect you all so much. That being said, we have a problem.
To understand the spread and influence of critical opinion and the misfires of the machine that produces these opinions, we can simply look at the r/anime subreddit. Most obviously, comments in reply to any critical content invariably contain instances of users praising said content as truth, as perception-defining, and as final rule. This isn’t anything new. Critics have been influencing public opinion on books, music, politics, etc. for centuries. A basic knowledge of communications or media history could have told you that. I am just arguing that, with so few platforms for visibility, so little history, and such a niched fanbase, this issue is amplified in the anime community. You can read any thread about Erased and see an anonymous Digibro hydra repeat his arguments, oftentimes word-for-word. Cue hegemony, spiral of silence, so on.Read More »
Possible speculative spoilers for Flip Flappers ahead!
I feel like I shouldn’t write this post just yet, since I’ll be hemmed by speculation, but I’m going to do it anyway. This seems like the best time to point out a powerful storytelling technique—as we are all experiencing it live. I want to emphasize: this essay’s primary purpose is not to analyze the show, but to analyze the meta and mechanics behind the story.
Every episode of Flip Flappers has been a goldmine for analysis of symbolism, subtext, color, and allusion, but (and I don’t mean to belittle any of that analysis) all of that been relatively surface-level. That is, the show wants us to notice all of it. You can say: Cocona and Papika are like two halves to a whole—they swap hair color when they transform, they can only enter Pure Illusion with the other’s help, one is super energetic while the other is reserved. Yes, definitely, and that is worth talking about, but I don’t think any of that is something viewers are meant to dig for. It’s all right there, immediately accessible, as if Flip Flappers is pushing all of its latent content to the mainstage alongside its plot. As a result, the show can be playful in its storytelling. By first investigating the way Flip Flappers tells its sub-stories, we can uncover a complexity that shapes the show as a whole.Read More »