Flip Flappers is a Love Story of a Closeted Gay Girl Trying to Break Free, Under Guise of a Magical Girl Fairy Tale!
This will have spoilers of episode 7, so be forewarned! Flip Flappers is a very outlandish, crazy, seemingly random, show that’s been compared to the likes of FLCL, Kill la Kill and even Mad Max. It’s also a magical girl show, imagine that. However, don’t let it fool you into thinking it’s inconsistent, as it’s probably the best written show of the season, but for reasons that not everyone may have caught. The Yuri themes in this show is not secret and since episode 5, it’s been suggested that this might be a show about a closeted gay girl trying to come to terms with her sexuality and break out the closet that is her mind. “Pure Illusion” is also highly theorized to be the metaphor for her mind and the chaotic state it’s in due to her confusion about herself and her adventures there are her trying to come to terms with it all and Papika is her trigger. So this theory is not my original idea, but after episode 7, I feel that it’s no longer just a theory, but the canon interpretation and this is my analysis as to why. Long post incoming, but I believe worth it.
This episode starts with Cocona and Papika confronting Dr. Salt about why they were doing this and as usual, they don’t get a good answer. They don’t want to continue, but he doesn’t give them a choice. Papika decides to accept it and keep up the work, but Cocona is still strongly opposed. Papika tries to reassure her that she’ll be there for her, so not to be scared and come with her. This sentence above will be quite important later on.
Papika reaches her hand out to Cocona, but she pulls away. She’s too scared or returning to the world of “Pure Illusion”, which again we assume is the metaphor for her confused mind and I’d assume that successfully collecting all the fragments would be the point at which she’d have finally conquered that confusion and freed herself. But let’s get back on topic for now. Cocona pulls away, refusing Papika and to continue her quest to self-acceptance.
After she does this, the science guy looks so disappointed, as though she’s failed her test and is reverting. Further suggesting this is all about her.
She then wakes up in a faux world based on her reality, but is very much out of reality. There’s no one around and it’s clear at this point, she is in “Pure Illusion” a.k.a. her mind, which also serves as her closet. However, Papika, who’s usually always with her, is nowhere to be found. Or so we thought….
Papika is there, however not as she knows her. She meets her “Imouto” Papika, who I feel represents the childish, overbearing side of Papika. Cocona tries to do what she usually does to Papika, reject her playful or overbearing nature, but she finds that it’s harder to do with this version of Papika. However in the end, she doesn’t full accept her personality or her offer to spend the night (suggesting a certain intimacy, platonic or otherwise, that Cocona’s not used to) and so the girl disappears.
Then she meets the “Bad Boy”, who I feel represents the rebellious side of Papika. He encourages Cocona to break the rules a bit and to not be so obedient to societal laws. He is in essence trying to get her to stop being so afraid to do what she wants to do just because others may not approve. Things such as admit that she’s a girl who likes other girls, which is outside the norm and highly disapproved of by her society. He’s the second attempt of Cocona’s mind to pull herself out of the closet after her “Imouto” failed, but once again, she hesitates and refuses to accept him fully and so he disappears as well.
Then she meets the “Creeper” who reminds me in a way of the MC in Watamote, but that’s an aside. Anyway, this girl represents the awkward and strange side of Papika. She startles Cocona, stopping her from opening the drawer, but then proceeds to encourage her to open it. When Cocona hesitates, she says they can do it together. Cocona opens the door and honestly what was inside was probably the most telling part of this episode.
Nail Clippers. Now, I’m not a lesbian, but even I know what nail clippers are meant to represent and what they insinuate. This is a classic trope about lesbians and Flip Flapper went there. Needless to say, I was floored, but in the best way. Cocona didn’t understand, but once they were revealed, the “Creeper” disappeared like the other, this third attempt also a failure.
Then she meets the “Free Spirit”. This likely represents Papika’s carefree and impulsive nature. This persona encourages Cocona to knock down her sand mound, clearly a metaphor for “a wall”. After Cocona does this, the girl asks her if it felt good and Cocona says it did. This i the first real sign that Cocona is making progress towards actually breaking down her walls and setting herself free. Also, if you notice, this girl didn’t disappear, but rather the scene changed. She’s gone, but less abruptly. The 4th attempt was a slight success.
Then she meets the “Delinquent”. This persona represents Papika’s reckless side and her disregard for danger. He encourages her to let her hair down and have some fun, rather than be her usual serious self. He encourages her to become a delinquent too, even if only as pretend. Again, he doesn’t disappear, the scene just changes. The fifth attempt was a slight success as well. She then spends the day with all five of these personas, effectively getting closer to them and therefore being more receptive to their influence.
Immediately after that brief montage, she meets the “Pessimist” Papika, who seems to have a negative view of herself and lacks confidence. This encourages Cocona to support her and try to get her to appreciate her self worth. Important because Cocona herself needs to learn to do this and was likely the purpose of this sixth persona. Again, the scene simply changed rather than her disappearing, which means this was also a slight success.
Then she meets the Seventh persona, the “Pretty Boy”. Now, this is a special persona, which is why it wasn’t grouped with the first six as rather than trying to encourage her for the better, he served to show her what she didn’’t want.
Of all the previous persona’s, this was the first she openly rejected and showed disinterest in. She was still a bit flustered just by way of the fact that it was in some form a part of Papika, but she still didn’t care much for her in this form. This was important because it further suggests that boys are not what she likes, but rather girl’s. Although the some of the other personas were also boys, they were not so unapologetically boyish and it was easier to see Papika behind their appearances. That’s what I interpreted this as anyway.
She then ends up in a love hotel and begins to feel disheartened as she can’t find Papika for real and is tired of all the hassle. She wonders if she should stay in that world. This is the very definition of staying in the closet and her fear of what will happen makes her feel like it’s better there. She’s reverting again and she’s running from change, which clearly terrifies her.
As though to answer her fear, the eighth and final persona arrives, “The Seductress”. She represents Papika’s sensual side, but like the sixth, isn’t quite the same. She’s a part of Papika perhaps, but is being portrayed as a direct reflection of Cocona’s hidden desires. She desires an outlet for those feelings as well as validation that she is still deserving of love even if she changes. Even if she gives into those desires, she will still be loved by Papika no matter what. She represents the unconditional acceptance that Papika offers her.
However, she’s not sure that she loves this Papika, because it’s not the one she knows. The one who is less provocative and is easier to accept.
An important question because it makes Cocona face the fact that Papika has many sides to her, many she’s yet to fully accept, because doing so would require her to acknowledge the parts of herself she’s yet to accept.
So this persona attempts to pull it out of her once and for all. Does she love her, even though she’s a girl and isn’t the Papika she’s accustomed to.
Of course, Cocona falls back on the assumption that she must mean as a friend because the thought of it meaning anything more is still too taboo and difficult for her to accept as truth for herself.
The persona is genuinely surprised and a bit offended at this as her confession of love was clearly not as simply a friend and the fact that Cocona even has to ask that, shows she’s aware that it may mean something more.
She tries to rationalize it by defining what love is, but she can’t, because she doesn’t actually know. This is in part why she can’t understand what she really feels.
The scene switches to “The Seductress” playing her part and attempting to seduce Cocona. I think that this was Cocona’s mind trying to define what love is. In this case, it might mean physical intimacy, which again is a part of Cocona’s secret desire, but at the same time, isn’t her true desire.
Cocona makes up excuses as to why she can’t stay and has to go, because the truth is she’s not good enough. Cocona desires Papika, but not in such a cheap way. She wants more than that, she wants HER Papika. She understands that being with this persona in that way is not real love as it’s more superficial. True love is that like she has with Papika, which has a degree of purity this persona cannot give her. She successfully rejects this false love.
After this encounter, Cocona again searches for HER Papika, but cannot find her. She starts to miss her and I think this is where she begins to realize just how important Papika is to her, the first step on acknowledging her love. However, as she thinks of her, a massive sinkhole opens up and begins to suck her in. She’s falling and of course she calls out for Papika to save her. Remember that line from the start? Well, just as she promised, Papika was there to catch her when she was falling. She will always be there for her.
She says she found HER lost Cocona. Papika has never hidden the way she feels about Cocona and clearly considers her as much more than simply a friend. She’s not stuck in a closet because she’s fine with who she is, she’s accepted herself as she is. That is why she is the only one who can enter “Pure Illusion” with Cocona and the only one who can free her from it. She is meant to save Cocona from the confines of her mind and pull her out of the closet once and for all. She’s never giving up on her and is determined.
This. Cocona finally realizes that it was her all along. She thought Papika was lost and she had to find her, but in fact Cocona was the lost one. She was lost in her mind, in “Pure Illusion” and needed to be found. However, Papika couldn’t find her until she began to find herself and accept it. Her falling down into that hole was her finally starting to accept herself and therefore rendering the world unstable. She’s very close to accepting the fact that she is gay and that Papika is the girl she loves. She’s almost out of the closet, and they got another fragment as proof of her progress. Soon they will achieve their goal and I believe it’ll be at that point that Cocona will accept her true nature willingly and embrace Papika fully.
The episode ended with them returning to the real world in a field of flowers and they spend some time there, happy to be back with each other. I think you can see a change in Cocona at this point, where she’s almost at ease and at least for the moment, isn’t trying to run from her feelings. She may even at this point have come to accept that she does indeed love Papika and perhaps that is why the fragment started glowing. It’s followed by a brief memory, what it means is yet to be determined but will likely play a part in the next leg of Cocona’s journey. Now that she’s accepted her love for Papika, the final step will be coming out of that closet once and for all. I also expect that more info on the twins and Yayaka will unfold as they clearly have a role in this as well and I wouldn’t be surprised if Yayaka has some hidden feelings for Cocona too.
So yea, this was a long analysis I know, but I couldn’t help myself. This episode was probably my favorite, followed closely by 5, as they both had heavy metaphors on her apparent gayness and the most intelligent writing of any anime this season. This anime as a whole is brilliantly written and directed and I honestly can’t stop raving about it. This is the anime of the season, hands down. I look forward to seeing the rest of what this show has to offer in the coming weeks, as if these first seven were any indication, they are sure to be phenomenal. As I said, I’m not a lesbian, so I could be off base with some of my interpretations, but I love Yuri with a passion. If nothing else, that should at least show just how important this is to me and that I’m in full support. If you’re not already watching, now would be a great time to jump on the hype train.