First Impressions Digest – Flip Flappers, All Out!

Flip Flappers – 01

Flip Flappers is a bit of an interesting mess, and a good example of why it’s important to hire a writer.  How does one sum this series up?  It’s sort of like Gainax and Masaaki Yuasa had a baby, visually anyway.  As for the content, well – that’s where the messy part comes in.

Speaking of Yuasa-sensei, I searched high and low trying to find some connection to him in the staff list but if it’s there, I missed it.  This premiere really puts me in mind of his visual work, but with a twist of old school Gainax or Bones – which reflects the pedigree of director Oshiyama Kiyotaka and Animation Director/Character Designer Kojima Takashi.  Studio 3HZ did some impressive work with Dimension W and it’s clear they’re a studio to watch, at least when it comes to producing visually arresting anime with a lot of retro feel.

Sadly, though, I find Flip Flappers to be pretty soulless.  The premiere plays as if the artists and animators wrote the story, and not in a good way.  There’s a lot of beautiful and strange imagery and animation sequences here but nothing tying them together apart from an extremely basic cute mahou shoujo premise, which seems to exist for little more than to provide an excuse for loli fanservice.  Of the two leads Kokona is very plain yogurt and Papika rather annoyingly perky, so not much help there (when a robot who only says one syllable is the most interesting cast member, it’s a bad sign).

I love great animation and interesting art, but ultimately a full-length anime has to be able to tell a story, and so fat there’s not much evidence Flip Flappers is either inclined or able to do that.  But it’s just one episode, so who knows – at the very least the series should provide plenty of eye candy for animation geeks.

 

All Out! – 01

Anytime Madhouse weighs in with something that’s not a boilerplate LN adaptation, that’s an item of interest – not least when it’s a sports series.  They’re no stranger to sports anime of course – there’s a long history there, most recently their co-production on Daiya no A (with Production I.G.).  This is a co-production too, with TMS Entertainment (come to think of it Hajime no Ippo: Rising was a co-production too – why do they only do co-productions on sports manga adaptations??) and this time around the subject is rugby.  Like men’s figure skating, this is a sport that as far as I know has never had a full anime treatment – we’ll see if its up to the challenge.

I’m not quite sure what to make of the first episode, to be honest.  It was pleasant enough, boisterous and boyish and brash, but the humor didn’t really work for me.  We have a classic tale of two opposites, a giant first-year named Iwashimizu who’s scared of his own shadow, and a pint-sized kid named Gion who overcompensates for his size by being pugnacious to a fault.  Iwashimizu has a history with rugby, as it turns out – he seriously injured the captain of his middle-school team bowling him over on his way to a touchdown try.  So he’s reluctant to be a part of it now, while Gion sees it as a chance to work off some of his hostility towards guys bigger than he is (read: everyone).

That’s all fine and good, and the premiere is well-produced and slickly animated.  I just didn’t get a whole lot of pop from the characters, and I don’t really know enough about rugby to have that aspect draw me in on its own.  The first problem is of course far more important than the second, and maybe it will change as we dig deeper into the story and characters.  The basic look of the series is pretty much classic Madhouse old-school sports. but the marketing campaign certainly made it look as if they’re going for a different target audience (and in fact All Out shares a head writer with the Free! adaptation).  So on the whole I’m not really sure what we’re going to get with this show, and it may take a few weeks to figure that out.

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7 comments

  1. s

    “at the very least the series should provide plenty of eye candy for animation geeks.”

    It sure did. As for the story itself, im not ready to call it a mess just yet. The way this episode was directed indicates that this was a more “let the visuals immerse you into the world and the characters and let it tell this eccentric tale that we have in store”. There were too many things in this first ep that gave me signs that there was a sense of direction going on with the narrative. At first i did feel the way you did as i felt the writing was bit messy but then after giving it another watch, things started to click more with the visual storytelling and i was a bit more on board. Ill see with the next few eps whether the disconnect was intentional or not but as of right now, i can say that there was some cohesion behind the disconnect from the moment the episode began. Im curious to find out what my overall verdict will be with the next few eps but i certainly enjoyed myself with this premiere. I have yet to watch All OUT so im gonna get to that and come back with an opinion….probably

  2. s

    P.S. i really tell how indifferent you’ve been about this fall season of anime so far. I can hear it in voice of your writing, almost as if you’re exasperated. I will say this: regardless of the few shows this season that exude greatness, there seems to be something for everyone this time around

  3. I honestly don’t feel exasperated, because most of the series I had high hopes for haven’t premiered yet. Truthfully, there have been three shows so far that I thought had a chance – Trickster, Natsume and Yuri – and they’ve all hit just about right where I expected.

  4. Hmm…Flip Flappers made a better impression on me (big surprise) in its first ep, but for me the issue was not so much that the writing was weak (afterwards when I sat down and sorted out my thoughts there was a very clear story going on) but rather that the manner of presentation were so … strong, and not necessarily in the sense of objectively fantastic as much as a sensory overload. Well, at least for me. Others may have experienced it differently.

    I was more interested in what you described as feeling a “soulless” sensation in relation to the characters, and that the character you found most interesting was the robot (had to giggle at that). Well, who knows, we will see where things go, like you said.

    It may be (at least this is my guess at the moment) that these two are like that for a reason and what you are sending is what is supposed to be conveyed … that is, that they are empty inside (albeit for differing reasons) and need to emotionally grow out of where they are now, and that each will be the catalyst for one another to begin the process?

    But even if that (or some other hoped for storyline) is what they are hoping to do I totally agree that they need to do it effectively, and that however nice the animation by 3Hz is that’s only one part of the end result.

    To be fair, though, this is the biggest sleeper guess of the season for me, and part of me really wants it to succeed, so I am kinda predisposed to give it more line than others. ^^;;

  5. Flip Flappers has been pretty hyped, so I don’t know how big a sleeper it is. In any event I too will give it some rope to hang itself, because it certainly passes the eye test.

  6. Geh…not sending…SENSING. Blasted autocorrect. XD

  7. e

    Soo… All Out. I liked the subtle(!) hint of foreshadowing about Mr. Tree Trunk being crazy strong disguised as a comic gag when he picked up Mr. Angry Protag[ But His Eyebrows Are Kinda Cool] and kept carrying him around. Arms straight and unwavering all the way. Dang son that’s some stamina. Ah and Ginger Head got some outrageous but pretty silver curls – nice voice there too -. Oh and the fact that MC helped Blondie Tree to tackle his issues was satisfying in a punny sort of way – not enough engagement was built up to make it an effective emotional payoff as a viewer though -. But the positives ended here for me I’m afraid . We’ll see next week…
    In the meantime those bubble knees and those oppai mousepad pecs on top of skeletal anatomy fail 101( seriously. The hell?! As soon as they don those second skin rugby uniforms it’s a Pandora’s Box of draftmanship sins ) will give me nightmares. Yay T^T .

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