Roving Thoughts archives


Some words on Mimi in the last episode of Flip Flappers

(There are spoilers here.)

I have tangled feelings about both Flip Flappers as a whole and its ending, feelings that I'm still sorting out. However, there are some aspects of the ending that I'm completely behind, and one of them is the show's perhaps odd decision to spend most of the first half of the last episode on a knock down, drag out fight with Mimi when Cocona and Papika had already neatly punched her monster out at the end of the previous episode. As spectacular as all of the fighting might have been, was it really important or necessary?

My answer is that yes, it was, or at least it felt that it belonged to me. To put it one way, it would be nice if you could get your over-protective mom to go away just by you and your girlfriend telling her to buzz off, but life is not that nice. Getting your overbearing mom to ease off generally requires a big screaming argument, although this is usually delivered by words, not you and your girlfriend beating down dark mom's monsters and eventually her more or less directly. But this is Flip Flappers, so this particular psychological point was delivered through some spectacular fireworks.

(In the end it wasn't just this fight, of course, and it never is. Dark mom Mimi had to come around, not merely be beaten down. Beating people up doesn't generally change their mind, and Mimi had to have her mind changed in order to really resolve the situation. Multiple things ultimately contributed to this change of heart, not just Cocona and Papika, and I feel that even Dr Salt wasn't quite as completely decorative as he looked. His presence mattered, even if he didn't actually do anything except stand around.)

Mimi's possessive over-protection of Cocona was a pivotal development (as was Cocona's willingness to accept it), and disposing of it casually and briefly simply wouldn't have felt right. It and other unresolved issues around Mimi needed to be resolved with enough effort to make the result feel earned.

PS: One of the things Flip Flappers is about is external representations of internal psychological struggles and issues. See, for example, this discussion of the pivotal episode 7.

PPS: Yes, they're girlfriends. How much more on point does transforming under their own power into a matched set of armored wedding dresses have to be? Flip Flappers may not always come out to say things out loud, but it's not beyond hitting us over the head with them.

anime/FlipFlappersEndingMimi written at 22:50:26; Add Comment

Made in Abyss passes the threshold and enters the unknown

(There are some spoilers here.)

"The Great Fault", Made in Abyss's ninth episode, is well known as anime-original content. Despite the stereotype that usually comes along with that, the episode is widely regarded as solid work that does important things with Riko's character and is simply enjoyable. You could quibble about the ending, where Reg is the one to make the climactic finish instead of Riko, but perhaps this was intended to be part of the point of the episode, to show that Riko could hand a fight to Reg when necessary and wouldn't insist on doing it all herself.

(I'm making an excuse for the show here. It's not flawless.)

It is my opinion that episode 9 is much more than this and that it shows that the show's creative staff fully understood what they were doing. Episode 9 does one very important but inobvious practical thing, which I'm putting in a sidebar at the end, but beyond that it carries a huge metaphorical and mythological charge that is the silent marker and foreshadowing of a phase change in Made in Abyss. This is because of just what Riko and Reg face and defeat at the end of the episode. What they face down and see off is not just any monster of the Abyss; it is the initial monster that Riko and Reg faced, the crimson splitjaw from the very start of their adventure together.

This crimson splitjaw is the gauntlet that has haunted and dogged Riko and Reg from the first episode onward; it was unfinished business from the past. In defeating it, they pass beyond the threshold of the past and enter the unknown, moving on into a new world. The crimson splitjaw was a lingering remnant of their old life that started in Orth, and now they're beyond it.

(Yes, this is a very Campbellian view of things.)

As people who have watched Made in Abyss know, episode 10 will go on to make this change very concrete.

In short, episode 9 primes us for episode 10, not in an obvious way but in a subtle, indirect one. I think it's deliberately designed to do so, since the staff of the anime adoption specifically brought back that crimson splitjaw, not just any monster and not even a generic crimson splitjaw (if they didn't want to design another type of monster). As a result, I like this episode quite a lot.

(This is part of the 12 Days of Anime for 2017.)

Sidebar: The important practical thing episode 9 covers

Episode 9 contains Riko's first serious encounter with the Curse of ascending in the deeps of the Abyss, and illustrates how hard and wrenching it is even in the third layer. This serves as an important lead in to the ascent she goes through in the fourth layer during episode 10, and means that the major impact of the Curse there doesn't come out of more or less nowhere.

(Being told about the Curse in exposition with semi-cute pictures isn't the same thing as having seen it in action the previous episode. The latter primes us much more; it's more visceral and real, especially with how Riko's hallucinations went.)

anime/MadeInAbyssEpisode9 written at 16:04:24; Add Comment

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