A small amount of time ago, I wrote an article about how some shows build a believable world. You can read that post here. In the post in question, I talked about how the older series Macross 7 makes you feel like you are living in the world you are in through episodic story telling. I then put a counter to that with From the New World does it in newer anime where it takes you into the world with characters starting at a younger age and then looking at multiple stages of as they grow up. So basically, two different ways to make a believable world in believable. How those worlds can be defined where the viewer can see themselves in them. So, what happens when a world shouldn’t be defined or are supposed to be made from imagination?
That is what Eat-Man and Flip Flappers have in common that way. Now, Eat-Man does have some limitations brought by being more cheaply produced and relying on older bits of cell animation while Flip Flappers is much more lavishly produced with wonderful animation and some of the best tv production I’ve ever seen. So yes, there is some gaps in their execution and style. In my mind, they still are trying to explore some vague spaces. The world of Eat-Man which has a name I am sure of it, has all sorts of things going on in it but are never explained at all. It’s just our boy Bolt Crank showing up somewhere randomly either in a rush or found starving next to a dumpster in a back alley. Flip Flappers has the world of Pure Illusion that is created by however it’s created and features Papika and Cocona as magical girls sometimes in very much the same way as Eat-Man. Two unexplainable places that are made manifest.
Clearly, Eat-Man has its world this way because of some very interesting director intent and limitations while Flip Flappers uses all of its fun and joy to make Pure Illusion alive. Whatever the reasons are, they are still unidentifiable and that’s the point. There shouldn’t be a feeling of logic in worlds that are not explainable. They are just there and there is magic in the unknown. Having Papika and Cocona going somewhere in Pure Illusion is a continuous sense of Alice in Wonderland strangeness. Well, with a little more anime tropes and clichés thrown around every episode but in a different way then you would expect it to. There is also an emotional resonance in the story that happens with how Cocona and Papika connect to each other in Pure Illusion and then discovering themselves when they master their magical girl skills. It’s a very emotional sort of thing that thinks about logic afterwards.
I feel guiltier and guiltier of putting Eat-Man in with Flip Flappers here, but sometimes that is just what happens. Plus, Eat-Man does follow some of the same principals but takes magic and exchanges it for science fiction. Something that can be called magic itself just in a future tense where the misunderstanding goes in a different direction. The world feels more grounded because science is treated natural in some plays and not in some others. Especially since there is that invincible flying ship up in the air somewhere that is beyond the fantastical. It is the most explained thing in that world despite being so vague because it doesn’t have an explanation for why it exists. It’s that since of major and wonder that lots of people want to check out for their own needs. It goes by feeling rather then logic.
So how does a person create a Wonderland or a land beyond our reality? Go by feelings, not emotions. Never do the same thing, always surprise your audience by going for something different. Not allow the audience to be comfortable. Be experimental, be wild, and be fun. There is some inevitability of the world eventually being able to be explainable in some ways because that is what happens when people spend enough time in a world or start to explore its rules consistencies and inconsistencies. I guess that is why Eat-Man and Flip Flappers are only one cour long. Enough to get a taste of Pure Elusion and wherever the hell Eat-Man takes place in.