“I’ve known her for years . . . how should I put it?”
-Cocona to Papika regarding Yayaka, Flip Flappers, Episode 3
Before Papika, there was Yayaka.
It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact moment where Yayaka began to care for Cocona, but it happened the day that they met. Yayaka, sent as an agent of Asclepius to befriend Cocona and keep an eye on her, leads Cocona on an adventure away from the hospital where Cocona is required to take tests — presumably because of the amorphous shard buried in her upper thigh.
Episode 10 of Flip Flappers reveals that everything in Cocona’s life is monitored, even this interaction, thanks to that one shard. Similarly, Yayaka’s life is also dictated by others. The difference is that Yayaka is aware, and gave herself to Asclepius willingly, in order to find her place in the world. This is how she comes to meet Cocona, and unexpectedly find another place to belong in the world at Cocona’s side.
In their first meeting, the two are surrounded by a red and pink begonia garden, which offers more insight to their relationship than pretty imagery. More specifically they’re framed by cane or “angel wing” begonias.
Defined by two larger, round petals and two smaller wing-like petals, cane begonias are the most common variety of begonia. They have ominous meanings that include looming dark and distracting thoughts, and warnings or caution regarding future situations or meetings with others. Begonias are a common gift to receive as thanks for a favor — original begonias was named by French botanist Charles Plumier after French politician Michel Bégon — and can also mean harmonious alliances between political powers or friends and family. While they do represent caution, they also cement friendships and alliances.
Red and pink begonias — as it is with many red and pink flowers — represent romance and love. This gives Yayaka’s feelings towards Cocona another depth, even if she’s too afraid to voice them due to her self-proclaimed “different mindset.”
The begonia is the perfect flower for Yayaka, who tries to hide her emotions from the world, especially her friend Cocona. Somewhere during their first meeting, the cautious Yayaka’s emotional walls are lowered by Cocona’s unconditional friendship, and despite wishing to maintain her distance, Yayaka repeatedly breaks this rule, especially when Cocona begins travelling to Pure Illusion with Papika.
The begonia — Yayaka — is visible at every turn in Cocona’s daily life, watching over her at all times. From the moment Cocona wakes up from her dream of Mimi in Flip Flappers‘ first episode, begonias are in the painting above her bed — also present in this painting are butterflies, suggesting that Papika is also watching over Cocona — in the garden at her feet as she leaves her house, and on the table in the nurse’s office where she meets up with Yayaka.
Yayaka is a stand-offish, defensive girl who tries in vain to hide the depth of her feelings for Cocona. She is always watching over Cocona, craving her friendship in one moment while pushing her away the next. The brief glimpse we see of Yayaka’s psyche is an ice palace, with each hard-cut facet reflecting a different moment she spent with Cocona.
Cocona gives an injured Yayaka begonias in Episode 10. This scene cements Yayaka’s visible feelings for Cocona, but is immediately followed by the reveal that Yayaka was initially sent by Asclepius to watch over Cocona — begonias cement alliances, but they also warn and represent dark or distracting thoughts. Too caught up in a series of reveals and perceived betrayals, Cocona cannot see Yayaka’s true feelings, and instead believes that their entire friendship has been a lie.
When Yayaka fights her former partners — twin creations of Asclepius Toto and Yuyu — it’s with the begonia plant that Cocona gave her, a final tribute to their bond.
The other recurring flower in Flip Flappers is the clover. Tied to Mimi — who is presumably Cocona’s mother — Cocona receives a flower wreath made of clovers and white clover flowers from Papika in Episode 7. Episode 10 shows an identical scene with Mimi receiving a clover wreath from Papika and a young Salt.
The common meaning of the white clover flower is similar to the clover itself — luck and fortune. It also means “think of me” or the promise of a life of leisure.
More importantly, white clover flowers also carry the meaning of revenge for broken promises. The giver gifts the object of their affection with a white clover wreath, asking their potential partner to think of them. Should they break that promise, the white clover promises revenge.
This adds a hint of darkness to the flower crown that Cocona receives, especially with the events of Episode 10. Cocona already feels betrayed by both Papika and Yayaka.
Before Papika, there was Yayaka. Before Cocona, there was Mimi.