“Just write down where you want to go.”
-School counselor to Cocona, Flip Flappers, Episode 1
“But Iro is Iro. There’s always been only one.”
-Papika as Iro to Cocona, also as Iro, Flip Flappers, Episode 6
The key to understanding Pure Illusion is in Flip Flappers‘ sixth episode and the memories of Iroha Irodori.
“The weather’s so nice today, I can’t get any work done. Though, I can’t get anything done on rainy days either. Not many days come along that are just right.”
-Iroha Irodori to Cocona, Flip Flappers, Episode 4
Art club upperclassman Iroha Irodori has always been visible in Cocona’s periphery. She is the plein air painter in the shade of a tree as Cocona walks past in Flip Flappers‘ first episode, encounters Cocona in front of a large painting at their school in the second, and progressively grows closer to Cocona throughout the series. Come Episode 6, Iroha has an entire Pure Illusion adventure where Papika and Cocona explore Iroha’s past from Iroha’s childhood perspective.
Titled “Pure Play,” the episode tells a sad story of Iroha’s relationship with an elderly neighbor and how it shaped her life and art up to the point where Cocona meets her — the slightly-eccentric art club upperclassman who offers tea and a friendly ear. Not only does it offer a different perspective of Iroha herself, but it brings to the forefront a few more of Flip Flappers‘ thoughts on art and the human psyche. This is a series with many visual and named references — Cocona’s pet presumably named for Jakob von Uexküll is one of the more interesting ones — dealing with illusion, art, and human psychology. Iroha’s episode offers a bit more insight into these references, allowing her to step forward from the periphery and become a key component in the series’ narrative.