Flying Witch – Review
Original Air Dates: April 9th, 2016 – June 25th, 2016
Synopsis: Makoto Kowata moves back to Aomori to live with her relatives, second cousins, Kei and Chinatsu. But Chinatsu suspects that there’s more to Makoto than meets the eye. When the two girls go out on a quick shopping trip, Chinatsu discovers that Makoto is actually a witch! It’s not surprising that Chinatsu figured it out so quickly, as Makoto isn’t exactly the best at keeping this a secret. Now Makoto, who just turned fifteen and has come of age according to witch law, must adjust to her new life with her cousins in Aomori, a land of bountiful beauty.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Flying Witch is one of the most laid back slice of life in recent seasons. While Makoto is a witch, it’s more often focused on the average and everyday aspects of her high school life. Even when the more fantastical elements or aspects of witch craft are brought up, they’re handled with such mellow energy that it all feels like a mundane everyday occurrence rather than something that causes a huge uproar and extreme reactions. Most supernatural events or creatures are met with gasps of delight and in one particular episode, given the silent treatment which makes for a very toned down vibe, one’s that going to be perfect for those who want a slice of life show that isn’t constantly hooting and hollering with exaggerated expressions.
Tom: Despite the fantasy elements, Flying Witch is surprisingly slow, quaint and down to earth. The Witchcraft, which gradually becomes more prominent as the series progresses, never becomes overbearing or creates a more epic quality. Early on, Flying Witch struggles to find the perfect balance between its Witchcraft and grounded Slice of Life tone. It’s a struggle as Flying Witch sometimes keeps things too grounded in reality, its tone going from warm and fluffy to outright boring. But after the half way mark Flying Witch improves, coming into itself and maintaining a better balance between the fantasy and the mundane. This is in part due to an increased focus on Witchcraft, allowing the series to explore its unique elements and really shine as its own entity rather than as another generic slice of life with characters going about the every day.
Linny: Makoto is quiet. She feels more like a side character, the feminine, friendly but out of it character. Her most defining feature is her extreme lack of a sense of direction which is used or mentioned ever so often for humour. If you like your characters a little livelier, Makoto’s sister, Akane and her cousin, Chinatsu are going to steal the spotlight. Chinatsu is an adorable character with her responses and reactions to the world of witchcraft both adorable and comedic. Akane is like the hurricane that blazes through town and turns things upside down…well as upside down as one can get on a mellow show like Flying Witch.
Tom: Makoto is, without a doubt, a very laid back protagonist. She’s not a terribly compelling lead, but her slightly aloof nature works perfectly in this more easy going and unassuming setting. Chinatsu however, is the better driving force, providing plenty of excitement around the Witchcraft, helping to sell the more fantastical elements as something to look forward to and take an interest in. Thanks to these characters everything here feels much more real and potentially believable as they aren’t screaming and screeching with excitement at every turn. Rather their more muted reactions keep Flying Witch feeling much like the Slice of Life it’s trying to be.
Linny: The show has actual and actively present parents, something that a lot of slice of life shows seem to skimp on. It’s nice to have parents appear regularly and even participate in the events occurring onscreen instead of always being away on business trips. These parents are also shown to be modern and accepting, encouraging and supporting their kids to be themselves and pursue their passions which makes for a healthy and believable relationship, which in turn further helps sell the slice of life/realistic daily life vibe.
Tom: Flying Witch manages to keep things flowing by relying on a host of guest characters that keep popping up to introduce Makoto or Chinatsu to new witchcraft elements. For example, Makoto’s sister, Akane often brings about introductions to new types of magic. Chinatsu’s brother, Kei and his friend, Nao two characters that featured heavily in the opening, gradually get less and less screen time, especially Nao. It’s probably a good call as the Witchcraft often remains the more compelling aspect. In fact the series is at its weakest while it transitions from Nao and Kei centric plots to dropping them in favor of focusing more so on Akane and Co. generated stories.
Linny: While I enjoyed the animation style of Flying Witch, when pausing it to get a screen grab for the review’s featured image, I did notice that a lot of sequences had blurry and basic frames where the characters seemed to have been drawn in a rudimentary fashion. It didn’t bother me while watching the show but it might be more noticeable to people with sharper eyes or bigger screens. What I did notice though was that the entire opening sequence has all its characters and even backgrounds showing a weird green outline which I couldn’t figure out the exact reason for..maybe it’s a stylistic choice?
Tom: Conversely, I found Flying Witch’s background art to really stand out, expertly capturing the quaint nature of this rural setting and bringing this more laid back life style to, well life.
Linny: Flying Witch is the perfect show to wind down with after a busy day, when you don’t want to think too much or could use a pick-me-up. It’s not rambunctious like a lot of other slice of life with younger casts and it does tend to drag a bit every now and then. But if you’re looking for a calming show, this show is the equivalent of a cup of chamomile tea.
Tom: Flying Witch is initially hit or miss as it struggles to maintain a balance between the fluffy nature of Slice of Life and a boring end result of keeping things too low on conflict. But Flying Witch gradually hits its stride and solidifies itself as one of the better Slice of Life experiences delivered on this year. I don’t think it ever hits the heights of say, Non Non Biyori, but it’s just as entertaining as the more ludicrous Anne-Happy this year, but offers a more subdued, more grounded vibe for viewers who enjoy the ever calming nature many Slice of Life offer.
Flying Witch is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.