Do you want a show that is serene, tranquil, and perfect for relaxation? Maybe you are tired of how action-packed and over-the-top most anime are? Perhaps you want to relieve yourself of all the worries in real life and just enjoy the ride? The series is adapted from the manga of the same name and essentially, it’s a hybrid of slice of life and fantasy. We follow the life of Kowata Makoto as she returns to living in a rural town with her friends and relatives. In essence, it explores the daily life style of how Makoto gets around while also developing her magical skills as the flying witch. Her friends and family guides her while we also learn about their characters. There is no linear storytelling as each episode seems to be an episodic adventure of itself. However, that’s what actually makes Flying Witch so special because just how unique the show can be as we see its imaginative tale. Every moment of every episode unfolds naturally and organically; there’s a very subtle but unmistakable message that humans (witch or otherwise) are truly inseparable from the earth, plants, wind, and sky. There’s no overt conflict, no overly energetic comedy bits, and really no plot. I have no idea how an entire episode dedicated to the coming of spring, taking a few walks, and picking fresh wildflower buds for tempura can be utterly captivating, but that’s why Flying Witch is so magical.
One thing that’s particularly refreshing is that all the characters, even ones from the magical world, are portrayed in a very realistic manner. Instead of relying on eccentric behavior to drive the story, the show just lets people be themselves. This is particularly important for the character of Chinatsu, a grade-school girl who’s the younger cousin of Makoto (the titular witch of the series). It’s great to see her reactions because she doesn’t act like any of the anime tropes you might expect to encounter, nor is she given any odd quirks to make her more of a stand-out (e.g. Renge from Non Non Biyori). Chinatsu’s just a normal kid, and that alone makes her a rare and wonderful creation. Similarly, Chito, Makoto’s cat and familiar, actually acts and is animated like a real cat. Chito can be lazy, likes taunting the neighborhood dog, and goes on inscrutable adventures that only another cat could truly understand. I’ve followed a few cats on their adventures in my time and Chito is exactly like those real world felines.
While the pacing of the series may feel sluggish, it’s the atmospheric feel and ways to embrace the fantasy genre that really can win fans over. Throughout the show, there’s all type of supernatural gags that makes their appearances ranging from sonic screeching mandrakes, flying whales, mysterious ghosts, and even anthropomorphic characters that can transform into a dog. Familiars such as cats and hamsters are also no stranger in this series either. The point is that the series wants the viewers to experience what it has to offer by bringing all sorts of content to the table. It succeeds in this by bringing a sense of magical realism by combining elements of supernatural with daily life experiences. From a story perspective, the series can stray some viewers from pursuing further into the series as at times, the pacing can feel uninteresting. If you’re dying for some magical action, then you’re looking at wrong place. This isn’t some series about witches trying to take over the world. In fact, Flying Witch emphasizes a lot about its premise and themes rather than story development.
J.C. Staff helms the series and it’s quite an elegant feeling you’ll see with its artwork. Characters look simple yet makes you wonder what to expect about them. There’s a refreshing feel whenever you see characters like Makoto on a broomstick or Chinatsu with witch aesthetics on. Even the setting of a rural town is crafted quite well with a countryside feel that is nostalgic. Soundtrack and music plays an important part of the series as it brings the atmospheric feeling to life. The overall tone of the show has a gentle tone and is wonderfully put together with its soft instruments. Both the OP and ED theme songs are also lighthearted and reminds us how charming the series can be. Furthermore, I have to give praise for the overall voice mannerism of the series as they sound exactly as their personalities is reflected. I confess to myself that the series is perhaps one of the most charming shows I’ve watched in recent years.