#1 Casual witchcraft
Flying Witch is a magical slice-of-life series about teenage witch Makoto Kowata. She has just moved in with her aunt and uncle in the city of Hirosaki, where she wants to attend a school for normal people. While doing so, she spends a lot of time with her cousin (and childhood friend) Kei, as well his little sister Chinatsu for whom magic is an exciting, new revelation.
Magic, in the world of Flying Witch, is not exactly common knowledge. Witches and all manner of paranormal creatures exist, but go largely unnoticed by the general population. There are few people who know about it and those who do keep quiet about it. However, magic is neither a strict secret nor is it dying; it just exists and is practiced by those who know about it as if it were a family tradition.
This creates a very casual attitude towards the supernatural. People just living life and using magic for fun, convenience, or as a way to sustain themselves. There are no villains, intricate conspiracies, or ancient mysteries that the characters need to overcome. Just relaxation with some magical studies on the side. This is Iyashikei at its finest.
#2 Charming dialogue & characters
The main casts consists of Makoto, Kei, and Chinatsu, who spend a lot of time together. Episodes can be about the three meeting a cloaked fortune teller or discovering a magical café operated by a ghost. Regardless of what paranormal activities they find themselves doing, the entertaining characters and dialogue make sure it’s always interesting.
Makoto is a very traditional person. She is very polite and well-spoken, though her graceful air is sullied by her clumsiness and penchant for getting lost. She is quickly overwhelmed by surprises, but laidback enough that she can deal with issues calmly. Kei is similarly relaxed, as he accepts all the magical events unfolding around him with mild bemusement. He’s also confident with a slight touch of selfishness; he does whatever he wants, even if people make fun of him or would rather do something else.
Chinatsu is a lot younger and has energy in abundance. She is excited about discovering all things magic, though sometimes hesitant when meeting something scary-looking. She is a little obsessed with the notion of growing up, and mostly looks towards Makoto and Kei—as well as their friends—for what adulthood should mean. Sadly for her, adulthood often ends up involving eating things she’d rather not eat.
The dialogue between the characters is reliably entertaining and very well-acted; quite amazing considering the relative inexperience of the talent. In fact, for Shinsuke Sugawara (Kei) and Minami Shinoda (Makoto) these were some of the first roles of their careers.
There is also a wide cast of supporting characters, but this review will end up being twice as long if you get me started on them.
#3 Brilliant fashion
I continue to have a soft spot for good fashion in anime, which is an itch that rarely gets scratched. Last time around I complimented Milky Holmes for its flashy magical outfits, but in Flying Witch I found a series whose fashion shines for the opposite reason: it’s perfectly normal.
The way clothes look in Flying Witch just looks so unlike what you typically expect from anime. The characters have many different outfits that neatly fit their personality, and these just look so normal. Shirts and uniforms don’t unnaturally wrap around people’s breasts, nobody wears anything unreasonably sexy. One could say it’s opposite of fanservice, but I don’t think it really is. The characters still look very cute and it was exciting getting to see the cast in new outfits. That’s way more service for me as a fan of Flying Witch than getting to see its girls rock a skimpy bikini.
In particular, I like the contrast between Makoto and her sister Akane. Makoto generally wears very mature clothes with layers to them. Clothes like a dark-colored button-up sweater with a white undershirt, for example. Akane, meanwhile, spends much of her time lounging around in shorts and hoodies, or T-shirts in exotic colors.
#4 Natural beauty
If Flying Witch was intended as a sneaky marketing campaign for Hirosaki, then it did a damn fine job. Throughout Makoto’s day-to-day life, there is rarely an episode where we don’t get to enjoy the beautiful, natural splendor of the city and its rural surroundings.
It’s a city of winding streets and traditional buildings, with parks, mountains, and entire forests always close by. These make for great backgrounds to frame the slice-of-life antics against and, at other times, nature itself gets pushed to the forefront. The artists managed to create some astounding compositions, like in the shot above. A witch hovering over the sakura trees at night, the vibrant pink both contrasted against and reflected in the river running between the trees.
There are some visually stunning moments in Flying Witch and, oftentimes, they don’t even need to involve any magic to create that beauty.
#5 Cute familiars (and other animals)
More like this…
Kiki’s Delivery Service: A young witch moves to a new city to train.
Restaurant to Another World: Wondrous magic in a casual environment.
Yuru Camp: Relaxing in beautiful nature.