Flying Witch aired in the spring of 2016. The anime follows the life of a young witch, Makoto Kowata, who leaves home to study witchcraft in the countryside as is their tradition. Makoto travels from Yokohama to Aomori which is a favorite training spot for young witches owing to its connection to nature. She moves in with her cousins Kei and Chinatsu who are based in Aomori and help her adjust to the country life.
The beauty of Flying Witch is that it is exemplary in the aspect of slice of life. While it does focus on witches and witchcraft, the quality of the show lies in how down to earth it is. The interactions that Makoto undergoes during her daily life in Aomori are quite natural and exhibit much realness. Makoto’s relaxed personality and her sincere and genuine curiosity serves as an anchor for other characters to act upon creating situations that allow both Makoto and us viewers to engage these characters and the nature that serves as the series backdrop. With all the action that anime normally has to offer, its rare to see an anime that focuses on daily life in such an natural way.
Flying Witch also highlights the connection to nature excellently. Rather than using it as a plot device and overemphasizing the necessity of nature in witchcraft, the show takes a different approach by weaving the use of natural elements into the situation. In effect, the aspect of nature that is highlighted in the show is done so in a subtle and less hard sell manner. In Flying Witch, Makoto’s interest and her inquisitive nature exposes her to many aspects of the countryside that city folk would tend to neglect. Early on for instance, we see Makoto digress from her walk when she smells something familiar among the shrubs eventually finding a rare mandrake. In another scene, we see her surprised by the presence of the pheasant leading her to chase it in an attempt to capture it due to her interest. It’s these small instances in the show that remind us that witchcraft aside, nature can be and is beautiful. The connection of the characters to nature in the show is a timely reminder showing us what a wonderful aspect of life that we hardly see these days and often take for granted.
The characters are also engaging despite being common folk, reacting in natural ways without too much exaggeration for comedic effect. Chinatsu, a younger girl, for instance is well written and consistent in character. Her reactions to the events that go on around her are appropriate for her age and for her character. Chinatsu’s curiosity is trademark of children of her age and her desire to experience the world and see things with her own eyes highlights the charm of childhood and the excitement of discovery. We often see Chinatsu following Makoto, opting to stay, watch, and even participate whenever some form of witchcraft is about to happen. Instead of presenting witchcraft as something scary, we see a nicer side of the spectrum – one that is able to capture and sustain the innocent interest of a child.
The element of witchcraft in Flying Witch is really a means to highlight nature and feels like a part of everyday life in the series. Rather than serving as an element to create some form of action or intensity, witchcraft in the series is more about discovery. In fact, Makoto hardly uses witchcraft in her daily life. While one might expect a magic user to be using spells to make life easier, the series again takes the slice of life route and finds a way to incorporate it in a more organic way.
Simply put, Flying Witch is a series that is heavy on the slice of life department with characters that interact in the most natural of ways. With some magic and witchcraft thrown into the mix, the anime manages to tell a story that draws you in for unexpected reasons. Flying Witch takes what would otherwise seem uneventful and turns it into something engrossing.