Welcome, all, again. Flying Witch is a leisurely slice-of-life offering which was simulcast on Crunchyroll earlier this spring and summer (2016). Its titular heroine is Makoto Kowata, a teenage girl of magical lineage who moves away from home to train. Well, almost away from home. Like her older sister Akane before her, Mako-chan moves in with cousins living in Aomori, a rural community. This branch of the family, the Kuramoto(s), have no magic but are quite accustomed to its possession and use by their kinfolk, making them the perfect support network for a young witch-in-training. (Poor Kiki only wished she had it so good! Still, a beautiful continuity of theme from Kiki’s Delivery Service.) It also helps that Makoto used to regularly visit the Kuramoto family years ago when Akane lived with them, making her own stay more like a homecoming. Oh, and that her cousin Kei Kuramoto is Makoto’s own age and used to play with her during those visits. So despite her move, Mako-chan is home again.
But Makoto was never very good with directions, and things have a tendency towards change. Taken together, these two facts can make even the most welcoming environment assume certain challenging aspects. Upon arriving in Aomori, Makoto isn’t even sure how to find her relatives’ house; she certainly isn’t prepared for the inquisitiveness of Kei’s younger sister Chinatsu, who is unfamiliar with the Kowata side of the family. Chinatsu’s deadpan responses to the changes in her little world are gems of humor! But although almost severely skeptical at first, she becomes enamored of the new experiences and characters revealed to her by her older cousin. And once Akane starts stopping by to check on Makoto–then begins extending those visits–Chinatsu wastes no time apprenticing herself to the more (the moe?) experienced witch! After all, not all witches are born so; thus, it looks as if the Kuramoto clan will finally have a witch of their own, and with the full moral support of her parents and brother.
And that pretty much sums up the essence of this series. You’ll probably notice that I placed very little emphasis on witchcraft and magic. Frankly, that’s because this show isn’t so much about witchcraft and magic, but about a family–in this case, an extended family–providing its members with love and support in which to root themselves as they become the people they wish to be. These are not perfect people: they make mistakes; they get in each others’ way. But they accept that about themselves and each other. If I were to compare Flying Witch to just one other show, it would be Non Non Biyori–and that’s a high compliment! A young female student from the city moves to a rural area and proceeds to establish herself within the community, making friends and learning about local life. Both series have a certain quietude about them, and both focus upon the close bonds of family and friendship. (Meanwhile, Chinatsu and Ren-chon share an understated deadpan delivery that packs a wallop, and a certain amount of pampered indulgence from the the older members of their respective groups.) Magic is inherent to this story, but it is not the story. And Flying Witch is a better show because of that.