Revisiting Flying Witch

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Author: David

Southern gentleman of Irish heritage. Family man--proud husband, father, and grandfather. Wiccan with a dose of residual Catholicism. Background in food service, military (US Navy), and law enforcement.

2 thoughts on “Revisiting Flying Witch”

  1. Indeed, this show has a funny habit of downplaying magic as something mundane to the point that it seems unnecessary to even depict. Instead, it focuses on emphasizing magic IN the mundane. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a slice-of-life title get everything so right. Pretty much the best soul healing show I’ve seen in years. If you have the time, I highly recommend you get your hands on the OST. The blend of pastoral music with hints of mysticism and adventure are a perfect compliment to the show.

    1. Astute observation! I feel perfectly comfortable in saying that most faith traditions rooted in animism (including Shintoism and traditional European paganism) did and do view magic in a largely mundane light. All things contribute in their own way to the movement of the cosmos, and that energy is the basis of magic and, indeed, of life. Thus, all things are possessed of magic, and life itself might be viewed as a particular movement or motion of magic through matter of various hues of existence. If I sound sympathetic to this point of view, well, I don’t call my monthly column on 91.8 the Fan The Wandering Witch for nothing! I am Wiccan. And I was so excited to finally find a series that showed magic in its proper place in a witch’s life–quietly everywhere, but with occasional emphasis to a certain task or frame of mind. Again, I think the real emphasis of this show is on love, family, and acceptance. And what could possibly be more magical?

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