First Impressions – Flying Witch

Flying Witch - On their way to a new life

On your way to a new place with your cat

winter15-oc Not all witches have to go to a fancy schmancy magic school where they wear black cloaks and get graded on how well they can concoct potions. Some witches just want to go to regular school!
winter15-highw Or their parents make them, because, you know, being a witch isn’t exactly a steady job. Just ask Maria. So what is your compromising witch supposed to do? Move in with a second cousin in the country and learn to be independent.


City or Country? Witch do you choose?

Flying Witch - That's one relaxed cat

Chito is one really relaxed cat

Highway: That’s what the basic setup of Flying Witch is: 15-year old Makoto Kowata has moved in with her cousins Kei (15) and Chinatsu (10) out in the country of the Touhoku region, the northern portion of the main island of Honshu (actually, she’s moved to Shimoyuguchi in Aomori, which is very far north and west on Honshu, and explains all the apples). This region, as we come to find out, is a favorite for starting witches because of the rural, natural setting. But why starting at 15? Because in the world of witches, that’s when they’re considered adults, and are supposed to go out into the world and learn for themselves. I don’t think you can really blame Makoto’s parents for not wanting her to set up her own life at 15, without finishing high school (heck, she hasn’t even started it), and I think that the compromise that they come up with for this show is just brilliant, especially considering that it would be tough for a 15-year old to represent herself as an adult even in Japan, where children have a lot more autonomy. And especially with someone like Makoto, who isn’t exactly the most reliable of navigators.

Low Stakes Magic

Flying Witch - Chinatsu is a bit surprised

Chinatsu is pretty surprised to see her trip companion floating away

Overcooled: Being a witch usually isn’t a casual affair. Witchcraft and wizardry usually comes attached with quests to save the world and learning the most devastating incantations to destroy your enemies. Flying Witch ditches the flashy route and instead settles on casual magic usage. It’s the kind of magic I’d expect to end up using myself – just aimlessly flying around on a broom or digging up a random herb for a potion. This casual magic still has to be used sparingly since it has restrictions, such as the chaffing associated with sitting on a wooden broom’s handle for too long…Even when Makoto accidentally shows Nao she’s a witch when she’s not supposed to, there are no negative repercussions aside from some momentary embarrassment. It’s a very chill way to approach magic, as there’s no greater evil lurking in the shadows, waiting to be banished. Magic simply exists because it exists, and the greater purpose of it is whatever the user wants to use it for. No string attached.

Flying Witch - Somebody enjoyed flying

Chinatsu completely enjoyed her flight

Highway: That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have the effect of freaking out other people, tho. The show rides on a line of witches and witchcraft being something ordinary yet something that’s extraordinary for the people who don’t see it much. Chinatsu in particular is emblematic of this dichotomy, as Makoto freaks her out by having a conversation with Chito, Makoto’s black cat. Not just talking to it, like I do with my cats, but understanding what it says. And I liked that the show jumped over the explanation to Chinatsu, going from the point where she’s absolutely sure something’s weird about Makoto to the point where she’s absolutely delighted by flying with Makoto. That may have been my absolute favorite part of this premiere, when Chinatsu is gamboling around shouting “Sugoi! Sugoi! Sugoi! I was flying! Flying Flying Flying!” while Nao goes through the same reaction that we imagine Chinatsu had just minutes prior, finding out that uses magic. But that’s not all there is to this show.

It’s Not All Wands and Spells

Flying Witch - This is Makoto

This… is your witch

Overcooled: In fact, magic almost takes a backseat in Flying Witch. Makoto being a witch is more of an aside that just goes along with your basic, snapshot of everyday life for a girl in high school. It’s about making friends, getting used to life in a new place, and finding that sense of belonging. Witchcraft is there to enhance these main topics and coax out some laughter, such as Makoto nearly murdering her new friend with a mandrake’s screech. I really like this approach as it gives the show a lot of room to lean one way or another given the situation, so you never know if Makoto is going to act like a totally normal girl or pull out something wacky.

Flying Witch - For you

“Here, this is for you!”

Highway: And that’s where a lot of the actual magic in this show is coming from. The blithe nature of Makoto, living a ‘normal’ life as she knows it, intersecting with the equally blithe nature of the people who aren’t witches not knowing that those things exist. And the show does some excellent comedy, using all sorts of different methods to make the viewer laugh. Chinatsu is a trove of laughs in this first episode, from her ready embrace at her brother’s joke at Makoto’s expense about being Chinatsu’s mother, to her wary keeping an eye on Makoto after she starts to suspect she’s dangerous, to her lovely reaction when she’s been flying. But it’s not all easy setup laughs like that, as the show isn’t afraid to do the old long embarrassment-coming-around-to-laughter joke with Makoto offering the mandrake to Nao, which just gets funnier the longer that we look at Makoto grinning at Nao and Nao staring at this… thing writhing in Makoto’s hands.

Flying Witch - Looking while not looking

“Don’t LOOK at her, just LOOK at her!”


I came into this wanting a nice, relaxing show to calm me down after a busy day. Flying Witch definitely delivers on that front, complete with shots of lovely scenery. But I’d hate to sell this show short and say it only has appeal as a pacifier of sorts. Flying Witch is an all-around quality show with tight direction and an excellent sense of timing. Not only does the story flow at a good pace, but the jokes have just the right timing as well. It manages to be really funny, endearing, and beautiful all at once. This show is so well-constructed that I’d urge even those who don’t normally like slice of life style shows to give it a shot.


And I always tell people who think they don’t like slice of life shows to give every show a shot. I think the beauty of life is finding enjoyment in what you’re doing every day, and I think that seeing other people having fun doing normal everyday things helps you see that beauty and richens your outlook. And that ties in to what I think the main theme of this show is going to be: seeing that there are lives that are being lived next to your own and that intersecting and interacting with them is a source of pleasure. In this episode Makoto spent time individually with 2 new people, Chinatsu and Nao, and both of them learned some interesting things. And we enjoyed seeing it, relaxing and laughing along with them.

Flying Witch - The actual Shimoyuguchi bus stop

JC Staff is going for the PA Works, KyoAni territory

PS: it’s a postscript because it came after I wrote all my parts, but when I was taking screenshots, I was just captivated by the wonderful detail that JC Staff put into this show. The Hirosaki station, the Shimoyuguchi bus stop, which look exactly the same as their real-life counterparts. I didn’t track down the Kuramoto’s house or the Home Center / mall they went to, but even something like having Chito be CG while walking out of the train station, so that he has that quick pace of a cat keeping up with a human, was a welcome touch. And the music throughout the episode was just wonderful. Watching this show is just a sensory treat.


We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

17 Responses to “First Impressions – Flying Witch”

  1. Namaewoinai says:

    Witches huh…Phew, Except Less Pervasive looking

    Show ▼

    I heard there are a lot of witches on large cities like yokohama and tokyo,

    Show ▼

    Anyways, Hmm…Let’s see now, That Weird Looking Plant…
    Hmph i would just say…I wonder those plant on that show are somehow get evolve……

  2. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Oh noes. Haibane Renmei Part Deux.

    *leaps off the plane*

  3. skylion says:

    I like how they can keep the characters on an even keel. It enhances the comfy feeling they’re going for. With Chinatsu they can keep the calm feeling cause they can transfer all that exaggeration – that you normally find in anime – they need into a much more acceptable package, the natural exuberance of a child.

    Great show, and the second show to take place in Aomori, if that is indeed where we find Kuramiko…anime fans love to talk about how shows are getting to be the same each season…talk about that!

    • Highway says:

      And using Chinatsu also allows them to burn off a lot of that exuberance in the background at the same time as the show is being calm and comfortable. I do think we have a bit of overmature 15-year-olds in the show, but I’m not going to complain about a show being understated in this fashion (not after I complain about how overstated a show like Boku no Hero Academia is).

  4. zztop says:

    The source manga’s been running since 2012, but only 3 volumes are currently available. I’m guessing bimonthly of infrequent releases.

  5. HannoX says:

    That has got to be the creepiest plant ever.

    I loved Makoto’s off-hand comment about how riding a broom for too long leaves you sore. I’ve thought for years that can’t be the most comfortable mode of transportation. It’s little touches like that that can really help make a show.

    • skylion says:

      …mandrakes are never happy go lucky…

    • Highway says:

      The show really did the little touches well. Like Chito’s walk I mentioned and even Kei’s response to Makoto saying why riding a broom isn’t the best.

      I’m finding that I think about the ‘magic’ these witches use as something similar to Discworld magic, although the witches are not as well-known. It would be hilarious to see someone have to run to jump-start their broom.

      Heck with that, we need a Discworld anime or few.

      • skylion says:

        Sky TV did some not bad Discworld. They’re forgiven for the most part…

        I’m happy to see the show be about the magic of narrative causality and the causality of narrative magic. As for brooms, I’d like to see the metaphor extended, as vacuum cleaners are far more practical, and they look like they would be fun to animate…

        • Highway says:

          That’s another thing I thought was just wonderful about the show: that Makoto could go to the hardware store and just pick up a broom off the shelf, which, as you say, makes it likely you could do it with other objects. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a witch show that could just use an ordinary object like that, without it being imbued with magic. Harry Potter, Discworld, even Junketsu no Maria all used special items for flying, not ‘ordinary broom grabbed off the rack’.

          Which does raise the question of what the reason for a broom is. Is nothing better? Is it tradition? Can you not concentrate enough if it’s a painter’s extension pole? But this isn’t the show that’s going to argue with witch tradition (not like Magrat Garlick).

          • skylion says:

            Well, in an egalitarian, utilitarian modern world, what makes a mystery? For most people, the inner workings of an automobile might as well be magic, given how they couldn’t tell you how it works if lives depended on it; you have one key to start it, you conduct a series of rituals before you fully activate, more rituals to guide it, and rules you must obey while guiding it. Same for everyone.

            But magic is individualized, and takes on unique perspectives. The magic user: The broom works because that’s what they universe say works, or you can tell the universe it will work. Saying and listening are special skills, few other’s have them if they have them at all. That preserves the mystery in a way. Anyone can drive a car, not everyone can fly a broom…you could tell the non-magical how, but how do you tell a blind person what he sunset looks like. Or as Calvin said about being a firefly “I don’t know which butt muscle to clench”.

          • HannoX says:

            We don’t know how magic works in this world and may never get a clear explanation (which isn’t really necessary anyway–just except things as they are). But “perception is reality” may play a role. Which is to say, witches use brooms to fly because witches have always used brooms to fly so witches have an innate mindset that they can only use brooms to fly. Thus, they can’t use a vacuum cleaner or anything else because they don’t think they can.

            Not the clearest explanation of the idea I’m trying to get across, but I think you can get what I’m getting at.

            • skylion says:

              …oh no, that’s a perfect explanation. It even has that slight edge of “mind you’re own business” to it, which just seals the deal. I like the idea of magic as a living force that has moods.

            • Wanderer says:

              Actually, the manga gets a bit into the magic of flight and the tools used for it, and why they may (or may not) need to be used. Unless they skip it or jump around, they should easily get to that chapter.

  6. ProtoSovereign says:

    This is actually technically my 4th show of the season. And yeah I really like that she just picks up a random broom and starts flying with it XD. That’s an interesting depiction of magic.

Leave a Reply