This year of anime although not being the best in recent year, has still provided some very interesting and enjoyable shows, one being Flying Witch which is produced by J.C Staff who look on track of being the best animation company of the year. Flying Witch is an iyashikei type of slice-of-life anime which has similarities in tone and pace to others iyashikei such as Aria or Haibane Renmei, whilst a similar setting and premise of the 1989 studio Ghibli movie: Kiki’s Delivery Service. It looks like it will be a strong contender for anime of the year, having already been what many would consider anime of the season.
Flying Witch like Kiki’s Delivery Service is about a female witch learning to be more self-sufficient and grow, by moving out and paving her own way forward. We follow our main character Makoto as she moves in with her relatives whilst also trying to improve her witch abilities. The story of Flying Witch is designed to be taken slowly, as it is an iyashikei anime, it is supposed to be watched every now and then and not all at once. The story doesn’t have any real depth to it beyond Makoto going to school and using her witch powers every now and again, or encountering someone from the witch world.
The charm of the story is how slow it is, this is an anime to be watched at the end of the day just to calm down and relaxed. Their isn’t any real depth to it, and that works in its favour as the story doesn’t need to focus on an overarching narrative, but rather just on small digestible episodic storylines that get resolved in that episode. Because the story is structured this way, the episodes are for the most part interchangeable and no real knowledge besides the main characters is needed to understand and enjoy any episode.
The characters of this show is what this show thrives at; all the characters are extremely likeable, pleasant and easy to understand. You can connect with any number of them or even all of them whilst watching this show, Makoto does although seem at times like an air head throughout the show, but those moments are few and far between. Alongside Makoto are her two cousins: Kei the older more mature figure, and Chinatsu the younger more excited and energetic figure. They both complement Makoto very well, as having Chintasu being introduced to the witch world helps the audience also understand how the world works as we are in the same position as her.
Makoto’s older sister Akane does appear somethings and is always a delight to see on-screen, she adds to the tone and mood of the show quite nicely with her interactions with the rest of the cast. Like the story none of these people are designed to have that much depth in them; they don’t have epic and tragic backstories, they are not mentally disturbed and they don’t go through huge and drastic psychological changes. They are all pleasant and are people you would gladly be around for a day and do nothing but sit around. They are interesting to watch because of how simply they are.
This anime being done by J.C Staff who aren’t really know for the best and most gorgeous animation, but they do animate well when they want to. Flying Witch looks great, the animation used fits the show well and the quality of animation never drops throughout its run. Their isn’t much to say about the animation since their weren’t any real stand-out scenes unlike most series that spend a large potion on intense scenes to fully capture them. The animation is very consistent, and of a pretty high quality. It seems like the budget for the show was distributed well, to ensure that every scene looks as great as it can without breaking the bank.
Flying Witch has an amazing soundtrack, all the tracks are very tranquil and calming which fits the tone of the show well. Like the animation their aren’t any stand-out but the whole is very good, these are tracks that most people should listen to before bed or even whilst taking a nap. They are designed to get you in a relaxed state to fully enjoy the series.The opening of it was really enjoyable, the more upbeat tempo really gets the viewer invested in the show.
This anime is amazing, most people would say it is too slow and nothing really happens in it and they would be 100% correct in saying that. Flying Witch’s beauty is in that; it’s great because nothing really happens, and that it is a really slow series. It is something to be watched every now and again, or once every couple of days. You should never marathon this show, and even watching more than 2 episodes of it in a day would be a detriment to your enjoyment of it. This is to be watched after a long day, and you shouldn’t really focus on how many episodes you’ve watched or how close you are to finishing it, but rather just enjoying what you are watching at the moment. Everything about it: Story, Characters, Animation and Sound all mesh together beautifully to create one great soothing and relaxing series. There are no real stand-outs, but everything is very consistent and at a high level. This was for me the best anime of the season, and definitely going to be in my Top 5 anime of the year unless some really amazing shows comes along at the end to dethrone it.
[see end of review for weighing]
For a different iyashikei anime that has a similar feel and tranquility to Flying Witch, look no further than: Aria The Animation. It does have a ton more episodes than Flying Witch being that it has 3 seasons, but it might be one of if not the best iyashikei anime out there.
Kiki’s Delivery Service has the same premise of Flying Witch, but rather than being iyashikei it is more character driven. This is one of Studio Ghibli’s best works, and this movies provides some of the best anime viewing experiences that I’ve ever felt.
[story+characters+animation+sound] + [enjoyment]