The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Kei Kuramoto

Flying Witch: Full Series Review and Recommendation

“Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.” —Arnold H. Glasow

Proceeding past the third episode, Flying Witch earns its place as one of the most solid anime of the Spring 2016 seasons, and even as a contender for one of the best-executed slice-of-life anime I’ve seen. Continuing to following Makoto’s everyday adventures in Aomori with Chinatsu, Kei and Nao, everyone experiences together the different facets of Makoto’s witch training. Along the way, they meet Inukai, a girl who develops dog-like features during day hours undr the influence of a powerful spell she inadvertently invoked. As time wears on, Chinatsu, Kei and Nao join on Makoto’s adventures in greater frequency’ after Chinatsu follows Makoto’s cat, Chito, on a mini-adventure, she watches as Makoto learns to fly more effectively and volunteers herself in a magic experiment after wanting to become a witch herself. Together with Kei, Makoto and Chinatsu later visit a special café, read fortunes together, pick apples, fly to visit a sky whale and in the season finale, Makoto crafts a high-grade witches’ robe for Chinatsu before viewing land-fish gathering in anticipation of an upcoming festival.

Flying Witch presents a novel take on magic that sets this anime as being quite distinct from J.R.R. Tolkien and also, more similar to that of J.K. Rowling. Commonplace in Western fiction as a powerful supernatural force, magic is portrayed differently according to the narrative’s requirements. In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, magic is an abstract power that higher beings such as the Maiar and Valar can wield to control natural forces or the will of beings. In his novels, magic wielders are oftentimes limited in how much of their power they can wield to avoid cataclysm in the physical world; Gandalf is forbidden from using his raw power against Sauron during the War of the Ring, and likewise abstains from taking the One Ring. Instead, he uses his magic sparingly to assist Frodo and the others in their quest, influencing Middle Earth’s history in a positive direction to release it from the threat of Sauron. Conversely, in Harry Potter, magic is regarded as a highly versatile utility for carrying out tasks, both everyday (cooking and cleaning) to practical (potions making, transfiguration, charms) or even combative (Defense Against the Dark Arts and the Unforgivable Curses). Witches and Wizards train to master these spells and other magical utilities in order to maintain their livelihoods, rather similar to how Muggles create technology of increasing complexity (household utilities such as microwaves or vacuums, concepts such as the scientific method, law, ethics and military hardware, ranging from assault rifles to cruise missiles, fulfil similar roles for us Muggles). As with Tolkien, the magic in Rowling’s writings are subject to different limitations and laws: Hermione mentions that food cannot be created freely as one of the exceptions in Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration, and similarly, Voldemort’s demise arises from him exploiting magic without understanding its implications. It becomes clear that magic in any fictional context can be quite cumbersome, but both Tolkien and Rowling do a fantastic job of crafting their own rules to ensure things remain plausible. In Flying Witch, the magic that witches such as Makoto and Akane wield are likewise subject to limitations and laws. Compared to the abstractions of Tolkien’s magic, or the more commonplace, tangible usage of magic in Rowling’s writings, the magic in Flying Witch appears to be a low-key and subtle variation of Rowling’s magic: there are potions that can induce partial transfiguration (such as in Inukai’s case) or different emotions (such as one that causes Chinatsu to find everything hilarious), and spells that can summon crows. Brooms also exist, but for transportation alone rather than encompassing sport. However, in Flying Witch, magic is not quite so commonplace or as flashy as seen in Harry Potter.

Makoto’s activites never draw too much attention, and in fact, magic is only one facet of her training. Despite being a witch, Makoto engages in a wide range of different activities; Akane notes that Makoto’s spellcraft is weaker and also helps Makoto learn about potions. The nature of Makoto’s witch training suggests that to be an effective witch is to be multi-disciplinary and well-connected with the nature in the world around one, far beyond simply just possessing a high proficiency with spells and potions as the stereotypical images of witches typically portray. This attention to subtleties in one’s surroundings to observe wondrous things often going missed by others is shown time and time again in Flying Witch: Makoto points out various supernatural and uncommon occurrences to Kei, Chinatsu and Nao. These events are typically found right in their backyard or locally, showing that there can be interesting things nearby. Because familiarity breeds complacency, individuals often miss things in the areas they know well simply because they’ve grown accustomed to the scenery. In showing the different aspects of the world that witches know, Makoto’s role is meant to evoke the idea that beauty, splendour and novelty can be seen quite close to home: ranging from creating robes and picking apples to visiting a hidden café or welcoming the Harbinger of Spring, mandrakes and sky whales, with her around, Chinatsu, Kei and Nao experience truly spectacular things, as well as simpler but equally meaningful moments together with Akane, Makoto’s older sister.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This Flying Witch review is a bit longer than the usual format: this is a series I can whole-heartedly and easily recommend to viewers of all sorts. As such, there’s a bit more space to talk about things, although even in this extended format, I nonetheless had to pick thirty screenshots from seventy (otherwise, writing this would take at least six hours). Here, Kei, Chinatsu and Makoto get their photograph taken at a temple by spring.

  • Inukai is a full-fledged witch like Akane, and is proficient at card-based divinitation. She appears with dog-like features by day because she ingested some chocolates that Akane had made while drunk. Her condition only persists during the day, and she is restored to her human appearance by night. These features are said to wear off over time, and until then, Inukai dresses in a heavy coat to hide her appearance to avoid dissuading customers seeking fortunes.

  • Despite being a traveller, Akane begins dropping by with increasing frequency as the series continues. Here, she shares a morning meal with Makoto and Kei’s family: despite the presence of magic and supernatural elements, Kei’s family take things in stride. Various dishes are depicted in loving detail, and I recall sitting down to poutine perogies while watching Flying Witch back during May.

  • Chito is Makoto’s familiar: these are spirits that, in medieval folklore, would aid witches in carrying out their magic. Seen as both malevolent and benevolent, they can take on different animal forms. Cats, dogs, mice and frogs are common, with a familiar entering a magically binding pact of sorts with a witch under most cases. In Flying Witch, witches can understand what their familiars are saying, and here, Chito leads Makoto to an locale where cherry blossoms are fluttering about.

  • Both Kei and Chinatsu are probably intended to represent the reactions of ordinary folk, or Muggles, to magic. Although both are initially surprised by the existence of magic, Kei accepts it quite quickly and Chinatsu becomes very keen to become a witch herself, exhibiting a great deal of excitement after Akane considers taking Chinatsu as a trainee. Chinatsu is absolutely adorable throughout the whole of Flying Witch‘s run and mirrors the boundless energy and curiosity in children.

  • During one experiment, Akane gives Makoto candies that will induce crying. Chinatsu ends up trying candies that make her laugh uncontrollably. In Harry Potter, various potions and charms have similar effects on their recipients; Harry and Ron mention Cheering Charms in Harry Potter and The Order of The Phornix, and later in the novel, a calming draught is used to help students recover from the stress of taking the OWLs.

  • However, magic is never shown as a force taking the forefront of all events in Flying Witch. In most episodes, Makoto also has opportunities to experience life in the Aomori region. Far from being a snow-covered, desolate region of Japan where secret weapon development programmes are carried out (as with Terror in Resonance), Flying Witch presents Aomori as a charming rural region that offers a completely different vibe than the well-travelled paths of Tokyo and Kyoto.

  • After spending an afternoon picking Fiddleheads, Makoto and Kei prepare them for consumption. These sprouts of the Ostrich fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, can be consumed after cooking; they’re supposed to have antioxidant properties, as well as omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids, iron and fibre. They’re known as kogomi (コゴミ) in Japan and enjoyed during the spring.

  • Café Concurio is a quaint establishment located a short ways from the Kuramoto residence. Like magical locations in Harry Potter, it appears as a decrepit ruin to a Muggle, but a simple spell transforms it into its proper glory. I’m not sure if there have been any instances of Muggles entering magical places such as Hogwarts or Diagon Alley in Harry Potter or its supplemental works, but in Flying Witch, being in the presence of a witch familiar with the area is sufficient to gain access to these special places.

  • Upon learning their waitress, Hina, at Café Concurio is a ghost, Makoto places a spell to render her visible. Born during the Meiji Era, Hina has been around for quite some time and is quite shy, immediately retreating into the shadows upon learning that she’s now visible. The equivalent of a full episode is spent at the café, and despite this being a seemingly normal activity, Flying Witch transforms it into a very relaxing experience for the viewers, to reflect on how we visit such places to relax.

  • The patronage at Café Concurio is a wonderfully diverse one, and here, everyone strokes a fox who’s attempting to enjoy his fare in peace. Earlier, a ladybug couple visit and order some nectar from thistles. They’re rumoured to bring fortune to whoever’s fingers they land on, so Makoto and Chinatsu spend a bit of time chasing them around.

  • Inukai later returns to read fortunes for Makoto and Chinatsu. It’s a style that I’ve never heard of before, and I’m more familiar with Chinese fortune telling (which is not saying much, since I have no idea how it works). In the context of reality, fortune-telling is totally useless, being presented as vague and general enough to capture most events. In fiction, however, they can become rather more fun, as viewers can observe situational irony in some fortunes that are given.

  • Inukai returns to a human form by nightfall, and bids everyone a good evening. Yesterday was Canada Day, and in previous years, I wrote dedicated posts for those events. This time, I’m leaving for Mexico tomorrow, so I’ve decided to push that reflection in with the Flying Witch reflection: yesterday was quite pleasant, despite an unreal traffic jam on the Trans Canada highway leading into Banff National Park.

  • Makoto and Chinatsu pick radishes for Nao; it appears that Makoto’s herbology skills are reasonably good, as they’ve got a surplus of radishes. By the time we arrived, it was noon hour, but fortuitously, parking spaces were still plentiful. We parked, stopped for lunch (an Angus burger with hickory-smoked bacon and a smoky sauce for me) and then walked around the Banff townsite. The Banff Park Museum National Historic Site of Canada had free admissions and we stopped in there to take in the exhibits, before walking around the Bow River and stopping for maple-walnut ice-cream while waiting for the Canada Day parade to begin.

  • After the Canada Day parade ended, we walked to Bumper’s Beefhouse for dinner to celebrate my defense’s outcome. It’s been eleven years since we last went, and they’ve moved since then. Their steaks remain as delicious as I remember: I ordered the 12 ounce rib-eye steak with a baked potato and prawn skewer. Every bite of the steak was tender, flavourful and juicy, and the salad bar was quite nice, too. Later that evening, Akane returns to the Kuramoto residence with souvenirs in tow for Chinatsu and Makoto, showing that Inukai’s fortunes turned out to be true.

  • I’ve not taken a home economics course since my days as a high school student, but the activities I’ve participated in were fun and the skills and have made me more comfortable with cooking. I will definitely need to master the art of making simple but nutritious and delicious meals in the very near future, now that I’m nearly graduated and are seeking to move out within the next few years.

  • The Kuramotos, Makoto and Akane help with pruning the flowers on an apple tree to ensure the apples are of good quality. Back in 2007 October, I took a short trip to Kamloops during the Thanksgiving Long Weekend to watch the salmon runs, and one of the destinations on our itinerary was an apple farm, where we picked apples. At the time, I had braces, so I couldn’t eat the apples directly, but apple juice was an option, so I had some of the freshest apple juice of all time in lieu of apples.

  • After climbing onto a step ladder to reach the higher flowers, Makoto is treated to a spectacular view of the landscape above the apple trees. The artwork depicting the landscapes in Flying Witch is spectacular and brings to mind the stills that were seen in Non Non Biyori.

  • On a foggy morning, the Slenderman paperman drops by to deliver a newspaper. Chinatsu is no longer frightened by the wonderous things of Makoto and Akane’s world and here, wonders if the paperman is related to the Harbinger of Spring in any way owing to their similarities. According to Akane, the witches’ newspaper is packed with useful information ordinary newspapers lack (it’s probably better than the Daily Prophet), and I’m reminded of how electronic news in the Muggle world is rendering traditional papers obsolete. The paper that we subscribe to has shrunk over the years, and there are ads letting readers know that the full deal can be accessed via app or website.

  • The news reveals that a sky whale will be observed overhead in Makoto’s AO, so with Akane and Chinatsu, they decide to see if they can spot it during the penultimate episode. A large construct, the sky whale is reminiscent of Laputa in Miyazaki’s 1986 film, Castle in the Sky (itself inspired by Laputa of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels). Unlike those castles, where technological superiority led citizens to distance itself from society, the sky whales of Flying Witch serve a different purpose.

  • This episode is one of the most beautifully animated among all the Flying Witch episodes; the landscapes of Aomori prefecture are shown in incredible detailed and coloured well to give the sense of an unending peacefulness. They explore some of the old structures in the sky whale and encounter Anzu Shiina (seen earlier at Café Concurio): she has a fascination with history and explains the sky whales were once homes for people and appeared more frequently.

  • Voiced by Yuka Iguchi (Mako Reizi of Girls und Panzer and Tamayura‘s Norie Okazaki), Anzu’s voice has a similar attribute as that of Yuki Nagato’s in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan. It turns out that Anzu’s knowledge extends well beyond archeology, and she’s also familiar with the histories of a variety of things. Here is another shot of the tranquil skies above Amori: the penultimate episode was delayed by a week for reasons unknown, and some viewers have speculated that the incredible animation quality in this episode might be the contributing factor.

  • After viewing the whale, everyone returns to the Kuramoto residence for breakfast. Apparently, pancakes are perhaps one of the oldest known cereal-based food items, pre-dating even the ancient Egyptians and Greeks; the nomenclature “pancake” is more recent, being used in Middle English of the 15th century. Pancakes breakfasts are a staple of the Calgary Stampede, and around this time of year, they’re held by large organisations and retail shops in the days leading up to the Calgary Stampede.

  • The finale returns to a quieter, lower key events that characterise Flying Witch: the penultimate episode’s events are more exciting in a relative sense. Here, while Makoto is maintaining her broomstick, Chito finds one of her old robes. Realising that she’d likely need a new one, Makoto decides to take the broom and visit a local fabric store.

  • Although the acceleration and handling on Makoto’s broom is probably not comparable to that of a Firebolt or Nimbus 2001, by this point in Flying Witch, she’s gotten the hang of flying and can do so without too much difficulty, lending the anime its name. The brooms of Harry Potter are bewitched for flight, while in Flying Witch, the broom acts as a conduit of sorts for a witch’s power.

  • After floating about in the sky and landing, Makoto runs into Nao, who’s out delivering liquor to her customers. Makoto asks her for directions and manages to arrive at her destination. While she’s generally got a poor sense of direction, this aspect of Makoto’s character is lessened over time as she becomes accustomed to life in Aomori, and here, the interior of the fabric store is beautifully rendered, feeling very much like a fabric store in the real world.

  • While Makoto does her best to surprise Chinatsu with a robe of her own, the latter’s curiosity leads her to persuade Makoto to let her know what’s going on. Makoto relents and allows Chinatsu to watch her craft the robe. With the robe completed, Chinatsu is thrilled and here, imagines herself casting spells as a witch.

  • With Akane drunk from consuming so much alcohol and Chinatsu falling a sleep, Makoto shares a quiet moment in the evening prior to stepping out with Kei and Nao for a festival. She mentions that with the time that’s passed by, she’ll be required to do a progress report of sorts, akin to those that I’ve completed in the past two years for graduate school. I’m not sure what the contents of a report for witches would be, but mine entails my research’s directions, teaching and professional development, such as conferences.

  • Before falling asleep, Akane explains to Makoto that these land fishes aggregate whenever a festival is about to occur. These fish seem fond of sake and behave similarly to conventional fish, but also begin glowing red and take to the skies, creating yet another beautiful sight for Makoto to behold. It’s the perfect ending to Flying Witch, and brings to mind the fireworks show I saw for Canada Day yesterday evening.

  • This marks the end of the review for Flying Witch, and now that I’m packed, I’m set to board my flight tomorrow for Mexico. There’s been a minor hiccough with the online system, so I’ll try again later this evening before turning in, and failing that, I’ll get it sorted out at the airport. Other than that, I’m rather excited. Regular programming will resume when I return, and as I settle in to a new schedule, posting patterns may become a little erratic or sporadic.

The verdict on Flying Witch is an easy one: it earns a strong recommend for all audiences for being able to capture the beauty and joy of the subtle, simpler things in life. Coupled with the peaceful setting of Aomori and its depiction in great detail, character dynamics that are warming and amicable, and a beautiful soundtrack that accentuates the atmosphere surrounding Aomori and Makoto’s everyday life, these elements combine to create a truly unique anime that appears to illustrate the interface between Non Non Biyori and Harry Potter in a completely new and welcome direction. Dispensing with typical anime tropes, Flying Witch chooses to intricately construct and present an incredibly detailed and noteworthy world that captures the audience’s interest. Then, the interactions among the characters allow Flying Witch to hold the audience’s interest. There are not many negatives that can count against Flying Witch, except perhaps that there isn’t a second season; all of these elements culminate to result in my final decision. Flying Witch is easily worth watching, and I note that for Minami Shinoda, her role as Makoto Kowata is her first. In spite of being new, she delivers a solid, consistently good performance in Flying Witch that does much to bring Makoto’s character to life.

Flying Witch- Review and Reflections After Three

“Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice.” —Nora Roberts

Set in the tranquil regions of the Aomori prefecture, Flying Witch follows Makoto Kowata, a young witch whose moved from Yokohama to live with relatives. Although she’s predisposed to getting lost, she nonetheless settles into life in Aomori, grows closer with her cousin, Chinatsu, finds a mandrake, introduces Chinatsu to the Harbinger of Spring, creates a small garden and learns a new spell from her sister, Akane. Unstructured, relaxing and quiet, Flying Witch has proven to be an unusual anime after three episodes, weaving elements from Non Non Biyori with subtle traces of magic; Makoto’s adventures always remains within the realm of what is plausible and as such, even though she’s a witch-in-training armed with a keen eye for the supernatural and magical abilities of her own, she nonetheless remains a consistent, realistic character whose optimistic, easy-going personality allows her to find adventures in her everyday life. However, despite being a witch, it would appear that Makoto and the other witches’ powers are limited in the sense that, while they are attuned to the more unusual things in their environment and can perform some magic, the witches’ magic is nowhere near as potent as that seen in the Harry Potter universe, nor is it as abstract as the powers that J.R.R. Tolkien describes his Istari as having. This balance ensures that Makoto’s everyday life is about the people’s she’s with and what she’s doing, rather than the magic itself.

Flying Witch takes the familiar genre of rural slice-of-life and adds a bit of magic to provide new avenues from which Aomori can be showcased: Makoto’s adventures have been utilised to great effect in showcasing some of the more subtle elements in the Aomori area, such as when she and Kei gather fuki bulbs and fry them as tempura, or Makoto’s attempts to capture a pheasant while creating a garden. These small details would almost certainly be missed by most non-locals; Flying Witch capitalises on Makoto’s witch training as a catalyst that allows her (and the viewers) to partake in some of the more obscure but highly enjoyable facets of life in Aomori. With this in mind, Flying Witch might be seen as suggesting to its audiences that exceptional events and miracles can be closer than one might imagine, rewarding individuals who stop to savour the moment. Taken together, the combination of magic and the mundane complement one another to paint Aomori as a very calming, laid-back and beautiful prefecture in Japan.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Flying Witch represents a welcome change of pacing from the likes of Hai-Furi; whereas the latter swings between suspense and comedy, Flying Witch is consistently peaceful. Makoto Kowata is the protagonist and is a witch-in-training who, unlike Harry of Harry Potter, prefers potions over spell-craft. This anime is based of the manga, which started in 2012.

  • Here, Makoto meets with Kei for the first time in six years and expresses wonder at the amount of snow in Aomori: Makoto is from Yokohama, where December and January, the snowiest months of the year, yield around 2 and 4.8 inches of snow, respectively. My home city has an average of double that, but this year’s been unnaturally dry; only 10mm of precipitation was recorded for the past four months.

  • Chinatsu is Kei’s younger sister and initially regards Makoto as quite strange for talking to cats. I wish that I could say that my city is as verdant and cool as Aomori, but the lack of precipitation’s been a curse; a massive forest fire of some 850 square kilometres in size is raging in the province’s northern regions, forcing the complete evacuation of Fort McMurray over the past few days. I’ve made a donation to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts and presently hope that the area gets some badly-needed rain soon.

  • While Chinatsu is hesitant to trust Makoto, Kei’s suggestion that she accompany Makoto to the local shopping mall changes Chinatsu’s perspectives on short order. The two are shopping for donuts here, which Chinatsu are particularly fond of. The hole in a doughnut has unknown origins, but is present to allow the doughnut to cook evenly through by increasing the fried cake’s surface area.

  • In keeping with the image of a witch, Makoto picks out a broom and takes flight on it. Her stance suggests that the broom is merely an apparatus for helping her fly, as she’s not riding the broom itself. The origin of this imagery has an interesting, if incomplete, history: some accounts suggest that accused witches often used their brooms or staffs to deliver hallucinogens, and were reported to straddle brooms in a manner evocative of flight. This imagery persisted, resulting in the modern image of a witch riding her broomstick.

  • The first episode’s highlight is Chinatsu’s reaction following Makoto having taken her on a flight through the skies: from the moment Makoto sets her down, for a minute, she joyfully expresses delight at having flown and can be heard in the background even as the others are having a conversation: Nao is introduced here as one of Kei’s friend who runs the family liquor store.

  • The soundtrack in Flying Witch is a joy to listen to, featuring gentle musical pieces that seem to speak volumes about the atmosphere and mood in Aomori. The soundtrack is set for release on May 25, two days before Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s home release hits the shelves. Far from being the remote, desolate site of a nuclear processing facility as seen in Terror in ResonanceFlying Witch presents Aomori as a much more welcoming place, and with due respect, Flying Witch probably has the more accurate, faithful representation of Aomori.

  • Makoto and Nao share a short discussion during their high school’s opening ceremony: these are typically held in April in Japan. Makoto is shown to have an uncommonly poor sense of direction, and earlier in the first episode, gets lost quite quickly until Kei corrects her heading. Because Kei is occasionally busy, he recruits Nao to help Makoto find her way home.

  • A gentle and polite girl, Makoto insists on getting Nao a gift for accompanying her, and manages to locate a Mandrake: like the Mandrakes of Harry Potter, the Mandrakes of Flying Witch scream when unearthed, although the latter are white and more slender than their counterparts in Harry Potter, which are further characterised by the fact that the cries of a mature Mandrake are lethal to anyone who hears it (here, they merely scream loudly for a short period).

  • The approach of spring in Aomori is shown to be a gentle one: while buds and greenery begin re-emerging into the landscape, vestiges of winter, such as snow and cold air, linger on. This is normally the case where I am, but the unusual weather patterns have meant it felt like summer for much of late March and early April. Whether or not this is attributable to global warming is not up for discussion in this post.

  • The Harbinger of Spring makes an appearance: resembling Slenderman, the Harbinger of Spring is a benevolent character who’s set out to meet Makoto. In spite of this, Chinatsu is frightened by his appearance and promptly retreats. Makoto shares a conversation with the Harbinger of Spring and offers him the Mandrake root from the previous episode, and in turn, the Harbinger of Spring gifts a bouquet to Chinatsu as apologies for having scared her earlier.

  • The Harbinger of Spring’s gift to Chinatsu convinces her that individuals with unusual appearances might not be all bad; she wonders whether he’ll return next year. It’s a relatively simple lesson about reserving one’s judgement about others until one’s seen their actions, rather than appearance, and is cleverly incorporated into this episode’s events.

  • Later in the episode, Kei introduces Matoko to fuki, a plant that can also be found in Europe. It’s quite bitter as a result of the alkaloid compounds, which can promote tumour growths and liver damage: the Japanese method of preparation involves treating it in baking soda and water to remove most of these toxins, thus rendering the bulbs safe to eat. However, the plant also has anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Chinatsu’s reaction to the fuki bulbs is absolutely adorable. Later, Kei’s Pro At Cooking tips helps Makoto properly prepare them, and a cursory glance at some recipes shows that his suggestions are correct. Unlike Dave of Pro At Cooking, Kei properly walks Makoto through the preparation process and slings no insults (doing so would break the immersion). While we are on the topic of Pro At Cooking, only seven episodes were released, and it was meant to be a spin-off of Pure PwnagePure Pwnage T3h Movie is the latest instalment: it premièred back in January and will be available for purchase in a few days.

  • Fuki tempura is supposed to be quite bitter, but it’s probably not too bad, as Makoto enjoys several freshly-fried bulbs here. The plant has several beneficial effects: it can help with coughs, allergies and improves digestion. Moreover, the chlorogenic acid is thought to have anti-oxidation properties, and has been utilised as a natural remedy for asthma asthma, whooping cough, fever and spasms.

  • Makoto’s witch training is quite diverse, suggesting that being a witch is multi-disciplinary in nature. She de-weeds the field in the back of their yard the old fashioned way, and her approach is reminiscent of how K-On!‘s Mugi tried to open a baumkuchen cake during the movie. Makoto is voiced by Minami Shinoda, a newcomer on the block: this is her debut role, and so far, she’s done a fantastic job as Makoto.

  • In fact, I would say that Minami Shinoda’s voice seems to have a quality similar to that of Minako Kotobuki (of K-On!‘s Mugi). Kei is also voiced by a new voice actor, although both their performances come across as being quite natural. Here, Makoto finds herself going off-mission when she sees a pheasant in the yards and proceeds to (unsuccessfully) capture it.

  • One of the more subtle elements in Flying Witch is the notion of persistent non-living entities that carry out through the anime: Chinatsu is watering the flowers that the Harbinger of Spring gave her. Attention to these details is often overlooked while watching an anime for the first time, but revisiting the episodes can find that minute elements have been given consideration to create a more plausible world.

  • To the right is Akane, Makoto’s older sister. A witch who’s completed her training, she has a much more boisterous, forward personality compared to Makoto, but nonetheless cares deeply for her younger sister, taking the time to visit whenever the opportunity presents itself. By this point in time, Chinatsu’s become quite accustomed to magic and the supernatural, taking things in stride and eventually develops an interest to see these things for herself.

  • After one of Makoto’s spells triggers, a murder of crows appear. The magic in Flying Witch is more explicit than that of Gandalf’s, but less direct than that of the Harry Potter universe, suggesting that spells have their limits. With this figure caption, the post comes to an end. I would have had this out sooner, but things have been rather busy as of late. They will settle out by Sunday; tomorrow is preparations for Saturday’s TEDx talks, and Saturday is devoted to the TEDx talks themselves. I’ve heard that Hai-Furi‘s fifth episode is to be aired on time, so I am pushing back the fifth episode talk to Sunday for the present. As for the Sniper Elite V2 review, that will be completed within a week or two.

Because Flying Witch is this season’s slice-of-life anime with a novel component, it goes without saying that Flying Witch conveys a sense of relaxation similar to that of Non Non Biyori and Tamayura. Its magic comes from the sum of the character dynamics, beautifully-rendered settings and consistent (if slow) world-building surrounding witches and the supernatural phenomenon that the characters seem content to take in stride: Makoto’s excursions for witch training is quite diverse, and the breadth of her skills suggests that there’s more to being a good witch than just magic. Flying Witch is an anime that definitely is worth watching, and the slowly-paced depiction of Makoto’s daily experiences serves as a fantastic counter to the suspenseful Hai-Furi. However, there is not really too much more that can be said about Flying Witch insofar (as far as thematic elements go); it should be clear that Flying Witch is not particularly conducive towards episodic reviews, and as such, I will return at the season’s end to see how Flying Witch turned out as a whole.