EDIT: Nothing changes through the end of this anime. It's serene and wonderful.
DISCLOSURE: Reviewed at Episode 6.
Flying Witch embodies and embraces the slice of life genre. It's pacing and atmosphere can only be described as sedate and soothing. It's tone is light hearted, self-deprecating, and utterly enjoyable.
STORY (9 of 10):
In each episode, Makoto meets a new person who, through some action or plot device, allows her to reinforce or expand her witch skills. The show has a through story but can be viewed episodically (thus far) without any detriment.
ANIMATION (4 of 10):
I've been watching J.C.Staff since Toradora!, and the studio has a tendency to reuse model animations. I don't think this will bother a newer viewer, but seasoned viewers beware that you'll be seeing a lot of the same stock animation you've seen before.
SOUND (8 of 10):
This is one of the few animes in which I watch the opening every episode. It really sets the tone, and frankly, it makes me super happy. Otherwise, the in epidoe sound and VA acting is well done.
CHARACTERS (9 of 10):
Even as early as episode 6, there has been some serious character development. Side characters have well defined voice and depth.
OVERALL (8 of 10):
I honestly just ENJOY watching this anime. There's nothing spectular that happens in an episode, but everything comes together for a great show.
Right, it's confession time for me. If you have been reading my reviews than you may have noticed that I tend to rip the anime a new one. There is a reason for this though and it has to do with the fact that I can't turn my brain off when watching anime. I can't ignore the stupid shown in the anime and this is a problem as most anime are very stupid indeed.
In this case I'm not talking about a 90 pound girl catching a multi-ton cruise missile and throwing it back. Yes, it is stupid but it is a stupid that I'll allow. It's anime. Things like this are normal here and I'm pretty much fine with it. It annoys me to be sure but I will not rant about it.
So, having explained this lets rip into this anime shall we? Just a heads up: There will most probably be spoilers. The more I hate an anime the more spoilers there will be.
ART: Art is fine. I've said it before and I'll say it many more times: It is near impossible to screw this up these days. CGI is used a lot but not too noticable.
SOUND: Again no complaints from me. I can no longer remember any of the music used but this is how I prefer it. Voice acting were decent even if they get to do the same thing over and over.
CHARACTERS: Main character is Makoto. She is a very naief girl who is prone to getting lost a lot.
Chinatsu is Makoto's niece, and her aunts youngest child. She becomes good friends with Makoto and becomes fascinated by the supernatural.
Kei is Chinatsus' older brother and he is in Makoto's class. Very leverheaded and nothing seems to faze him.
Akane is the older sister of Makoto and a highly talented witch. She is also very flighty and a bit irrisponsible at times.
STORY: As a witch in training it is time for 15 year old Makoto to head out into the world. Her parents arrange for her to stay with her aunt who lives in Hirosaki. There she goes on a number of adventures.
RANT: Well, in my previous review I mentioned that Rinne was kind of boring. This anime is making me take that back, this is true boredom. Nothing of note happens, and I do mean nothing. How do you make an anime about a with in training moving away this dull and boring? This is exactly the same plot as Kiki's Delivery service!
To be fair, that is a GHIBLI product and of amazing quality that comes highly recommended. This.....not so much.
It is of course completely unfair to compare this to Kiki's Delivery Service but there are many similarities. Kiki told it's story in 102 minutes and managed to cram a lot in its run time. This anime has 12 episodes of 20 minutes and tells exactly nothing. You get glimpses of the magic world and that is about it.
At some point I started thinking of it like this: Imagine Harry Potter's world where you spend the entire run time with Hermoine. As she is living with her family during the summer. Away from Hogswarts and almost anything magic related. The only time you see something of the magic community is when someone or something drops by for a few minutes.
I must also comment on the art. While overall decent quality it is what goes on behind it that drew my attention. Nothing of note happens in the background. In fact nothing happens at all because there is nothing there. When you look at the first few minutes of the anime you'll see immediately what I mean.
Makoto walks through the station and there is either nobody there of people are frozen in one position. The only thing moving and drawn is Makoto and when she gets in a bus even that ends. You see a CGI bus drive through a CGI world. While done well it does show how small the budget was for this anime.
I really can't recommend this anime due to the lack of contect. The first episode is also the best one so watch that but skip the rest. If you want to see an anime about a witch in training then go watch Kiki's Delivery Service.
JV's Anime Of The Season: Spring 2016
*By far the best thing about FW and the reason why I loved this anime was the relaxing and calm atmosphere of this anime. This was the perfect anime to end my Saturday evening with. After watching Gakusen Toshi Asterisk which was action based and Mayoiga which was mystery based, FW was a welcome change and a very good counterweight for the more intense anime’s that I watched on the same day.
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*A big contributor to this overall relaxing atmosphere of FW was the artwork. Not necessarily the animation itself but the background artwork. I loved the artwork, I already loved it when I saw the trailer for FW before the actual start. And also the design of the characters played perfectly into the atmosphere. There’s nothing very flashy in this anime. I had the same thoughts that I had when I watched Hai to Gensou no Grimgar. Also in that anime the animation and artwork was very calm and serene and also there it created this very calm atmosphere. There it was to elevate the sad storyline and here in FW it was to elevate the overall meaning of the anime. And they did that very, very well.
*Now not only the character design was very well done but also the characters themselves. We had a wide variety of characters in this anime and each and every one of them was likable. From our main protagonists Makoto and Chinatsu to minor characters like Akane and Nana. Each of them had very fun and quirky personalities. For a lot of FW watchers the favorite character was Chinatsu and she was indeed a very likable character. Her enthusiastic personality, her curiosity, her spontaneity all contributed in making her a very fun child character.
But my favorite character in this anime was Chito, Makoto’s cat. I don’t really know why but I loved Chito. Maybe it’s because I have 2 cats myself and I recognized a lot of them in Chito. But something else that this anime did very well with Chito was that they had to create his entire personality without speech. Chito can miauw but he can’t speak and therefor it’s way more difficult to create his personality. But JC did that very well through his movements, through his facial expression and through the way he reacted to certain scenes. Therefor the episode where Chito stands in the spotlights was my favorite episode.
*Next positive point was the opening song of this anime. “Shararan” was not the best opening song of the season but it was definitely the most catchy one. Every week when that song began to play, you just couldn’t help but to feel happy and to me it always was the beginning of another great episode.
*And my last positive point was the usage of Japanese mythology in this anime. Now I’m not completely sure if this is correct since I tried to research some Japanese mythology but I couldn’t find a direct link to some of the characters in FW like The Harbinger of Spring or that flying whale in the later episodes. Now if FW did inspire their mythological characters on real Japanese mythological characters than that’s another impressive thing from this anime. And if they didn’t and created these characters themselves, than that’s equally impressive.
*Now if you’re searching for an anime that will mesmerize you with a great and intriguing storyline, than you shouldn’t watch FW. Because literally nothing happens in this anime. This is an anime for the true slice-of-life lovers like me who don’t need exciting and action packed events to really enjoy an anime. There is no overall storyline in FW but since this was a completely episodical anime that was no problem for me. I got my enjoyment out of the slice of life factor. But if you’re not a slice-of-life fan and want your anime to have an overall storyline than FW will be extremely boring to you.
*Now I didn’t have a problem with the absence of an overall storyline but it was a bit of a shame that there was no development in the multiple small storylines. In the anime we get quite a lot of small storylines like Makoto training her witch skills, Chinatsu who wants to become a witch, the story of Inukai and none of them really develops in this anime. There’s also no conclusion for any of them. FW is not an anime that starts at point A and ends at point B. It almost feels like we just jumped into the character’s daily lives, watched them for a while and then left again without waiting for certain events to conclude.
So as a conclusion, as I said at the beginning of the review. If you took relaxation and poured it into an anime you would get FW. I really enjoyed this anime and I’m going to rate Flying Witch at 4 stars with the extra stamp of JV’s Anime of the Season for Spring 2016.This is an anime that I’m missing now although this season it’s replaced by another one being Amaama to Inazuma because that one is so kawai.
While at first you may think this is just another slice of life anime, well for me compared to other slice of life anime's this is pretty unique as it breaks several cliche's that we see not just in slice of life anime but in all anime in general.
Here are some reasons.
-Both parents have active roles in this series compared to the typical where they are missing or died or at work. we see our characters interact with them in their daily lives.
- It's not High school-centric where most of the scenes are set in a school. no school clubs, school festival etc. we see our characters on how they spend their everyday life and that's it. we also see our MC Makoto do some witch stuff though i think we could have seen more.
-There are are no romantic buildups here, no childhood friend promises or jealousy, they closest one you can get is Kei saying that Inukai might be his type. not to mention like in a typical anime girls always wonders what their guy is doing right now. it's not the case here in flying witch.
Makoto and Nao can interact with each other without thinking about Kei.
-There's no fanservice. no panty shots beach episodes or ecchi scenes.
The only thing i hoped for for this anime is that I wish they could have shown us more about the witch stuff.
-The setting is also unique, since unlike what we in anime set typical countryside. where witches and occult stuffs are treated like a bad luck. that's not a case here. Makoto is a witch and everybody knows and accepts it. they also had some few supernatural things going like the Whale who flies. the hidden cafe shop etc..
When it comes to the characters, yes they all have active roles in which i like, they are not your typical characters, for instances Chinatsu is not your sis-con loli, Kei is not your charismatic brother, he just works and helps the family. the only cliche character here is probably Akane where we typically see the hyperactive big sister. i just wish we could have also seen more of the harbringer and Anzu.
The Sound and the Art is nice it's refreshing. the opening was nice and so as the mandrake. the transitions from slice of life to comedy was well done and so as the facial expressions.
overall if you want to relax, then watch this anime and thank me afterwards.
***THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW***
Flying Witch pulls off the unthinkable feat of matching the serene and relaxing feel of Aria. It matches almost every aspect of Aria while improving in certain areas.
NOTE: The reason I am going to compare this show to Aria is because they both borrow the same mechanics to make their slow-paced show so amazing.
Slice-of-Life anime usually fall into the issue of not having a driving plot force throughout the show. This was somewhat prevalent in Aria's first season but was less of an issue in season 2 and 3. In Flying Witch there is almost no plot direction between episodes. Some characters show up in later episodes but there really is no driving plot force in this show. This might be a plus for some people who like the episodic type shows (Like Mushishi and Cowboy Bebop) but I personally like there to be a connection from each episode to the next (even if it is a very small one). Tamako Market is another Slice-of-Life anime does a decent job of connecting each episode to one another so the payoff is much better in the end. Because of these reasons, I find that Flying Witch is lacking in the plot department. I love what I am seeing but it is due to the other elements of the show.
Flying Witch flat out looks gorgeous every frame of the show. The character's expressions, the color, the backgrounds, everything looks very spot on. I felt that the animation was a little off in certain scenes but overall the show did very well in the visual performance department.
This is where the show nailed it home for me. Like with Aria, the music and ambient sounds are 100% perfect. The backing music in every scene fits perfectly and enhances what you are seeing ten-fold. This is one of those shows that you should absolutely go out and get the OST. Not only the supporting music but the ambient sounds were spot on. The wind whistling in the background, the birds chirping, just everything audio wise made this anime feel like it was in a rural Japanese town. Lastly the voice cast was simply amazing. They nailed the dead-pan comedy parts and did an amazing job relaying their character's personalities.
It's honestly hard to find any real issues with the cast in this show. They all feel incredibly unique and interact with each other so fluidly. Every scene that has a character interacting with another character(s) was just such a joy to watch. It is because of this key aspect that this show works so well; it is not a plot driven show but a character driven one instead. This is the same for Kiznaiver which did a very good job of allowing its characters to drive the show. If the cast is well-knit enough they will carry the show. It is one of the few things that can override a boring plot.
The only reason this category is not getting a full 10/10 is because unlike in Aria there isn't a whole lot of character growth going on in Flying Witch. The show does the same thing as Aria showing the daily lives of a small cast but it does not show each character striving for a specific goal and achieving it. This might not be a fair complaint since Aria has three seasons and a OVA while Flying Witch only has this one season but I just do not see where the character growth is going to occur within this cast in the future.
This is a fantastic Slice-of-Life anime that you should absolutely put on your “Want to Watch” list right now. It takes a slow, laid back approach to show to you the calm and serene features of this rural Japanese town while the cast helps provide the show with some genuine funny moments. If you are someone who cannot stand slow-paced shows then maybe skip out on this one but regardless you should give the first episode a try.
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