Mind you, I’m a sucker for a slice of life genre, and Flying Witch managed to push all the right buttons from the get-go. Something about our “professional” witch, Makoto Kowata (Minami Shinoda), pondering if a snowball is edible just feels funny to me. It sounds stupid and mundane but each punchline in this episode managed to bring me a chuckle or two. Perhaps the silly stuff are easier to digest thanks to the atmosphere, made fitting by the gorgeous visuals depicting the quaint place of Aomori (which is actually a real place in Japan) and matched by apt background music. The laid-back and perfect blend of humor and slice of life reminds me of Minaki-Ke – one of my favorite in its genre – which presents itself so well that no joke doesn’t feel out of place at all.
Slice of life is generally driven by its characters’ chemistry with each other, rather than the plot. To give you a summary of the plot, we have a freeloader who moves to her cousin’s place. The freeloader happens to be a witch. We’re expected not to take the plot too seriously and rather focus on the development of the parties involved. We’ve only been introduced to four (five if we include Chito (Ai Kayano), Mako’s pet cat) but it didn’t take no more than a minute or two to warm up to them. Kei Kuramoto (Shisuke Sugawara), Mako’s cousin, is our typical highschool guy whose voice acting is oddly fitting for his character contrary to other viewers’ criticism. Chinatsu Kuramoto (Eri Suzuki), Kei’s younger sister, is our resident ball of diabetic sugar. Don’t mind me but I find Chinatsu’s reactions and personality to be seemingly realistic for a kid. How else can you get a young un’s favor other than offering sweets and giving a free ride off your flying broom? Lastly, we have Nao Ishiwatari (Shiori Mikami) whose relationship with Mako changed from an acquaintance to a friend thanks to a screaming mandrake. It’s not everyday you’d be offered a poisonous shrub as a gift with good intention in mind. Again, it sounds silly but things like these are what tickles my funny bone.
One thing I’ve noticed while running through the cast of the show’s VAs is that Kei and Mako’s seiyuu are both relatively new. Actually, Flying Witch is their first project in the industry. I wish the the two a silent goodluck and congratulations. Given how the episode turned out, I’m optimistic to say that we can expect to hear more from both of them.
I’ve been lurking in boards and forums to check how the episode fared with other viewers and I can say that a noticeable set of people actually found it slow; boring, even. I can’t argue with them. Each to their own cup of tea. It’s not easy to be a fan of the slice of life/comedy genre but if you’re looking to chill, to relax, then Flying Witch is something I’d easily recommend to you.