Flying Witch

December 3, 2016

For every 100 or so animes that have some sort of controversial content (violence, gore, sexual references, sexual depiction, slapstick comedy, over the top comedy and parodies, taboo topics, etc), there will always be one series that has that effect to detoxify all that corruption. Cleanse the soul before we repeat the vicious cycle again. From Aria The Animation to Tamayura and Non Non Biyori, now I am proud that I can add another of such anime to the list. This season’s anime of comfy goodness is Flying Witch. Don’t let that word fool you into thinking this might be some supernatural and evil stuff. I assure you it is none of that. No doubt the main character is a witch, there is no malign intent whatsoever. This slow pace and calming series is so simple that I am even finding it hard how to summarize its plot in a single sentence. Uhm, let me try. The daily experience of the said witch having a home-stay in her relative’s home. Close enough.

Episode 1
Makoto Kowata and her black cat, Chito (Cheetos?) arrive in a sleepy rural town in Aomori. Thankfully she bumps into Kei Kuramoto who proceeds to take her back to his home as she is bad with directions. Kei introduces Makoto to his little sister, Chinatsu. Of course she cannot remember who she is. Kei even plays a prank on her that she is her real mother! Instantly Chinatsu hugs her! Turns out Makoto is their second cousin and will be staying with them from now on until she finishes her training. Chinatsu is suspicious of Makoto at first because she talks to her cat. As Makoto needs to get something from the general store, Kei sends Chinatsu to show her around. Chinatsu didn’t want to do it unless Makoto buys her a doughnut. While shopping, Makoto spots a broomstick and tests it out. She sits on it and floats! Believe it! You’re not dreaming! Meanwhile Kei is picking up liquor from Nao Ishiwatari, his classmate whose family runs a liquor store. She heard about somebody staying at his place and is suspicious when she learns it is a girl. Hmm… Then Makoto and Chinatsu come floating down on their flying broom. I think Nao is in shock that she can’t reply properly. And Chinatsu is so happy she flew that she just couldn’t shut up. It’s like she’s got an Energizer battery installed. During first day of school and at the entrance ceremony, Nao learns that Makoto is a witch and officially one (15 years old is its legal age). The reason she is staying at Kei’s place is because her parents want her to finish high school as being a witch doesn’t pay bills these days. Nao fears that she might be in trouble since only relatives should know a witch’s identity. Don’t worry. There is no punishment in knowing whatsoever. As Kei has appointment with his old friends (karaoke party), he has Nao accompany Makoto home. Along the way, Makoto wants to get a special plant as apology for startling her yesterday. It may look like she is pulling out some radish and something feels odd when she tells you to cover your ears. That’s because she pulls out a freaky mandrake!!! Its scream echoes throughout town!!! OMFG!!! So this is the present Makoto wants to give her as proof of their friendship? No thanks…

Episode 2
There is a tall mysterious owl mask guy at the door. Chinatsu shuts the door on him! Good girl. Although he means no harm, she is not convinced and continues to draw the doors. Makoto then goes to talk to him and knows that he is a messenger. He has finished his job and heard there was a new witch in town and wanted to pay a visit. Makoto somewhat dispels Chinatsu’s suspicions when she explains he is the messenger of spring. Like a fairy. Makoto gives him small pieces of mandrake as reward for his hard work. As apology for scaring Chinatsu, he gives her a small pot of flowers. Lovely. She wonders if he will come by again next year. Makoto has this weird dream whereby Nao swam all the way in her clothes just to show her a little mark on her neck that says ‘super lucky’. It is no surprise when she tells her about it, Nao is so at a lost. But it is believe since ancient times that a witch’s dreams have a reputation for being prophetic so could it be Nao will have some kind of luck? On the way home, they see lots of flower buds called bakke growing on the roadside. As they are edible and Makoto has never had one before, Kei picks up many so that they can cook at home. But Chinatsu hates this dish and she’s starting to act like a grumpy old man. Despite Makoto eating the delicious bakke, we see Chinatsu’s painful contorting face as she watches Makoto consume the plant. My, must be that bad, huh? Meanwhile Nao waits at home, eagerly waiting if a handsome customer would be coming in any time soon. Keep waiting…

Episode 3
As part of her training, Makoto talks to Chinatsu’s dad, Keiji that she needs a plot of land to study plants and farming. There is one at the back but it is covered with weed. Grandma used to tend it but nobody touched it ever since she died. So get ready and start pulling those weeds. There has got to be a better way for Makoto than using brute strength and then landing on her butt. While they take a break, Makoto sees a pheasant and tries to catch it. No luck. Chito tries next but the pheasant is WALKING FASTER THAN THE CAT!!! They resume clearing the plot but I don’t think it is big enough to plant all the vegetables Makoto wants. Keiji comes to check on their progress and praises them for doing well. Then he spots the pheasant and tries to catch it too. Failed. It flies away this time. Catch the pigeon, catch the pigeon… Some full Arabian garbed lady greets Chinatsu outside her house. By this time she isn’t shocked anymore after seeing so many weirdoes. Seems she knows Chinatsu and everybody else, though they have a hard time remembering who she is. She waits for Makoto to return. Makoto is shocked to see Kenny the cat around. She belongs to Akane who is Makoto’s elder sister and quite a famous witch. She is travelling the world and was wondering how Makoto is doing and decided to stop by and visit. She gives everyone raw resource presents from Africa. Really? Does Kei need Libyan oil? Akane notices Makoto has not used magic since she left home and only once (that broom riding incident). Although there is no danger, if she doesn’t cast any, her magic will weaken. Akane will demonstrate an easy magic. It involves using a strand of Chinatsu’s hair, writing incantations on an envelope, burning it and splashing water over the fire. It summons a crow. Not sure if this is science but I’ll believe this is magic. She lets Makoto try. Everything goes well till something feels wrong when there is black smoke and crows circling it. Am I watching The Birds?! Akane realizes Makoto used her own hair instead since a witch’s hair is quite powerful. Akane needs to get back to her travelling since she left her camel behind. She promises to visit them again and disappears like the wind.

Episode 4
With sakura blossoming everywhere, Makoto and co visit the stalls. Kei didn’t want to enter the haunted house but the girls force him. Everyone came running out for their lives. Are witches scared of monsters or ghosts? Makoto then decides to have her fortune read by this fortune teller, Inukai. Can Chinatsu shut up about spamming her with questions? Once Makoto writes her name, Inukai becomes delirious and seeks more info about her address, etc. Inukai reveals she is a witch and has been here for 5 years. But she has no plans on becoming Makoto’s friend. Inukai reveals her true face. She is a dog lady?! Apparently a year ago she was having some drinks with Akane whom she knows as an old friend. During their drunken stupor, she ate her magic chocolates and turned into this ever since. Although she does change back into human form at night but this form in the day took a toll for her personal life. Because Akane never stayed in the same place, Inukai stayed here in hopes she would come back. But now her sister is here, there is hope. Unfortunately Akane doesn’t carry a handphone nor do any family members know her whereabouts. All is not lost since Makoto brings her home to concoct konpeito to temporarily turn her back. Well, it got worse because she is now 100% a dog! Thankfully the spell doesn’t last long as she reverts to her furry humanoid form. As she laments, speaking of the devil, Akane returns! And she had the cheek to say she was waiting at her fortune teller stall just now and nobody was around. Before Inukai could start her blame game, Akane reminds her this transformation was her doing. That night when they were drunk, Inukai pestered her for snacks. Against her advice, she scoured her bag and found the chocolates and ate them. Now you remember? Although the spell will eventually wear off (it has been a year…), nevertheless Akane has been on a journey to look for a spell to reverse it. Inukai apologizes for the trouble before taking her leave. Since it is night time, we get to see her beautiful human face. My, she might be just Kei’s type. Lesson of the day: Drink responsibly.

Episode 5
Curious what a cat goes to in its day? You’re in luck. Chinatsu decides to be the curious cat as she follows Chito wandering throughout town. From the many odd places they go, it finally ends up in a spot whereby a few boys are burying something. Chito then seems to beckon her to come. When she does, she falls into the shallow pit! Chinatsu realizes Chito knows she has been following and feels pretty happy about it. Meanwhile Makoto is still going through her boxes. She finds a date written on an unopened jar and realizes this was when she made pickles. The family has pickle as lunch and when Chinatsu returns, they see her all messed up but she won’t tell them what happened. It’s a secret. Later in the afternoon, it is Makoto’s turn to follow Chito since she knows it has finished exploring the town. At first Chito brings her to the same places. But things get a little different in the sense a dog chases them and they bump into Nao. They follow her to deliver liquor to an old lady who seems to know Makoto is a witch. Makoto is doing a bad job trying to hide it. Granny knows because when she was young there used to be a witch and her black cat walking around town like this. But after marrying, she lost contact with her. That witch also taught her many charms and one of them worked: She married the man she loves! Unfortunately she doesn’t know which spell as she tried many of them and one of them must have worked. Chito’s adventures resume to that buried spot. Makoto digs up a box containing several items and books containing secret plans! It seems it is a time capsule. Not wanting to invade its privacy, Makoto buries everything back. They finally go home and it must be a tiring day. Because they see Chinatsu sleeping and has been so for several hours and dreams like she fell down into something. If you think that’s bad, Akane has been sleeping the entire day!

Episode 6
Makoto feels tired while riding and floating with the broom. Akane teaches a trick that she shouldn’t levitate the broom but herself. It makes things much easier. After Chinatsu hears more witch stories from Akane, she becomes interested to become a witch! She is begging her to be one! First she must get permission from her parents. So Chinatsu goes to have the talk with them. They agree! But Akane doesn’t feel like taking a disciple right now. With Chinatsu still begging, Akane sums it up this way. She will show her lots of witch related things and deeper aspects of the witch world in which she can experience like meeting other witches. Only then she can decide if she still wants to be a witch. So for now she is a witch apprentice. Happy Chinatsu then greets Makoto since she will also be studying along with her. Of course she has to keep this a secret from others. When asked why she would want to learn magic, Chinatsu replies she wants to turn cars into pumpkin carriages, control toys and make candy houses. That’s a start. Later Akane is going to teach Makoto and Chinatsu a spell called Curious Candy (Okashi No Okashi). After drawing a pentagram and magic circles, they have to wait till the candles burn out. It’s going to take some time. Once done, Akane makes Makoto a guinea pig to try a candy. Nothing happens at first. But when told to look at the action movie Kei is watching, she starts crying! It is a spell that has one crying after seeing anything! And it will wear off in an hour! Woe is her! Daring Chinatsu would love to try it out and eats the other snacks. This one sends her laughing in delirium! So we have a cry-baby on one hand and a nonstop laugher on the other. It’s mass hysteria! Too noisy for Kei to concentrate! I wonder how they’re going to help mom, Nana cook in that state. When Keiji returns, shortly he is both crying and laughing as he accidentally ate both snacks. Real hysteria. It must be hell.

Episode 7
Nao is to meet up with Makoto, Kei and Chinatsu to go pick wild edible vegetables in the forest. She thinks Chito has put on weight and teases it. Because of that Chito rides on her back and whips her forehead with its tail. Cats have feelings too! Nao almost insulted it again when she learns Chito is 17 years old. That is in human years. This makes Chito like grandma, right? Oops! At the forest, Kei lays down the grounds rules. But the all-important bell to alert for bears he forgot to bring and left it back home. Makoto and Chinatsu pick up a frog. This scares the hell out of Nao as she dislikes the amphibian. You can say her scream could scare away the bears. Back home, they cook the vegetables. Chinatsu tries to be brave and eat them. She still doesn’t like it. Akane suggests having cake at a cafe run by a witch. Kei, Makoto and Chinatsu make their way there only to find a dilapidated house. But there seems to be instructions how to enter. After they do shrine-like rituals, the house suddenly appears well and decent. There seems to be nobody around and weird notes keep popping up to communicate with them. Makoto calls Akane as she explains that there is a shy ghost working as a waitress! It feels pretty odd talking to nothing and then suddenly a piece of paper pops up as reply. Makoto uses a magic trick to make the waitress visible. As they order, they also learn a bit about her like she was born in the Meiji era (around 100 years ago). The waitress gets embarrassed when she realizes they can see her (they described her kimono). This causes her to be clumsy. She only manages to face them again when she wears a scary mask.

Episode 8
It must be weird having Hina the waitress stare as you eat with that scary mask. The cafe owner comes back as Hina brings Anzu Shiina (the owner’s daughter) to greet them. Makoto has a wrong impression that she is the owner. Because of the high level magic used to masquerade the cafe, she believes she is using the same magic to mask her real age. So when Anzu’s mom comes in, Makoto is surprised and tries to hint at her that her magic has worn off. Big panic comes when Anzu is also in the picture. Did she use some clone technique?! Once everything is clarified, they learn more about the cafe. It has been around for 200 years and serves customers from the other world. That is why there is a barrier to mask it. A couple of ladybugs enter. Seems they are regular customers and are even a couple. I guess there is nothing much to do around here so Makoto and Chinatsu chase the ladybugs. The bugs leave. Although they don’t pay in cash, they help protect the farm by warding off bad bugs. The next customer is a floating veil (Hollow?). As explained, it is the Veil of Darkness and its job is to usher in night time. Thus at this point of the day, it will hang out in the cafe. Since it is friendly, Chinatsu makes friends with it and gets a candy. Next customer is a fox. Its fur is so fuzzy that they can’t help molest massage. Your eternal question of what does the fox says is answered. Makoto believes it is “Kon, kon”. But then it barks like a dog. For real?! Meanwhile Akane and Kenny rent a boat in Vietnam. She is here for a little experiment as she pours a drop of potion into the sea. Not only has the ocean turned monochrome colour but the sky and cliffs too! Just like a Chinese ink wash painting? She wants to take a picture but nobody is around. She gets this idea to teleport home, wake Makoto up from her sleep just so she could help take a photo. Still daydreaming? Next day, Makoto thought that dream was weird. Akane gets drunk with the boatman.

Episode 9
Makoto learns Nana is a picture book author. Later Inukai drops by with her hamster familiar, Al. Think Chito wants to eat it? I don’t know. Petting its head makes it feel even more nervous… To make up for the trouble the other day, Inukai gives them sweets and will also read their fortune. Because these good people don’t have any real life problems, she decides to read their fortunes for tomorrow. It involves holding many colourful stones and then throwing them and see where it lands on her fortune telling chart. After writing down key words (I noticed some are pretty negative like meaningless, useless, folly, unnecessary, etc), Inukai tries to decipher it in a positive light. For Makoto, she might encounter a problem after leaving the house. But if she overcomes it, she will be greatly rewarded. As for Chinatsu, she may discover a new side of herself and it will become something she treasures. Next day after school, Makoto brings Nao to see her farm. It is growing well. Till Makoto points out the mandrake she replanted! She even wants to pluck it out for Nao! No. Please stop. She doesn’t need it. Really. Akane gives Kei lots of funny teasing face and noise. It seems she thinks Nao is Kei’s girlfriend. But when they both dismiss it coolly, she puts on a scary disappointed face. The girls then go pluck ripe radish. Since they believe it has beauty and weight losing properties, they are eager to start eating them. However some of them are spicy. Before going to bed, Makoto remember Inukai’s fortune. Just then a paper crane enters her door. It is a message from Akane to meet her in the living room. Chinatsu and Kei also got the message in similar fashion. She has returned from Burkina Faso and has souvenirs for them. So Makoto gets this lousy t-shirt and Chinatsu a large tribal mask? The girls then think this might be what Inukai’s fortune was referring to.

Episode 10
Nao dreads the cooking class. Yeah, she cooked at home a long time ago and it turned into a disaster. Ever since she always had trauma about cooking. Bad enough they have to make hamburgers. It is painful and scary just to see her cut onions. Of course slowly with Kei and Makoto guiding her, it isn’t as bad as she gets the hang of it. They add the final touches and voila! Yum. Looks good to serve and eat. Nao thought she saw a finger but Makoto points out it is a cookie she made called Witch’s Finger. It will look even real when if baked. Finally when they are about to dig in, they realize they forgot to cook rice. Akane joins the rest to go thin apple trees in some grandma’s orchard. I mean, it’s not like she has anything better to do today, right? So their job in thinning is to snip away flowers that would zap away the nutrients for the apple. My, there are lots of flowers. For a tree! Don’t worry. Many hands make light work. I’m sure everyone is getting the hang of it. Makoto notices a small nest of bees. They don’t sting and are used to pollinate flowers as they collect nectar. Unless they are in a bad mood, they bite! You mean bite and not sting? During break time, Makoto shares her Witch’s Fingers with everyone. Tasty of course.

Episode 11
One misty morning, Akane waits for a tall dark figure. He is the newspaper deliveryman from the other world and of course the news articles are those that cannot be found in the ordinary human world. It is a popular subscription among witches. An article states that the sky whale will be passing by the area. Akane, Makoto and Chinatsu gear up to watch it as they ride on their brooms. A special cream is rubbed over their eyes so they can see it. After flying up close to it, they ask for permission to land on its back. They explore the land and ruins where ancient civilization once lived here. They also meet Anzu exploring as she is a historical buff. It is time to go when their stomach growls. After saying goodbye to the whale, Akane invites Anzu to their place for breakfast. Anzu knows Kenny and they click. Because that cat has travelled around the world and studied anthropology! Kenny is also Anzu’s teacher! Woah. And you thought things wouldn’t get stranger by now. Kei takes out his tools to make pancakes. Anzu has everyone impressed as she explains the history of pancakes and how it makes its way to Japan. Impressive! Anzu realizes she forgot to call mom about her whereabouts. Shortly after, her owl familiar, Aurore drops by with a message from her mom to Akane. What could this special message be? A bill for the stuffs ordered at the cafe. My, what a large tab. Please pay up. Wow. Did they really order a hell lot of things from the menu? Did they throw some sort of party? I mean, 28 cups of coffee and 30 cups of black tea among the items?!

Episode 12
Makoto finds her old witch robe. She puts it on and of course she doesn’t fit and rips it. Time to go make a new one. First she has Nana draw a map to the textile shop. Well, Makoto is so bad at directions, you think she knows how to use a map? At least Chito is here to guide her as they fly across town. When they are in the area, they have to search the shop by foot. Luckily Nao is doing her delivery so she is able to point her in the right direction. Looking through the textiles, she notices one with prints looking like Chito. Its eyes even glow in the dark! Back home, Makoto takes Chinatsu’s measurements. It will be a surprise. Before she gets to work, she reminds her about that crane folklore. Don’t peep. But instantly she opens the door! Why? Because that is what happened too in the story. So Chinatsu watches and helps Makoto sew a witch’s robe. Makoto is making one for Chinatsu and she looks like red riding hood if you ask me. Kei almost got freaked out when he sees Chito’s prints glow in the dark. He pretends to become a doughnut when cheeky Chinatsu casts a spell. Now she wants to eat him?! Late that night, Akane comes back home drunk after a drinking session with the guys preparing for the festival and then another one with Inukai. It seems Akane reminds her about the mandrake parts she left behind and forgot to clean up. As they look for another missing piece, Makoto finds it but it starts moving. Akane then picks it up. It is an earthfish. You know, fish that swim and live in the ground… They must be attracted by the festival atmosphere. When a school of them pops up, Akane pours them sake and feed them snacks. Akane and Makoto talk about things. Like Makoto will soon need to hand in a status report to the association since coming here as well as Akane not travelling much lately since she feels hanging out here is like home. When the earthfish are happy, they start floating and glow in red like beautiful red orbs. Too bad Akane is too drunk and sleeps on to watch and Chinatsu has dozed off. Only Makoto witnessed this amazing phenomenon.

Flying Witch Petit

Short 2 minute ONA specials animated using CGI and in chibi form of yet another peaceful day in the Kuramoto household.

Petit 1
Makoto mixes herbs with her tea for Chito for detoxifying effect but accidentally burns her own tongue. When she tastes the tea leaf believed to be from Myanmar, it tastes like grass.

Petit 2
Chinatsu tries to scare Makoto using an April Fool’s prank. Didn’t work. Makoto mentions she thought she saw a white kitten under a car. As much as she called it, it never responded. Then Chito picked it up and it turns out to be a white glove.

Petit 3
Since Chito has memorized the layout of the house, Makoto hopes Chito can guide her to the kitchen. Instead it leads her to various other rooms in which it is interested from a cat’s point of view. Finally they arrive at the kitchen but Makoto has forgotten why she needs to come here in the first place.

Petit 4
Makoto and Chinatsu celebrate Akane’s birthday. Though, she is not around and is travelling through Africa. Not to let it go to waste, they let Chito be the guest of honour. As they are about the blow out the candles, Akane returns from her trip.

Petit 5
Akane teaches Makoto a spell that would magically lock her notebook. First she has to write 13 digit numbers on her eraser and then chant it over her notebook. Now she has to recite that number if she wants to unlock her notebook. Since Makoto can’t remember well, she writes the ‘password’ on the notebook which renders the spell useless.

Petit 6
Chinatsu is having a hard time with her kanji drills. Akane teaches her a trick. For example, the kanji for ‘fast’ looks like a witch riding a broom. Chinatsu is impressed as she asks more and more kanji words for examples. How come all of them have a broomstick? As its reasoning gets more absurd, I guess Akane has run out of lies explanation so she leaves Chinatsu to do the rest on her own.

Petit 7
Makoto tells Chito about her camellia oil she uses to maintain her broom. Because it makes the broom sparkle like hair, she dreams that she can apply this and open a hair beauty salon. She’ll become a famous beautician in no time!

Petit 8
Makoto sees Akane and Chinatsu sleeping. She hears them sleep talking but wonder if they are really asleep because they seem to be responding to Makoto’s questions. After Chito joins in sleeping with them, Makoto also follows suit thinking that they might be dreaming the same dream and she could join in on that. Good night. It’s still high noon…

Good Witch Of The North
Do you feel fresh and detoxified? Cleansed of your corrupted anime sins? Well, at least I sure do. I don’t know if you can call that a crappy ending but let’s face it, there isn’t really any plot to lead us anywhere. Even if Akane throws up that witch association thingy in the final scenes, I don’t think it is going to cause any big stir whatsoever. I mean, there is nothing that would be constituted dangerous and a threat to these characters, right? Even bee stings don’t kill! Okay, maybe a small bee bite won’t stop a human heart and just give you the prickly annoyed feeling. So generally everybody is as happy as they are from the start till the end. That means it is a happy ending, right?

Basically if you look at the overall plot and pace of this show, many of the episodes feel like they could be episodic and standalone in nature since many of the ‘stories’ in each episode is pretty random. Of course I don’t mean you can watch in any chronological order since some of the supporting characters introduced have short recurring roles in later episodes. But other than that, this series could have been just about anything. Instead of a witch, it could have been a vampire or a zombie or even a werewolf living the slow paced life in Aomori. Because all we see is just Makoto and the rest of the gang doing random daily stuffs that would bore the hell out of you or make you smirk at the calm and soothing pace they do things.

So yeah, this series is mainly boring or interesting depending on your interests and tastes. There are no mind blowing twists to the plot, not a single fanservice element and certainly no violence to go with. Okay, I am not sure if pulling out that mandrake constitutes to violence because you know, its scream sounded like it was so in pain… Ouch. Overall, it hardly has any surprise to spring on us. Heck, even the supernatural elements aren’t that scary even for my scaredy cat level. Some may look a bit different and out of place but they are not at all spooky.

Speaking of the supernatural magic of witches, they are shown very sparsely and some not even visually. For instance the crying and laughing magic prank from Akane. You don’t see any magic effects from it. Like as though you just put random objects in seemingly arranged order and then when they start crying or laughing it feels more of a psychological effect. You know, hypnotism? So don’t get your hopes up to see high level magic explosions or casting effects because the most we will likely get are witches riding on brooms. And the occasional Akane drawing her magic circle to teleport. In fact, seeing them pulling off these small feats of magic won’t make you go ooh and aah.

Despite the series having hinted there are a few witches around and proof that there are other worldly denizens moving about in the area, there is no further mention or exploration what this other world is all about. Witches it seems are painted as good beings instead of wicked ones. At least from the ones we hear in the series. And every normal human who has heard about the existence of such witches don’t give a damn about them. In the sense that they don’t make a big fuss like reporting to the press or uploading to social media if a UFO is spotted. No, seriously. They’re just cool with them. Witches? So what, right? And speaking of something relating to technology, noticed how nobody in this town has a handphone? Land line still works! You rarely see those nowadays, huh? Ah, the wonders of the simple life.

Maybe it was discreetly working with our psychological state all the time. We have been told or at least how we interpret this series as a peaceful and relaxing pace so when the slightest comical bit pops up, we tend to find it funny. This little magic is perhaps why we find the series funny and amusing. Like when Inukai temporarily turned into a full dog or Makoto shocked at Anzu having a clone of herself or Akane receiving a huge surprise bill, these little short bursts in surprise is what makes the series fun to watch at times and breaks the mundane and ‘unexciting’ pace in general. Such funny moments usually hit you spontaneously when you least expected it. You might not go LOL but it is sure enough to make you smile.

Considering the already tranquil pace of the series, the characters themselves aren’t much and you can say that they are as boring as the plot. But remember what I said about the series working on our psychological state. Because everything is so laidback, you don’t even hope that there would be some kind of character development for any character. They remain noticeably the same from start till finish. So it is both a good and bad thing that although the characters do not change much (or at all), they are still likeable in their very own charming way. Definitely this calm and soothing pace has really gotten to us by this time. At times it might be a bit unrealistic too because nobody here has real life problems! How we wish we to have such blissful life! Perhaps the most ‘stressful’ problem was Inukai’s transformation. But she learns to accept and live with it and it isn’t all that bad. Well, at least it staves off annoying guys who want to hit on her, which could be problematic seeing she is a natural beauty. Oh wait. Does this anime and town even have such sleazy guys in the first place?

So for a main character like Makoto… What can I actually say and explain about her? A normal girl. Part witch. Not a powerful one. Happy and cheerful. Life is a bliss. And the occasional bad with directions but nothing disastrous. I guess it says everything all there is to say about her at least in this series. Since the series doesn’t even delve into flashbacks and back stories of any of the characters, you will only get to know the minimum and the rest feels like a mystery. I mean, of all places to complete her high school, why did she come all the way from Yokohama (which is in the south) all the way up north to Aomori? Is this where her old life was and if she was to complete her high school might as well be in a place she is familiar with? And besides, why didn’t she complete high school? Does this mean she is actually older than Kei? You see, Makoto and some of the Aomori residence know each other and that was a pretty long time ago. Again, her back story is never explained so we are forced to ponder these questions for eternity unless… Also, is it a bad thing to lose all magic as a witch? Is it wrong for a witch just to become an ordinary girl? It isn’t like Makoto is going to lose sleep over it the way I see it.

You could say that Chinatsu is the liveliest character seeing that as a young kid, she is quite energetic, bubbly and curious. Sometimes she might seem annoying with her scatterbrain but it beats having a near emotionless and expressionless character. Like Anzu? Almost. Chinatsu has seen quite a number of supernatural things since so she just blatantly accepts them in her life whenever she comes across one as opposed at the start where she was a bit sceptical. Since Chinatsu is an apprentice witch, I hardly see her doing any magic practice. Is it possible for humans to become witches? At least it seems so here seeing if nobody says it is impossible, it must be possible then. Then there is carefree Akane whose life goal seems unclear. She travels around the world (currently Africa seems to be her main destination) and when she feels like it or wants to rest, she comes back to the Kuramoto’s home to sleep. If she is not doing anything in particular, you can find her sleeping. Or drinking. That’s like half of the time we see her, right? Otherwise all I could see her role in this anime is to add a little spice by teaching or demonstrating her magic.

Kei is supposed to be a normal guy but as quoted in the anime that since he lives with a witch and knows about them, he is way past normal. An unnormal normal? And Nao is like the third party character you get at times if you don’t need Akane to join in the fun. (Because Nao and Akane only get to know each other quite late in the story). It’s like she is just there for the company because after their task is done, she returns home and rarely joins them in the aftermath. So maybe that is why this series is boring because it lacks any romance that some viewers might be hoping for. Kei x Nao or Kei x Makoto (I know they’re second cousins but what the heck). None of that came close. And perhaps that too is a good thing since it won’t spoil the comforting story with cheesy romance. I mean really, fancy seeing Makoto blush and become a clumsy girl because of that? Yeah, I can’t imagine that either.

Other minor recurring characters like Anzu and Inukai serve to give a bit more variety to the series. Though some like the messenger of spring I thought would play a slightly recurring role later, it seems he only appeared once. Same case for Hina (although hers was spread out over 2 episodes as that cafe arc was conveniently ‘divided’). Nana and Keiji are laidback parents that they would let their kids do just about anything as long as it is legal. You thought they would protest to something like Chinatsu in becoming a witch but instead they support her. Another reinforcing statement that witches aren’t that all bad. So I suppose it is a good thing that parents let their kids do what they want and not restrict their dream. The weird thing (and perhaps running joke) about Keiji is his thick accent so much so Makoto cannot understand him. It’s like he is talking Greek! Don’t worry and don’t feel bad. I can’t even understand a normal Japanese conversation at all! Nearly all Japanese sound Greek to me! It is a good thing his kids don’t take after his accent.

Last and not least the cat familiars. I suppose it is not a must that cats are to be a witch’s familiar seeing Anzu has a cool owl. At first it seems funny to see how witches are able to communicate with them seeing that the cats only meow one or two lines. Then it’s like they could translate an entire sentence out of it. But remember, these cats might be another supernatural being form in this series. They could be highly intelligent creatures and even surpassing humans. Take Kenny’s case for instance. While it might sound absurd or even mind boggling how a cat can do university-like study and research, it might not be in the form of how we humans conduct so. I mean, who knows, right?

Art and drawing feel soothing to the eyes too. Nothing that are too colourful and vivid nor would anything be gloomy and dark. Since the setting takes place during the spring and summer times at Aomori, it captures the bright and sunshiny feel of those seasons. While character designs may not be unique and many of them looking quite ordinary (is that K-ON!’s Azusa that I see in Chinatsu? Did Inukai come out from Dog Days? Is Makoto a grown up version of To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Saten?), at least the backgrounds and sceneries are quite lovely to look at. It is after all the sleepy picturesque town in Aomori. CG is also used but that is only minimal and restricted to the sky whale and earthfish so it isn’t that jarring. This series is animated by long time veteran anime studio, J.C. Staff so you might see similarities of their art style trademark here in some of their other works such as Shokugeki no Souma, Nodame Cantabile, Bakuman, Honey And Clover, Kimi to Boku and Nabari No Ou.

For a calm and soothing drama, the voice acting isn’t anything special since well, almost everything is calm and soothing you would rarely get a burst of emotions. Sometimes a bit from Chinatsu’s liveliness and the ‘loudest’ of them all being that mandrake’s creepy scream. A handful of recognizable seiyuus include Yuka Iguchi as Anzu, Takahiro Sakurai as the messenger of spring and Kikuko Inoue as Nana. The rest of the casts are Minami Shinoda as Makoto (Cain in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu), Eri Suzuki as Chinatsu (Milinda in Heavy Object), Shinsuke Sugawara as Kei, Kana Aoi as Akane (her debut role), Shiori Mikami as Nao (Akari in YuruYuri), Mari Hino as Inukai (Shinkawa in Shirobako), Hisako Kanemoto as Hina (Ika in Shinryaku! Ika Musume) and Mitsuru Ogata as Keiji (Amano in Miami Guns).

Apparently the animal familiars too have a dedicated seiyuu to them! I thought it would be just randomly picking one of the main seiyuus and asking them to meow like a cat. Instead we have Ai Kayano as Chito, Ayane Sakura as Kenny and Ari Ozawa as Al. From the sound of it, it doesn’t sound like it is tough trying to purr like a cat but since the cats themselves do not meow that often, sometimes I feel it is a bit wasted to have dedicated seiyuus just to voice them. Not that it is a bad thing but just saying…

The opening theme, Shanranran feat. 96 Neko by Miwa despite being a fairly lively piece still manages to give an overall soothing and comforting feel. It is catchy enough to make you want to sing along or at least do that weird clapping dance that some of the characters do in the opening animation sequence. Nichijou No Mahou by the duet of Minami Shinoda and Eri Suzuki as the ending theme is a slow piece and another embodiment of the series’ calm and soothing pace. In fact many of the BGMs I hear also follow this suit. Some have that comical feel and others that mystic touch but even so mostly are the serene type and nothing dramatic. Although it is unfortunate that none of them can match the awesomeness of the soundtrack in Aria The Animation, they are still worthy in their own right.

Overall, this is really one of those ‘healing’ animes that is recommended for everyone even if such boring and calming pace isn’t your cup of tea. The plot is simple, the characters are not complicated and yet interesting, and the animation isn’t flashy but still excellent and close to realism. All you need is to do away with all that unrealistic high expectations and hype in order to truly enjoy this anime. Sometimes it isn’t that little supernatural magic that makes things interesting but rather the simplicity and minimalistic joy in the things we do in everyday life. That is the true magic of this series. Now, if there was only a little magic spell that I could learn to make chocolates and candies out of thin air…