by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Flying Witch ?
The two halves of this week's Flying Witch were a lovely study in contrast. In the first, we once again met Makoto and Nao at school, as they got together with Kei for a cooking class. This was the more joke-heavy half of the episode, and the central joke here was “Nao is very bad at cooking.”
Flying Witch is very good at getting a lot of mileage out of simple premises, and this sequence was no exception. First of all, I can confirm that Nao's activities here were very true to the experience of being absolutely awful at cooking. Trying to slice an onion, and having your weird flailing become some kind of performance art for the people watching you. Treating each new ingredient with fear and suspicion, and eventually believing even your own hands are conspiring against you. Nao's actions were silly and adorable, but they were also very true to life.
The segment's premise also allowed each of the characters here to play to their type in an endearing way. Nao jabbed at Kei for his domestic nature here, but her own brash behavior seemed more like a betrayal of expectations than his. While Nao got to play the more typical lazy teenager, Kei and Makoto both leaned into the “middle-aged farm hands” personalities that generally steer Flying Witch in such atypical directions. And the overt comic beats were also strong; Nao made a bunch of great faces, and the anticlimax of moments like “Kei, this is your one” were timed and executed very well.
But while that first half was funny and engaging, it also set up a series of tonal expectations that the second half smartly dispelled. The cramped setting of the school felt almost claustrophobic in retrospect, as a journey out to thin apple trees emphasized the gentle breeze and open sky. Flying Witch's two central operative modes are comedy and mood piece, and by frontloading the comedy in a fairly sterile environment, the slow pulling back to enjoy a lazy afternoon in the sun felt that much more satisfying. There was a tangible sense of release to moments like Makoto leaning back and letting the wind take her hair, a demonstration of tonal storytelling at its finest.
The comedy was lighter in this half, mostly coming up incidentally through the course of conversation. A meandering line of thought arriving at “can ninjas become witches?” was a good moment, and Chinatsu being her uniquely believable kid self is always fun. But the focus here was consistently on establishing this farm and this afternoon as a wholly felt experience. The camera offered a good mix of perspective and intimacy - the cut to Makoto looking out across the farm was excellent, as was the close shot of Kei gently leading a bee onto Makoto's finger. Comedy is well and good, but I always appreciate how well Flying Witch creates lovely, peaceful places to escape to.
Overall, this was a pretty excellent episode of Flying Witch. The only hint of magic to be seen was Makoto's weirdly realistic finger cookies, but there was plenty of relatable wonder in her family's trip to the apple farm. Maintaining its graceful execution and steady focus on its own core strengths, Flying Witch remains a consistently rewarding experience.
Flying Witch is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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