Flying Witch
Episode 5

by Nick Creamer,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Flying Witch ?

This week's episode title, “How to Use Your Familiar,” initially made me assume we were actually going to learn why witches in this world have familiars in the first place - how they enable a witch's magic, or something like that. Clearly Chito can't just be a normal cat - being a witch's familiar must mean he's extremely intelligent, and his actions all have some clear witchy purpose. And in the end, that expectation itself turned out to be this episode's central joke. Having watched this episode, I find myself no closer to understanding how Chito works as a familiar - but I can certainly confirm that he is definitely a cat.

This episode hung nearly all of its comedy on the fact that cats are just kind of inherently funny, and very much got away with it. From the first scenes, Chito was precisely captured as engaging in extremely cat-like behavior - getting disgruntled at other people have the nerve to do things while he's trying to nap, confidently pawing his way through a sliding door, and generally acting as the vaguely interested overseer of all that he sees. In the episode's first half, Chinatsu ended up sneaking after Chito as he went about his day and fulfilled all of his cat errands. In the second half, Makoto followed that same route, as Chito explained the clear importance of all his many tasks.

I really appreciated the seriousness with which both Chinatsu and the episode itself treated Chito doing all sorts of normal cat things. One of the main reasons cats are so inherently funny is the way they themselves treat all of their activities with the utmost seriousness and dignity, in spite of those activities being things like chasing butterflies and finding a slightly better spot to nap. The episode worked hard to impart all of Chito's adventures with the same sense of importance Chito himself would likely assign them - Chinatsu's constant speculation on the purpose of his actions felt both funny and true to her character, and Makoto's subsequent conversations with Chito acted as a series of nice low-key punchlines.

The inherent humor of this situation was greatly aided by some well-chosen activities and extremely convincing cat animation. All of Chito's movements and choices this episode were both true to classic cat behavior and animated well enough to convey his fundamental catness. Whether he was leaping after butterflies, climbing trees, or doing that classic multi-circle thing pets must do before they lie down for a nap, this episode elevated Chito's actions with some of the most consistent animation the show has featured so far. And the base nature of Chito doing things like evading some neighborhood boys, sniffing at the place they buried something, and then purposefully patting it three times with his tail were exactly the kind of pointless but extremely specific cativities that make cats so great.

Other than that, this was really just one more extremely peaceful episode of a very relaxing show. Nearly half the cast took a long nap at some point this week, and when Makoto wasn't following Chito's directions, she was absentmindedly looking through old mementoes and munching on pickles. Flying Witch seems like it'd be a pretty dangerous show to watch in the lazy hours of the afternoon - Chito yawns, and then Chinatsu yawns, and then I yawn, and that's the end of the day's productivity. Flying Witch: prescribe one dose weekly to cure insomnia and ensure pleasant dreams.

Overall: B+

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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