by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Flying Witch ?
Flying Witch seems to understand that Chinatsu is its most charming character, as she got plenty more focus in this week's episode. Her actions, attitude, and body language consistently ring true to a specific kind of enthusiastic kid, as she pesters her witch friends about their powers or simply hangs off of them as they're lounging around. Her behavior and demands were the star and driving force this week, lifting an episode that otherwise felt somewhat sparse even for this very low-key show.
We opened with Makoto practicing flying on her broom, which she ultimately admitted “really hurts my butt and groin.” As it turns out, witches aren't actually supposed to let the brooms carry their weight - they're just kind of an instrument for managing levitation in general. And so, as Makoto tried to put this knowledge into practice, Akane taught Chinatsu a variety of other witch facts, leading into Chinatsu's unsurprising declaration that she wanted to become a witch herself.
That choice set the structure for the rest of the episode, as Chinatsu learned a variety of semi-useless witch facts and participated in a spell demonstration with Akane. You would think a premise like that would allow the audience to finally get a clear understanding of what witches actually do in this world, but things actually remained as vague as ever. When asked how witches spend their time, Makoto answered with “making medicine, casting spells, telling fortunes, or just traveling the world.” It seems the tenets of witchdom are pretty lax in this world, which definitely suits the show's very mellow aspirations.
Akane's magic demonstration consumed the episode's second half, as she set up a pentagram and cast a very useless spell on a pair of convenience store snacks. That spell was the punchline to a fairly drawn-out sequence, where the show used Kei's relative disinterest to emphasize just how mundane magic really is. I'm frankly not sure this second half really worked. I liked the base idea of charming snacks so that you'll cry or laugh at anything, mainly because it raises the question of “why do spells this useless even exist in the first place?” I also liked the counterpoint of Kei watching High Speed Soldier instead of paying attention to the literal magic happening right behind him. My real issue was the execution of the punchline - watching people cry or laugh at things that aren't sad or funny isn't actually that amusing, and instead it became kind of aggravating due to how long the episode dragged the sequence out.
Flying Witch's best jokes are often the incidental ones - believable little exchanges like “can I have her?” “I'll have to ask my parents,” or the inherent whimsy of how useless most of Makoto's magic seems to be. By reaching for a heavy, drawn-out punchline, the show stepped a bit outside of its comfort zone, so the sequence didn't quite land. The show seemed to actually know that Makoto and Chinatsu's behavior was kind of irritating, since it used Kei as the audience proxy, but that didn't make the joke any more effective.
That made for a somewhat weaker episode of Flying Witch, all told. It's a slight misstep, but nothing that's likely to affect the show going forward. It's hard for a light comedy to win them all.
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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