by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Flying Witch ?
This week's Flying Witch split the difference between charming rural adventure and whimsical witchy fantasy, offering another fine slice of this season's most consistent offering. The first half opened with a cheerful scene between Chito and Nao, where Nao said hello and unwittingly offended Chito with a comment on her weight. Flying Witch has assigned Chito the most believably cat-like personality imaginable - Chito is proud and easily offended, but also very quickly placated with comments on her age and wisdom. And on top of that, small details like Nao scrunching up Chico's fur ring true to the universal experience of fuzzy pet ownership.
From there, Kei took the lead, as his knowledge of local herbs lead Makoto, Nao, Chinatsu, and Chito on an expedition through the woods. It's very true to Flying Witch's personality that Kei's “magic” is at least as relevant as Makoto's; this show is about appreciating wonder in the everyday, so things like identifying local plants and wearing a bell to avoid bears get as much emphasis as flying and casting spells. This sequence was more pleasant than laugh-out-loud funny or emotionally captivating, but it established and maintained a strong atmosphere throughout, using a variety of nice backgrounds to add some depth to the show's world.
In the episode's second half, a tip from Akane led Makoto, Kei, and Chinatsu to a secret local cafe. Unlike the first sequence, this adventure leaned heavily on the witchy part of the show's premise and was much stronger for it. The introduction to the cafe, where Makoto performed a classic prayer to transform a run-down estate into a shining mansion, felt almost Ghibli-esque, and the ornate western interiors only enhanced that impression. Flying Witch is almost always able to create a charming and peaceful tone, but it's not always truly magical. Still, this sequence was absolutely brimming with wonder.
The sequence's strong tone was only enhanced by the reveal that the waiter was actually a ghost. The base mechanics of this turn were equal parts charming and mysterious - the ghost's helpful notes and the sunlit cafe atmosphere kept things feeling grounded, while the shuffle of her unseen motions and the unusually ambiguous music added a hint of unease. The fundamental impracticality of this whole arrangement felt like a nice unspoken joke as well; while watching the three of them puzzle out how to make their order, I couldn't help but feel that a cafe whose very appearance demands performing a ritual and whose waiter can only communicate through sticky notes might have some difficulties in today's cutthroat restaurant market.
In the end, Makoto's curiosity overstepped her good sense, and she ended up spooking the ghost by using a ritual to reveal her. It was a very cute finale to easily one of the show's strongest sequences so far. I'd like to see more sequences in this vein, personally - the show is perfectly good at maintaining its warm general atmosphere, but slivers of wonder and mystery like that final cafe really elevate the whole arrangement. Hopefully Makoto's further adventures will include more well-employed magic like this.
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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