by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Flying Witch ?
Flying Witch returned to its usual wheelhouse in this week's episode. There were no magical flights of fancy to add a bit of mystery or unease to these light happenings - witchiness was incidental and gentle atmosphere paramount. But Flying Witch is consistently able to bring humor and a sense of reality to its slow-paced activities, and this episode was no exception.
Inukai stopped by to visit in the episode's first half, when she told the family's fortunes to make up for her accusations from before. Chinatsu was, as usual, one of the stars of this sequence. Her childish behavior is far more consistently believable and charming than most anime children; from the way she clarified that Inukai would tell their fortunes “for free” (kids may not pay for many things, but they still love getting stuff for free) to her immediate question of “what's for dinner tonight,” her actions possess a specificity and realism that make them very endearing. Another of Chinatsu's exchanges also neatly expressed Flying Witch's talent for comic understatement, when she enthusiastically asked “did you bring cookies” and then blankly finished with “I was wrong.” The quick pacing and nonplussed vocal delivery of sequences like this make jokes out of the lightest ingredients, offering consistent comic beats without disrupting the naturalism of the atmosphere.
The episode's second half was equally mundane, as Makoto invited Nao back to her place in order to show off her vegetable garden. Early on in this segment, Nao commented on Makoto's weird “grandmotherliness,” which is key to the show's conceit. Makoto's beyond-her-years attitude is reflective of Flying Witch's own serene worldview; temporary things will come and go, but radishes are tasty and mandrakes make good tea.
There were also some fine jokes in this segment. My favorite gag of the episode was probably Akane's reaction to meeting Nao. Seeing Nao and Kei together with Makoto out of the room, Akane couldn't help but torment her cousin, offering a series of smug grins and “heeeey” smirks before leaving without a word. It was a situation most people can relate to (family members being as embarrassing as possible), elevated through great faces and Akane's consistent doubling down on her own silly joke. Akane's kind of a jerk, but she's a very funny one - her presence often offers a slight point of dissonance with the rest of the show, adding just enough friction to create comic tension. And I'm pretty sure everyone can relate to just wanting to be a lump all day and lie on the floor surrounded by cats.
Overall, this was a reliably enjoyable episode of Flying Witch, even if it didn't have quite as much distinctive personality as the two last weeks' stop at the cafe. There were charming visual gags, like Chito making friends with Inukai's familiar, and more of the grounded conversations that form the bedrock of Flying Witch's atmosphere. The show needs episodes like this - they are the steady mortar that hold its carefully illustrated world together. Sometimes it's good to just stop and smell the radishes.
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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