by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Flying Witch ?
How would you rate episode 12 of
Flying Witch ?
Flying Witch concluded with a pair of episodes that demonstrated the show at its most magical, at its most mundane, and at its most comfortable. I watched the first of this pair at my computer, gravitated towards lying on the couch by the second, and ultimately found myself melted into the cushions by the end. Flying Witch has demonstrated consistent mastery of laid-back charm from start to finish, and these episodes were a fine conclusion to one of the strongest slice-of-life shows of recent times.
The first half of episode eleven was the most overtly magical, as Makoto, Akane, and Chinatsu went off to discover an actual flying whale. The whale was a lovely visual setpiece; it was handled largely in CG, but the combination of its massive rounded design and actual stone architecture made it seem well-suited to computer animation, not wholly out of place next to the traditionally animated characters. On top of that, the whole mystery surrounding the whale was a great dive into the more magical side of Flying Witch. Apparently flying whales used to host entire cities, so the top of the whale was a flat plane of grasslands, ancient ruins, and sanctuaries. It's very nice seeing Flying Witch's sense of peace and wonder applied to something as awe-inspiring as a flying whale.
But of course, key to Flying Witch's strength is its ability to make the mundane seem full of wonder as well. After meeting Anzu on the whale, the group headed back to Chinatsu's home for breakfast, where the next source of fascination was hotcakes. Episode eleven's second half largely focused on the nature and history of hotcakes (referred to in the west as pancakes, Anzu happily explained). Flying Witch almost seemed like it was trying to outdo its own comfiness record here, accompanying a lengthy explanation of hotcake history with a steady shot of hotcakes slowly rising on a heated board. Though the best moment was the reveal that Kenny was Anzu's history teacher, apparently a learned student of anthropology in his own right. This show features some very talented cats.
Episode twelve maintained a more consistent tone, as both of its halves concerned Makoto making a new robe for herself. The cats also stole the show here - Chito being embarrassed about tearing up Makoto's old robe was great, as was his fascination with an incredibly gaudy, glow in the dark, cat-print fabric. One other thing both of these episodes impressed upon me was how natural of a sibling relationship Kei and Chinatsu share; it was nice to see the slight hiccups of awareness as Chinatsu did stuff like labeling him the hotcake-making machine or “casting a spell” on him, before he got up to speed and played along with the joke. The early contrast between Kei thinking of a month as “just a little while ago” versus Chinatsu considering it “ages ago” was a graceful demonstration of how kids parse the passing of time. There's a chemistry between the two of them that consistently demonstrates that they don't really think on the same wavelength, but they're still very comfortable with each other's presence.
Episode twelve's final scene was a charming conclusion to the series, as Akane made her drunken way home to greet Makoto. As Chinatsu slept in her new robe on Makoto's lap, the two sisters tossed snacks to earthfish, troublesome animals that are apparently attracted to festivals. The earthfish antics were magical enough, but the focus was on the bond between the sisters. As always, Flying Witch emphasized that while actual magic is nice, there is ultimately magic in everything. And so we end with the cast enjoying the festival, finding magic in simple days shared with the people you love.
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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