April 10th, 2016.
Theme / Story:
This was a lot of fun. Well, I’m not sure if “fun” is the right word, but here we’re getting into the not very productive area of discussing “What is fun anyway?” I found myself smiling throughout the entire episode. I didn’t laugh out loud often, and there wasn’t a lot of “stuff” that happened, but the show’s presentation and quiet manner put me in mind of smiling early, from then on to how naturally it presented the two cousins interacting again, and not overselling how Makoto’s sense of direction is abysmal. That small tidbit actually matters, because this “joke” has repeated at least four times during the show that I can recall, but never was it accompanied by ridiculous faces or an over the top presentation, but rather merely as the people within the show acknowledging Makoto’s nature in a quiet and simple manner. It wasn’t treated as a joke at all, but as a quirk. It’d have been easy to make this moment funny in a good comedy, or more likely, ruin it entirely in a less-than-great one.
Flying Witch isn’t a comedy, but it’s full of moments that are humorous, and which could’ve worked in a comedy. It’s not a comedy not because of the content it has or does not have, but because the focus isn’t on making us laugh, but it is on making us smile. Makoto’s younger cousin being suspicious of her, while we know the truth of the matter, and then her sheer sense of joy over having flown are both believeable and infectious, and how could one not smile at the two of them shopping together. or Chinatsu making the logical demand for donuts?
Makoto and Nao’s scenes in particular, where Makoto told the entire school what she shouldn’t have, and Nao being caught between the need to be the “straight woman” and how that forces her to be shocked and surprised by Makoto’s careless manner. The build-up to the Mandrake’s cry was long, and the show certainly went places during that cry, but it was an interesting take.
This show doesn’t feel like it’d be as funny as Barakamon, or as sad and touching as Gingitsune, but smiling 20 minutes every week? I’d very happily take it.
In terms of presentation, the show doesn’t do nearly as well as it does in terms of content. The CG buses, houses, interior decoration and such are not terrible, but they’re also not great, and the plasticity of said content runs against the soft delivery of the rest of the show. Details are often missing from characters and especially faces when they’re a bit farther away. But, the show’s design, the soft colours and rounded designs mentioned thus far is a good fit for this show. There are enough funny and cute faces, or nonplussed ones, that help sell the quiet comedy of the show. The show helps sell the sense of wonder and surprise that characters feel, or their amusement at their situation.
Voice acting is another area where the show receives mixed grades. Makoto, the titular main character, is voiced by newcomer voice actress Shinoda Minami, who does a good job. Soft-spoken, somewhat distracted. She and the other girls in the show all provide nice voice acting. However, Kuramoto Kei, Makoto’s cousin, who also seems to have a non-small role in the show is voiced by another first-comer voice actor, Sugawara Shinsuke. Sadly, Shinsuke, unlike Minami, does a very poor job as a voice actor, with all of his lines sounding either wooden or listless, as if he’s reading from a page and not putting anything of himself into the voice. Each time he speaks up I wince at how badly the lines come across.
Hopefully he’ll pick up as the series progresses, or the show-runners will give him less and less time.
But still, most of the voice actors in the show are doing a fine job, and the show looks alright. Low-key, as is expected from a slice of life show. This is not a high-budget production, by any means. There’s not a lot of animation either, but again, as expected.
OP – That was a lot of fun. Fun and catchy music, and vocals, and clapping, and energetic and not bad looking art too.