If you want a peaceful, relaxing escape from the political chaos at the moment (and remember, self-care is important, especially at times like this), you could do a lot worse than checking out the new anime series Flying Witch.
I first came across this via a post by David Pollard on Nature’s Path over at Patheos Pagan, and it seemed like an interesting enough prospect to give it a watch. David describes it as being “a modern-day version of Kiki’s Delivery Service“, one of my favourite Studio Ghibli films.
The official synopsis of Flying Witch says:
Flying Witch is a simple and relaxing “slice of life” anime, in the genre known as iyashikei, “healing”, which aims to create a sense of calm. Anime Evo describe Flying Witch as “a show without plot”, where “plot” is defined as “a succession of events revolving around a central conflict”. And this is key to why Flying Witch is, for me, such a beautiful show.
There are no villains, demons, evil magicians or monsters-of-the-week to battle against, and this makes it a welcome break from the usual supernatural/magic dramas you see everywhere.
Rather, Flying Witch is utterly and wonderfully ordinary. There is very little flashy magic, and where it is used it is done sparingly. Most episodes focus more on daily life in rural Japan than on witchcraft, and simple things like picking herbs, growing vegetables, cooking, relaxing, going to school and even following a cat around the village (this takes up half an episode: nothing happens, and it’s wonderful), are depicted in such a way as to seem magical in their ordinariness. It reminds us that the real magic of life, and its real richness, is in the day-to-day details.
The magical and mundane elements are entwined in such a way that both seem perfectly natural alongside each other, and most of the characters take a matter-of-fact view of the fact that Makoto is a witch, and this isn’t seen as anything to be scared of.
Anime Evo says:
“One of the more interesting things that came to the foreground regarding the series was how it showed a beginning sketch of sorts of how many different types of witches there are out there. We have Makoto, a very earthy, nature-oriented, green thumb sort; then there is her older sister Akane, who is a great practitioner of the magic arts (and a bit of a genius mad scientist sort with regards to casting); we have Inukai, who specializes in fortune telling; we have the the owner of Cafe Concrucio (unnamed at the moment); we have the latter’s daughter Anzu, who is also in high school, loves archeology and is a history buff … there is a huge variety.”
As befits a show set in a rural town, the natural world is always at the centre of life. Many of the magical beings have a connection to nature, such as the Harbinger of Spring and the Veil of Darkness (who brings the night), as well as magical animals and plants. As well, we see traditional farming and orchard-keeping, foraging for food in the woods, visiting the cherry blossom festival, and plenty of good cooking (much of which is refreshingly done by Kei, Makoto’s male cousin).
And above all else, the artwork is simply beautiful throughout. The fact that the town is based on a real place gives it a verisimilitude that brings it to life, and now I really want to visit!
So if you want 20-30 minutes of utter bliss, give it a go.
All images from Anime Evo (http://www.anime-evo.net/2016/06/27/flying-witch-review/).