There’s no shortage of great manga based around witchcraft. Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches and Witchcraft Works immediately come to mind. But sometimes, it’s nice to have something a bit breezier and played purely for laughs. And Flying Witch fulfils both requirements.
Makoto Kowata, a novice witch, has packed up her belongings (including her black cat familiar) and moved in with her distant cousins in rural Aomori Prefecture, in the far north reaches of Japan, to complete her training and become a full-fledged witch.
Obviously this is the first volume, so there’s always the chance the series will develop a serious subplot or add some drama into the mix. But just going by the tone established in this opening chapter, I somehow feel that will not be the case with this series. It helps that the lead character Makoto immediately goes against standard witch protocol when it comes to secrecy by obliviously flying a broomstick in broad daylight whilst out shopping with her cousin Chinatsu. Her lack of discretion does not get any better as the story volume progresses as she freely blabs about her witchcraft forgetting she is supposed to keep the information secret to anyone outside her family. Of course it’s not the first time a story involving witches has been told where they’re not tight-lipped with their secrets, but there’s something refreshing about how normal and everyday witchcraft is to Makoto.
This light-hearted take works to the series’ advantage as the series manages to work the many witchcraft tropes into the comedy. Whether it be a botched summoning spell which makes Makoto’s residence look like The Birds, Makoto’s feline familiar Chito’s idea of interesting tourist spots in their new neighbourhood or Makoto attempting to gift her new classmate and friend Nao with a mandrake root (which is the closest something comes to being scary in the book), there’s plenty of great natural comedy moments brought on by blending witchcraft with slice of life.
Chihiro Ishizuka has a simple delicate style that works for the type of storytelling she’s doing. All the characters are very expressive and a lot of the humour is derived from physical action (Makoto trying to uproot a mandrake plant and her fruitless attempts at catching a pheasant are particular highpoints). For the most part in modern manga, cats are usually drawn in a realistic style. In this case though, Makoto’s familiar Chito is given features that as far as expressions go match more with the human characters. Being a type of demon, this is to be expected. But it is still a nice touch as his interactions with the other characters come off as more human than feline.
As far as manga involving witchcraft goes, this is definitely a fun one. Plus, anyone looking for a fun manga they don’t have to take super seriously will find a lot to enjoy.
Flying Witch 1 is published 30 March by Vertical
9781945054099 – P/B £9.99
Post by Leo