By Robert Kondo
Ahhh, spring is in the air. You know what that means, right? Oh, you don’t… ಥ_ಥ Well, I didn’t want to tell you anyway!!! ¬_¬ No, wait! (°ロ°)☝ If you get through this article I’ll give you a cookie! I promise!! (• ε •) Now that I have your attention, let’s get to the anime!! (ง’̀-‘́)ง
“This is such a nice town. It’s so relaxing, and time just feels slower,” says main character Kowata Makoto about her new home in Shimoyuguchi, Hirosaki. And I couldn’t agree more. Furaingu uicchi, translated literally as “Flying Witch,” is a new anime adaptation of a manga series which ( ☜(ﾟヮﾟ☜)) takes place in Aomori’s very own city of Hirosaki!!
Released in early April, the story is about a fifteen-year-old (you guessed it) flying witch who moves away from her old home in Yokohama to live with her distant relatives in the countryside of Aomori. I had my doubts about this anime, but after watching the first episode I was immediately hooked. And even though I’ve only seen the first three episodes (I’ve been busy, ok! (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)), I would suggest this anime to anyone.
The art and characters stay as true to the slice of life sub-genre as I would have hoped. Viewers enjoy a beautiful introduction to Aomori through Makoto’s experiences and interactions with the other characters despite her being a witch. “If you take away the fact that I’m a witch, I’m a normal girl just like you,” says Makoto to her new classmate and friend Nao.
For some, the momentum of the dialogue and story could be considered a tad too slow. As a reflection of the countryside here in the Tohoku region, however, the change of pace is welcoming and refreshing. I found myself bursting with laughter at how witty the humor was and gasping with nostalgia when a recognizable feature of Hirosaki appeared. Unlike some anime that rely on the use of exaggerated reactions to push humor, the comedy and story flow seamlessly into each other.
The drawing style shifts at times, but for very obvious reasons. Besides those moments, the animation gives off a sense of weightlessness, possibly in reference to Makoto’s flying ability and Aomori’s beautiful scenery. Seeing Aomori come to life in anime form gave me a sense of pride for our prefecture. Most anime I’ve watched take place in cities and usually never mention anywhere farther north of Tokyo or farther south of Kyoto. To live in Aomori and watch an anime that takes place here is truly an engaging experience.
Even though the anime is projected to last until the end of June, I’m hoping it showcases more of the local culture here in Aomori. I want to hear more Tsugaru-ben, see some sakura, and above all (though I doubt it’s a thing) identify some Nebuta!! Thank you to one of my readers (I has readers!? ⚆ _ ⚆) who tipped me off to this anime! I hope Flying Witch lets you enjoy the glory of Aomori. Most importantly, keep on watching anime!!
Don’t forget your cookie!