12 Days of Anime – #8 Huggable Witches and Youkai

One of my preferred types of anime are iyashikei, otherwise known as “healing anime.” Notable favorites include Aria, Mushishi, Kamichu!, and Amaama to Inazuma. The two discussed here aired this past year and share similar environments that overlap a world very much like our own with the spirit world. Instead of treating the otherworldly as something to be completely avoided, they meet it on its own terms and respect the rules, spoken or not.

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Spring 2016 Season Wrap – Part 1

These past couple of weeks have brought about so many changes! First and foremost: I just turned 30. Happy birthday to me 🙂 KWoo and I went on a very short trip up to Alaska for a belated engagement party and to celebrate both my parents’ wedding anniversary and my birthday. Second is the wrapping up of this spring season, which I have surprisingly kept current week to week. I think I cut out way more at the start than I have in previous years, so the marginally smaller number of shows was much more manageable. Third, I’m now less than two months from the big wedding date, so I’m eyeballing the new summer season with a wary eye. I know I’ll be way too busy in the upcoming weeks to keep up with as many as I would like, but I promise to backlog anything that looks interesting and to chat with you a bit throughout the summer about the few I will watch.

This particular spring, I had a handful of great, a decent amount of pretty good, and sadly too many of the mid-range. I probably could have cut out more, but I’m still too forgiving on the flags that raise in the opening episodes. Now, on to the first part of my season review!

  • Bakuon!!
  • Joker Game
  • Kuma Miko
  • Anne Happy♪
  • Bungou Stray Dogs
  • Flying Witch
  • Sansha Sanyou

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Flying Witch: Whimsical and Experimental

Witches have been a part of our culture since time before time, and come with a variety of labels and expectations depending on where you search. For the longest time in the U.S., they were synonymous with the historical town of Salem as a warning of sorts against ignorance and mass hysteria. Currently, the works of J.K. Rowling have blasted witches and wizards into our consciousness as people walking by our sides unbeknownst to the general populace (perhaps with the aid of a memory charm). In other countries, witches might be called shamans, druids, or even priests. These diverse interpretations reflects themselves in anime, with works like Soul Eater, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and, more recently, Maria the Virgin Witch.

This season presents Flying Witch, originally a manga and now an anime by J.C. Staff. This magical new show is presented in a meandering and calm manner in the spirit of other works like ARIA and Natsume Yuujinchou. Even the art is drawn in a softer color palette. We see a good variety of witches presented: the gifted and passionate sister, the fortune teller, and the restaurant owner. Like these three, protagonist Makoto is born into her ability, but she maintains a closeness to the audience and her human family due to still learning about her skills and plans for the future. She seems to have a special connection with plants and herbs, but spends an equal amount of time simply eating them to actually using them for potions or spells. Then there’s Chinatsu, Makoto’s young cousin who is not a witch, but carries on many of our wishes as someone who wants to become one. Her excitement feels completely real as a product of her optimistic outlook on life and the audience’s own desire to enter this magical world.

Flying Witch stands out from the rest of other magical shows in a number of simple, but fantastic ways that bring the series up from forgettable to a work that I expect will stand the test of time. We have witches who do what they want when they want, and see them often slip when treading the unknown.

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Spring 2016 Set Menu

This is essentially my face right now as I realize that I am once again biting off way more than I can possibly chew through the spring season. To make it even more difficult, the good majority of them are new series, not continuations or spin-offs. We’re already into week two or three for the season, though I’ve mostly only seen one each of the twenty shows I’ll be talking about. As usual, please do let me know if I’m overlooking something you’re loving!

  • Anne Happy♪
  • Bakuon!!
  • Boku no Hero Academia
  • Bungou Stray Dogs
  • Endride
  • Flying Witch
  • High School Fleet
  • Joker Game
  • Kiznaiver
  • Koutetsujou no Kabaneri
  • Kuma Miko
  • Kuromukuro
  • Kyoukai no Rinne 2nd Season
  • Macross Δ
  • Mayoiga
  • Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?
  • Sansha Sanyou
  • Shounen Maid
  • Sousei no Onmyouji
  • Ushio to Tora 2nd Season

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