Title: Flying Witch (ふらいんぐうぃっち)
Mangaka: Chihiro Ishizuka いしずかちひろ
US Publisher: Kodansha USA
Level: All ages.
Reader’s Advisory Tags: Slice of Life, Humor, Magic, Fantasy.
Content Warnings: None.
Last night I made fiddlehead fern tempura, and it occurred to me that I had not reviewed the manga that actually inspired me to get foraged plants.
Flying Witch is not about eating fiddlehead ferns. What it is, honestly, is the height of the type of content I tend to read for my own pleasure: gentle slice-of-life stories with just a hint of the unusual. Technically, it’s shōnen (honestly, the older categories are starting to not work for many newer stories), but it has a universal appeal.
The story is very simple: Makoto, a young witch, moves in with her extended family in the countryside to train and learn. It’s obviously slightly inspired by Kiki’s Delivery Service. There’s the idea that young witches need to spend time away from home to train, an adorable black cat who serves as a mascot, and a sense of magic built into the everyday. Makoto’s extended family members are not witches, although her younger cousin has some interest in learning to be a witch. Overall, it’s incredibly gentle and refreshing. Makoto studies things like gardening and plants, and there’s a lot of discovery of normal everyday things as special mixed in with the mechanics of magic within the world of the story.
What is nice about Flying Witch, alongside its general celebration of the magic of daily life, is its general disinterest in romance or moe. Makoto is designed to be cute, but she isn’t a moe character. Her sister’s design is a bit more provocative, but she’s also lazy and flighty, while also being very skilled.
Flying Witch is also a comedy. Makoto is sometimes a bit flighty or dense. She has a bad sense of direction, and she has a tendency to do silly things seriously.
In all, this is a highly recommended series. It’s a gentle and fun read with a great sense of humor. It’s perfect for any manga collection in a school, and is the type of book you really don’t need to think twice about checking out. It’s the rare series that I would recommend to elementary school librarians to have.
Oh, and the illustrations of food are good enough to make you want to order a rare vegetable from your grocer.