4 Shows Flying Witch Effortlessly Ruined This Season

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Don’t let its 6th place rank on our Big Board fool you! More than any show before it, Flying Witch’s unique sensibilities caught RABUJOI so off guard that we’ve soured on several shows that would normally have coasted by.

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Kuma Miko: Maybe the way the central characters mildly abuse each other would have set me off in any season but, compared to Gugure! Kokkuri-san, a show with similarly quirky skin stretched over a simple premise, my criticisms seem harsh.

At the end of the day, Kuma Miko’s biggest fault is a lack of warmth between the characters (or enough warmth to counter balance the abuse, akward personalities and mental illness) and Flying Witch has that in spades.

Furthermore, Flying Witch has actually materialized a long-term plot in Chinatsu-chan wanting to become a witch, where KM largely abandoned its “Will Machi get out of the ‘burbs?” plot for one-off episodes. That lack of narrative goal just made it unbearable.

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Anne Happy: Has girls who go out of their way to accept each others’ quirks as they experience an unusual year in high school. Anne Happy’s characters are consistent, and consistently warm, but they are also very simple: each member has a single character trait paired with a single joke, which is repeated over and over again…for humor I guess?

Stepping back, I’m not even sure if Flying Witch tries to tell jokes. Sure, Nao-chan freaks out about slimy stuff and is generally off-put by the existence of magic, but she’s also curious, friendly, and bridges the cast from their foundation in family to a broader community. Again, FW uses her freakouts for humor, but there’s enough nuance to her relationships and personality that those ‘gags’ don’t feel lazy.

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Bungou Stray Dogs: Is such a different genre that it’s a stretch to draw its ruin into this discussion. However, the triteness of its personalities and the underwhelming ‘over the top’ use of magic may have been more obvious beside FW.

Let’s be real, FW uses very affordable animation. Last week’s laughter/sobbing spell was literally watching candles burn out. But the curiosity of the characters while those candles burnt out, and the simple consequences of the spell, has weight.

True, shows like Kiznaiver and Re:Zero do over-the-top so professionally well that BSD can’t hope to be taken seriously. (For all BSD’s CGI-‘splosions, most of its action happens around characters who are standing still) But given how rarely BSD’s cast remains affected at the end of each episode, it lacked a sense of consequence.

And a sense of consequence, in simple but understandable terms, is another secret strength of FW. While BSD doesn’t look lazy from the comparison, the comparison shows how cheap BSD’s glitz really is.

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Haifuri: Is currently on Review Life Support for trying very hard to make us care about the quasi-family relationships of its girls while stumbling over a convoluted mystery and military expose. The cast is mostly supportive of each other, some cast members have even come to aspire to be more than they are (Wheel-chan via Captain-chan).

Other dimensions Haifuri shares with FW are a lack of dramatic activity and an attempt to educate us about the world its characters occupy. In many ways, if Haifuri had no rat-virus mystery, hanging out with Harekaze’s crew and learning how a WWII destroyer works would be fine. If the crew featured a fish out of water who gave us a vehicle to learn about engines, baths, rescues, battle or whatever, it wouldn’t feel so pedantic. It wouldn’t feel so tech-pron.

Unfortunately, a grand mystery that puts friendships to the test, and allusions to politics beyond the casts awareness or engagement, makes that cast feel out of place in the narrative. Or it makes the lack of activity feel out of place in the narrative.

In many ways, Haifuri has only survived where other show’s review throats were slit because it contains more resemblance to FW. Ignoring what Haifuri is probably trying to achieve, R&R on the destroyer, exploring how a truly maritime society would keep elements of commerce and culture we can recognize, with a twist, and yes even the navy tech is interesting enough. Heck, even battles — casualty free battles — would be fine if they somehow tied into living in the world.

Sadly, I fear Haifuri will continue to focus on its lame rat-plot and slowly slip below the waves of me not caring. Another casualty of the Witch that defeated them all…without even trying.

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Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – 08

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Subaru wakes up, in the bed, once again, with the twin maids sitting beside him. This time, he volunteers to work at the mansion once more and spends as much time with them as he can, working his utmost to earn their trust from the start, so they won’t suspect and kill him! His second priority is finding and stopping the shaman who killed him and most recently Rem in previous loops.

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For the latter part, Subie learns from Puck that he has the somewhat rare “darkness” alignment, rather than any of the standard four elements. Excited to be able to focus his mana through his “gate” and perform magic for the first time in this world (aside from Return By Death, obv) he get’s a little too carried away and blows out all his mana at once.

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Like Explosion Girl in KonoSuba, this leaves him barely able to move, but he’s absolutely committed to continuing his tireless work with Ram and Rem, knowing his life and future may well depend on the results. Everyone notices that Subaru is simply trying way too hard, hiding his churning troubles beneath an overly chipper, caffeinated exterior. Something has to give, and it does, when he’s overcome by nausea.

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Emilia is outside the bathroom when he boots, and he can’t fool her any longer, so she takes him up on his desire to lay his head in her lap when the need arises, and it arises. Emilia is so kind and tender and matronly as she gives Subaru something he’s needed for some time: a pressure valve.

Safe in her lap, free of complications, he can let it all out, and Emilia is glad to see him not holding it in. In fact, it proves to her that he’s a truly good person, and she relays that to Rem. It’s such a lovely, calming scene, and the episode perfectly built up all that pressure and tension.

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His Emilia-aided lap pillow catharsis, then, turns out to be the means by which he achieves his first objective: earn the trust of the staff. Emilia assures Rem, who tells Ram, who tells Lord Rosvaal. I’d like to think that’s how it works, anyway!

That catharsis and its positive effects would not have been possible if Subie had been a mere houseguest and not someone doing his part in the mansion with the maids. He’s done being lazy and half-assing things; that’s how people have died in the past.

Of course, there’s still that shaman to contend with. He believes both he and Rem (at different times) were hit by a fatal spell in the village. Now he and both sisters will be going to the village together, and thanks to “Beako”, he knows there’s a way to detect a spell before it’s cast (much like a boss’s big timed attack in RPGS).

But once that spell is cast, it can’t be un-cast, so I hope to hell he’s careful and doesn’t have to go through all of this yet again. Another important thing he learned was that people who help him prefer simple thanks to elaborate apologies.

Honesty and simplicity are Subie’s tools of salvation. Cry when he has to, accept help without shame, and thank those who give it. If these people see every side of him, not just the artificial ideal, they just might not end up being the “poisonous flowers” he dreads.

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Flying Witch – 07

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It’s another lovely day in Aomori, perfect for going on a lovely hike in the lovely forest. But before they set off, Nao manages to insult Chito by asking if she’s put on weight. She also learns that she’s seventeen—older than all the humans around her on the trip—making her and not Kei the true senpai. That familiars live longer and age slower than regular pets its another interesting tidbit of witching wisdom.

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Once in the forest, Makoto gets really giddy, as is apparently typical of witches. There’s so much energy in the trees and water and grass, and so many resources from which to make other things. It’s basically a witch supermarket, and they collect things like ostrich ferns and victory onions. Another great tidbit: those onions make your farts smell terrible. Keeping bears away by scaring Nao with frogs is also a little mean, but ultimately beneficial.

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Once back home, we enter Kei’s Kitchen, as he expertly toasts sesame seeds and tosses them with the blanched ferns. Makoto finds them immensely tasty, but Chinatsu, little kid that she is, still has too unrefined a palate to find the taste appealing. Everyone assures her when she gets older, she will. They certainly looked scruptious to me!

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Akane recommends Chinatsu cleanse her palate with some cake from an off-the-beaten-path cafe. Makoto worries Kei has gotten them lost for once when there’s nothing but a decrepit ruin of a house at the address provided. Makoto is on it; by praying as if at a shrine like Kenny says, the spell on the house is lifted, at they see a well-kept mansion.

Once inside, the lack of a verbal welcome is conspicuous, but they find a note and learn from Akane that while the cafe’s proprietor is a witch, the waitress is a Meiji-era ghost. Seeing the notes and ice water suddenly appear, like the house suddenly transforming, are all great demonstrations of Flying Witch’s subtle but effective brand of magic.

While we don’t catch the waitress’ name, Akane uses a magic circle to make her visible, at first, without her knowledge. When she realizes they can see her, she turns beet red and finally gets a few words out, but it’s clear she’s very very shy and shouldn’t be teased too much, as she’s doing her best.

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My Hero Academia – 08

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After Deku and Kacchan’s impressive first match in the hero-v-villain training sessions, everyone else wants to step up their game and show what they’re made of, too. Unfortunately Midoriya doesn’t get to see any of the matches that follow, as he’s carted off to the nurse’s office with his injuries.

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We, meanwhile, are treated to a montage that paints a quick and incomplete picture of Midoriya’s classmates, led by the capable know-it-all Momo. In some matches the great gap between elite and ordinary students is exposed, but that’s why this is training: everyone has a chance to see exactly where they fit in the pecking order, so to speak, without serious risk to their health.

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Midoriya ends up the only one injured in the exercise, and when he wakes up in a hospital bed, late for his next class, he feels pretty down. So he’s shocked when upon entering the class he’s not met by glares, but adoring smiles. Everyone respects him for fighting on Bakugo’s level, if only briefly, and the pink girl Mina even seems a little smitten due to his dodging abilities, of all things.

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The only one absent from class is Bakugo, whom Midoriya chases down as he’s leaving for the day to explain a little better what his situation is. The thing is, none of Midoriya’s excuses (e.g. his powers were recently given to him) matter to Kacchan. All that matters to Kacchan is that he was beaten, by Deku, and that has to be corrected.

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Deku may think he can approach or surpasss Kacchan, but Kacchan isn’t going to stop moving and wait for that to happen. Thus begins, as Ochako cutely puts it, a “fated battle between men”, for which she’s no more willing to accept qualifiers than Kacchan.

This is all a good thing for UA High. Judging from the villains’ awareness of All Might’s semi-retirement and move to education, the organization is going to need a fresh infusion of heroes. These kids may have to grow up fast.

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Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 20

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I’m gonna level with ya’ll: this was not an exceptionally interesting episode, but it kinda couldn’t help it: Ayato and Julis’ finals match against the puppets was never going to take up only one episode, which means this episode was always going to be only the first of a two or even three-episode final battle.

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From the get-go, our heroes are the underdogs, as they’re just flesh-and-blood humans facing artificial beings, and Ayato still can’t use Ser=Veresta because Flora is still at large. That being said, they’re still tough enough t make Rimsy and Ardy do their special move wher Rimsy gives up all her luxes to make Ardy extra-powerful, at the cost of her own badge.

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Meanwhile, Kirin and Saya get to Flora, and after a couple of hiccups, manage to defeat the shadowy dude who is holding her captive. Kirin takes a wound to the vitals, but her swordsmanship is enough, combined with Saya’s backup firepower. Looks like Ayato and Julis were right to trust in them after all!

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Claudia hijacks the mic from the Phoenix Festa commentators in order to relay to Ayato and Julis the news that Flora has been successfully rescued. This means Ayato can finally wield Ser=Veresta once more, and he and Julis only have one opponent left to defeat, albeit the strongest one they’ve faced yet. Perhaps they can turn the tables now that they’re not hampered by dirty tricks.

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