Review: ‘Flying Witch,’ Vol. 1
Flying Witch, vol. 1
Writer/artist: Chihiro Ishizuka
Vertical Comics; $10.95
Teenage Makoto is a witch and, as the title of the manga she stars in indicates, she does indeed fly. On a broom, of course, in the traditional manner of witches.
That is not what makes her stand out as an outsider in Hirosaki, the relatively small town she is just in the process of moving to in the very first pages of Flying Witch. Nor is it what makes her a remarkable person, and a charming character for a reader to spend time with. Rather, the fact that Makoto is a witch is treated as almost incidental in these first few stories by Chihiro Ishizuka, a sort of in-story code for the fact that she is a character from a different place with a different background.
She and her familiar, a black cat who apparently talks to her, move from their home in the big city of Yokohama to stay with relatives while she continues to try and find her way in the world as a young witch. Her cousins Kei, a boy about her age, and Chinatsu, a little girl so young that she has no memory of ever having met Makoto, spend the most time with her, introducing her to their friend Nao, the town, and her new school.
It’s quite an adjustment. While Chinatsu and Nao are surprised, fascinated and occasionally alarmed or frightened by aspects of Makoto’s witchy life, like her ability to fly on a broom, or finding a Mandrake, or getting a visit from the personified spirit of spring, Makoto finds wonder in the most mundane, everyday elements of their neighborhood, from the presence of snow (“Wonder if it’s okay to eat? Ooh! It’s cold!!”) to the appearance of a common pheasant, which she spends a great deal of time trying to catch.
This first volume of the series contains six chapters, introducing us to Makoto’s various quirks as she and Chito settle in, and by the final story we meet her older sister, a full-fledged witch in full command of many powerful spells whose very presence further emphasizes the lead’s gentle, easy-going nature—and the the gulf between the world of witches and of regular, non-magical people. Although, perhaps that’s the wrong term since, as Flying Witch reveals, there’s magic in everyone and everywhere and everything; one simply needs the right point of view to see it and appreciate its wonder.
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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