If I ever had to imagine a modern day telling of Ghibli’s Kikis delivery service I reckon flying Witch might fit the bill.
Managing to achieve the ability to get their first work not only become massively well received in manga form but to also get an anime adaptation in 2016 Chihiro Ishizuka’s ongoing series finally makes its way to the west via Vertical comic and introduces us to the trainee witch Makoto Kowata, a rather polite well mannered young girl from Yokohama who, to complete her witches training [note the Kikis reference], travels to the town of Hirosaki, in the Aomori Prefecture, on the northern most tip of the main Island of Japan honshu, to live with her relatives the Kuramoto’s – comprising her aunt, illustrator Nana, her uncle Keiji [he of the very VERY strong regional accent] and Makotos two cousins – Laid back male cousin Kei and his little sister Chinastu.
We’re later on introduced to female friend of Kei [and initially reluctant friend of Makoto] Nao Ishiwatari, who acts as the “straight man” in the series – not an easy job when her introduction to Makoto is to see her fly through the air on a broom with Chinatsu!
Coming along with Makoto [and surprisingly entertaining in his own right] is her Cat and familiar Chito, whose personality reveals all too familiar [sic] traits all cat owners will recognise – in including general lazing about, antagonising dogs and [in one episode] chasing a pheasant.
Okey not the pheasant.
As for the artwork? – beautiful– that’s the best word I can come up with to describe both the character and background art [even thought the creation said background is similar in style to to Yotsuba&, in that it is copied from photos from real life locations in Aomori].
If I had to lodge a complaint about this volume though its that, for all its talk of witches and magic throughout, there’s hardly any magic that takes place at all, instead opting to concentrate on developing both Makoto and the Kuramoto family [a problem that the later anime adaptation remedied by changing around the chapter orders] – its only until the last two episodes where the series to me gets back on track, with one involving a visit from a physical manifestation of the herald of spring for Makoto [and who unintentionally scares Chinastu whilst at it] and at the end of the volume with the arrival of Makoto’s laid back big sister [and polar opposite to Makoto] Akane.
On its own I found this first volume, whilst great at establishing its general universe [whilst leaving enough mystery for later on] did seem to flounder halfway through with its mundane/magical plot balance.
[spoilers] I did learn that this was remedied from the second volume onwards so I would ideally recommend buying this along with the second at the same time.
Flying witch is available in physical format from most physical stores[as well as via my amazon affliate page], And also as a digital release available via Amazons Comixcology site, and via Kodanshas Bookwalker app.