Episode eight was a sort of “part two” from the previous episode, continuing the visit of Makoto, Chinatsu and Kei to the nearby hidden witch cafe, and in many ways this was the most “supernatural” of all the episodes so far – mainly thanks to the micro-parade of cafe visitors. What struck me as most interesting, however, was how most of the visitors were anime-original extras and just fit perfectly into the narrative. As far as I am concerned this is a splendid piece of adaptation – I always enjoy it when an adaptation of source material do a highly faithful adaptation proper, but “successfully enhances” the story by “enriching” the source. Unsurprisingly most of the time this is not done very well, but with Flying Witch thus far J.C. Staff is pulling it off quite well!

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Last week we were introduced to the cafe itself and it’s waitress – a young kimono-clad ghost over 100 years old. We find out a little more about her this week – her name is Hina and, very appropriately, she is an excellent baker (Chinatsu says the chocolate cake she ordered was the best she ever had) and skilled with making teas. We also finally meet the witch(es) in charge of the cafe – a mother (the “head witch”) and her daughter, who full name is Shiina Anzu, is also a witch, but is also learning the craft. It is Anzu’s mother who created the illusion spell that hides the cafe mansion – apparently a rather advanced spell. Anzu’s mother is extremely easygoing and good natured, while Anzu herself is courteous, calm, collected and a teeny bit like the character of Chino from the Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka series.

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It is the first two customers of the cafe that are anime original characters – the first are a pair of ladybugs; a male and female that use the cafe as a “date spot” and pay for the food by eating the insects that damage the surrounding gardens and farms (we find out during their visit that Anzu’s mother is able to communicate with them as well). Apparently these ladybugs are special ones – if they land on someone that person will be blessed with luck and happiness. The second character is “The Curtain of Darkness” or “The Veil of Evening”. She (it is a she) is tasked with bringing on the night every day and since she has nothing to do during the day she stops by the cafe and reads a bit while enjoying Hina’s tea. (It looks like J.C. Staff took a page out of Ghibli’s character “No-Face” from their film Spirited Away for this character.) Chinatsu warms up to her immediately, and apparently she is a very kind and sweet … erm … fairy? … and even gives Chinatsu a piece of candy.

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The final visitor to the cafe is directly from the source manga – a local fox who has a love for eating a certain type of berry (apparently hard to find at that time of year) and stops by to partake. ^^ This fox is extremely friendly and also extremely intelligent (it understands human speech). Unsurprisingly Makoto, Chinatsu and even Kei were simultaneously delighted and charmed by the new arrival, and followed it as a group to where it had sat down. All three of them begged to be able to pet it, and he was more than obliging, having experience in being petted before most likely and discovering that he enjoyed it, I’d bet. Apparently this particular fox is also able to mimic the sounds of dogs too. And no, before anyone asks foxes do NOT bark (nor does the sound they make sound like “kon kon” as far as I am concerned).

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Well, while the gang was visiting with the Shiinas and the cafe regulars Akane has not been idle. The material for her adventures in this episode come from a side chapter in the source manga, but it fits plenty fine here. Apparently after being asked by Chinatsu why the ocean was blue Akane had the idea that water did not need to be blue, so she whipped up a potion of some sort to change the color of water, and decided to go to the famous Ha Long bay in Vietnam to test it out. Well … Akane is not a world famous magician for nothing. The potion she makes is way too powerful, and she changes not only the entire bay, but all the rocks and plants in the area to a (temporarily, thankfully) monochrome state. After being inspired to have a photo taken of her and her familiar Kenny in their boat with said monochrome reality in the background Akane teleports back to Japan, shanghai’s Makoto (she was asleep at the time) and has her take pictures of them with a disposable camera before returning her to her bed and celebrating her success back on the shore by drinking with a local guy who rents boats to visitors. Poor Makoto. XD

Looking forward to next week’s episode as usual – I can’t emphasize how excellent this adaptation has been thus far!

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Currently the “oji-san” of the staff members age wise (in his mid 40’s) yet the most recent addition, he is also a Japanophile from his teen years while not quite an “otaku” who lives in the United States. Came to actively following anime late in life (in 2008), but in general loves the traditional arts, history and culture of Japan as a whole, both ancient and modern.

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