Hello, hello, hello, and welcome once again to ‘A Crunchyroll of the Dice!’ As always, before we begin, I’ll give a quick reminder of the rules for this particular feature:
- I pick two series at random on Crunchyroll and watch the first episode
- If it has multiple seasons, I go with season 1
- I have to at least try to watch the episode, no matter what show I get
After I watch both episodes, I give a quick run-down of my thoughts on each and then compare them in several categories, giving points to the winner in each. Thus far, this has led to a mixed bag of results for me. The first time around, I had a close battle between two enjoyable shows, with ‘Love Live! School Idol Project’ narrowly defeating ‘Sword Art Online’. Last time around, the big bag of meh that was ‘Wolf Girl and Black Prince’ fell to the inoffensive ‘Rio Rainbow Rolls’. This week … I ended up with a bit of weird pairing. The thing with random selections like this is that you can end up with pretty much anything. In many ways, this particular battle is a bit unfair, with the nature of one show giving it a clear edge over the other. What do I mean by this? Let’s find out:
We get off to a picturesque start with some beautiful scenery as the lead, Makoto, travels to her new home. Her cat, Chito, is dead cute with his dark coat and massive eyes. The only thing that bugs me here is that the bus is animated in a different style to the rest of the scenery and characters. That’s right, it’s been done in the same style as the songs in Love Live! are, and it’s no less grating for me here. Still, it’s not around for long, so I can forgive it for now. Makoto arrives and finds a massive pile of snow which she immediately considers eating. Chito gives her a suitable response through a look that screams ‘really?’ Before she can devour her sphere of white fluffy coldness, her second cousin Kei (who kinda looks like an older version of Yūta from Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions) turns up to take Makoto home, citing her being poor at directions. Makoto, eager to prove him wrong, immediately walks the wrong way.
At her new home, Makoto meets Kei’s little sister Chinatsu. Chinatsu looks very similar to Makoto in design, so I’m assuming that either certain genes are prevalent in the family or that perhaps she’ll turn out to be a witch too. After a brief scene of Makoto doing some traditional prayers (which was nice to see), we discover that her room is full of boxes. Like a ton of boxes. Oh, and she can understand Chito too, though all we hear as viewers is the lightly perturbed mew as she tells him that he’s on a diet. This, naturally, freaks Chinatsu out a little, and causes her to become instantly distrustful. Imagine her annoyance then when Kei volunteers her to show Makoto around the shops. Being a child, Chinatsu is not above being bought with treats though, and a promise of donuts sways her into accepting the task. A brief shopping montage shows the pair bonding, finally coming to an end with the purchasing of the aforementioned sugary circular snack. We then cut to Makoto testing a bamboo broom … by flying on it. The camera remains stationary, looking straight up at the rising Makoto, and the show manages to avoid fan service entirely. Plus points for that! Well done, Flying Witch!
Meanwhile, Kei is speaking to his friend Nao. While Makoto is relatively sweet and a little ditzy, Nao seems a bit more abrupt and, when questioning Kei about his guest, comes across as a little jealous that he has a female staying, even if she is a relative (she’s obviously read a lot of Manga and jumped to conclusions). Makoto and Chinatsu fly down, leaving Nao a little dumbfounded. Kei explains that Nao goes to the same school that Makoto will be, and that her family owns the liquor store that they’re standing outside. Makoto then proceeds to confuse me by referring to Nao as Nano. Once we make it school, this is quickly revealed as Makoto blundering, and not me going mad. Phew!
Makoto tries to convince Nao that, bar being a witch, she’s a normal girl like her. The two get talking, and we get some world building as a result. Witches, it seems, are viewed as adults at fifteen and expected to move out at this age and be independent. Makoto’s parents wish her to finish high school, however, as ‘witch’ is no longer a reliable job. It turns out that Tohoku, the region that they’re in, is full of witches due to the abundance of nature around the area. Anyway, Kei is off to do some karaoke, so Nao walks Makoto home … but they get side-tracked when Makoto wanders into a closed off area of long grass to get a Nao a thank you present: a rare plant called a mandrake. The mandrake is best described as a screaming turnip with black swirly pits for its eyes and mouth. Makoto explains that it’s poisonous but that if detoxed properly it can be a great general medicine. Nao watches horrified as the mandrake kicks, wriggles, writhes and groans in a humorous manner, then states plainly that she doesn’t want it. That made me laugh out loud. Nice closing song too: catchy, with lots of characters yet to come shown. I must say, that was a charming episode.
A young girl named Yayoi is asleep on top of a guy named Haruki. They both fell asleep under a kotatsu while studying. Two more girls, Uzuki and Satsuki, turn up needing to pee. Realising that Haruki is stuck, the two girls take the opportunity to tease him with tickling. Haruki’s kicking causes Yayoi to wake up blushing. Being angry with Haruki, she lays the smack down with a brutal submission hold, telling him that he’s a perve for grabbing onto her. I rather think she’s got the wrong end of the stick there. Uzuki and Satsuki relish in there being a fight though. Another lady (I missed her name) turns up and tells them to settle down or she’ll take away their breakfast, so I’m assuming that she’s their Mother and that Yayoi and Haruki are siblings. Uzuki and Satsuki, being younger, explains their behaviour as ‘they were hugging and doing something intense together’. The lady explains that they should not repeat this as it’ll create misunderstandings, then tells Yayoi and Haruki that she’ll tell their Mother, who’s overseas, not to give them an allowance for a month. OK, so she’s an older sister. That clears that up.
Uzuki jumps Haruki in the bathroom so that she can get to use the sink first. Satsuki jumps in to assist, and they leave for school a short while later. Yayoi fusses over Haruki’s appearance and grumps that if he took better care of himself then he may be a little cool. More blushing … this is feelings a little too ‘brother complex’ right now, though I may be wrong. And end credits at the two-and-a-half-minute mark, or thereabouts. Huh. I guess it’s a short.
Let the battle commence!
I will now compare each series on several different aspects. The winning series in each category gets two points, and both series get one point in the case of a draw. The battles will be: Best Opening Episode (in terms of achieving the goal of setting the series up), Best Main Character, Best Supporting Cast, Best Storyline, Best Animation, and Best Soundtrack.
My post episode research shows that Danchigai is based on a four-panel manga, which explains why it was light on both running time and overall plot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it didn’t get across what sort of show it is or what can be expected going forward, but Flying Witch really just set up things in a more effective manner for me. Having more time to play around with and, you know, an actual story, probably helped there. Easy win though. Best Opening Episode: Flying Witch
I’m not sure who the main character is in Danchigai. I’m going to guess that it’s probably Yayoi or Haruki, neither of whom had enough time to put themselves across particularly well. Meanwhile, Makoto in Flying Witch should annoy me in the same way as Kosaki Onodera in Nisekoi. She has that same innate sweetness that often comes across as bland to me. However, her Ryoga Hibiki (Ranma ½) styled sense of direction and general ditzyness make her a little flawed, and so a lot more likeable than the aforementioned key holder. Best Main Character: Flying Witch
Danchigai has some energetic kids and an older sister who is clearly running the household, but we don’t get too much more from them. Flying Witch is only marginally better. Kei seems nice but we don’t really know much about him, and Chinatsu is nice enough but hasn’t done much other than flop from distrustful to awestruck. What saves them is Nao as, although we know very little about her, she has a lot of potential to play a great foil to Makoto. Best Supporting Cast: Flying Witch
From what I can see, Danchigai isn’t likely to have a storyline per se, and is more likely to be a collection of low end gags. Meanwhile, Flying Witch is an absolutely charming tale thus far. The storyline is simple, but has enough going for it that it should provide some genuine laughs going forward. Best Storyline: Flying Witch
Another easy win here. Danchigai was fairly standard in what it did, and there was nothing wrong with it from an animation standpoint, so I can’t really fault it on that. Bar the bus scene, Flying Witch looked far nicer to me. In a way, it reminded me of Wolf Children at times, and that’s enough to win out here. I should point out though that that’s simply a personal preference. Best Animation: Flying Witch
I’m not sure Danchigai has a soundtrack. Nothing really jumped out at me other than that the closing theme was OK. For the most part, the soundtrack in Flying Witch is unobtrusive, setting the scene well but not detracting from what’s going on. The closing theme was good fun and had my head bobbing along with it. Best Soundtrack: Flying Witch
Final Scores: Flying Witch – 12 points, Danchigai – 0 points
So, Flying Witch pretty much walked that one. The thing is, it really was an unfair comparison because the short running time of Danchigai kinda scuppered its chances of developing a plot or creating highly memorable characters. That said, Flying Witch was thoroughly enjoyable. Had I watched it second, I would have wondered if my view was effected by my lack of interest in Danchigai, but having been watched first, I’m confident that my feelings about the show were fairly pure in that regard. How will it fare in round two? We shall see. Regardless though, that was an interesting one. Until next time, I hope you enjoyed this odd little comparison.