Spy X Family Season 1 Review – An extraordinary comedy rooted in charm & deceit

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 5/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 3.5/5

 

Spy x Family was a surprise hit when it released and has garnered a large audience since. This series is animated by Wit Studio and Cloverworks, the former of which best known for animating Attack On Titan, while the latter animated The Promised Neverland.

Like those series, Spy x Family delivers enough charm, hilarity and action to keep your eyes glued to your screens. Considering this series has gained enough buzz for a second season, it shows how great of a starting impact the anime has had on fans thus far.

The story takes place amidst a conflict between the two countries: Ostania and Westalis. To maintain peace between the two nations, Westalis hires a renowned spy with the alias “Twilight” to complete several missions.

His “main mission” involves Twilight gathering intel on a prominent politician named Donovan Desmond. The problem is, Donovan likes to keep to himself and rarely appears in public. However, Twilight receives word that Donovan has strong connections to a prestigious college called Eden Academy. This helps Twilight forge a new plan.

Now called “Operation Strix,” Twilight dons a new alias called Loid Forger. He adopts a child named Anya and marries a mysterious hall clerk named Yor. Therefore, Loid must help Anya excel in Eden Academy, as it will assist him in getting closer to Donovan. Unfortunately, like Loid, Anya and Yor also have individual secrets they’re keeping from him.

For example, Anya has Esper powers, and Yor is a part-time assassin. Although this family reeks of deception, the Forger family will recognize their love for each other is anything but fictional.

The spy-focused storyline of Spy x Family blends wonderfully with the issues the main characters encounter. The characters struggle to become an ideal family despite having formidable feats at their disposal. For example, Loid’s spy-like intellect helps him escape death-defying circumstances. On the other hand, he’ll find himself in more challenging scenarios that’ll make him feel as terrible as the criminals he stops.

There’s never a dull moment in Spy x Family, and each episode feels wonderfully paced. There are episodes where the comedy’s overwhelming, though. This issue occurs with the introduction of Yor’s brother Yuri later in the season.

At the same time, the series tends to favor Anya more than its other lead characters early on. Due to this, Anya gets more screen time than Loid and Yor, making this feel more like “The Anya Show.” The series’ focus on Anya left it with many missed opportunities regarding Loid and Yor’s characters.

Despite being an action comedy, this anime offers enough twists to keep fans guessing over what will happen next. At the same time, the show puts many stakes on Loid’s shoulders because of the focus on crime. If Loid makes a vital mistake, he can lose his family, career, and life. On that note, the characters serve as one of Spy x Family’s best aspects.

Anya was one of the anime’s beloved characters and had the most screen time. In addition to capturing the essence of a realistic, imaginative child, she adds something unique to the plot. Specifically, Anya’s psychic abilities to read minds.

To bypass distinct challenges, Anya often uses these powers to peer into the minds of Loid, Yor, and others. It’s nice to see Anya use her powers to get closer to Loid and Yor and help Loid out with his spy duties. However, she relies too heavily on them and leaves situations with too many victories on her shoulders. As a result, it may have been better to have Anya work towards her next reward without relying on her mind-reading powers.

Yor is another character I had mixed feelings about in the anime. She acts like a wonderful mother and has a colorful personality. Yor struggles to become Anya’s ideal mother and often looks down on herself for not achieving better things.

However, we see her develop a better attitude and approach toward that goal. My problem with her character is that we don’t explore much of her assassin lifestyle. The only details we receive about Yor’s assassin experiences are brief mentions or flashbacks. On reflection, it would have been nice to see how she’d handle situations where she must act as Anya’s mother and an overworked assassin.

This brings me to Loid, who I felt had it all in terms of development, personality and weight. The anime inserts many scenes depicting Loid’s struggles to become his pretend family’s ideal father figure. He feels bothered about completing numerous side missions on top of Operation Strix.

Although I found his spy gimmicks a bit overwhelming in some episodes, it shows how distant from normalcy Loid feels throughout the anime. While Anya or Yor may be everyone’s favorite, Loid offered me a grander experience.

Some side characters bring much to the table – though some of them have overbearing attitudes. However, there is room for those characters to develop into well-rounded individuals in future seasons.

The ones that caught my eye were Donovan’s son Damian and Yor’s brother Yuri. These two had intriguing backstories and wits about them. Their activities in future seasons allow for the anime to introduce clever twists or emotional situations to occur. Overall, the characters serve as the anime’s best feature.

Considering Wit Studio and Cloverworks’ past animated works, Spy x Family doesn’t fail to deliver excellent visuals. Every character model feels fresh and fluid. They did utilize CGI for the anime’s background characters, vehicles, and architecture. However, their use of CGI in those instances never break immersion with any of the anime’s scenes. Both studios went beyond the “call of duty” with camera panning, angles, and other techniques.  

Fans of Attack On Titan and The Promised Neverland understand how much Wit Studio and Cloverworks love to use the camera and other effects to invoke tension or raw emotion. There were many scenes in Spy x Family where the camera helped heighten characters’ reactions toward specific moments. Yuri’s reaction to Yor and Loid attempting to kiss and Anya performing her “killer shot” in the dodgeball game are a few noteworthy highlights. The action scenes in the anime also have a lot of flair and charm to keep your eyes glued to the screen. 

As with the animation, the music is also what one would expect from a series dealing with spies and family. The series’ soundtrack is both enthusiastic and jazzy. Some tracks also give the sense of heroic tunes you’d hear in superhero films, with one in particular reminding me of the iconic theme from Brad Bird’s, The Incredibles.

The opening theme also captures this heroic and jazzy tone and is accompanied by cutesy and action-packed visuals. Although the anime’s ending theme doesn’t hit the same energetic wavelength as its opening, it serves its purpose well. 

Despite some mixed feelings about certain characters in the series, season 1 of Spy x Family is an excellent start. With more seasons coming in the future, there’s hope for this series to end on an elegant note!


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  • Verdict - 8/10
    8/10
8/10

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