A Spy… An Assassin… This is so Exciting!
Long before its premiere, Spy x Family has been one of the most anticipated animes of the season. Be it from fans of the manga or those who were introduced because of the memes. It’s safe to say that Season 1 has so far lived up to that hype. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to escape the memes for some time.
Season 1 Pt.1 of Spy x Family sets up the foundation for the series by putting everything into play. It introduces us to our characters and sets a path for what is to come going forward. It should be noted that I’m mostly anime-only. Hence this review will not be comparing Season 1 with the manga but will rate it based on its own merit.
Meet the Forger’s
Meet the Forger family, on the surface they are upstanding citizens living in the Ostania capital of Berlint. In reality, they each have their own secret and hidden agenda. Loid Forger is a spy from Westalis (codenamed Twilight) sent to keep tabs on the leader of the National Unity Party (Ostania ruling political party). Yor Forger is a professional assassin who goes by the code name Thorn Princess. Anya Forger is a telepath and the only one who knows the truth about her adoptive parents.
The first half of Season 1 focuses first on Twilight creating his fake family while trying to get Anya accepted to Eden College. The second half focuses on Anya working to excel at her studies while Loid works from behind the shadows to ensure everything goes according to plan. Unfortunately; not everything goes according to plan due to a number of factors at play.
Overall; the story does a perfect job setting everything up and introducing us to the characters and this world. It has found a way to be the ideal family comedy and spy comedy without falling into the terrible tropes that have plagued both genres. Instead, it’s wholesome when it needs to be, intense when it’s called for, and over the top when things get too serious. At the same time, it has plenty of Easter Eggs for history buffs who are all too familiar with the Cold War (circa 1970’s).
Commencing Operation Strix
From the very start, the OP perfectly introduces you to the series while giving you an idea of what to expect. Both the animation and song perfectly capture the themes plus the world. It works to bring you into its family and spy themes along with its 1970’s setting. If you’re a fan of pop-culture from this era, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. The animation quality is also reflected of this as it perfectly encapsulates the world it wants to create.
The narrative path finds a perfect balance of creating multi-layered characters. For example, Damian Desmond is a pompous brat but it’s quickly established that this is due to his upbringing and yerns to break free from his father’s expectations while also just wanting to have a normal family relationship. Loid is under pressure to ensure the mission is a success but also understands that Anya is just a child. While only having a limited appearance, Yuri Briar is more devoted to protecting his sister than anything else despite being a member of the Secret Police (you understand the brevity of this if you know the history of the Stasi). This helps established characters who have the potential to grow and become better people in the long run.
Its world building is the perfect balance between retro and modern. Similar to Archer, it mixes a world from the 1970’s with elements from our era into the fold. Even if you’re not a fan of the premise, how much it draws from history might be another reason. If you know your Cold War history then you will notice how much Ostania draws its inspiration from East Germany.
Finally; the many iconic or memeable moments of Anaya Forger is another reason you’re going to enjoy Spy x Family (heh!).
I’M THAT GIRLS MOTHER!
One issue I had with Spy x Family is that some episodes were not properly paced. By this, I mean transitioning from one moment to another looked like a rush job. Some episodes would end while the tension was building or at the worst point. This can be attributed to the show’s 30min runtime not being factored in when creating some of these episodes.
Also, I don’t get the unnecessary censorship in “Ep. 5 Will they Pass or Fail?”. The moment has Anya stepping in dog poop and the itself poop is blurred out. This makes me ask why? Why even show it and censor it? It would have been more impactful to have Anya acknowledge what happened and let the audience imagine it for themselves. This isn’t hard since we have all have stepped in poop once in our life (and it’s an uncomfortable feeling).
I want a Pistol With a Silencer
On the surface, Spy x Family is a family spy comedy that does its own thing while avoiding all the obnoxious tropes associated with the genre. Underneath, it’s a well-written story with great characters while setting them up to grow over time. All of this has made it live up to the per-premier hype. It has it’s fair share of flaws but they can all be easily overlooked.
Season 1 Pt.1 of Spy x Family has successfully set itself to be the perfect spy family comedy with its narrative design and multi-layered characters. You have a good idea of what is to come and who everyone is while being mesmerized by its world. The drama + comedy are well balanced and you will be excited for when Season 1 Pt.2 drops.
Disclaimer: I watched the entire season on Crunchyroll, which I pay for myself.
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Review | Spy x Family (Season 1)
- The OP perfectly introduces and sums up the series.
- Quality animation that brings the world to life.
- Characters that are well developed with the potential to grow on a personal level.
- Solid world building and plenty of Easter Eggs for history buffs.
- Some episodes were poorly paced and ended abruptly.
- The unnecessary censorship in "Ep. 5 Will they Pass or Fail?".