Spy×Family Season 1 Review (#SPY_FAMILY)

Spy×Family Season 1 Review

When the first promo images for Spy×Family hit my Twitter feed, I thought it might be a take on the 1993 comedy movie Undercover Blues. In that movie, a husband and wife spy team are taking their toddler girl on vacation, only to get caught up in some terrorist plot. As such, I imagined Spy×Family to be something similar, only the kid is now a bit older and beginning to realize what her parents are up to.

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However, Spy×Family didn’t turn out to be like that at all. In fact, it was even better!

S P O I L E R S !

The Story, in Brief

In the ~1960s fictitious European country of Westalis sends its top spy, code named Twilight, to Ostania. There, he is to spy on a recluse, political leader named Donovan Desmond. In order to get close to Donovan, Twilight becomes Loid Forger and adopts a young girl named Anya from a terrible orphanage. Unbeknownst to Twilight, Anya is a telepath created from human experiments. Anya is desperate to be adopted and has learned to keep her powers a secret.

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Twilight’s goal is to get the young Anya into the prestigious Eden College so she can get close to Donovan’s son, Damian. To complete the illusion of having a family, Twilight comes into an agreement with a woman named Yor. While Twilight’s agency has some information on Yor, they were unaware that Yor is actually an insanely good assassin. Because Anya can read minds, she knows both of their secrets and finds this all exciting.

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Anya barely gets accepted into the school. She fails to get close to Damian, and her grades are terrible. Anya hates studying and basically wants to skate through by reading the minds of others to cheat on the tests. Twilight struggles with being a father to Anya, his main mission, and the side missions. As to Yor, she quickly comes to love the little girl, and will all but kill anyone who attempts to harm Anya.

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The Outstanding: Anya

Let’s face it, Anya is the real reason to watch Spy×Family. (Or to read the manga for that matter.) If not kept in check, Anya would steal every scene in every episode. In the initial part of the series, Anya is still fun, but there’s such a tragic element to her character. She’s the product of genetic experimentation (as I understand it). Anya was put into a terrible orphanage. And her previous foster families couldn’t wait to get rid of her due to her powers.

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Once Anya knows what she has to do to help Twilight in his mission, Anya’s star rises high. She already had a nice range of facial expressions based on her reactions to reading people’s thoughts. However, when Anya enters first Eden Academy, her range of facial expressions go off the chart. The chief one of these is the smug smirk. It is Anya’s attempt to force a smile when talking to Damian and it is hilarious.

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While Anya sucks at academics, she really is quick witted and clever. For example, when Damian goes off on her for various things (including Anya’s smug smirk), Anya uses her training from Yor to not only cold-cock him, she also made sure the coast was clear before she did it. And then Anya had a good cover story to lessen the negative impact of her actions.

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Finally, at times, Anya ends up being the defacto leader of her family. In order to help Twilight, Anya secretly uses her telepathy. However, she comes up with a reason to point Twilight in the right direction. And then if muscle is needed, she gets Yor to help. Despite this, Anya doesn’t get annoying. Her actions make logical sense as a child longing to belong and fearful of her secret being discovered.

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The Great: Yor

Another great character in Spy×Family is Yor. On one hand, she’s a kind, loving, gentle, attractive young woman. On the other hand, she’s an insanely strong, tough, efficient assassin. Normally, I have issues with women characters who weigh a buck-twenty easily kicking the arse of men weighing 200 pounds or more. But Yor is so great, I carved out an exception for her.

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Outside of Yor’s initial introduction, the series doesn’t spend a lot of time on her secret life as an assassin. As such, we don’t know what the ultimate purpose of her organization is. I suppose it could just be a pay to assassinate group, like an assassin’s guild. That aside, I think things could be a bit more interesting if her role as Thorn Princess was known to WISE, only they just don’t know who she is.

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I liked that the story crafted a logical reason for Yor to accept Twilight’s fake marriage proposal. As a housewife to a supposed psychiatrist and step-mom to an adorable child, who would suspect her of being a master assassin? It makes the perfect cover. But as I said, I just wish there had been stories about her missions.

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The thing I really enjoy about Yor is seeing her embrace her role as Anya’s step-mom. The only action we see from Yor after her marriage is when Anya is in trouble. This is when Yor goes full Mama-bear and it is awesome! Further, she has been willing to train Anya, both in fighting and in volleyball. She’s just the perfect wife!

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The Good: Twilight/Loid

Twilight, aka: Loid Forger, is another good character in Spy×Family. He’s more of the straight man in the series. As a spy, he has a job to do, and he’s going to do it to the best of his abilities. Since he needed a wife and child, he “acquired” them. When Anya wanted to celebrate getting into Eden, Twilight spent a massive amount making her dream come true.

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As a character, Twilight’s arc has been an enjoyable one. Sure, it is a fairly predictable path. The stoic spy comes to love his fake wife and adoptive daughter that eventually, he marries Yor for real and makes their fake family a real one. While the destination seems clear, it is the journey that is enjoyable. I for one would love to see the Forger family become a major force for good.

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The Good: Story and Comedy

I really enjoyed the story and comedy moments in Spy×Family. The parody setting of a fictitious East Berlin/West Berlin is interesting. I do wish this was delved into a bit more in the anime. Twilight’s mission to get close to an enemy political leader is also interesting. And as I stated before, seeing Twilight, Yor, and Anya come together as a family is an enjoyable story.

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As expected, since Anya is the show stealer of this series, the stories centering around her tend to be the best. Further, they tend to be the funniest as well. It is clear that the writers (primarily manga-ka ENDO Tatsuya-sensei) did an excellent job crafting a unique situation with unique characters and create a story that is both fun and funny. It was a sheer delight returning to the world of Spy×Family and I cannot wait to do so when I start reading the manga volumes.

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Bottom Line

If you are looking for an uplifting (after episode 1), hilarious, fun, adventurous romp with a slice of family life on the side, then Spy×Family is certainly worth your time. Thankfully, we have more of this coming to anime form this fall.

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2 Responses to “Spy×Family Season 1 Review (#SPY_FAMILY)”

  1. Anime Lover says:

    In my list of favorite anime series, SPY x Family is at the top.

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