Spy x Family’s First Half is Done, and I Have Some Thoughts
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The spring 2022 anime season is, by the time this gets released, likely finished with most of its major shows. However, Spy x Family, the break-out star of the season, is only done with its first half. Presumably, this is to give the staff a bit of a break before they continue this coming October. Still, since it is the end of the season, I figure now would be as good a time as ever to organize my thoughts as well as list my hopes for the second half.
For those who missed the spring season darling, Spy x Family is about Twilight, a spy for the Westalia government who has recently been given an important mission: to take down a prominent political figure of the neighboring Ostania. In order to do this, he must infiltrate one of the country’s most influential schools by disguising himself as normal family man Loid Forger, living together with his “wife” Yor Forger, and his adopted daughter Anya Forger, both of whom do not know about his Spy occupation.
I will start by saying that Mangaka Tatsuya Endou is a genius. While I am not familiar at all with their other works, the idea behind Spy x Family is honestly the perfect example of simple but effective storytelling. The series draws on some prominent historical parallels in the era of McCarthyism and the Cold War. However, alongside its narrative about taking down radical governments and what it means to be a family, the series manages to sprinkle in a lot of humor.
The focus of that humor, though, tends to be Anya, who has, more or less, become the show’s unofficial mascot. Anya is also hiding a secret of her own: she has the ability to read other people’s minds. This power gives her the dynamic of knowing both the secret of Loid and Yor while also having the two of them not know about her, which tends to be the focus of the more comedic moments.
Speaking of Yor, her secret is a little more…violent. When she is not taking care of Anya or at her day job, Yor works as an Assassin, killing basically whoever she is told to. Apart from having the aesthetic appeal, Yor’s character works because of her budding relationship with Anya, which often leaves her conflicted about her work as a killer.
The same can be said of Twilight, who admits near the beginning of the show that his adoption of Anya has made him less sharp than he would be normally. His occupation necessarily keeps him in and out of various identities, to the point that he has never had the ability to start a family of his own. This is a really compelling point, and it makes it to where there is a continual reason to keep watching even outside of the show’s episodic antics.
Outside of the show’s fantastic characters and narrative, it also just looks incredible. It is clear that there is a lot of attention to detail, from the bustling city backgrounds to the quick moments of action and combat which appear in most episodes. Spy x Family has more love and care put into its most stable moments than some series do at their most animated. *cough cough Seven Deadly Sins cough cough*
The soundtrack also manages to nail the fusion between classic sounds of the 50s and spy movie thrillers. While I would probably have a hard time picking out a favorite track, I can say at least that I do enjoy all of the music that has appeared in the series so far. The opening in particular does a great job at combining these sounds while also giving it a cute, poppier aesthetic that just kinda works.
The anime feels almost flawlessly executed at this point. Every plot point is falling in line and everyone has a role to play. My one wish going forward actually concerns Yor. For as often as she is on one screen, I do not know that the series has properly gotten at the heart of her character. What’s more, her relationship with her brother Yuri, who works for the Ostanian military doing torture, is one that could seriously threaten Loid’s work. Thus, my one hope is that this does not get hand brushed away as a minor inconvenience and that Yor’s character is more thoroughly explored by the end of the next half.
The same could honestly be said for Anya as well, but her appearances on screen do not feel as empty in that regard. Her interior life is much more present, in part because she is often the main focus of the later episodes, but also because her thought process is more laid out when she is reading someone’s mind.
Overall, though, there is fairly little to complain about. Spy x Family is a fun and enjoyable series that seems to be moving in a solid narrative direction. Once the series finishes its second half, I will do a full review, but for now, these are my thoughts.
Have you been watching Spy x Family? How do you feel about the series? Let me know down in the comments.
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