Overall, this was a very stylish premiere. The writer is very aware of the pop-culture of espionage they are drawing from. There were so many smart, hilarious nods to espionage, like the “Spy-Wars” anime riffing on James Bond, Twilight’s totally not innocuous last name “Forger”, and newspaper code ciphers. I love the 1960’s Cold War-inspired setting-an echo of the Man from U.N.C.L.E., James Bond, and other mid-century spy classics. The acting for little girls in anime can sometimes be cringey, but Tanezaki Atsumi is spot on with the naïve, harebrained Anya. The classy, jazzy music was also spot on for the setting.
In the middle of information wars between Ostania and Westalia, Westalia’s top spy, Twilight (Eguchi Takuya), is tasked with Operation Strix (Strix actually refers to an owl) to spy on politician Donovan Desmond, a linchpin to stability between the two nations. Unlike previous missions, he can’t do this one solo- immediately needing a wife and child to break into Desmond’s restricted social circle. He finds the child first, training orphan Anya to pass the entrance exams for Desmond’s son’s school.
On the surface, Twilight he comes off as disinterested. His emotionless break-up with the politician’s daughter and the plan to use, then discard the orphaned Anya certainly leave the impression of a hard-hearted man. That goes with the territory of espionage-it would be unusual to have a spy who valued emotional attachment more than survival. He would quickly become a dead spy. I’m sure as the talented man of 100 faces, who he is has been forgotten or buried along the way of adopting so many different personas. You can copy someone’s voice and appearance or project what someone else wants to see without touching the essence of the human spirit. What makes Loid Forger intriguing is that he does care deep down and surprisingly goes so far as to attempt to remove Anya from the mission for her own safety.
I find it hilarious that a spy has to play a family man-the two don’t really mesh. No matter how talented a master of disguise he is, it will be near impossible for Twilight to successfully lead this double life. It’s exhausting putting on an act 24/7 when your mission is waiting at home. If a child senses it’s an act, they will lose trust and respect for that adult, throwing the mission out the window. Likewise, if he learns to care for the child, emotional attachment will get in the way of his mission-perhaps eventually clouding his judgement. Part of the appeal of the manga for me is seeing how he navigates this double life and the growth that comes out of it, which I am looking forward to seeing how the anime adapts this. Already, we can see the tension between the cold logic he applies as a spy and the warmth as he and Anya learn to work with each other.
The logical Twilight has met his match with the illogical mind of a child. Children don’t always make sense and are certainly not predictable. Which is a huge challenge for a spy like Twilight who survives by logically analyzing an opponent. Twilight clearly doesn’t know the first thing about how to deal with a child-he barricades her in his apartment, which his informant Franky (Yoshino Hiroyuki) points out is obviously something you just can’t do.
It’s a lucky thing his adopted charge just so happens to be a mind-reader. Even if Twilight can’t understand the workings of a child’s mind, at least Anya can read his and act accordingly. I find it ironic that Twilight spends his life reading people to give them the version of himself that they want and Anya is doing the exact same thing to him through mind-reading, but in an innocent, child-like way. Like Franky commented, they are indeed a father-daughter pair, even if they don’t realize it.
While caring for a child may be a living hell for Twilight, for Anya, Twilight’s mission is a living paradise. I enjoyed how they take common behaviors for a child (like wanting something on TV), but ensconce it in a life or death situation. Like when Anya asks Twilight for the silencer gun she sees on “Spy-Wars”, only to meet such a “toy” face to face after being kidnapped. She clearly didn’t understand that spying is dangerous (and who can blame her, being a typical child in that respect). Hopefully she learned her lesson and leaves Daddy’s spy gear alone from here on out.
I find it odd that Twilight didn’t question how the toughies found his apartment or why the lock to his room was opened without a struggle. That’s typical of the manga though, where reason gets stretched thin in parts, but in such minor ways that (at least for me) it doesn’t detract from the story. The beauty of Spy X Family is to enjoy it and not sweat the small details! If you are a fan of edge of your seat drama, heartwarming comedies, and/or espionage, definitely make time for Spy x Family in your weekly schedule!
ED: 「喜劇」 (Kigeki) by (Hoshino Gen)
I really enjoyed this premiere but wished the pacing had a bit of a breathing room overall.
They did go at top speed. Sometimes I blinked and felt like I missed something.
I can’t wait for next week, chapter 2 is the one that hooked me on the manga.
Yes, the manga is definitely addictive-once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down! I am excited to see how they adapt the different personalities on screen.
They cleverly conveyed Anya’s power to the audience. Using Twilight’s voice over right at the beginning and then having Anya suddenly reacting to it until you go “wait, what ?” was a good piece of “Show, Don’t Tell”.
I would love some more juice in the animation field, but I guess that after Akebi, Bisque Doll and Ranking, both WIT and Cloverworks can’t keep going with that level right now.
I foundthe rythm quite packed because, well, you have to fit 51 pages in 22 min, but I think it will be ok right after and the second episode should guve us a good idea of what to expect technically and narratively : She is coming and This scene is too 😀
I always appreciate when they show, don’t tell. The scene where Anya uses her powers to solve the puzzle was indeed hilarious-quite a bit of dramatic irony, I suppose, where Twilight is concerned.
First episode was enjoyable, but i feel this will be a show full of a cliche i dislike.
I’m mean the whole ‘don’t tell each other stuff’ even tho it would take 5sec-1min, the ‘not quite miscommunication’ but total lack there of in order to keep plot alive.
It is about the execution. It may be cliche but don’t dismiss it right away.
In the case of a spy, not telling his secret is probably the wisest course of action, especially not knowing that Anya already knows-most kids are not the best secret keepers.
And yes, it is all about the execution, which at least for the manga, is very well done.
As cliché as it seems, the whole purpose is not around keeping their secret to each other. I’d say it’s used mainly for comical effect and some arc setup.
Beside, if Twilight is found out, it’s war. If Any is found out, she’s back to be an orphan (we assume her previous family were incomfortable around her behavior) and for the third character, Yor, you’ll see but the pattern is the same : they all want un change of pace in their life and, and this is what Spy x Family is about, it’s how they can work out to that goal as a fake-but-legit family.
Looks like he is driving an Mercedes Benz. the handlebars looks like it
It could be also an Opel Olympia Rekord handlebar.
That is interesting! I don’t know much about cars myself, but I love that the cars have a vintage look to them.
Okay time for the anime everyone from Crunchyroll to my friends to my mom’s dog is treating like required viewing.
It certainly has made quite a buzz-but a well deserved one!
I watched it last night and I laughed way louder than I should have. Great first episode!
I’m glad you enjoyed the episode! The lighthearted, heartwarming comedy is definitely one of the highlights of this series for me.
@Princess Usagi Methinks the italics markup has gone awry. Everything on the page from the first Spy x Family in the last sentence of the review onwards is all in italics.
Thank you! It should be fixed now.
I am really happy that the Manga is getting an Anime adaptation. But, I’ve been reading Spy x Family way before the Anime was even announced. So—I have high expectations. Although I am great full for any VA that are willing to pick up the roles, I just don’t know if I like the voice for Anya. The voice just sounds like it doesn’t fit. Again I don’t want to be picky but the voice for Anya doesn’t seem on point.