I didn’t plan to do another “first impressions” piece on a recent anime release, especially since the original manga by Tatsuya Endo (whom you might be already familiar with, as he previously worked on fan-favourite TISTA) sky-rocketed in popularity after debutting on Shonen Jump in 2019, and especially last year as it received wider releases globally.
A relatively new series on Jump with an original premise that doesn’t fall in the “battle manga” genre, but instead goes for a spy theme was bound to turn heads and be popular, and eventually get an anime series. So here we are, and while this series doesn’t need my “push” to become popular or anything (as it’s also streaming in most countries on Crunchyroll, which is obviously marketing the hell out of it) it’s one of the few shows i’ve decided to actually follow as they air this season (alongside Ya Boy Kongming!, of course), so might as well say something about it.
Once again, i’m considering the first 3 episodes as a basis to draw these first impressions from.
Set in what it’s basically a fictionalized Cold War era Germany (complete with East and West block-states, here Ostania and Westalis respectively), the premise of Spy X Family sees a Westalis-bound secret agent, codename “Twilight”, tasked to keep tabs on the leader of an Ostanian extremist political party, Donovan.
But due to Donovan’s notorious reclusive behaviour, it’s decided that he will have to approach the politician via the prestigious school Donovan’s son is enrolled, hence “Twilight” will have to go undercover as psychiatrist Loid Forger, and procure both a child for the school and a wife in order to keep up the facade in the city of not-Berlin.
He manages the feat, unaware that both the young orphan girl called Anya he picks up from an orphanage and the lady he marries, Yor Briar, are not what they seem, as Anya it’s an esper who can read minds and Yor (which in turn doesn’t know Loid’s actual identity) it’s actually a prolific assassin known in the field as The Thorn Princess.
It’s honestly a great set up for a comedy series, in this case with a “gag manga” structure, and a lovely execution. It’s just the right blend of spy elements & cliches, wholesome emotional moments and funny scenes, with likeable main characters, Anya serving as both the adorable little girl-series mascot of sorts (also providing the internet with a crap load of reaction faces) and the audience’s stand-in, since she knows the unbelievable reality of the “family” situation but doesn’t care, as she’s cared for properly and… honestly loves spy cartoons, so it’s like a dream come true.
It’s a well handled premise that could have been executed way worse, so it’s no wonder the series it’s so popular, it is pretty good, and these first 3 episodes (out of 12 for the first season, with a second part of 13 expected to release later this year) are good at what they’re meant to do, just setting up the story, premise and characters, but it’s already quite fun already, so i’m really looking forward to see what happens next (even more since i didn’t read the manga), when we actually get to properly see the prestigious school, which the preview of episode 4 shows a bit, alongside some new characters.
The animation it’s pretty good, handled by a joint effort of Wit Studio and Cloverworks (makes sense to hire renowed studios for what was gonna be the next big seasonal anime hit), good character designs, a fun opening (though the opening song itself, Mixed Nuts, it’s alright but nothing special) and even a fun ending.
Definitely one of the “big ones” worth following this anime season.