REVIEW: ‘Spy x Family,’ Episode 1 – “Operation Strix”

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Spy x Family Episode 1

Spy x Family is an action/comedy shonen anime produced by WIT Studio and CloverWorks. Twilight is the world’s greatest spy. He works tirelessly, hoping that he may one day bring about a world where children won’t have to cry. His newest assignment is to get close to an enigmatic opposition leader who only appears publicly at his child’s school gatherings. So Twilight only has one choice available to him in Spy x Family Episode 1. He must get a family!

Twilight begins building his family at the local orphanage, where he meets his soon-to-be daughter Anya. The girl appears to possess incredible intellectual gifts, so Twilight decides she will be best suited for his needs. Unfortunately for Twilight, Anya isn’t as smart as she seems. She is really a very average four-year-old girl. Well, except for the fact that she’s a telepath.

Anya’s hidden gift provides the bulk of the humor, as well as a surprising amount of warmth, in Spy x Family Episode 1. She quickly discovers the truth behind why Twilight has adopted her and, like any four-year-old would, thinks he is the coolest thing ever since he is a spy. But while Anya’s gift provides no small amount of hijinks as the child plays off her new father’s thoughts, it also leads to some hard struggles for the little girl.

As one would probably guess, Twilight’s training as a master spy does him little good when dealing with the emotions of a young child. More than once during Spy x Family Episode 1, Twilight considers returning Anya to the orphanage and finding some other way to get near his target. Due to her telepathy, Anya hears every thought.

Anya’s fear of losing another family is heartrending. In this episode, her playful moments of childlike joy do a fantastic job of establishing her as just a normal child who wants a happy life with a family that loves her. The thought that Twilight might let her go for her safety isn’t entirely processed by Anya. Because despite her telepathy, she is still just a child. And all that child hears is that she won’t have a family again.

Sprinkled in lightly with the humor and heart are some wonderfully handled action moments. The story quickly establishes Twilight as a force to be reckoned with when the fists fly. The action we see here remains fairly grounded, which keeps Twilight feeling impressive but still human.

Along with the quality action moments, the visuals throughout Spy x Family Episode 1 bring every element of the story to life. This is especially true for Anya. The wonderful way the animation portrays Anya delivers the energy, hope, and angst of childhood superbly. This may be the most authentic feeling child I’ve seen in an anime since the last time I watched I My Neighbor Totoro.

While I went into Spy x Family Episode 1 with some measure of expectation, given how much people I know love the manga, the series premiere episode exceeded my every expectation. Its wonderful blend of humor and warmth promises to both make me laugh and break my heart. And honestly, I’m here for both.

Spy x Family Episode 1 is streaming on Crunchyroll.


Spy x Family Episode 1
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

While I went into Spy x Family Episode 1 with some measure of expectation, given how much people I know love the manga, the series premiere episode exceeded my every expectation. Its wonderful blend of humor and warmth promises to both make me laugh and break my heart. And honestly, I’m here for both.