As previously stated, episode reviews will continue with Ascendance of a Bookworm s3. After watching second episodes of a number of other titles, I have decided to go with Spy x Family as my second regular week-to-week title for the season. This looks like it could be a fun title to talk about, and it will almost certainly be the season’s biggest smash hit. I am not completely ruling out doing a third title, either; could be Summer Time Rendering if Disney+ starts making it available or I can find a reliable “alternate” option for watching it.
Other titles that I currently expect to follow this season, and thus may occasionally comment on, include the following:
- Maybe Date a Live IV (this one is borderline for week-to-week)
- Dawn of the Witch (though I’m leery about this one after the rather bad episode 2)
- Healer Girl
- I’m Quitting Heroing
- Love After World Domination
- Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie
- Skeleton Knight in Another World
- The Demon Girl Next Door s2
- The Executioner and Her Way of Life
- The Rising of the Shield Hero s2
. . .And maybe one or two others that I’m still contemplating.
Spy x Family Episode 2
Rating: 5 (of 5)
Normally I wouldn’t opt for the season’s top series (in terms of popularity) for something like this, but after seeing episode 2, I could not resist choosing this one. This could well be one of the rare cases where quality and popularity dovetail perfectly, and how can I pass up on an opportunity to talk about that?
The first episode introduced and firmly-established the male spy Twilight (aka Loid Forger) and the telepathic little girl Anya, whom he is taking on as cover for an infiltration mission, while she accepts him as her father because she’s excited by knowing he’s a spy. (He doesn’t know that she knows, or is even telepathic.) But he still needs a wife/mother to complete his cover and infiltration, so episode 2 introduces Yor, a 27-year-old woman who masquerades as an airhead while secretly being an assassin code-named Thorn Princess. She also has her own complications not necessarily related to her real work, such as needing a boyfriend she doesn’t have for an upcoming party. Hence the two coinciding needs, combined with an encounter of coincidence and a little push from Anya (who finds the prospect of a mother who is also an assassin even more exciting!), result in them winding up as a makeshift married couple, complete with a grenade pin used as a proposal ring. And only Anya knows the full truth of who everyone really is.
This is an outstanding set-up for a series. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Anya is already firmly-establishing herself as the season’s biggest charmer, while Loid and Yor both also show their own appeals in this odd-couple arrangement; any minor concerns I had about how Yor might fit in have been blown out the window, as she seems like such a natural fit for this situation. The writing does not skimp on elaborating on her feelings and concerns, either, and the way that she has not totally subsumed her normal identity to her professional one should make for an interesting contrast to Loid going forward.
But the appeal of the second episode goes way beyond that. It finds a superior balance between serious and more light-hearted moments while also working in some more fantastic action sequences – some of it not even in the foreground. The art style fully captures the flavor and feel of a ’60s or ’70s spy series, while the setting borrows liberally from East Germany without being a slave to that comparison. The musical score is also in high swing. Most importantly, the great late sequence where the two agree to pose as a married couple while in the midst of a running fight gleefully captures the spirit of cheesy spectacle that so many anime series aim for but few achieve.
This one is special, guys n’ gals. You owe it to yourself to check it out if you aren’t already.