Rating: A (equivalent to 5 of 5)
To put into perspective just how big a hit Spy x Family is as the Spring 2022 season comes to an end, it is approaching 75,000 ratings on Crunchyroll for just a single 12-episode season. This is a mind-boggling number that’s 10k more than Demon Slayer, 16k above Attack on Titan, and dwarfs last season’s most popular title (My Dress-up Darling) by multiples. It’s also nearly half again above the next-nearest title for the season on MAL (and with the second-highest star rating behind only Kaguya-sama). Series don’t get numbers like these just by being popular with their target audiences. This is a title whose popularity and appreciation is cutting across an abnormally-wide swath of fandom, and I will be quite surprised if it doesn’t prove to be a breakthrough hit with casual fans as well. I will be shocked if it doesn’t show up on Adult Swim at some point.
The season’s final episode shows ample reasons why the series has such a broad appeal, and may, in fact, be one of the series’ most perfectly-balanced episodes so far, as it gives time for all three of its trio to shine. I have long wondered if Twilight might be doing some other smaller jobs while carrying out the longer-term Operation Strix, and this episode shows that he’s stayed quite active – maybe too much so, as the stress is getting to him. The feeding stunt with the penguins was a beautifully-inspired scene which gave me a hearty laugh, and that was far from his only moment to shine. Yor also got her opportunities, both in the scene where she’s concerned about getting the blood from a recent assassination washed off and especially when she literally kicks Anya’s “kidnapper” into the ceiling and then wonders if she went overboard. As usual, Anya gets her opportunities by figuring out which penguin is Twilight’s likely target and then figuring out a little girl-like way to point that out to him. The “kidnapping” stunt, which she knows full well will provoke Yor, also deserves kudos for cleverness. She’s going to be a monster of a manipulator when she grows up! The scene where the aquarium worker that Twilight temporarily replaced gets the promotion he didn’t earn was also a neat touch.
But for all of the hijinks at the aquarium, the best part was undoubtedly the final segment where they are back home and Anya is playing pretend-spy with her plushies. Anya may have her telepathy and be quite clever for her age, but she’s still a little kid, and that was a beautifully-portrayed full-blown Kid Mode there. (Of course, the irony that her make-believe isn’t that far from the truth is probably lost on no one.) The way Loid and Yor instantly jumped to play along to calm Anya down after she ventured towards dangerous areas was a wonderfully charming bit of parenting, too.
In other words, the series is earning the attention and ratings that it is getting. Really, this is a once-in-a-decade level of magic going on here, which is why the second half of the series not airing until the Fall 2022 season is a bit of a disappointment. (On the other hand, there are plenty of big-name sequels coming out in the Summer ’22 season, so at least some other viewing distractions will be out of the way by then.) Based on what has aired so far, however, this one gets my top recommendation.
Other Series That I Am Following:
Date a Live season 4 – This one has ended with a notice that season 5 has been green-lit, which is good since the series ends on a couple of major twists and somewhat of a cliffhanger. The final arc about Kurumi (aka Nightmare aka The Worst Spirit) is easily the season’s high point and contains some of the franchise’s most compelling content to date. This is, I believe, the first time in my following the franchise that I am actually looking forward to the next season.