Spy X Family Episode 1 Review: A Delightful Anime About Family, Espionage, And Telepathy

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The latest manga series has made the jump to anime with Spy X Family landing on Crunchyroll. Airing weekly on the streaming service, the first episode has debuted, showing that this story of a spy adopting a young girl is heartwarming, comedic, and a breath of fresh air for those looking to dive into a story that’s a bit more grounded that’s a Mixture of James Bond, The Americans, and The Game Plan, with a dash of reading people’s minds.

Episode 1 follows Twilight, a successful secret agent tasked with getting close to a political leader to get some intel. However, the caveat is that Twilight (using the name Loid Forger on this new mission) needs to have a child in order to do so. He finds the necessary child at an orphanage, adopting young Anya, who happens to be telepathic–an ability she keeps to herself. In order to complete his mission, Twilight must deal with enemies that want to hurt him, all while raising a telepathic child.

Spy X Family is funny yet subtle, with a sense of humor that doesn’t go over-the-top to relay a joke to the viewer. Its comedy is reflective of the genre itself. There’s a whole bit about a hairpiece that’s mentioned a few times in the first episode that is very funny, but treated as a serious topic of discussion. That’s the typical tone for this show, and while it’s nothing new, it feels fresh. And then there’s Anya, who fits the mold of a typical child character in an anime: she’s all over the place and emotional–much like a real child. Her moments of fear that Twilight will leave her because she knows too much about him serve up some fun comedic moments, layered over some very realistic abandonment issues she has.

What starts as a fish out of water story with Twilight having to dive headfirst into fatherhood quickly becomes the most ending thing about the episode. Yes, this is just one episode of Spy X Family, but the groundwork has been laid out, and you can see how Twilight will adapt to this new challenge. Getting intel on a target is a paint-by-numbers task for the super spy, but the fun in this show is seeing him change and learn to become a father–and the fact he knows this change is happening as well.

Of course, there’s some great action sequences that are brought to life from the manga, which was originally written and illustrated by Tatsuya Endo. This isn’t going to be an action-heavy show, but the couple of sequences we got in Episode 1 were a lot of fun. The adaptation from manga to anime works very well here.

Typically, one episode of a TV show or anime isn’t enough to really give a fair assessment of the series as a whole, as the opener is usually laying the groundwork for the world, its characters, and its stories. However, Spy X Family does such a good job at stringing the viewer on with a well-paced story that it never feels dull. It never feels like an exposition dump–even when you’re getting an exposition dump the first five minutes of the show. That’s a fantastic accomplishment in itself.

Spy X Family may be a story following the world of espionage, but it’s much more of a story of coming into fatherhood. Any parent can tell you that when your child gets to a certain age, it feels like their kid can read your mind–I know from personal experience–so what makes this story work so well is that it truly is one of juggling your work and home life, and when you combine the two, things get exceptionally tricky. This is a show that gets better when you rewatch it as well, as you tend to pick up on more of those work/home life responsibilities. The first episode of this is a home run, and I cannot wait to watch more.

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