Spy x Family, Episode Two, Secure a Wife Review: Iconic Marriage Proposal.

When it comes to marriage proposals, there are a lot of videos online of people proposing in the most creative of ways.
Well, I think Twilight had them all beat in the second episode of Spy x Family, “Secure a Wife.”
After all, what’s more romantic than fighting off a band of smugglers and then proposing with the grenade pin from the same grenade you used to blow them up?
The build up to this instantly iconic anime proposal is well done, with numerous comedic and wholesome moments, just like in the first episode.
Before this, however, we get our first look at the opening “Mixed Nuts” by HIGE DANdism, and I really liked this one.
The visuals start off with a noir-action vibe, before transitioning into colourful, childlike images of Anya’s experiences with her family, and then cutting back to action, before right back to wholesome at the end.
Along with this, the vocals are also pretty great.
Once the opening finishes, the Takahiro Harada directed episode begins by setting up the introduction of Twilight’s fake wife to be, first with a comedic moment as Twilight’s friend Franky dresses up as a woman to pose as the wife, only to be turned down by Twilight who wants to explore his options.
And by “explore options”, he means breaking into the City Hall and stealing all of the information on the unmarried women working there to find a potential wife.
Pretty creepy Twilight but, then again, it is for the good of the world.
In any case, this does lead to the introduction of Yor Briar (Saori Hayami) who, as her terrible work colleague says, is rather unique.
I mean, this is kind of obvious, given that she mistakes a joke from her coworkers to mean that boogers actually makes drinks taste better (god help Twilight and Anya when she actually cooks for them) but it goes deeper than that.
This becomes apprent when, right after making up an excuse of already having a bofriend to her brother, she gets a call from her boss to handle a client in her real profession: assasination.
Yor is a high profile assassin, known as the Thorn Princess, who takes out her target with ease, only ripping her dress in the process, a fortuitous turn of events, since it leads to her meeting Twilight and Anya, as all three go to the same clothing store, Twilight to get Anya’s measurements for refined clothing and Yor to get her dress sewed back up for the party.
Due to her skills as an assassin, Yor is able to walk beside Twilight without him noticing, drawing his attention as he wonders if his skills are slacking.
Yor then notices him looking (even though his back is to her, which is weird), and Twilight uses this as an oppurtunity to compliment Yor, considering her as a fake wife candidate.
This causes Yor to consider asking Twilight to be her fake boyfriend for the party, before Anya shows up and Yor wrongly assumes Twilight is married.
Anya then comes in for the save as Twilight’s wingman when, upon reading Yor’s mind and realizing she’s an assassin, Anya wants her to be her mother, so she starts dancing and singing that she wishes she had a mother.
Real inconspicious Anya.
Also hilarious.
With the misunderstanding resolved, Twilight and Yor agree to work togethor, Twilight acting as Yor’s boyfriend at the party and Yor acting as Anya’s mother for the Eden Academy interview.
The only problem is that Twilight has to steal back art from a smuggling ring on the night of the party with Franky, meaning he is late and injured upon arriving.
This causes him to get his missions mixed up and announce to everyone that he is Yor’s husband.
Twilight and Yor roll with it, however, and unintentionally embarass Yor’s rude coworker, who tries to embarass Yor on numerous occasions.
If anything, all this coworkers does is make the two more interested in each other, as Twilight is impressed with Yor’s dedication to looking after her brother and voices this, and Yor grows even closer with Twilight due to his kind words, now looking to extend their agreement.
Granted, Yor does choose the worse time to offer this extension, as she does it while the two are attacked on their way back from the party by the smuggling ring.
Although, maybe it was the right time because it does lead to us seeing the most romantic anime proposal ever, as Loid chucks a grenade at their attackers before using the pin as a ring, with both him and Yor agreeing to stay togethor for their own betterment.
Yet, while both are aware that their reasons for keeping up this marriage are self serving, they are unaware of what their true motivations are: Twilight for his mission to preserve world peace, and Yor so she will not be suspected of being an assassin.
The only one who does know is Anya and that will make for numerous comedic moments in the future of the anime, I assure you.
Overall, I would say that Episode Two is better than the first one, as it felt like it had a lot more room to breath with its comedic timing.
The next episode looks to continue this, since it appears we may be getting some anime only scenes, which will hopefully be just as funny and wholesome as the manga’s humor.

The Promised Neverland, Season Two, Episode Five Review: I Regret My Optimism.

2 and a half stars
Well, I really jinxed myself by saying I was optimistic after The Promised Neverland Season Two, Episode Four, didn’t I?
The third episode of this second season made me really concerned with the direction the story was going, with all the important cuts, including my favourite character being completley gone.
Then Episode Four happened and I began to regain some hope.
Sure, there were things that were handled rather poorly, like the laughably incompetant soldiers, but brand new scenes, like Isabella being recrutied to hunt the children, made me optomistic about where this anime original storyline could go.
However, Episode Five has now come out and, wow, did it drop the ball.
Directed by Takahiro Harada, the episode picks up a full year after the last one.
That’s right, we have skipped a year immediately after the children escaped the bunker and now they are living in the demon world.
How did they survive so long with all of the intelligent demons, wild demons, and armed humans hunting them down?
Good question because the anime offers absolutley no explanation.
See, this is why skipping over 60 chapters is an incredibly bad idea because it means where you pick up the story from will make absolutley no sense and, in this episode, it makes little.
How did the children get the material to disguise themselves as demons?
How have they not been noticed before when they got so easily noticed this time?
Most importantly, how is Norman back so soon with absolutley no build up?
This last moment, which is the cliffhanger of the episode, has almost made me lose hope about the quality of the rest of the season entirely.
The build up to Norman’s reveal in the manga, with Norman acting as the new William Minerva, was absolutley fantastic.
Here, he just shows up with no setup whatsoever and it comes off as extremely anticlimactic because of this.
Also, while it’s nice to see Maaya Uchida back as Norman, it’s only been seven episodes so he hasn’t been gone long enough that his return is a surprise.
Norman’s incredibly bland return and the other plot holes created by the episode are not the only problems, unfortunately.
First of all, the time skip made the scene hyping up Isabella last episode almost pointless.
She was tasked with hunting the children and she just failed for that entire year.
I don’t think the demons would have been too happy with those results.
Also, the chase scene in this episode, which leads into Norman’s return, is pretty bad because it lacks any tension.
To be fair, there are some moments that saved the episode from being terrible, like Emma’s interaction with the blind demon and the exploration of deterioration with the two sympathetic demon children.
However, the rest of it made me very disappointed, with the numerous amount of plot holes in numerous scenes.
It honestly feels like the anime is just going to end with this second season, given how much has been completley skipped over and the direction the story is going.
It feels like it’s going the Tokyo Ghoul adaptation route and I really hope it can find some way to prove me wrong about that.
Unfortunately, next episode is supposed to be a recap episode so it looks like those hopes are probably going to be crushed.

The Promised Neverland, Season Two, Episode One Review: A Beautiful Yet Cruel Freedom.

4 stars
The Promised Neverland 
is finally back.
I was already excited enough with Attack on Titan‘s final season airing but, with the second season of the adaptation of Kaiu Shiari’s great manga airing at the same time, and possibly being about to adapt my favorite arc in the manga, I might just collapse from overexcitement.
I started watching The Promised Neverland about four episodes into its first season and was immediately hooked to the point that, when I learned that the Covid-19 Pandemic had delayed season two, I read the manga.
Well, after the wait we finally have the first episode of that second season, which puts the follow up off to a promising start.
Directed by Takahiro Harada, the episode picks up after Emma (Sumire Morohoshi), Ray (Mariya Ise), Don (Shinei Ueki), Gilda (Lynn), and many other children escaped from the Grace Field House, where they had been unknowingly raised as demon food by their “mother”, Isabella.
Now free, but without their good friend Norman, who was shipped out, and the young Phil, who stayed to look out for the other younger children, Emma and the others are free to explore the outside world.
However, as Emma points out in the opening scene with her inner monologue, “freedom is so beautiful… Yet so cruel.”
This line, while sounding very similar to something Eren Jaeger would say in Attack on Titan, is a great way to kick off the episode, as it is revealed that the children are being chased by a giant demonic lizard.
The outside world is clearly just as dangerous for the children as it was at the Grace Field House, with another kind of predator pursuing them.
However, there is also the kind from season one hunting them down as well because the demons are back, angered by the children’s escape.
Before we get to these pursuits though, the episode cuts to before all this, when the children had time to get their bearings.
We have a cool discussion between Emma and Ray where it is shown just how much Ray has grown from his suicide attempt in season one, now being dedicated to protecting his family and survive with them.
Emma and the gang also come up with a plan, using the equipment gifted to them by William Minerva to locate him.
This equipment includes a pen given by Sister Krone to Norman, who then gave it to them, and a book that shows them how to survive in the outside world.
The book is an interesting thing about the episode because it is here where a lot of content from the manga was cut.
In the original story, there was quite a long scene where Emma and the others got trapped in a giant man-eating plant, which they escaped with help from William Minerva’s book, proving its usefulness in escaping danger.
This is changed in the episode to them learning this through just finding out where to get water with help from the book.
Now, usually I’d be against such a large scene being cut from an adaptation.
You only need to look at my review for episode three of Attack on Titan‘s final season to know that I mostly disapprove of large from the source material.
However, surprisingly, I actually don’t have an issue with the cuts in this episode because the scenes that were left out do not contribute that much to the overall story.
The big scene that is cut is basically just a long side quest that proves one piece of information that was simplified quite well in the episode.
Some fans are concerned that these cuts mean that the season will be rushed, with many important scenes removed but I really don’t think that, at least not yet.
Sure, there were a lot of cuts but, as I said, these cuts were made to simplify scenes that were really not that important to the story or character arcs in the manga, so I can see the important scenes being left mostly intact.
This includes the scenes with the two demon characters who rescue the children from their demon pursuers at the end of the episode, after Emma collapses and Ray is almost captured.
I really like these demon characters in the manga and I can’t wait to see how the adaptation will handle their role.
In any case, the ED seems to suggest they will have a bigger role at this point in the story than they did in the manga, with some great symbolism, like the female demon’s shadow looking eerily familiar to a cross.
The OP, “Identity” by Kiiro Akiyama, is also really good with a lot of great visuals to get you excited for what’s to come.
And, with the cliffhanger of the demons having saved the children, raising questions about why demons are helping their supposed food in the first place, a question Ray asks, there is certainly a lot to be excited about.