Spy x Family, Episode 12, Penguin Park Review: Wholesome and Funny Conclusion to the First Cour.

Rather than continue by explaining the previous episode’s cliffhanger of the dog’s vision of the Forger family, Episode 12 of Spy x Family, “Penguin Park”, is instead a filler episode.
While this might be disappointing for some, I do think it is for the best because the explanation about the dog comes with an entire story arc that would be better to be seen in its entirety, rather than just cut off right as it starts.
So, we will have to wait for the explanation in the second cour, three months from now.
As for the Tomoya Kitagawa directed episode “Penguin Park”, it does start a bit tediously because, while there is some new stuff, like the elderly agent giving Twilight new missions to take, it’s mostly just recapping Operation Strix, Anya’s telepathy, and Yor being the Thorn Princess, all of which we learned long ago.
Thankfully, the episode gets much better after this recap, as the true story of “Penguin Park” begins with Loid coming home exhausted, only to hear the neighbours gossiping about his late nights, believing him to be having an affair.
Wanting the image of his fake family to stay intact, Loid suggests a trip to the aquariam to Yor and Anya, hoping to complete all of his other missions before then so he will not be interrupted.
This causes him to look like an absolute wreck on the day of their trip, yet he pushes himself forward, wanting to maintain the Forger family’s image for his mission.
He projects his facade of a family man to the neighbours, only for Anya to humously almost squander it again, as she robotically states how everything about her family is normal.
Upon arriving at the train station, Twilight again sees a summons from the elderly WISE agent and goes to tell her he cannot accept this mission because of the aquarium trip, only for the agent to reveal that the mission is coincidentally at the aquarium.
This results in the funniest moment of the episode, where the agent misinterprets this as meaning Twilight is prepared for the mission and giving it to him, all the while Twilight just tries to say no and buy a drink.
In the end, however, Twilight cannot refuse because intel about chemical weapons that could be used against his country of Westalis is being smuggled through a penguin at the aquariam.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if he accepted the mission just to keep the elderly agent quiet because she was speaking about their covert operations way too loudly.
Upon reaching the aquarium, Loid’s concerns are doubled when they come across the neighbours who were bad mouthing him and Yor invites them to stick togethor.
Then, his concerns are tripled when he sees that the penguin park at the aquarium is the largest in the world with 200 penguins, so it will be almost impossible for him to find the penguin with the smuggled intel, not unless he knows a telepath or something.
Oh, wait, he does!
Anya quickly deduces which penguin has the smuggled intel by reading its mind and seeing it coughing, pointing it out to Loid, who makes the excuse of going to buy some drinks again, before knocking out a new hire at the penguin park and posing as him to get to the intel.
Twilight manages to get the penguin, while amazing the boss of the penguin park with his skill while he is posing as the new worker.
However, as he takes the penguin away to grab the intel, he is interrupted by an enemy agent trying to get it as well, with Twilight quickly deducing his identity, after which a fight ensues.
The agent gets away and Twilight is forced to give up the pursuit to get the intel from the penguin, leaving it up to Anya and Yor to take down the enemy.
Anya smartly acts as if she is being kidnapped by the agent, giving Yor motive to kick him up into the ceiling, amazing both Anya and Twilight once more.
Loid then returns to his family, gifting Anya with a massive plush penguin, saying that he spent the entire time he was away trying to win it for her, when in reality it only took one try.
This gets the suspicious neighbours off his back and, aside from Loid still feeling overworked, all is well for all of the characters… well, except for the new hire at the penguin park who Twilight did an excellent job pretending to be.
Too excellent of a job, however, because now the new employee is being promoted to the job of chief with absolutley no experience.
We then get the final few moments of the episode, which, in my opinion, is a culmination of everything Spy x Family tries and succeeds to be: Funny and wholesome.
In this scene, Anya is playing with her new plush penguin, who she imagines is being recruited for a spy organization much like Twilight’s.
After Anya eats the split peanut that will complete Penguin’s recruitment, pretrending that the plush ate it, she leads him on a trip of her secret spy base (her house).
This initially ends poorly, when Anya is scolded for trying to go into Loid and Yor’s room, which is fair considering there is a lot of secret intel, belonging to Twilight, and a lot of knives and poisons, belonging to Yor, inside.
Yet, things pick up with Twilight and Yor acting like they are Anya’s plush toys and the young girl leads them outside on a mission, embarassing them all in, as I said, a funny and wholesome moment, ending the first cour of Spy x Family extremely well.
“Penguin Park” was a good way to end the first cour.
It may have had a tedious start with the needless recap, but it picked up with the aquarium storyline, and the wholesome and funny ending.
Now, we just need to wait three months to see the second cour, where we will finally learn about the dog who had a vision of the Forger family, along with other storylines, some of which are among the best arcs of Spy x Family. 
It will be a joy to see.

Spy x Family, Episode 11, Stella Review: Excellent Commentary on Silent Drowning.

While the previous, hilarious episode of Spy x Family detailed Anya’s failed attempt to get a Stella Star through PE, Episode 11, “Stella”, depicts her actually obtaining one through a heroic act.
Directed by Toshifumi Akai, this episode also begins on a hilarious note, with Anya glumly watching her Bondman cartoon while the lines of dialogue depressingly match up with Loid looking at all the Fs she received for her tests.
“This can’t be happening!” One of the cartoon characters cries out as we see Loid going over all of the failed tests, before Anya attempts to flee from studying when the lights are turned on.
Eventually, both Loid and Yor sit down with Anya in an attempt to help her study and Anya again shows she can learn through her cartoon, prompting Loid to attempt this new study technique, only for it to be revealed to us that Anya failed because she read the wrong people’s minds about the answers for the test.
She decides to learn which student is best at which subject so she can cheat off them, sporting a humorously evil grin at the thought.
Unfortunately, it is here that we see the downside of Anya’s telepathy, as she hears Loid thinking that if she were to get perfect scores so suddenly then it could make her classmates shun her.
This terrifies Anya, once more showing why she has not revealed her powers to either of her parents, as she believes it will disgust them and they will abandon her.
They obviously would not but it is that fear which shows just how rough Anya had it back when she was with the organization who created her, since they instilled this fear in her.
Seeing that studying isn’t working, Loid decides to teach Anya to excel in other areas such as art, music and sports.
Cue a comedic sequence of Anya failing at absolutley all of these, leading to Loid deciding to take Anya on a special father daughter “ooting.”
In reality, this is a trip to help at a hostpital so Anya can potentially gain a Stella Star through community service.
Cue yet another hilarious sequence of Anya failing at all the jobs she is given, leading to the head nurse yelling at her and Loid to leave.
As they do so, both looking dejected, the perspective cuts from them to a young boy named Ken who is going through physical therapy to help his broken leg.
However, he heads out to the pool ahead of his mother and falls in, beginning to drown, completley and utterly silent.
This is a fantastic piece of commentary Spy x Family is doing here, educating those who do not know that a drowning can happen in complete silence with no one noticing.
Thankfully, Anya certainly notices due to her telepathy and, still afraid of Loid abandoning her if he learns the truth of her powers, stages a situation where she runs to the pool in an attempt to save Ken that looks coincidental.
Unfortunately, Anya cannot swim very well herself, leading to her almost drowning as well, but thankfully Loid is there to rescue them, pulling both Anya and Ken out of the water, before again repeating the commentary of drowning often being silent for both the characters and the viewer.
Anya is rightfully hailed as a hero for her actions, leading to her gaining her first Stella Star, the first of the first-graders so do so.
The happy face Anya pulls during her award ceremony is pretty funny, along with Becky’s, “I’m really proud of you for some reason” line.
The episode only gets funnier as it goes on, with Anya wanting Loid to cook for her instead of Yor (can’t really blame her though), and Anya presenting an overly smug persona at Eden College the next day, demanding that Becky call her “Starlight Anya.”
Anya even begins to think that Damian will want to be friends with her now, helping Twilight’s mission succeed, only for Damian to immediately cut this down by declaring that she shouldn’t get a big head.
Yet, Damian still proves to be a good kid at heart, as he supports Anya when some of his fellow students begin spreading vile rumors of her pushing Ken in the pool to fake saving him, declaring that Eden College would never hand out a Stella by mistake.
Although, he does admit to himself that he wishes Anya cheated, so she wouldn’t be ahead of him.
Anya and Becky later have lunch togethor and Becky says Anya should ask for a reward for her actions, like a dog.
After reading Damian’s mind to learn that he too has a dog, Anya decides to ask Loid and Yor for one as a reward, so that she can get closer with Damian for Twilight’s mission.
Anya’s request for a dog goes over well with Loird and Yor but Yor imagines a big dog ripping Anya to shreds so she asks for a little puppy instead… only for Yor to imagine the puppy killing Anya with a knife.
Anya being horrified by Yor’s messed up way of thinking never stops being funny.
As they look through a dog book to find the perfect one for Anya, she points out a fox terrior, which I know is a good choice since I have one, but fate may have other ideas, as we cut to a terrorist cell who plan to use their captive dogs as bombs.
One of these dogs, a large and fluffy one, has a mysterious vision of the Forger family.
Why is it having a vision of them and what does it mean?
Well, we’ll have to wait for the second cour to find out because the final episode of the first cour is a filler episode, although a good one.
All in all, “Stella” is another great episode of Spy x Family with plenty of funny moments.
The big thing I have to commend it for, though, is educating its viewers on how drownings can be silent so to always pay attention when at a pool.
After all, someone could watch this episode and because of it later realize that someone is drowning and save their lives.
You never know.

Spy x Family, Episode 10, The Great Dodgeball Plan Review: Funniest Episode Yet.

Directed by Kenji Takahashi, Episode 10 of Spy x Family, “The Great Dodgeball Plan”, is one of the funniest episodes of the series so far.
Before the jokes start, however, “The Great Dodgeball Plan” begins with some slice-of-life elements, as we see Anya’s teacher Henderson go about his everyday, elegant routine of excercising, saluting the statue of Eden College’s founder and taking a shower (with the shot only focusing on his feet for the latter, thank god).
As the bell rings, signaling the start of the day, we see all of the curtains be flung open at once, again showing how professional Eden College is with its committment to time.
Then, the scene transitions to Damian, where we go more in depth with his character by focusing on a small detail from a previous episode.
This detail is the photot that was taken of Damian and Anya along with their classmates and parents.
However, some may have noticed that Damian is completley alone in the photo, his father Desmond, Twilight’s target, not being present.
Now, four episodes later, “The Great Dodgeball Plan” puts a deliberate focus on this photo, with Damian looking up at it mournfully, longing for his father’s approval.
Damian’s situation is not helped by his two friends coming up to ask him about his brother, seeing in a photobook that he won many Stella Stars.
As his friends swoon over this, they don’t notice Damian’s nerves, as a shadow falls over his face in a pretty good usage of show don’t tell through animation.
Damian never says that he is desperate to gain his father’s approval or that he is nervous that he will not be able to live up to his older brother’s standard, but we can see it on his face clear as day.
Yet, as quick as this happens, Damian is given a chance to live up to his brother’s standard, as his friends point out that he might be able to win a Stella Star if he becomes the MVP of the upcoming dodgeball game in PE.
Daminan’s hopefulness is contrasted with Henderson’s, who is looking forward to teaching his elegant students… with the exception of Anya, Becky, Damian and his friends, who are all arguing when he comes in.
While this is another good joke, it also does point to the notion that Damian’s hope of aquiring a Stella Star through PE is fruitless, much like how Henderson’s hope for his students to be elegant is fruitless.
Unfortunately for Anya, she also takes the rumor of aquiring a Stella Star through PE seriously, as she reports it to Twilight after Becky tells her about it.
Yor immediately tasks herself with training Anya, something that is easier said than done, as Anya struggles with this about as much as she does studying, resulting in various moments of humor, like her pathetically funny attempt at doing situps.
Despite her troubles, Anya believes she is ready on the day of the dodgeball game.
However, the possibility that gaining a Stella Star through PE is just a rumor is not the only problem Anya faces because her team’s main opponent in the dodgeball game is Bill Watkins, a 6-year-old boy who looks more like a twenty-year-old man who eats steroids for breakfast.
This does result in plenty of hilarious moments, though, as we see someone who looks like an adult be a kid.
Probably the funniest moment of his is during his flashback, where he runs up to his father, who is twice his size, and calls him “daddy.”
Hearing that word come from such an adult sounding voice will never not be funny.
As for the dogeball match itself, it is full of even more humorous moments, like flashbacks to Damian’s training, with various visual allusions to locations from other anime, like Namek from Dragon Ball Z.
There is also Emile’s over dramatic sacrifice, followed by Ewen getting hit not a moment later because he wasn’t paying attention, followed by Anya reading Bill’s mind to dodge his attacks.
However, she quickly becomes distracted by shooting Damian her signature “heh” expression, leading to her nearly getting hit and falling over, allowing Bill his chance to throw the ball at her. Rather than be hit, Anya is saved by Damian who sacrifices himself for her in a moment of growth.
Anya looks set to avenge Damian’s sacrifice in the game, which Damian likes to remind her is not a literal death, remembering the ultimate move Yor taught her.
The animation for this ultimate move, the Star Catch Arrow, is spectacular and is made all the more hilarious when Anya spectacularly fails, allowing Bill to knock her out of the game with a simple throw.
As expected, though, there was no Stella Star up for whoever won the game.
It was just a rumor, in the end.
On the other hand, Henderson does think that Anya and Damian may be future recipients of Stella Stars, given how they were able to put aside their differences to work togethor… only for this elegant thought to be immediately cut off by Damian starting an argument with Anya again, as the episode concludes.
Overall, “The Great Dodgeball Plan” is a great episode of Spy x Family, with it having some of the best humor of the series so far.

Spy x Family, Episode Eight, The Counter-Secret Police Cover Operation, Review: Will They or Won’t They?

Following the last episode’s cliffhanger of Yor’s brother Yuri learning of his sister’s marriage, Episode Eight of Spy x Family, “The Counter-Secret Police Cover Operation” depicts the humorous fallout.
Directed by Yukiko Imai, the episode begins with a brief look at Anya’s schooling, which predictably is not going all that well, as she bombs the answer to a question so hard it leaves everyone staring at her.
Naturally, we then cut to Twilight lying to his Handler about how long it should take Anya to be an Imperial Scholar, something the Handler picks up on pretty quickly.
This all leads to her telling him that one on their agents at Yor’s work, Jim Hayward, has been captured by the State Security Service, which is then shown happening.
These three scenes all flow togethor nicely, going from Anya failing at school, to Twilight lying about her grades, to Hayward being captured after the Handler talks about him.
It gets even better with Yor’s introduction this episode as, after witnessing Hayward being taken away, she and her colleagues talk about Yuri, who plans to drop by the Forger household, while also introducing his quite frankly weird obsession with his sister, before cutting to Hayward being interrogated.
This all builds to the reveal of Yuri as a State Security Service agent, with him interrogating Hayward after his superiors get nothing out of him.
How does Yuri begin this expert interrogation?
Why, by talking about his sister, of course!
It’s a running theme with him and an honestly uncomfortable one.
Although, it’s thankfully mostly played for humor rather than completley serious, at least in this episode.
This interrogation also goes to show Yuri’s darker side, with him appearing to be cheerful when it begins, only for him to turn violent when he proves Hayward’s guilt and states his devotion to protecting the country his sister lives in.
Cue another great cut, as the scene transitions from Yuri pretty much saying that he will resort to any torture to meet his goal, to Anya watching her favourite cartoon, where Bondman refuses to submit to torture.
This leads to Twilight realising Anya can learn how to study when she views it through the lens of her cartoons, before Yor runs in to warn them of Yuri’s eventual visit.
Thankfully, Twilight is able to make the room look more lovey-dovey before Yuri’s arrival, leading to a repeat of Anya assuming they are flirting, which both of her parents vehemently deny again.
Yuri arrives not long after Anya falls asleep, carrying a ridiculously large bouquet of flowers, ready to test if Twilight is good enough for his sister.
What follows is various comedic moments as Twilight and Yuri act as though they are getting along around Yor, while their inner monologues highlight their suspicions of one another,  with Twilight eventually deducing that Yuri is with the Secret Police.
Before this moment, however, Yuri understandably asks for an explanation as to why Yor would not tell him about her marriage for an entire year.
So, what with Yor being an expert assassin, she surely has a great lie ready to go, right?
Well, not exactly because her explanation is that she forgot to tell Yuri and then she forgot that she forgot to.
Twilight is understandably baffled by explanation but even more baffled that Yuri beleives it.
The narrator then notes that when it comes to his sister, Yuri’s “sense of logic goes out the window.”
Is this funny?
Is this creepy?
Also yes!
Thankfully, as I said earlier, Yuri’s obsession with Yor is treated comedically rather than seriously so that does help somewhat.
This also does lead into the funniest moment of the episode, when we see a flashback of a young Yor returning to take care of a child Yuri, sometime after their parents’ deaths.
The reason this is the funniest scene in the episode is because Yor is covered in blood when she does this, definitley having killed someone as part of her assasination job, and does not even bother to clean up when going to take care of her kid brother.
Cutting back to the present, Yuri’s expanation of why he cares for Yor so much leads to him getting more and more agitated, to the point that he actually knocks over a glass.
When Yor and Twilight attempt to clean it up, their hands touch, causing them to flinch back, naturally tipping off Yuri’s investigative skills, as he becomes suspicious, since any married couple would not be afraid to touch hands.
Therefore, in order to prove their marriage, he demands that they kiss in front of him.
And so, Twilight leans in to kiss a mortified Yor, ending the episode on the cliffhanger of whether our main couple will actually kiss.
Overall, “The Counter-Secret Police Cover Operation” is another good episode of Spy x Family. 
My only criticism of it is that I wish Yuri was merely overprotective of Yor and not have this obsession he clearly has with her, since it is quite creepy.
Otherwise, the episode is pretty good, with the way scenes flow togethor being especially well done.

Spy x Family, Episode Seven, The Target’s Second Son Review: Apology Failed Successfully.

Directed by Kazuki Horiguchi, Episode Seven of Spy x Family, “The Target’s Second Son,” begins with a recap of the previous episode, which saw Anya shoot her relationship status with Damian, the son of Twilight’s target, down to negative one hundred.
Twilight, however, is determined to see the friendship plan work so insists on Anya apologizing to Damian.
Upon reaching the school, Anya reunites with Becky, their friendship having been formed in the previous episode, and she proves an unintentional foil to Twilight’s plans, wanting Anya to avoid Damian, despite her repeated attempts to apologize for world peace.
This frustrates Twilight, who has humorously decided to watch over Anya for the day, determined to make sure that her apology to Damian follows through come hell or high water.
Twilight uses various methods to motivate Anya, such as reflecting a message to her with a mirror, editing Anya’s textbook, decorating Anya’s omelette with the word “sorry” using sauce, and many more.
Eventually, when Becky becomes too much trouble, he removes her from the situation, falsely calling her on the intercom to give Anya the chance to aplogize to Damian, which she takes, eventually bursting into tears as she does so.
The sight is enough to make Damian blush, which he passes off as him being red with anger, only for his own perspective to contradict this as we see normal shots of Anya looking at him present her in an idealized light.
Unwilling to admit his crush, Damian instead cries out that he will never forgive Anya, running off to Twilight’s horror.
So, apology failed succesfully, I guess?
Damian may not have accepted Anya’s apology but he now has a crush on her, potentially opening the door for Anya to get close and eventually get Twilight close to his target.
Although, if she were to read Damian’s mind and learn of his crush, I don’t see Anya taking it well.
She’d probably freak out with another meme worthy face and ruin the relationship further.
For now, however, this is a step in the right direction for the mission, not that any of the characters know it, and the scene ends with another good gag, as we see Becky wondering just who the heck called her anyway.
Upon arriving home, Twilight has Anya study, supposedly now relying on his backup plan of attempting to make Anya an imperial scholar.
Anya does not get the questions, though, so resorts to reading her parents’ minds.
Unfortunately, this does not go well, with Twilight being too focused on the mission to be thinking of the answers and, even funnier, Yor solving math by using the allegory of dismembering a body, disturbing Anya.
Anya runs to her room afterwards, leaving Yor to console Twilight about Anya’s troubles with studying, reflecting on how she raised her brother, Yuri, who actually taught her a few things himself.
Consoled by Yor’s words, Twilight goes to talk with Anya in her room and sees that she fell asleep trying to study.
Anya even mummers in her sleep, asking her mama not to kill her papa.
So, yeah, let’s hope that’s not foreshadowing for anything.
This leads into the credits but it is not the end of the episode because Yor’s earlier mention of her brother was not just to help Twilight’s development and get him closer to Yor, but also to lead to Yuri’s introduction, as he arrives, only to learn from Domonic that Yor is married.
This cliffhanger will lead to quite a few comedic moments, as Yuri investigates his sister’s relationship with Twilight in the next episode.
Overall, “The Target’s Second Son” is another good episode of Spy x Family, with plenty of funny moments and scenes that will lead to even funnier ones.

Spy x Family, Episode Six, The Friendship Scheme Review: The Meme Face is Here.

Episode Six of Spy x Family, “The Friendship Scheme”, is an episode I was quite excited to see because it would be adapting the moment that convinced me to read the series in the first place.
This being Anya’s “heh” face, when she deals with Damian Desmond’s bullying.
I decided to read the manga after seeing this face as the centerpiece of various memes and, when I actually reached the point where Anya makes this face, I concluded that it was and still is one of the funniest moments of the story.
This moment does not come until the second half of the Yōsuke Yamamoto directed episode, however, with the first half focusing on Twilight’s meeting with his handler and Yor taking Anya to get her school uniform for Eden College.
The latter story begins with the entire Forger family going to get Anya’s uniform fitted, during which the woman doing Anya’s measurements talks of bullying and kidnappings taking place at Eden Collage, unintentionally scaring Anya.
After a couple of other humorous moments displaying Anya’s fear of being kidnapped, Twilight is called to meet with his handler, Sylvia Sherwood, leaving Yor to take Anya to get the uniform.
Sherwood is none too happy about the expenses of the fantastic filler mission of the previous episode and put off, yet impressed, by the balls of Twilight handing her more expenses, this time for Anya’s uniform.
Sherwood then informs Twilight of phase 2 of Operation Strix, the aim of which is to get Twilight close to Donavon Desmond.
The plan is for Twilight to teach Anya how to recieve eight Stella Stars to become an imperial scholar, allowing her and Twilight to infiltrate Desmond’s inner circle.
On the other hand, if Anya does poorly and recieves eight Tonitrus Bolts, she will be expelled from Eden College, ruining the mission.
Faced with this potential problem and the prospect of turning Anya into her an imperal scholar, Twilight presents a cool persona, yet, on the inside, is thinking, “Hello, anxiety, my old friend.”
Well, if that isn’t the most relatable thing said in this story so far then I don’t know what is.
Meanwhile, Anya recieves her uniform and tries it on, looking as adorable as always, to which Yor gushes over repeatedly, annoying the shop owner.
The two then go on another family “ooting”, where Anya continues to do adorable things, like show off her uniform to everyone.
This wholesome moment does not last long, however, because the shop owner is proven right when some criminals recognize Anya’s uniform being for Eden College and decide to kidnap her for ransom.
Unfortunately for them, they just happened to attempt to kidnap the kid with an assassin for a mother, as Yor quickly scares them off in a moment that had me cheering for her just like in the manga.
This then leads to Yor training Anya for fights, adding to Twilight’s stress, and leading to the hilarious events of the episode’s second half, which sees the Forgers at an Eden College assembly, where Anya is sorted into her class.
Twilight has arranged for Anya to be put in the son of Donavon Desmond Damian’s class, in the hopes that the two will become friends so Anya, and by extentsion Twilight, will be invited to Desmond’s house where Twilight can investigate him.
Yet, right from the beginning, things do not go so smoothly, as Anya is put off by Damian’s arrogant attitude.
She is also put off by fellow student Becky Blackbell for much the same reason, worrying Twilight who notices that Becky and many of Anya’s other classmates are the children of important people, causing him to wish for Anya to make friends with them so he can gather intel.
Placed under Henderson as their teacher, the class then go on a tour of the College.
While visiting the dining room, Anya is bullied by Damian and his goons, causing her to remember Yor telling her to put on a brave face in front of bullies.
So, she does just that, resulting in the meme “heh” face which got me into this story in the first place, impressing Becky and insulting Damian.
This causes Damian to insult Anya throughout the tour, threatening to bully her every day and insulting Twilight, causing a literal fire to appear in Anya’s eye.
Cue her looking to make sure Henderson isn’t looking, before throwing an impressive punch, decking Damian to the floor and proving that Yor probably taught her a little too well.
Anya plays innocent when Henderson confronts her, pulling yet another comedic gold face, yet when her excuse doesn’t work, she acts as though she was protecting Becky, earning her friendship and lessening the Tonitrust Bolts she recieves from Henderson to one.
This causes shame for Anya, embarrsassment for Yor, and horror for Twilight at his mission already being so far behind, with Anya’s relationship with Damian already being at negative one hundred.
The episode then ends on another hilarious moment, as we see the embarrassed and horrified faces of the Forger family in their class photo.
All in all, “The Friendship Scheme” is another great episode of Spy x Family, adapting one of the funniest moments from the manga well.

Vampire in the Garden Review: Unfortunately Short.

I still remember searching for upcoming anime a few months ago and being interested by the description for Vampire in the Garden.
Developed by Wit Studio, released on Netflix and directed by Ryōtarō Makihara, the story is set in a winter wasteland where vampires and humans have been at war for an unknown period of time.
Some of the remaining remnants of humanity have fled to a city, protected by a tower that generates UV Light to ward off the vampires.
Living inside this city is a young girl named Momo (Megumi Han), the daughter of one of the city’s generals. 
She is tired of the fighting and wants to learn music, something which was outlawed because of its connection to the vampires.

Then, during an attack on the city, Momo has a chance encounter with the Vampire Queen Fine (Yu Kobayashi), someone who is also tired of the fighting and treasures music.
Together, the two decide to try and find a supposed paradise where humans and vampires live in harmony and make music together.

Momo and Fine’s chance encounter begins their journey.

This premise intrigued me when I first read it and I decided to give the anime a shot, thinking that it would probably have a similar episode count to Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, another anime that Wit Studio produced which I loved.
So, I was quite surprised when I saw that there were only five episodes released by Netflix.
At first, I thought it must be some kind of error and that Netflix would release the other episodes once they realized the mistake.
But, no, Vampire in the Garden really is only five episodes long and this is its biggest fault.
Now, I still really enjoyed my time with this anime but I feel like it had the potential for so much more, if only it had been given more episodes. 

I wish Wit Studio had given Vampire in the Garden the ten to thirteen episode treatment.

There are just too many characters and ideas here for the vision of this anime to be fully realized in such a short amount of time.
That said, I do think that Vampire in the Garden did the best it could have done with only five episodes, which is a testament to the writing quality.
For one thing, I liked all of the characters in this anime.
Momo and Fine’s growing bond is interesting throughout, I quite enjoyed the resolution to Momo’s relationship with her mother (Rika Fukami), and the vague way that the anime filled in the backstory of Kubo (Hiroki Toshi), giving us just enough information to put the pieces together, felt like the writers were respecting the audience.
Another feature of the anime I have to give props to is the world building.
Momo and Fine visit various different kinds of communities, all of which have different ways that humans and vampires interact with each other, which are interesting to compare.

The exploration of the different dynamics between humans and vampires in various dystopian cities was excellent world building.

The animation and music are also quite good, something to be expected of an anime made by Wit Studio.
I will also admit that, despite me being critical of there only being five episodes, this short run time does mean you can finish Vampire in the Garden rather quickly, as if it were a movie rather than a show, so that is an advantage it has.
As for other criticisms, there are a few moments in the anime that broke my suspension of disbelief temporarily by being too convenient or having a character survive something that should have been impossible to.

It’s strange moments like this one that temporarily broke my immersion.

Also, I did find the story to be a bit predictable at times, especially with one character’s ending, although it being predictable did not make it bad. 
These are just minor criticisms.
The only major one I have is, again, the episode count.
The anime had the potential to be fantastic but the short runtime limits it.
I’m actually hoping we get a manga adaptation at some point because that could extend the story, thus expanding upon the characters, world and themes, allowing Vampire in the Garden to reach its potential.
As it stands, though, I would still recommend the show.
It’s a short watch and delivers some pretty interesting character work and world building.    

Spy x Family, Episode Five, Will They Pass or Will They Fail? Review: The Perfect Filler.

Filler episodes: The kind of episode that many people will not be excited to watch.
These are ones that could usually be removed from the story entirely, changing nothing in doing so, often making them less than stellar experiences.
However, occasionally, there will be one filler episode that gets it right and delivers a satisfying and engaging experience, despite not being relevant to the plot.
Well, I think that the fifth episode of Spy x Family, “Will They Pass or Will They Fail?” is the perfect filler episode.
What makes it truly great, though, is not just how satisying it is but how it also excellently makes changes to the manga.
The castle party was relatively brief and small scale in the manga, yet the anime crafts a wholesome adventure for the Forger family to have after they learn Anya has been accepted into Eden College.
Directed by Kenji Takahasi, the episode opens with the build up to Anya’s acceptance, as we see the Forgers heading to see the results, only for Yor’s braclet to break, after which they see a black cat, and then Anya notices she has stepped in poop.
These bad signs seem to foreshadow the family’s downfall, as the cliffhanger before the OP shows the Forgers realizing they have not passed the admission, only for Henderson to explain the circumstances to them afterwards.
It turns out that Anya is just on the waiting list, so she is on the verge of being accepted.
Twilight is confused that they passed after he smashed a table in front of Swan, however Henderson humorously reveals he was scored highly for that because he smashed a mosquito as well, since mosquitos are the most dangerous creature on the planet to humans.
So now, all Anya needs is one of the students to withdraw and she will be accepted into the College.
Cue Yor briefly wondering if she should murder one of the student’s parents to get Anya into the College, before immediately dismissing this as she couldn’t possibly kill an innocent person.
This gag does result in another characteristically comedic expression from Anya, though.
After this, the Forgers don’t have to wait long before they learn Anya was accepted, resulting in a crazy celebration, spearheaded by good old Franky.
All of this craziness starts with him and Yor getting so drunk to the point that Yor doesn’t hear Franky admit to stealing the answers to the exam for Loid to teach Anya, eventually building to Franky telling Anya that Twilight said he would give her anything for getting accepted.
What Anya wants, it turns out, is to recreate her favourite spy show, Bondman, by having Twilight rescue her from a castle.
Twilight is reluctant until Franky guilt trips him into doing it, resulting in the excellent filler portion of the show, with the familt renting the castle and flying in, before Twilight calls many of his spy associates to help with this “mission,” many of whom are excited to learn from him.
Anya and Franky then enact their plan to stage a Bondman experience for Anya, with Anya being the princess kidnapped by the evil Franky, who Twilight needs to save as Loidman, while Yor is “whatever” according to Anya.
The game begins with Loidman tracking Anya and Franky down to a quiz section where he has to answer three questions about Anya.
If he loses, he has to put on the Loidman mask.
Loid fails in the end, quite comedically as he is outraged that he lost because he didn’t realize Anya wanted a drink of water.
So now Twilight has to wear the Loidman costume, much to his embarrassment.
But at least it results in Anya adorably declaring how excited she is to see her father portray her favourite television spy.
With moments like this, it’s pretty apparent we will be losing count of how many adorable and memeable moments of Anya there are in this anime.
Next comes a well animated action sequence of Loidman fighting through his fellow spies to reach Anya and Franky, with a pretty great OST playing alongside this animation.
However, the game is not over when Loidman reaches the Princess Anya because the most powerful witch in the world, Yorticia (drunk Yor), is here to kick Loidman’s butt!
Seeing their little fight was great, as it made me excited for what we might get if Twilight and Yor were ever to come to blows in the future of the story.
The fight also ends with a laugh, as Yor’s heel breaks, causing her to pass out drunk, leaving Twilight to deal with Franky.
How will he ever overcome such an evil foe?
Well, with a simple slap obviously, cause Franky isn’t a fighter.
In the end, Loidman rescues the Princess Anya, resulting in Anya promising him that she will work hard at school, bringing an end to this filler part of the story.
And what amazing filler it was.
Seriously, if you have not read the manga, then I recommend reading Chapter Six to see just how much they added in this episode.
Pretty much everything from the moment the game started up until Twilight reached Anya, Yor and Franky was anime original.
Even the final scene is different from the manga, with the humor of Twilight’s boss realizing how much money was spent on this “mission” being delivered a lot better, in my opinion.
Overall, I would say that “Will They Pass or Will They Fail?” is probably my favourite episode of Spy x Family so far because of how much fun it was with all of the new content.
Wit Studio and Cloverworks are clearly putting everything they have into this adaptation and it makes me even more excited for future episodes, especially the next one where we will get the ultimate Anya meme face.
So, get ready for the “heh” next episode.

Spy x Family, Episode Four, The Prestigious School’s Interview Review: An Elegant Episode.

After the previous episode of Spy x Family dabbled in some anime original moments, the series is back to solely adapting the manga in its fourth episode, “The Prestigious School’s Interview.”
Directed by Kento Matsui, this episode begins with a characteristically humorous moment of the Forger family preparing for the interview at Eden College, with Twilight acting like a military general prepping his soldiers.
Although funny, this also turns out to be necessary because the College instructors are monitering all of the child applicants and their parents as they enter the grounds, failing any potential student for so little as lacking refinement.
The architect of this passing requirement seems to be one of the House Masters named Henry Henderson, a man obsessed with elegance.
Thankfully for Twilight, he apprears to have taught Yor and Anya well in elegance, as they all pay respect to the college’s founder, although Yor has no idea who the man is and Anya just thinks of him as a bald man.
Although impressed by this display, Henderson is suspicious of Anya’s low test score and her appalling handwriting, wondering if the Forgers could be an impromptu family, deciding to test them futher.
This first test comes in the form of a student faking being stuck in a gutter, to which Twilight responds by pulling him out, getting his clothing dirty.
Henderson is unimpressed, until Twilight reveals he brought spare clothing in preperation for such an event.
However, further testing is interrupted by an actual accident, when the farm animals escape, causing Yor to leap forward and pacify the leader of the stampeding herd, stunning Twilight, Anya, and especially Henderson, who seems to be having an elegance hemorrhage.
He runs out to thank the Forgers for their efforts, seeming to have grown a little as well, since he now gives them the time to go and change their clothes, only to be a little frightened when Twilight reveals they brought a third pair of clothing with them in preperation.
Then comes the actual interview with the House Masters, Henderson, the kind Malcolm Hall, and the vile Murdoch Swan, a man who berates the child applicants and their parents because of his own family troubles.
Despite Swan’s efforts to undermine the family, the Forgers do well, quite hilariously at times, like the moment when Twilight thinks Anya has screwed up only for Henderson to be blown away by what he views as her dedication.
The interview even turns wholesome when Anya scores her new parents a perfect 100 points, declaring she wants to be with them forever.
Of course, Swan has to ruin this moment by trying to force Anya to compare Yor to her previous mother, causing Anya to cry and Twilight to almost blow the interview by leaping at Swan in a rage, covering this up by smashing a mosquito… along with the table.
Twilight then leaves with his family, stating the perfect insult to Swan, “If making light of a child’s feelings is part of you establishment’s educational policies, then I’m afraid we have chosen the wrong school.”
This also strikes a cord with Henderson, who elegantly decks Swan for his actions.
It is nice to see how Henderson grew throughout his introduction, initially seeming to be as cruel as Swan, only for the Forgers to make him realize what being an educator is about.
Back at the Forger household, things are looking grim, as Twilight believes they have little hope of passing the interview and Anya is distraught at the thought of losing her new family.
However, the family quickly put these bad thoughts aside to focus on the positives, like Henderson and Hall looking out for them, with Twilight also growing as a person, since trusting in someone else is not something he would do in his regular line of work as a spy.
Yet, their family photo does fall at the end, so that’s a bad sign.
Overall, “The Prestigous School’s Interview” is another great episode of Spy x Family, delivering many wholesome moments between the family, plenty of funny gags, and good development for its characters, old and new.
It is truly an elegant episode.

Spy x Family, Episode Three, Prepare for the Interview Review: A Family Ooting.

I was quite interested to see how the third episode of Spy x Family would turn out, since the preview showed there would be some anime original scenes.
Directed by Takashi Kataragi, Episode Three, “Prepare for the Interview” begins with such a scene, as Yor is welcomed to her new home by Twilight and Anya.
This is then followed up by another wholesome anime original section, as Anya shows Yor around the place, including adorable moments, like when Anya pretends to be her toy greeting Yor, and great gags, like when Yor stops Anya from touching her stash of poison.
The funniest anime original gag of the scene, though, is the two moments when Anya claims to have helped, looking for approval, only for Twilight to reveal how Anya failed to help both times, causing Anya to give some of her classic mortified faces.
Afterwards, we get back to the adaptation of the manga, with Twilight running a practice interview for Yor and Anya, which goes about as poorly as expected, especially for Yor, who equates passing the interview with the passing of her victims, much to Anya’s comedic horror.
Hoping to give the two an experience of what it is like to be a cultured family, Twilight then takes them out on what Anya calls “an ooting.”
The adorable telepath then attempts to get closer to her new mama, offering to hold Yor’s hand, only for her to read Yor’s mind and hear how she accidentally broke her brother’s ribs once because she hugged him too hard.
Cue yet another humorous horrified expression from Anya as she runs to hide, before Twilight takes them all to various cultured places.
There’s the opera, where Anya falls asleep and Yor looks rather distressed, and an art museum, where Anya yells out that she can see a woman’s boobies in a painting and Yor is excited by a painting of an execution, much to Twilight’s dismay.
The Forgers’ next two stops are the tailor and a photography shop where they get an awkward family photo, before eventually stopping at a restaurant, where Anya eats with her hands and Yor is fascinated by a knife, once again scaring Twilight into thinking he may have picked the wrong family.
Wanting to cheer Twilight up, Yor takes him and Anya to a spot overlooking the city with a great view.
This has a much more melancholic effect on Twilight, however, as he looks at a group of children playing with a sad expression on his face, a moment that may not mean much to anime only watchers but, for the readers of the most recent manga chapter, takes on a much more unfortunate meaning.
Twilight does not have time to dwell on this, however, because down below a thief steals an elderly woman’s purse and the newfound family work togethor to catch him, because what family ooting is complete without bringing a criminal to justice, am I right?
While Yor initially gives chase and then helps the elderly woman, Anya manages to find the thief by reading his mind and pointing him out to Twilight without the spy realizing it.
Twilight then takes down the thief and retrieves the elderly woman’s purse, who thanks him and Yor by agressively shaking their hands, a display which makes Twilight happy, as it is probably the first moment he has ever been thanked for his efforts, since spying is naturally a mostly thankless task.
Twilight then goes on to thank Yor for changing the pace of the day, causing the two to blush and Anya to speculate that the two are flirting, earning a shocked display from both would-be parents, who deny this wholeheartedly.
Upon arriving home, Twilight again tests Anya, which goes well at first, until Anya recalls Twilight beating up the thief he caught.
However, Twilight takes some comfort in the fact that the elderly woman they helped clearly saw him, Yor and Anya as a happy family, which is key to his mission, bringing an end to the episode with the start of the ED.
This ED is “Comedy” by Gen Hoshino, and it is just as good as the OP, presenting a pleasant feel-good vibe.
“Prepare for the Interview” is another enjoyable Spy x Family episode, with some great anime only additions, which do not feel out of place at all.
This episode also does a good job of building into the next one, with the actual interview and the introduction of a certain elegant character.