Loid (Takuya Eguchi), Yor (Saori Hayami), and Anya (Atsumi Tanezaki) make a very welcome return in Spy x Family Season 2 Episode 1. Season one of the series, produced by both Wit Studio and CloverWorks, introduced these characters with aplomb and laugh-out-loud comedy. A spy (Loid) an assassin (Yor), a telepathic daughter (Anya), and their seer dog (Bond) all found one another through necessity and grew close, even if Loid was adamant in refusing that notion. The series with its graceful animation, devilishly funny humor, and, most importantly, the lovable nature of Anya, quickly became a must-watch throughout its debut. Based on the manga written by Tatsuya Endo, season two returns with a hilarious setup that underlines the growth these characters have gone through since their first meeting.
While Loid first adopted Anya and married Yor out of convenience to allow him to spy on the leader of a rival political party, the three of them, and Bond, have grown notably closer, even if he fails to admit it. This is expertly depicted in Spy x Family Season 2 Episode 1, “Let’s Follow Papa and Mama” as Loid becomes desperate to brighten Yor’s mood when she comes one night with a stormy disposition. While he keeps saying that this is only to ensure the strength of their cover-up, believing that any unhappiness could lead to the dissolution of their marriage of convenience, there’s also truth to his concern being personal as well as professional. He spends an inordinate amount of time worrying about what she likes and what she’ll take to with hundreds of ideas at the ready after proposing they go on a date in an effort to lift her spirits.
Of course, it’s hard to smile when there’s a bullet lodged in you. The episode is an exercise of the contrasting nature of this world through its violence and darkness along with its silliness and comedic leanings. The stylish approach to that violence at the start of the episode is refreshing. We just see flashes of light to indicate the blows and firepower, as well as the clashes of Yor’s blades as the Thorn Princess. To have this battle where she lay waste to an entire warehouse of men ends with her having to deal with the excruciating pain and mortification of having gotten shot in the butt delivers an expert punchline. The comedy is there in the writing and given greater depth in the animation, from Yor’s growing snarl and the shadows that deepen in the contours of her face as her pain mounts.
Certain decisions could almost seem too simplistic, such as the animated flashes of pain that surround Yor’s rear, if not for such strong, wry writing. It gains humor from her pain and also Loid’s misinterpretations, and then Yor’s own concern over ruining their date. The flashes of different scenarios where Yor refuses to sit amass absurdity, going from a movie theater to a jazz club, to even a romantic row boat in a local pond. For as clever and highly skilled as these two individuals are when they don their Twilight and Thorn Princess persona they’re especially clueless when it comes to one another.
It’s why their final moment, following Yor’s brief alleviation from pain, works so well. In their worlds of darkness, they’ve found pockets of joy in the humdrum of their familial life, with Yor mentioning that her life has so often been consumed with either work or taking care of her brother that she’s very rarely been able to just have fun. No matter the facades and the masks they wear, it’s an open and honest moment between the two.
Of course, one of the biggest highlights of the series is the impeccable character Anya, who is in top form in the Season 2 premiere as she tails her guardians, worried something will go amiss and she’ll be abandoned. Teaming up with Franky, (Hiroyuki Yoshino) Loid’s informant turned pseudo babysitter makes for an unlikely pairing, the charm being in Franky’s willingness to go along with the plan. Anya’s involvement is a strong reminder too that she’s a kid, something the series never forgets. Yes, she can hear the thoughts of anyone in her general vicinity, but she also entrusts her stuffed animals to watch over her home while they’re gone. She might be able to dispatch a would-be assailant of Yor’s, but she also gives up her incognito mission the moment there’s a chance to visit an amusement park. Her facial reactions remain pitch perfect, along with Tanezaki’s line delivers, especially the devastating blow to Franky of “Scruffy Head, does your personality suck?”
The animation too reminds us of the kinetic and energized artistry on display. Directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi and Teruyuki Omine, the episode zips and weaves throughout the plot, from the inventive opening to the playful ways they visualize Yor’s pain. While it might not be the most visually interesting episode of the series so far, the strength has always been in the sedated way of depicting its smooth motion. It’s why Masaaki Yuasa’s animation for the OP works so well as it demonstrates the series strength, one that operates within the confines of simplicity and familiar character designs but does so with a wholly distinctive edge. Even when the episode isn’t action-packed, it moves with the grace and fluidity of a series that is.
Spy x Family Season 2 Episode 1 once again confirms its event series status. With its abundance of charm, lovable characters, and minute-to-minute laugh-out-loud moments, the episodes make the most of their runtime. While there’s surely to be more plot developments in the future, the Season 2 premiere exemplifies why we’re happy enough just to spend time with this family in general as their dynamics strengthen and are given more room to grow.
Spy x Family Season 2 Episode 1
Spy x Family Season 2 Episode 1 once again confirms its event series status. With its abundance of charm, the lovable characters, and the minute-to-minute laugh-out-loud moments, the episodes make the most of their runtime.