Two years ago I started the first volume of Spy x Family. I remember during Christmas dinner 2020, I was sneaking glimpses at the pages. I had gotten completely embroiled in the world of the Forger Family and complicit in Operation Styx.
At the time, I desperately wanted an anime adaptation. Here we are two years later and Santa has granted my Christmas wish. It’s time I started wishing for a season 2!
For various reasons, I have been thinking a lot about actual animation in anime. As in the moving around part. Some people basically lump all the visual aspects of anime together when they talk about animation but I like to make distinctions because it’s not unusual for a show to be strong in one aspect and weak in an other.
Anyways, I read someone saying that Demon Slayer had done a great disservice to the industry by brainwashing fans into thinking great anime is just nonstop CG action and now we can’t appreciate the real thing. In my opinion, Demon Slayer does have great animation. As pedestrian as this may sound to some, I really think the fluidity of the movements and the smoothness with which the CG is integrated is astounding. I do also agree that it’s definitely not the only way to have great animation and occasionally much more subtle movements can add up to something truly extraordinary. Still, a big action showpiece scene is always fun to look at.
As I was thinking about this, I tried to figure out what other action anime had great animation in my opinion. I was a little afraid that I might have actually been brainwashed after all. My mind went to Chainsaw Man. I have been praising MAPPA’s production of the show and I stand by my statement that it’s one of the more visually smart anime in recent years some of the most narratively involved cinematic language. But the animation in itself… It’s definitely not bad but when you really think about it, there’s not that much and they often use smoke and mirrors to reduce the actual amount of animation they have to show. There are some really great moments, but probably fewer than you think.
So I kept thinking about some anime that have great action scenes that aren’t half implied.
I should have thought of Spy x Family. This isn’t the first time they’ve put on an exhibition episode. Remember the car chase that culminated in a foot race with the dog? Remember Anya’s dodgeball game? How about Loid and Yor’s first meeting? Maybe it’s because of the comedy in the series or the fact that so much of it centers around fairly commonplace family issues, but I tend to overlook the animation in the series.
That is a big mistake on my part. And the final tennis match of the Campbelldon Cup really made sure to remind me of that. It looked amazing. Bullets and balls whizzing all over the screen while Loid and Fiona were contorting in ridiculous ways. Without any smoke to obscure the screen or extended cutaways to the other characters. It was so much fun just t watch! Great animation!
I loved this scene. It was cute and exactly what I have come to expect out of this show.
Spy x Family is so dedicated to its ode to families of all sorts that even the antagonists are defined by their strong family bonds. Thematic continuity is always appreciated on this blog!
For those of us that might have forgotten, Twilight and Nightfall were pretending to be married tennis pros in order to get a very specific painting. This really doesn’t have anything to do with the story, but I actually really like the painting. The Lady in the Sun. The colours they added create a really soothing piece.
It’s totally unfair of me to say this since I have read the manga but I figured out right away what was going on here. After all, Loid being hung over was a fake story, to begin with. He obviously wouldn’t need to recover from it. But just because I got an idea of what was happening, doesn’t mean I figured out the details. And spy thrillers are all about the details.
Fortunately, they told us all the details in the car. I had missed this. The Ocean’s 11 type of stuff when the show just lays out super convoluted heists for us and how they pulled them off. It is a great hommage to spy thrillers and comedies and I actually wish Soy x Family did it a bit more often. I realize that this is not what the core of the series is about but I think they could sneak in a few more without distracting too much from the main themes.
I didn’t get a screencap of it but I liked what Nightfall picked out as a prize instead of the painting. It was so weird looking!
Also, that is one full contact high five. I usually just have a quick palm slap, none of this entire forearms pressed together. No wonder Nightfall is getting the wrong idea!
Depending on how you look at it, the main storyline f Spy x Family is Operation Stryx and Loid’s effort to secure long-lasting peace. As such, the Campbelldon Cup was a good way to advance that story. But you could easily argue (and would probably be right) that the main storyline of Spy x Family is about how a very peculiar group of people got together and learn to grow as an actual family. In which case, we just got back to the main story!
Just like Anya, I am starting to appreciate the excitement of Yor and Fiona’s rivalry.
How did Anya become the master of homeruns? Has she even played baseball ever?
I’ve said it before, people don’t stand a chance against Yor. It’s a futile endeavor.
You know what I did appreciate though. Loid doesn’t really care which of these ladies is better at tennis. Indeed, he doesn’t particularly care which is more athletic in general and that doesn’t come into play much regarding what is needed for the mission. If Nightfall had won, he would not have left his current family to rebuild a completely new cover. That’s obvious!
However, he also knew that Yor would win. It wasn’t even a question in his mind. He only tried t give them an out to spare Nightfall’s feelings. Yor might be insecure in her new position as Wife and Mother but Loid doesn’t have any doubts at all. That’s kind of cool.
Also, Bond having gained the title of “Transport Officer Bond” was adorable. I can only imagine how many balls Yor has destroyed that Bond now knows when to bring her a new one and even has a title to go with it! And just to top off this scene, destroying the pall by having the racket cut it into perfect cubes is a great image. It’s one of the best ball-destroying bits I have seen. Way better than having the ball turn to dust or burst out of existence.
Did you see it! Handler WAS wearing the gaudy rings they got from winning the tennis tournament. I actually paid close attention and you can really only spot them in a few frames for a second or so. Otherwise, whenever we see Handler in the scene her right hand is conveniently obscured.
It’s a small touch that I really enjoyed. Like she got a present from her kids and now she feels obligated to wear them whenever they’re around. The equivalent of putting art up on the fridge. And it is cute that Nightfall really did give her the rings as a present. Yet another family for this show to fawn over!
I know what’s coming up next. I mean we all know if we watched the last seconds of the episode but I know a bit more because I remember these chapters, particularly well. My friend Fred might not enjoy them as much since they are short more or less stand-alone stories but they are also potentially my favourite chapters in the manga. We’re in for some truly great character development all around. It’s always nice to see Becky as well! I’m really looking forward to it!
- Spy x Family episode 1 – Family Man
- Spy x Family episode 2 – Found Family
- Spy x Family episode 3 – Family Ooting
- Spy x Family episode 4 – The Elegant Family
- Spy x Family episode 5 – Meet the Loidman Family
- Spy x Family episode 6 – Like Mother, Like Daughter
- Spy x Family episode 7 – Extended Family
- Spy x Family episode 8 – Family-In-Law
- Spy x Family episode 9 – Briar Family Issues
- Spy x Family episode 10 – Dodgeball Lessons with Mom
- Spy x Family episode 11 – Family Pride
- Spy x Family episode 12 – Family Finale
- Spy x Family episode 13 – Family Pet
- Spy x Family episode 14 – Future Family
- Spy x Family episode 15 – Family Reunion
- Spy x Family episode 16 – Family Dinner
- Spy x Family episode 17 – Daddy Issues
- Spy x Family episode 18 – Scholarly Family
- Spy x Family episode 19 – The Glooman Family Business
- Spy x Family episode 20 – Family Doctor
- Spy x Family episode 21 – The Spy Who Wuvved Me
- Spy x Family episode 22 – The Phony Family