Spy x Family is what you get when you have James Bond get a mission to start a family. Ep. 1 begins with him trying to get a kid. It’s as hilarious as it is morally complex.

Spy x Family Ep. 1: Details

"Spy x Family" key art.
Mr. Bond is the friendly-looking guy on the left.

Spy x Family Ep. 1 is the first episode of the anime adaptation of the manga of the same name by Tatsuya Endo. The anime series features Kazuhiro Furuhashi (Rurouni Kenshin, Hunter x Hunter, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn) as the director and writer. The pretty much unknown [K]NoW_NAME apparently did the music for the anime and is so unknown that they don’t even have a Wikipedia article yet. Wit Studio (Attack on Titan, The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Ranking of Kings) and CloverWorks (Darling in the Franxx, The Promised Neverland, Wonder Egg Priority) is the animation studios behind this anime series. Lastly, Crunchyroll licensed the anime series for its NA release.

Spy x Family Ep. 1 premiered on April 9, 2022. You can watch this episode and anime series only on Crunchyroll. You can in fact watch Ep. 1 for free at the time of this writing until May 31, 2022. After that, it goes back behind the paywall, and you have to get a premium Crunchyroll account to watch it. If you want to go that route, prepare to bring out your wallet. The episode is also available not just in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles, but also in English, French, and German dubs. However, only the English subs version is free, so you’re still going to have to bring out your wallet if you want to watch the dubs.

Warning: spoilers for Spy x Family Ep. 1 below. If you want to check out the adventures of James Bond trying to get a family, stop here, and come back once the suppressed pistol shooting is over and done with.

Spy x Family Ep. 1: Plot Summary

Anya is as much the star here as Loid.

Spy x Family Ep. 1 starts us off by introducing us to “Twilight”: a secret agent working for Westalis, and sworn to fight the rival nation of Ostania at every turn. After a successful mission, his reward is a new one. He is now to obtain a family in order to infiltrate a meeting of high-level Ostania officials at a prestigious school. He has exactly 1 week to get this new family. No more.

Thus, Twilight begins his mission. First, he infiltrates Ostania and rents an apartment there under the alias “Loid Forger”. “Loid” then heads to a particularly run-down and ill-kept orphanage in order to adopt a kid whose background is shaky enough that he can forge identity papers for them fairly easily. It’s there that he meets Anya: a girl with telepathic powers. She uses her telepathy to convince Loid that she’s actually a super-genius, and thus he adopts her as his new daughter for the mission. She’s even thrilled to be part of some kind of super-secret spy mission. Thus, their new family life as the Forgers begin.

One Big Fake Family?

"Spy x Family" Ep. 1 screenshot showing a very worn-out Loid carrying a sleeping Anya along with a bunch of groceries. Guess which one is heavier?
Perfectly sums up Loid’s first day with his new daughter, as well as every parent ever.

Loid ends up spending a very stressful first day out with his new daughter, culminating in him carrying a dead asleep Anya back to their house. The next day, Loid has to leave Anya at home to meet with a contact. Correction: Loid barricades the door to his apartment to keep Anya from following him as he meets with that contact. Unfortunately, a very bored Anya decides to play around with Loid’s spy gear (unlocking the suitcase containing it with the combination she read from his mind), and accidentally sends out a taunting message basically saying that “Twilight was here” in Westalis cipher. As a result, Loid arrives home to find Ostanian agents attempting to ambush him, and Anya missing.

As the Ostanian agents menace Anya in their hideout and decide to dispose of her, one of their agents returns with a captured Twilight in tow. However, when the head agent pulls off the bag over Twilight’s head, it turns out to be their own agent. The one who’d just delivered Twilight. In the ensuing confusion, the real Twilight walked out of the hideout with Anya and told her to flee to a police station. After taking care of the other Ostanian agents though, Loid returns (sans disguise), and discovers Anya still waiting for him. Touched by her devotion, Loid takes Anya back, and the 2 of them continue on as a family to a new home.

However, Loid still needs a mother for his child, especially since the school he’s supposed to infiltrate requires that children attend with “both parents”. Will he succeed? Well, that’s what we’ll find out in the next episode of Spy x Family.

Spy x Family Ep. 1: The Good

A surprisingly good dubbing effort from Alex Organ and Megan Shipman here.

For all the manga fans out there: Spy x Family Ep. 1 is a pretty good adaptation of the beginning of the manga. Takuya Eguchi and Atsumi Tanezaki do a great job voicing Loid and Anya respectively. Their voices perfectly fitted the mental voice I had of them when I was reading the manga. They really breathe life into their characters with their voices.

The animation quality of Spy x Family Ep. 1 is also pretty high. The lighting and details are just gorgeous. The chibified animation style for comedy purposes also feels very much like the manga. Especially Anya’s faces, which line up perfectly with the faces she makes in the manga. If you’re a fan of the manga, then you’ll definitely love how Wit Studio and CloverWorks animated the anime adaptation.

If you’re not familiar with the manga, then it’s an even bigger treat for you. This is as if James Bond was given a mission to start a family, and is slowly coming to like having a normal family life. The only difference is that Twilight/Loid is a much more likable character than the actual James Bond. The canon James Bond is, to be honest, a bit of a dick. He just sleeps around with random women, discards them like toys when he’s done, and only seems to save the day because MI6 tells him to. Twilight/Loid, on the other hand, has an actual good reason for wanting to save the day, and while he does seduce women, he comes off more as work-oriented rather than callously uncaring. It makes Twilight/Loid more likable and more human than Mr. Bond James Bond.

Spy x Family Ep. 1: The Bad

"Spy x Family" Ep. 1 screenshot showing a very determined Anya trying to take a very difficult entrance exam where everyone around her also doesn't know the answers.
My face at having to think of anything bad to say about this episode.

As a huge fan of the Spy x Family manga, I freely admit that I’m a bit biased towards the anime adaptation. That said, I do have a complaint. It’s not about the episode itself though. It’s about the anime as a whole, and how Crunchyroll is releasing it. See, Crunchyroll only plans to release the first 3 episodes of this anime (and a few others) for free with ads as a “seasonal sampler”. Every episode after that requires you to have a paid premium subscription to watch.

Crunchyroll’s new policy of locking all anime behind a paywall is effectively forcing people to pay to watch anime, despite their previous policy of allowing people to watch for free with ads. This effectively makes Crunchyroll not Crunchyroll anymore, and it might as well just Funimation 2.0. Then again, that’s probably what Sony is going for after their buyout of Crunchyroll. There’s a part of me that hopes the backlash from this will be big enough to get Crunchyroll to reverse this policy and go back to the old free with ads policy, but I know that’s likely not going to happen. Not with Sony likely shutting down Funimation at some point in the future. I guess we’re all just going to have to get used to being forced to open up our wallets to watch new anime.

Source: Wikipedia, Crunchyroll