The first cour (effectively season 1) of the long-awaited anime adaptation of Spy x Family is basically Loid meeting and getting to know his brand new Forger family. You know, just like in the first few volumes of Tatsuya Endo’s manga. I must say though: Wit Studio and CloverWorks did an excellent job adapting that part of the story into the world of anime.
Spy x Family First Cour: Details
Spy x Family first cour is, as the name suggests, the first cour (unit of Japanese TV production equivalent to 11-13 episodes) of the anime adaptation of the action spy comedy manga of the same name by Tatsuya Endo. Wit Studio (Attack on Titan seasons 1-3, The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Ranking of Kings) and CloverWorks (Fairy Tail season 9, The Promised Neverland, Wonder Egg Priority) are the animation studios behind this anime. Kazuhiro Furuhashi directed and wrote for the anime. Makoto Miyazaki and Shūhei Mutsuki of [K]NoW_NAME composed the jazzy/spy thriller music you hear throughout the anime. Lastly, Crunchyroll licensed this anime for NA streaming.
Spy x Family first cour premiered on April 9, 2022. You can watch the first cour of this anime on Crunchyroll or Hulu. Additionally, a second cour recently began airing on October 1, 2022. However, you can only watch it on Crunchyroll at the moment. In any case though, all of the streaming services above require a paid subscription to access their content. Even Crunchyroll, which used to be a free with ads streaming service, has started locking most of their anime behind a paywall. Thus, you’ll need to shell out cash to watch this anime as well.
Additionally, you can also read original Spy x Family manga on Shonen Jump on Viz Media. The first 3 chapters and the 3 most recent chapters of the manga are free to read. Every other chapter of the manga requires a paid subscription to Shonen Jump to read. At only $1.99 per month though, it might be worth it if you liked the anime adaptation.
Warning: spoilers for the first cour of Spy x Family below. If you want to watch secret agent Loid get to know his newfound family for yourself, then stop here, and come back once you’ve grabbed some peanuts. Lots of peanuts. Because Anya guzzles down peanuts like a sailor guzzling down drink.
Spy x Family First Cour: Plot Summary
Spy x Family first cour starts off by introducing us to Twilight: an intelligence agent for his nation of Westalis, which is in the middle of a cold war with its neighboring nation of Ostania (in a rather obvious reference to West and East Germany). He’s in fact their best agent. Because of that, his agency gives him an important assignment: Operation Strix. The plan is to spy on a prominent Ostanian politician named Donovan Desmond to uncover any military plans he has that could endanger Westalis. Problem: Desmond is notoriously reclusive, and only appears consistently at the Eden Academy where his kids attend. Thus, Strix begins with Twilight having to face his biggest challenge yet: acquiring a family.
After adopting the alias of Loid Forger, he then starts his family acquisition mission by adopting a kid from a questionable orphanage. This ends up in him adopting Anya, who unbeknownst to him, is a telepath who read his mind to find out what he wanted most in a kid. Soon after, Loid then meets Yor Briar, who after a series of ridiculous events, ends up becoming Loid’s new wife. All without Loid ever realizing that Yor is secretly an assassin known as the Thorn Princess. Now that Loid has gathered his forged family (Get it? Forger? I’ll show myself out.), he can finally begin Strix properly. Or he would once he’s actually enrolled Anya in Eden Academy.
Anya Vs. Enrollment!
Unfortunately, Anya turns out to be…less than suited for Eden Academy in the brainpower department. It could be that she’s just plain stupid, but it could also be that she lied about her age to Loid to make herself appear older. Specifically 6, since that’s the age Loid was looking for. Regardless though, Anya’s test scores are so abysmal that even after rigorous studying, she’s only barely able to pass the initial entrance exams. The in-person interviews are a bit more challenging (not least of which because of a random stampede of various campus zoo animals), but a sympathetic teacher/housemaster allows Anya to finally get in. Now all Anya has to do is earn 8 Stella stars to become an Imperial Scholar to gain access to Desmond’s club. Oh, and avoid getting 8 Tonitrus bolts to prevent expulsion.
Even more unfortunately, Anya’s lack of intelligence prevents her from earning Stellas through test scores. Fortunately, she does a single star by saving a boy’s life at a pool. Loid’s relationship with Yor even improves after suspecting her due to her younger brother being an agent of Ostania’s State Security Service (SSS). Yor’s love towards Loid triumphs even over an attempted interrogation from Loid (and his friend Franky) in disguise. The first cour of Spy x Family concludes with the Forger family enjoying a lovely trip to a local aquarium. Sure, there’s an incident along the way. However, the trip firmly cements the forged family’s bonds as a real one. Thus, everything turns out alright.
Spy x Family First Cour: The Good
As I mentioned before: I’m a longtime fan of the manga by Tatsuya Endo. Thus, I can compare this anime adaptation to the original manga. So far, I think Wit Studio and CloverWorks are doing a fantastic job here. The story is very faithful to the manga, so that’s a big plus for me (especially given how badly CloverWorks messed up the anime adaptation for The Promised Neverland for season 2). Not only is the animation of very high quality, but [K]NoW_NAME’s music is just incredible. The jazzy beats they do for the spy action parts is perfect for the gunplay and inevitable explosions.
Then there’s the opening and ending themes for Spy x Family first cour. I know some people skip the opening and ending themes for some reason, but really, you’ll be missing out a lot if you skip these opening and ending sequences. “Mixed Nuts” by Official HIGE DANdism, in particular, is now one of my favorite songs. The jazzy nature of the song combined with the animated visuals makes it perfect for the anime. “Comedy” by Gen Hoshino isn’t too bad either, and the calm bluesy nature of the tune makes it perfect as a bedtime theme for Anya.
The voices for the various characters of Spy x Family first cour are also spot on, especially for our main cast. Takuya Eguchi, Atsumi Tanezaki, and Saori Hayami perfectly managed to capture the essences of Loid, Anya, and Yor respectively. In particular, I have to give kudos to Tanezaki, who voiced Anya perfectly. She managed to capture Anya’s combination of innocence, childishness, and stupidity in her voice. I now honestly can’t imagine anyone else’s voice as Anya.
Spy x Family First Cour: The Bad
No complaints from me about Spy x Family first cour. No, I reserve my complaints for the way Crunchyroll is streaming this anime. Especially since Crunchyroll used to stream anime for free with ads. Nowadays though, Crunchyroll has locked all of their new anime behind the shiny paywall of their premium accounts.
Now I wouldn’t be bothered by this if that was the only thing. However, not only are the new anime forever behind that paywall, but Crunchyroll has been recently locking all of their older anime series behind that same paywall. Seriously, making your streamers pay for anime that was previously free is just scummy, in my opinion. Would it really have killed Crunchyroll to keep most of the service free with ads, and just make the new anime available for free with ads after some time? I guess it did. Hence, the raising of all these paywalls. I hope they don’t interfere with your enjoyment of this anime.