Spy X Family episode 1 was one of the most anticipated episodes to be aired in recent slice-of-life/thriller memory. Episode 1 covers the first chapter of the manga in complete detail as it sets up the premise and the world of spies.
With the manga being as beloved as it is, along with the inclusion of a star-studded cast and staff list, the series has high expectations to meet. With 24 minutes of runtime and a cold opening, does Spy X Family episode 1 live up to the expectations?
Anya and Loid form the Forger family in Spy X Family episode 1, Ostania becomes wary of Twilight
Spy X Family episode 1 stats off by setting up the premise. The country of Westalis has a long-standing cold war going on with their Eastern neighbor, Ostania. In the midst of an information war dominated by secret agents and spies, a Westalisian diplomat is killed by the Right-Wing extremist party of Ostania.
In such a situation, the intelligence agency of Westalis, WISE, sends their best agent, code named Twilight, to accost the chairman of the National Unity Party of Ostania, Donovan Desmond.
Desmond is a recluse, only coming out for the events held at his sons’ prestigious school, Eden Academy. This necessitates Twilight to acquire a family and get his “child” into Eden academy so that he can get closer to Desmond.
Spy X Family episode 1 is titled “Operation Strix.”
Spy X Family episode 1 highlights
Spy X Family episode 1 shows Twilight in the middle of a mission, presumably in Ostania where he gathers blackmail material on Edgar, an influential politician and crime boss. Under the name Robert, he has been dating Edgar’s daughter Karen to get information on him. However, he breaks up with her in a rather hilarious scene.
He is later informed that he would have to acquire a child in a week for his new mission, called Operation Strix, while on a train to Berlint, the capital of Ostania. Twilight, now called Loid Forger, a psychiatrist and family man, buys an apartment and goes to a shady orphanage to adopt a child for the mission.
He needs a six-year-old child who can read and is swiftly directed towards a girl called Anya. It is revealed in the manga, but not in the anime, that Anya is five years old, but she pretends to be six just so Loid would adopt her. Anya is an Esper, raised in a facility which oppressed and controlled her before she ran away.
She was bounced between orphanages and foster homes under the name Anya and any random surname. While she isn’t academically bright, she fools Loid by reading his thoughts and solving a cross-word puzzle.
Anya is a fan of adventure and spies, and she finds Loid to be cool because she knows his true identity by reading his thoughts. She does not tell him about her powers as an Esper due to previous experiences.
Loid slowly realizes that he is not fit to be a parent, but he works towards it. While he is out to get the leaked exam papers for the Eden Academy entrance test from his associate Franky Franklin, Anya manages to fiddle with his secret spy equipment. The resulting transmission alerts the Ostanian intelligence agency and the State Security Service about Twilight’s presence in Berlint.
Upon returning home, Loid is ambushed and finds that Anya has been kidnapped by Edgar. He rescues Anya from his clutches, and tells her to go to a police station, sending her away from him. Twilight became a spy because he was a child of war, and vowed to create a world where children do not have to cry.
Anya is awed by reading his thoughts and refuses to leave him. Twilight, despite berating himself for endangering the child, lets her stay. They move to a different apartment, and Anya manages to pass the entrance test on her own merit.
In a post-credit scene, the Forgers are notified that the second step in the admission process is a family interview, where both parents of the child must be present. As Loid despairs, Anya comments very aptly,
“There is no Mommy.”
Spy X Family episode 1 manages to slip the darker details of the world into a humorous and funny setting. The silent sacrifices of spies, the ongoing Cold War, the inhumane conditions of Anya’s upbringing, the borderline fascist government of Ostania, the grief and trauma of war are all aspects that don’t usually find themselves in a slice of life thriller-comedy.
However, the series does well in depicting these themes. This was one of the chief reasons why readers loved the manga, and Spy X Family episode 1 sets off to a promising start.
With the juxtaposition of comedy and drama, the subtle moments followed by loud action and broad jokes, the episode lives up to what manga readers expected and what anime fans were waiting for.
The animation by Wit Studio and Cloverworks is beautiful and detailed. The musical score, especially the end theme “Comedy” by Gen Hoshino, is catchy and fitting. Atsumi Tanezaki as Anya is infectious, and Takuya Eguchi as Twilight stole the show.
Spy X Family episode 1 is not perfect and if looked at closely, there will be many flaws that are easily detectable. However, the series is the ultimate example of the found-family trope.
It emanates a warm, wholesome feeling that is more than just good animation or a well-written plot. The few moments of bonding between Loid and Anya that we get from this episode have already endeared them to the viewers, and Yor is yet to be introduced.
This article considers Spy X Family episode 1 a worthy watch, and recommends that readers watch it on a weekly basis as opposed to binging. Interested readers can read Tatsuya Endo’s ongoing manga on Manga Plus and Viz.