Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Are you ready for some Spy x Family? Personally, I’ve been itching to bring back the absurd family drama of the Forgers, and I’m doubly excited given that we’re dealing with a new episode of Studio WIT. That is not to say that the Cloverworks episodes have been bad either way, but simply that WIT seems regularly determined to excel relative to their tasks, pulling off wildly ambitious feats of staging and original anime sequences like that castle raid just because they can. Even for a more mundane episode like Anya’s entrance to school, the dynamic designs and flourishes of animation have helped elevate Spy x Family’s already excellent base material.
As for our narrative trajectory, we end the last episode on one of the show’s first genuine cliffhangers, with Yuri demanding that our newlyweds prove just how in love they are. Loid and Yor’s mutual discomfort with the lovey-dovey stuff is more than a little unlikely, but as long as it continues to facilitate hilarious moments of mutual awkwardness and tense gestures of affection, I’m happy to accept that they possess the romantic chops of a pair of Sin high schoolers. More teens, let’s go back to Spy x Family!
The improbability of the forgers’ lack of romantic experience points to a natural source of tension in the narrative. If a set of circumstances feels contrived enough, the audience will start to lose their suspension of disbelief; on the other hand, narrative variables should generally be designed with facilitating drama in mind, rather than primarily adhering to some sense of realism. As such, it’s always a balancing act to elicit maximum drama without losing the audience’s faith, and different works will find different balance points on that set of scales. For one extreme example, JoJo essentially creates a new set of wacky dramatic rules for each episode, but his constancy of tonal compromise and sheer rule-making ingenuity helps keep audiences engaged nonetheless.
“I read somewhere that your first kiss tastes like lemon.” The tricky thing about Yor is that he often finds it difficult to assemble the components of himself into a completely cohesive individual. I can easily understand how Loid’s professional demeanor informs her personal demeanor, but Yor just feels like he’s switching between two completely different personalities. Which I guess is kind of a joke: the disconnect between her professional confidence and personal mess. That’s a pretty good joke, but an shaky foundation for character building.
Well, as long as you keep facilitating ridiculous expression jobs like this, I guess I can take it.
Oh come on, you can’t use the OP as a second cliffhanger before the kiss! We are still hanging from the same precipice!
“Show how in love you are.” Oh man, are we getting a whole episode of this turmoil? good times
Incredible simulated camerawork as the moment of truth approaches, and both Yuri and Yor go into crisis mode. Once again, the animators at WIT elevate a fundamentally simple gag into the stratosphere, with dynamic changes in camera movement that act in sequence with Yuri and Yor’s wobbly gestures, as if we in the audience are actively stumbling out of the way. of Yor’s slap before it lands. yuri instead
“Is this normal for the Briars?” A clever narrative trick here, using Yor and Yuri’s already strange relationship to bail Loid off the hook. If Yuri ever gets too close to the truth, some strange but seemingly normal act of Briar’s on Yor’s part can reset the situation.
And in a character sense, Yuri being a weirdo actually makes Yor seem more reasonable. He’s no longer a singular outlier, he’s actually from a family of weirdos.
Loid actually communicates with Yuri a bit with his final call for both of them to do their best for Yor, prompting a brave tsundere show from his hapless brother.
Another nice top-down design as Yuri makes his final threats, resulting in a visual separation between the two parts that perfectly accentuates this act of drawing a line in the sand. Storyboards and narrative drama work in such close sync in this series; the production team is clearly willing to be bold in its adaptation of panels from the manga, resulting in sequences that feel naturally designed for animation. Excessive loyalty to the comic panels in the adaptation is basically a death sentence; the media just works too differently for that to be effective
And a final grand flourish of the character acting as Yuri retreats, this time intentionally reducing the total number of drawings to further emphasize her messiness as she stumbles down the hall.
With the rest of his family in bed, Loid is still up reading Anya’s favorite comics and wondering when was the last time he was genuinely envious of another person. This family isn’t real yet, but he’s now spent enough time with them to start wishing they were.
Stronger designs and expressions as the dawn rises. I continue to be impressed by this production’s use of unique angles to frame shots, like this Dutch angled shot in the bathroom that helps create a sense of physical space, while also bringing the gaze from Yor to Anya.
Anya stomping around in her pajama suit is also naturally good content.
I appreciate that Loid’s professionalism leads him to suspect Yor again after that meeting. He wouldn’t be much of a superspy if Yuri’s occupation didn’t raise a couple of red flags.
Meanwhile, Loid’s increasing distance makes Yor wonder if he’s tired of perpetually covering for her. Happy to see the show highlight his own insecurities, instead of just assuming he wouldn’t notice this change in atmosphere.
Anya offers the only advice she can: “Daddy and Mommy need to get along.” She follows this up with an incredible flourish of character acting, as she begins her treacherous climb up the bus stairs.
It’s a strange feeling watching Yuri get a heart-to-heart from one of his secret police friends. Yuri is such a jerk that it’s easy to forget his job, but hearing “you really need to control your drinking” from a guy who clearly just got back from the interrogation room is a bit surreal.
Apparently, capturing Twilight is actually the main duty of the police. She’s not surprised, considering that she’s the main enemy agent.
At work, Yor continues to worry about her alleged failures as a wife. This conflict also reflects Loid’s changing personality: she has now grown close enough to her wife and son that they both revert to critical spy mode of hers.
Suddenly, she is stopped by the secret police! But it’s actually Loid in disguise.
There’s a kind of natural evolution tension here where the more time Loid spends with Yor and Anya, the less justifiable it feels to see him manipulate them in this way. Obviously, he is working in the service of higher goals, but every flourish of the “cold spy Loid” undermines the legitimacy of his family ties. He is an intriguing type of ambiguity.
This is a bold Loid’s doing, essentially trying to force the issue of whether she knows about her brother. Whether she succeeds or fails, she is drawing attention to Yor as someone enemy spies are interested in for some reason.
Yor asserts her innocence through her commitment to fight for her husband or brother
“Don’t tell me you feel guilty for doubting her.” And here we are immediately paying off that evolving tension, with Loid now feeling ashamed of the espionage instincts he has so carefully created.
“It’s a terrible idea to date a woman while you’re cheating on her.” “Made your just say that?
And knowing that she has done it wrong, Loid tries to make things right with Yor, telling her that she should feel free to be herself.
Wow, what a lovely episode that was! Given the opening sequence and episode title, I figured we’d be in for a lot of awkward, mock romantic hijinks, but it turned out to be anything but. This was an episode about Loid and Yor. Current feelings for each other, the sense of responsibility they feel towards this family project and their growing mutual sense of wanting to be a person the other can trust and rely on. Yor was finally able to navigate some miscellaneous emotional hurdles, while Loid’s brief return to espionage finally underscored just how much he’s changed. Spy x Family has generally focused more on comedy than emotional drama, but this episode proved that we now have the foundation for some convincingly moving family conflicts. Excellent work, Counterfeiters.
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