The first three episodes of the season sum up the Spy x Family experience very well. About 1.5 eps worth of utterly forgettable but pleasant, .5 of really good, and 1 of legit awful. This is a funny sort of show that way, one of the most inconsistent from week to week that I can remember. The really good stuff is good enough and the baseline decent enough to make it a keeper. But I can’t see it ever being anything more than a mid-tier entry, unless it levels up significantly. Content is everything here – SxF needs to do more of what it does well and less of everything else. That’s not rare, but it’s more true with this series than most.
One thing it does well is the goofus school life chapters. They’re almost always charming, and this week’s opener was no exception. That’s ironic given that it seems like they’d be outside Endou’s stated comfort zone. But he really gets the way kids think and the ludicrous nature of kid existence. This time around the lunacy involves the “Pastry of Knowledge” – a special concoction by an imperial pâtissier that supposedly makes the eater a genius. This is obviously ludicrous on every level, but it’s not just the six year-olds (and whatever Anya is) that are swept up in it – the older kids are buying into this Eden legend too.
Becky has told Anya that the kids are going to be split up by their grades, so she’s especially motivated to indulge. Unfortunately the counter is sold out by the time their short legs (and that of Damian and his crew) can get there. Our old friend George gets the last set, in fact. But since there are five (it’s macarons this time) the others guilt him into sharing. That leaves one brat left out (I’m surprised Emile or Ewen didn’t volunteer to take the fall), so Damian decides on a game of old maid to decide which kid doesn’t get a macaron. Anya has never played old maid but of course, that’s irrelevant where Anya and a card game are concerned.
This is lots of fun, as these school chapters usually are. Anya gets greedy and wins so easily the others assume she cheated, but clever Damian muses that she might be an esper. Anya freaks out and agrees to a rematch which she plans to throw on purpose. But when it comes down to she and Damian (who sucks at old maid), being secretly kind and in love with her, Damian deliberately grabs the joker (Anya has the world’s worst poker face). And because he’s tsundere, he refuses her offer to split the last macaron (because of course, she knows why he lost). Say what you will, these two have great chemistry and the setup of an esper and a tsundere remains a really clever one by Endou.
The other chapter concerns Franky’s efforts to find a lost cat for a girl he’s sweet on (which is pretty much all of them) at the bakery. Loid patently refuses to help of course, so Frankly has to go to his Baker Street Irregulars for help. Eventually he tracks the feline down to the city hall area, and naturally he runs into Yor on her lunch break. Her help is one of those “be careful what you ask for” things, and while they find the cat it comes at the cost of his beloved exoskeleton (which to be fair is pretty useless). Not much to see her but this works fine as comedy, so no harm there.
We do get a mention of “Shadow“, Yor’s murder group, and their relationship with the government (basically doing the dirty work and giving them plausible deniability). And at the very end of the episode Yor gets a job, one which appears to lead us into the first extended arc of the season – the cruise arc, which is apparently pretty well-liked by manga readers. That will certainly mark a change in direction from the totally one-off half-eps so far this season.