Spy Classroom Episodes Breakdown

The first episode of the series was decent, but after watching the second episode, I had doubts about the overall quality of the show. After the events of the premiere episode focusing on Lily and Klaus, I expected the second episode to introduce the other characters and provide more background on them. However, the episode instead focused on a combat challenge presented by Klaus, which I believed was a missed opportunity for character development and interaction among the group. At this point, I still had difficulty remembering the names of the other characters without consulting external resources. So imagine my reaction when, about halfway through an episode full of montages and buildup for this eventual showdown between Klaus and the girls, Spy Classroom just…completely skips over the rest of the plot. We get one meager speech from Klaus about the destruction of Inferno Team and the danger of their so-called “Impossible Mission”, and then we just jump ahead a full month. The girls are all trained, apparently, and the mission to steal the evil virus from the Galgad Empire is underway with absolutely no fanfare. We get even more montages showcasing the girls' underwhelming spy skills, a bunch of info-dumping, and a very random party to cap of the thoroughly perplexing episode. I had to ask myself the question I fear whenever I begin a brand new anime series: “Could it be that Spy Family has no goddamned idea what its doing?”
spy classroom anime
Then, we get Episode 3, and the big “twist” that recontextualizes and at least kind of explains some of the baffling writing and direction that we've had to deal with up to now…though I still have my concerns. In short, as Klaus and the girls so helpfully explain to the baffled Guido, the reason that the show went out of its way to avoid showing us any of the spies' unique skills and special weapons was because Klaus knew that Guido bugged the Heat Haze Palace from the beginning, on account of being an all-knowing superspy and junk. Thus, the girls had to pretend to be vapid and incompetent, so they could pull the rug out from under Guido's feet during their inevitable conflict. This ruse extends to Klaus (and the entire show) hiding a secret eighth spy girl named Erna, who is really talented at mimicking voices (and also stabbing guys). On the one hand, I have to admit, I was surprised by this development, and I was glad to learn that the show's bizarre pacing and frustrating lack of any meaningful character development was, at least in some sense, intentional. On the other hand, though, we still had to deal with some very bizarre pacing and a frustrating lack of character development, and to what end? Guido got all of, like, ten lines during his time as the main antagonist of the story, so it isn't like we especially give a damn when he gets defeated. Outside of Lily, we still barely know a single interesting or memorable thing about any of the other Lamplight girls, except for a brief glimpse at their “real” selves during the climactic fight, so their peril never feels genuine, and their victory is essentially hollow. Hell, I have the cast list and their corresponding pictures up on my computer screen right now, and if you put a gun to my head and told me to explain the difference between Monika, Sara, Erna, Celeste, Thea, or Annette, I'd have to tell you to just go ahead and shoot me. (One of those names is, in fact, completely made up, but I defy any one of you to tell me which one it is without looking it up yourself. How's that for some sneaky spycraft?) Spy Classroom is, at the end of its first mini-arc here, a bit of a mess. It definitely demonstrated more aptitude with the expected twists and subterfuge of spy stories than I initially gave it credit for, but it only managed its first big twist by playing unfair with the audience and sacrificing any investment we might possibly have had in its characters or story. I hate describing anything as “all style, no substance”, but Spy Classroom is dangerously close to falling into that exact trap, and all so it could impress us with a last-minute asspull that isn't even all that impressive. If it had managed to successfully hide an entire damned cast member over the course of a season, that'd be one thing, but to try and earn all that clout after a scant few episodes was a big mistake, I think. That said, I have a hard time hating a series that at least has the chutzpah to try and get one over on its audience, even if the end results are sloppy at best. My hope is that the show can finally settle into a groove and actually start to develop its core cast better now that the training wheels are off. If nothing else, I'll be curious to see if and how the story might attempt to top its own ridiculousness.

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