This maybe one of the funniest and best satirical takes on upper class bigotry I’ve seen in a very long time.
At no point in my life I would have thought there would be a Mr. and Mrs Smith-like anime that would have a satirical take on rich and powerful people. Wrap this whole dynamic into one of the most humorous story-lines and lovable family dynamics in an anime since.. maybe ever? Spy x Family is bringing a new meaning to what a successfully funny anime can look like. Mark episode 4 down as another must see episode!
There’s so much parallels between the Housemaster and society today that I have to talk about it. The new school of today, always becomes the old school of tomorrow. For some reason, a bunch of old rich folks with no swag and culture always want to control how you should act and in Spy x Family‘s case, the old Housemaster is that avatar. In order for Loid Forger to join the ranks of the rich and snobby 1% of people, you’d have to find a way to fit in. The Housemaster is that filter the same way Hollywood, hiring managers, politicians and other people in power hold the future to your fate.
So, when these bunch of old folks of “Eden Academy” are running around making up stupid reasons and purposefully throwing in ridiculous scenarios to filter you out, it’s kind of hilarious because it’s somewhat believable. Better yet, having Loid Forger that is an expert in intel, be prepared to have multiple change of attires represents so much of the sully and filth that these higher status old farts don’t want to associate themselves with. The entire first half of the episode sets the stage for the kind of characters that Loid, Yor and Anya will be dealing with.
There are just some downright outrageous things that happen in this episode: to paying respects to the founder of the academy to a little boy begging for help, while being covered in filth. Then, the applicants run into a random crisis of farm-ville animals coming to stampede.
These scenes really represent what seems like unnecessary jumps through hoops and bounds one must go through to fit in with a bunch of people that you’ll end up hating. It is also one of those scenes where you can imagine the writer just think of the most ridiculous and funny things that still portrays what you want the audience to think.
The Facade of Interviews
When it comes to interviews, it’s all just mental gymnastics. Questions are meant to be answered accordingly to how “they” want you to be answered. Being prepared to target your answers and embellish your answers in the “correct” areas will suit you in the favor of your interviewer. If you are naturally humble and talk down on your own abilities, then you are seen as unconfident and could negatively effect how the interviewer sees you. This is where when the interview actually begins, the show continues its brilliant satirical portrayal of this very real scenario.
Murdoch Swan is clearly the antagonist of this episode, carrying all the drama that Henry Henderson absorbed from the beginning half of the episode. When you find yourself cheering and reacting intently to what the main characters are going to do next, you know you got a really good scene. However, once the Forger family stormed off after Murdoch’s insensitive questions, Henry Henderson gave him the old bop to the face. This sets up Murdoch as an antagonist to look out for in the future and puts Henry Henderson in the good graces of the audience, where it was looking like the opposite earlier in the episode.
What this scene really proves to me is that when you actually break character to become sincere and honest, you may leave the biggest impression on the interviewers. Everyone know there is some weird facade game going on here with interviews. In this case, Loid left a significantly positive impression with Henry Henderson, but a really negative one with Murdoch. Sometimes having the gall to stand up for yourself can be a benefit to you or go terribly wrong like telling your boss to go screw himself.
Characters “Hitting Their Marks”
All the characters during this episode did everything within expectation. Anya hits us all with comedic relief and one-liners and Yor does assassin-like things that gives us classic surprised Anya reactions. This time, Loid gets in on the action to the reaction of Yor taking down the cow. As situations become more eventful and the need to persevere as a family persists by the nature of Loid’s mission, the family bond will just continue to get stronger.
Everyone can see the formula here at this point. A crisis arises that puts all 3 to the test. Then, all 3 find a way to persevere together onto the next stage of Loid’s mission; making us love and miss this family more as their realities may end up clashing at some point, breaking up the family. We are only 4 episodes in and they teased that reality, which already made me a borderline very sad viewer.
The character that probably had his most character development would be Loid Forger. Again, he mentioned how much as a spy he had to only rely on himself. Once again, he must rely on scenarios out of his control where he has to trust other people to make the right decisions. We can already see the shift in his character from the previous episode where he accepted the thanks from saving old lady’s purse. This episode, he broke character again. Unbeknownst to him, he used his developing fatherly instincts to make an impression he wouldn’t have previous made by breaking the table in anger, rather than his usual cool, calm and collected spy-self.
The interview highlights every strong point of Anya’s character. She’s that adorable, lovable, want to “squeeze until her eyes pop out” of a character. She says the darnest things that instantly wins you over. Dare I say, she’s the kind of daughter I wish I would have if I ever had one. Her ability to digest everything that Loid says and interpret it in the most purest and unwittingly funny ways—coming from a cute little child is something that is unmatched and fulfilling to watch as the viewer. That is her role in this show. That is Anya “hitting her mark” to me. I haven’t experienced a character quite like her that has such an significant role in a show. It’s refreshing to watch these 3 characters make their way to a special place in all of our hearts.
Manga vs Anime
The anime covers chapters 4 & 5. Unlike previously in episode 3 with a lot added filler scenes, episode 4 didn’t have any.
I really enjoyed how the beginning of the episode sets us up for what is to come. The anticipatory music with Loid preparing the family for the interview was actually low-key pretty good. It’s like setting the biology of your body to the right frequencies to the impending scenes to experience it in the way it was meant to. Honestly, Anya is the glue that makes this anime a good one to a great one. The writing of her character, jokes and the reactions on her face lands every time. As I mentioned in the previous review, I hope they don’t overuse her to the point that she ends up feeling like a one-trick pony. Nevertheless, the interview part of the episode was great for her and the development Loid’s character arc.
This is another strong episode that moved the plot along in a compelling way. We got to see a little bit of action with Yor taking down the cow. Those shonen instincts in me want to see more of that, but if I can be fed scenes like with the interview, then I will still be pretty happy. Now, we have three new characters: Housemasters Walter Evans, Murdoch Swan and Henry Henderson. It looks like Murdoch Swan may have it out against the Forgers from this point on as a potential villain and Henry Henderson may admire the Forgers so much to the point of potentially becoming an ally down the road. Overall, this episode was a solid one, hitting all the points that makes this show enjoyable.