Dark, kind, spiteful & aloof. All words that describe Yuri Briar depending on the circumstances. This episode touches on the dangerous conflict of Yuri Briar ever finding out about Loid & Yor’s fake marriage. This episode covers chapters 11 & 12 of the manga.
Yuri Briar, the Character
On the surface, Yuri Briar is a diplomat that works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Using the same dark and sinister contrast of Yor, Yuri personality has the same polite and kindred-like spirit on the surface, but underneath, he smashes faces in with unrelenting punishment of those that betrays the nation he serves! That is what Yuri Briar’s true role is. He serves undercover for the “State Security Service(SSS)” for the east nation of Ostania. The nation that Loid must prevent Donovan Desmond from inciting an all-out hot war.
What Makes Yuri Briar a Great Character
With an endless amount of possibilities of how Yuri Briar could help, hurt, react positively or negatively in the event he finds out any of Loid & Yor’s secrets—that is the perfect situation for the audience to be in. I literally can’t predict what’s going to happen next. There’s always going to be this mystery of of “what-ifs” hovering over our heads. This kind of conflict is what makes shows great. It’s not about the mystery of what you don’t know. It’s the mystery of what’s going to happen because you, the audience, do know.
The audience is constantly bearing this burden of knowing the truth, while the story is teasingly pretending to slice the onion under it. What comes from slicing an onion? Tears.. Tears of joy, laughter or sadness. This multiversal emotional ride to find out which way the story and plot will play out, all seems to be an enjoyable ride worth waiting in line for. No matter what I personal think about the character Yuri himself, he brings another fantastic attraction to this metaphorical theme park.
Is Yuri Briar Too Cringe?
His motivation and love for his sister is a bit much for my taste. Dare I say, cringe? I could never see myself loving my sister that much from my perspective, but to the general audience, it may be cute or just natural sibling love. That’s how I would label Tanjiro & Nezuko’s sibling love from Demon Slayer. In this case, you have a protective younger brother that instead of having “mommy” issues, he has “sister” issues being the only other family member around. Although, that doesn’t take away many of the interesting conflicts that can arise from Yuri Briar’s character like how it coincides with Twilight’s goals regarding “Operation ‘Strix.'”
Portrayal of Yuri & Plot
Let’s not mince words about what this episode wanted to portray of Yuri Briar. He’s cold, calculated, smart and a very dangerous character that could very well upend Twilight’s plan to stop Donovan Desmond. Like Yor, Yuri is holding a huge secret and has a similar dark streak that Yor possesses. There are multiple scenes of other characters talking about who Yuri is and what is appearance is like. There’s nothing like some hearsay to build a reputational impression on a character. The scene of him slamming the treasonous city employee onto the table completely conveys the message that Yor’s brother is a viable threat. Not only that, but the hostile nature of Yuri could cause a huge shift and total feel of this entire anime by one little secret getting exposed.
During the interaction between the 3, you get to see and ponder all the different outcomes if any of the hidden mysteries between the 3 of them slip up. Imagine if they had Anya involved in this interaction. It would 100% take away from the important elements of bringing this “Loid vs Yuri” counter-intelligence rivalry that’s happening underneath it all. When’s the last time you’ve seen something like this? For me, “Light vs ‘L'” would be a decent comp. Of course not as epic, but there are some parallels between the mind games being played.
Loid’s Shows His Best Trait as the Protagonist
These little glimpses of Loid using hit wit makes him the most compelling of all the Spy x Family members. Throwing away the dad and husband stuff to the side; when Loid shows his Twilight side, he becomes the best character on the show. In the rare instance we get to see him do serious spy acts and physically take on bad guys, we get to see the full scope of what makes this character compelling. Imagine having Goku in Dragon Ball Super, but never actually letting him turn Super Saiyan or worse, never fight. What’s the point? Even if it is satire, let the character designed “to be” something, do “that” something.
In this case, Loid being the best spy that his country has to offer, while being the “master of disguise” should be hammered into the audience. Using scenes to consistently remind the audience of his genius of juggling multiple massive extremely consequential lies is one of the most interesting parts to his character. It’s kind of like in Detective Conan, when Conan figures out the mystery of the murders that takes place. That’s the most satisfying part of the whole show and where Kudo Shinichi(Conan) shines at his best as a character.
So, Loid figuring out in his head and showing his knowledge of how he knew Yuri was an undercover agent for the SSS was peak Loid. More scenes like this would elevate his character profile to a top-tier status. Anya has already reached that peak viral status. I think Loid has the opportunity to pave his way into being a more iconic character.
What People Will Remember Most About This Episode
What I find the most exciting and interesting about this episode and anime isn’t exactly the most “memeable” parts of the show. Already, you’ll see clips and memes of the “impending kiss” scene of the cliffhanger of this episode. For a younger impressionable audience, the teasing of romance is always going to be one of the most important reasons to watch this anime.
This episode did a really good job executing the right music to play behind Yuri’s scenes. When he smashed the traitor’s head into the table, it felt as dark as it should be. When he panics over the jealousy of Loid, there’s some incredibly memorable panels of his reaction with the wine.
Spy x Family has this unique ability to encompass multiple genres like action, drama, comedy and mystery. If Anya is involved, it feels like a sitcom. When an episode is centered around Loid, it feels like a mystery-action drama. We have yet to see what the look and feel is going to be like if they ever center an episode around Yor’s undercover gig as an assassin. No matter which way each episode swing towards, it has mostly been an entertainingly well executed one.
With the introduction of Yuri Briar, he can positively contribute to any genre style and conflict to whichever route the story chooses. He can be “Uncle Yuri, mommy problems Yuri, dogmatic Yuri,” etc. This is something the audience must constantly contemplate over as Yuri gets more involved in the plot. I think this episode did a great job laying the foundation of what and how we should think about Yuri Briar. We can also assume that multiple characters from the “SSS” will likely be involved later down the road as Yuri Briar is our gateway to seeing the opposition. Overall, this episode was a very good introduction to a new character that puts the main Spy x Family characters in a new bind that they must overcome.. by going as far as locking lips?!