Anya can’t accomplish anything, except this one thing.. This episode covers chapter 16 & 17.
Recap & Reaction
This episode is a reminder that no matter how cute a kid is, they’re kids.. Disobedient, annoying, rebellious and all the other qualities that keeps our population from growing, this episode displays various qualities of just that. In return, it makes for a frustrating first half of an episode as we watch the story become centered around Anya’s most undesired qualities. After seeing all of her failure grades, Loid tries her out doing various tasks from music, sports and arts. All of which failed. With Loid doing the best he can to whip Anya into shape, he eventually takes Anya to do some community service at a hospital to help gain another route to a Stella Star. Once again, one after another she just fails at everything for almost half of the episode. This comes to a climatic point as the nurse at the hospital gives her the boot.
No one can be perfect and everyone needs character improvement, right? No episode can end in a “drowner,” right? Through Anya’s ESP powers and will to do the right thing, Anya senses a little boy drowning from across the pool. The plot thickens as the scenes turn into suspense. Time is ticking and a little boy that needs to rehabilitate his legs can’t swim his way out of the water. Anya makes up a funny excuse to Loid and makes her way to the pool—jumping into the pool.
All of the sudden the feeling of the episode went from annoying to a very urgent scenario. All of these downer of moments quickly flips the script with an interesting plot that occurs at of nowhere. This episode does an exceptional job building for this moment—to top it off with a 360 degree camera angle jump into the water was a really cool unexpected scene Then, quickly the scene shifts to Anya getting her very first Stella Star! So, the feeling of the show went from “annoying daughter moments” to “oh crap we have to do something,” to “I’m such a proud father,” in just half of the episode. From this point on, the rest of the episode gets the rest of the Eden Academy student’s reactions to Anya getting a Stella and sets up the next plot.
Transitioning into a scene on a train with an undercover Loid and Sylvia. Sylvia notes that Loid needs to expedite Anya’s gains of Stella Stars in order to become an Imperial Scholar, as Donovan Desmond’s dealings have become more cause for alarm.
Anya ends up back at school as she proudly displays her Stella Star at school. Getting a big head, she tells Becky to call her “Starlight Anya.” As good as Anya feels, many of the kids at school start to resent her. Eventually, the scene ends up in the cafeteria with Anya & Becky speaking about getting a reward for their good grades and deeds. Anya comes up with the idea of getting a puppy as a reward, as it can be another gateway into getting closer to Damian. The episode ends with a bunch of caged up dogs with one dog in particular seeing a flash of Loid, Yor and Anya.
Locking Down the Show’s Formula
The first part of the episode reminds me a lot of this movie called Nightcrawler, as we watch the main character make a head scratching decision one after another. It’s just one of those kind of stories where you’re forced to see the character be broken down, so you can build them back up. In this case of this episode of Spy x Family, we’re forced to see how terrible of a student and undisciplined Anya is. No matter how good of a heart she has, she does display some qualities that crosses unlikable boundaries.
Remember in the first episode when Anya got into Loid’s secret suitcase that ended up contacting the enemy, resulting in getting her kidnapped? That’s Anya as a character throughout this series. A sweetheart and one of a kind character that is going to be that annoying brat that forces the plot to unfold. That’s pretty much the formula to this show at this point. This is just one of those episodes that exploits Anya’s not-so-likeable characteristics, while ending up showing her redeeming qualities that moon shots this show into peak meme stardom. I guess that’s what we’ve come to expect from Starlight Anya.
Anya’s Terrible Qualities Makes Loid’s Qualities as a Father Shine
Patience, understanding and not forceful. Contrary to the good ole’ days of butt-whoopings, Loid displays great qualities that helps balance out everything Anya is doing wrong. He doesn’t yell, put down and cause any resentment from Anya. He’s understanding and is constantly trying to think of ways to put her in the best situation. Because of Loid’s qualities of being a decent human being that he literally wants to save the world, it brings such a great balance to see his levelheadedness intermingle with Anya’s face-palming actions.
Without the added animation and music, chapter 16 in the manga was probably one of my least favorite parts of the series. Anya putting up a hissy fit because of her grades and then doing everything wrong during community service was very off putting. Then, randomly gets rewarded by a random coincidence that displays Anya’s powers? It just seemed like an unnatural character developing progression because Anya was sometimes purposefully not doing the things asked of her.
In the anime, what changed my perspective was definitely the added line between Loid & Anya with Loid saying that “everyone fails.” Hinting more to the viewer that Anya is terrible at all of these other things, but her redeeming quality is that she can still help people by other means. Then, it proceeds to show added in scenes that led to the little boy falling into the pool. While a kid falling into the pool was random, it felt like it happened in the natural flow of events. With the suspenseful music and Anya’s climatic jump into the pool, these scenes were done so brilliantly that it really changed my perspective of how good this episode does at eliciting a different emotional response from the viewer.
From annoyance, heart pumping suspense and feelings of flowers blooming in your heart, this episode redeems itself with a combination of a great animated storyboard and the right kind of music that amplified the best moment of the episode.