The Spy x Family anime adaptation continues to impress after episode 5, with CloverWorks earning the respect lost from The Promised Neverland season 2.
Before April and the start of the Spring anime slate, there was an argument that this slate was the poorest out of the 2022 schedule. However, the slate has since delivered one of the best new-generation anime in recent years, the equally hilarious and elegant, Spy x Family.
Produced by Wit Studios and CloverWorks, Spy x Family was always going to be a popular series thanks to the success of the original manga – yet not many fans could have dreamed of the heights reached after just five episodes.
The quality of the cinematography, acting, writing and everything in between is now even drawing out embarrassing confessions from fans including myself- that Spy x Family is the closure required to forgive CloverWorks for The Promised Neverland season 2.
Spy x Family becomes a universally-loved anime
The world of anime ratings and reviews can often be one fraught with debate, controversy, hot takes and downright ridiculous statements. However, very rare is it that a series, especially a new series with such few broadcasted episodes, can become such a universally-loved anime.
Yet this is exactly what the Spy x Family anime adaptation has achieved, with outstanding ratings across the board from fans both domestically in Japan and watching internationally through platforms such as Crunchyroll.
At the time of writing, Spy x Family is scoring a remarkable 9/10 on IMDB and a 9.09/10 on MyAnimeList with over 163,000 reviews. Incredibly, this makes the series the second-highest-rated anime of all time on the MAL platform, only behind Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
The success of the show can also be seen domestically, with a report from Video Research LTD via Comic Book claiming that 5.5% of the national audience watched episode 3 – that’s not even including local streams in Japan.
Spy x Family has finally forced me to forgive CloverWorks
The conversation around animation studios and production companies within the world of anime is somewhat contested between fans who purely love individual series and fans who religiously follow individual studios.
Overall, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy anime, in general, or the work of any particular studio. However, every single anime fan understands the influence that names such as ‘Ghibli’, ‘MAPPA’, ‘Toei’ or ‘Ufotable’ can have upon the hype and potential success of a series.
For the same reason, if an anime is a failure, then it can become extremely difficult for a studio to shake off a reputation for a disappointing adaptation. This was the trap that CloverWorks arguably fell into harder than any studio in recent memory after the infamous disaster of The Promised Neverland season 2.
Season 1 of The Promised Neverland was nothing short of outstanding and is one of my favourite ever anime series, Top Five calibre even. Yet you shouldn’t just take our word for it, per MyAnimeList the first season was rated at an 8.54/10 with over 1,000,000 individual reviews from fans, making it the 95th highest-rated series ever!
Yet the fall from ‘Grace’ was as sheer as fans could have possibly imagined; with the MyAnimeList rating dropping to just 5.37/10 – and down the rankings to 11,171st place!
To put it straight; CloverWorks is an excellent production studio who have worked diligently to bring fans around the world some incredible content down the years including the iconic Darling in the Franxx and Rascall Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai prior to TPN season 1.
After The Promised Neverland season 2, confidence in the studios ability to create consistently good content was notably shaken, with fans of the first season having a notably sour taste in our mouths for months after the PowerPoint-style finale.
However, Spy x Family (in addition to My Dress-Up Darling from Winter 2022) has now taught me how to move past the era of studio-bias; considering shows on individual bases of merit and certainly, in the future, less prejudice based on who is producing a series.
It doesn’t matter if a series is from a studio that produced a previously poor anime, every project is unique and should be analysed as such – a valuable lesson when considering how critical fans including myself were of CloverWorks before, and a lesson we are thankful for being a bi-product of Operation Strix.
By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]