Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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A good first impression

Daniel Lim

The month of April has seen a number of various anime starting to broadcast weekly episodes that comprise a myriad of genres, from isekai or otherworld anime to adaptations from other sources such as light novels and manga.

While it can be overwhelming to catch up with all of the latest releases in deciding what to watch, here are two that are making a good first impression right out of the gate.

SPY X FAMILY

A spy, a hitman and an esper – three unlikely roles that form the basic premise of Spy x Family, which is an anime adaptation from the manga of the same name written by Tatsuya Endo.

With the first few episodes only just having premiered and aired just a few weeks ago at the time of writing, it can be hard to judge whether or not the series will be a must-watch.

However, the first episode does make a good impression, introducing the viewers to some of the main characters as well as the setting which is implied to take place sometime in the Cold War in a certain European country.

FROM LEFT: ‘Spy x Family’; and ‘Deaimon’. PHOTOS: WIT STUDIO, CLOVERWORKS, AND ENCOURAGE FILMS

The first character that viewers are introduced to is the male protagonist of the story, a spy from Westalia who goes by the codename of Twilight. Over the course of the first episode, he changes his name to Loid Forger as a cover in his latest spy operation in order to keep the fragile peace between the two fictional European country of Westalia and Ostania.

From covert investigation to infiltration, everything inside the spy books are fair game for Twilight, and it shows even in the first episode where viewers become acquainted with Loid and his covert ways of keeping the peace.

While the outer actions and responses made by Loid are sometimes akin to those of a spy thriller, it is the introduction of Anya, a four or five year old girl, that sees the story really takes a different turn in genre.

Being an orphan and adopted by Loid to be his daughter as part of the spy operation, it was revealed early on that Anya is an esper with an ability to read people’s mind, which the series takes full advantage of in peeling back the facade of the other characters attempting to keep their secret roles.

The child-like nature of Anya, coupled with various circumstances that are further exaggerated as she keeps her abilities a secret, helps to paint a merrier picture in revealing the true intentions of characters as they deceive others to keep up their roles and secrets of the dark and real world of espionage, all in the name of world peace.

This extends to the other characters, both good and bad, that Anya meets as her child-like nature and urge to explore the thrills of being a spy usually gets her into more trouble than she can manage, and this is where the antics begins.

In addition, Anya also makes full use of her abilities and nature to also utilise the other character’s inner thoughts to her advantage, which is where a lot of the comedy stems from in the show, all while the other characters are attempting to keep their activities a secret to Anya and others, despite the former’s abilities.

With only a few episodes to go by, and judging based off the original adapted source materials, the anime adaptation faithfully follows the story of the manga and if the rest of the episodes were to follow as such, it will be quite an entertaining watch from start to end.

Spy x Family is currently premiering in two three-month periods, with 12 episodes currently airing this spring and 13 more episodes slated to be released later this year.

DEAIMON: RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS

Amidst the sea of isekai and fantasy anime releasing over the past year, Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness could not have come at a better time, spicing up this spring line-up of anime premiering with a shift in focus that is more towards slice of life and more down to Earth stories based around tradition and freedom.

The initial start of the show quickly goes through the history of the main character Nagomu Irino who, due to various circumstances, had deviated from his path of pursuing the dream of being in a music band to return home and run the family business of a wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionary) store.

Despite having given up on his dreams of pursuing music, Nagomu’s juxtaposition of looking on the brighter side of life and living a care free life forms a polar opposite relationship with the deuteragonist Itsuka Yukihira, a young girl who was left behind by her father at the aforementioned family wagashi store, which results in her having a more stern outlook in being a more responsible individual, especially against Nagomu who suddenly returns after having left the family business to pursue his dreams.

As such, the polar opposite personalities of both characters mean that both don’t see eye to eye on many aspects of their daily lives, from work ethics to manners, which is especially prevalent in a traditional wagashi store that prides itself with the confectionaries that it offers.

Despite this, the story does do a good job in creating situation where both come together in solving and reconciling on their differences. This extends to the rest of the supporting characters of the show, such as the family members as well as friends and staff members of the wagashi store.

It is these clashes and resolutions that will make Deaimon a fun watch not from an action packed standpoint but rather from the innate human interaction and emotions, which are perfect for those looking for a more mellow and human focussed drama.

Being adapted from the manga, the anime does also follow its original source material quite faithfully, though it does take liberties in certain scenes such as delivering plot lines in different order, but in the end, they still conclude in the same way as the manga.

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