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The Spring 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Mission: Yozakura Family

How would you rate episode 1 of
Mission: Yozakura Family ?
Community score: 3.7

What is this?


Taiyo Asano is a super shy high school student, and the only person he can talk to is his childhood friend, Mutsumi Yozakura. It turns out that Mutsumi is the daughter of the ultimate spy family. Even worse, Mutsumi is being harassed by her overprotective, nightmare of a brother, Kyoichiro. Taiyo will have to take drastic steps to save Mutsumi.

Mission: Yozakura Family is based on the manga series by Hitsuji Gondaira. The anime series is streaming on Sundays on Disney+ or Hulu, depending on the region.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

This show has forced me into a full-blown existential quandary. I mean, words have meaning right? Like, they have definitions that we all agree on. And from those words and meanings, we construct sentences and spread ideas. If we throw these commonly held definitions out the window? What is life? What is existence?

All this is to say… I don't think I understand what the word “spy” means anymore. Like, the Oxford dictionary calls a spy “a person employed by a government or other organization to secretly obtain information on an enemy or competitor.” I'm not sure how the drones with machine guns or the doctor with a bucket on his head fall under this definition. In fact, in the world of Mission: Yozakura Family, I'm pretty sure the words “spy” and “superhuman” are interchangeable.

So, why have I gone off on this tangent? This is what I kept thinking about to keep myself entertained while watching this episode—because the plot of the episode itself sure wasn't doing the trick. Nothing caught my interest—not the tragic backstory that left Taiyo fearing human interaction and not the beautiful girl who refused to leave him alone.

And while I wouldn't go so far as to call this episode cliché, I would call it painfully predictable. From the moment the rings were brought up, it was obvious how the episode would end—and what the series would be about in general. All that was left was to wait for the episode to catch up.

That said, I don't think this anime is incompetent. I'm sure many will love the crazy cast of characters and whatever “spy” missions they get up to. In fact, with this hamfisted introduction out of the way, I could see this show becoming quite enjoyable once it hits its stride. I, however, won't be around to find out whether that happens or not.

Nicholas Dupree

I've been reading Mission: Yozakura Family's manga since it launched in 2019. I couldn't tell you why, outside of it is perfectly easy to read and conveniently available alongside the rest of Weekly Shonen Jump's lineup. Nevertheless, I can confidently say from reading 200+ chapters that Yozakura Family is the definition of "mid." It's not good at anything, but neither is it terrible. It had enough comedy to be lighthearted but never enough to elicit a laugh. It has characters that are recognizable and distinct but rarely memorable. It has competent action scenes but never stands out. Fittingly, SILVER LINK. granted it a perfectly average adaptation, going by this first episode.

That said, this series's setup is rather interesting, even as it's oddly contrived. I like the idea of Taiyo, a kid still reeling from the trauma of losing his family, suddenly being pushed into joining a new one. I appreciate the way it understands but does not excuse the possessive, fearful form of familial love that Kyoichiro represents. I dig the premise of a bunch of super-powered spy siblings getting into clandestine family feuds and pulling out all sorts of secret gadgets to argue over whose turn it is to take out the trash. In concept, there's a lot to like here, which is probably why it managed to stick around in the cutthroat lineup of Jump long enough to establish itself.

In execution, it's all just kind of okay. Taiyo's trauma isn't enough to make him interesting, and he spends most of this episode having things explained to him and cowering in the corner. The titular Yozakura family feels more like singular gimmicks than actual characters, only made distinct by their varied and archetypal designs. The fight scenes feature a few ambitious cuts but never stitch together anything with impact or lasting spectacle. The cast does feel a little more lively here in the anime, brought to life by a charming voice cast. Still, it doesn't elevate the material beyond making Taiyo and Mutsumi's very basic chemistry feel a bit more convincing.

That's a lot of words to say that the Yozakura Family experience averages out to something that's fine but not particularly interesting. It's easy, watchable television that might get some laughs but won't ever reach the action or comedic heights of Spy×Family, its most obvious comparison. There's no reason to avoid it if it sounds up your alley, but there is no need to seek it out.

James Beckett

The title and premise of Mission: Yozakura Family had me a little worried that this action-comedy about a family of super-powered espionage spies would bear too many similarities to a certain other anime megahit. As it turns out, the closest comparison I can make for this series is actually to Twin Star Exorcists, at least so far as the whole "main characters who are betrothed and fated to fight evil together" thing goes. Truth be told, Mission: Yozakura Family is very capable of doing its own thing, but I have a huge soft spot for Twin Star Exorcists, so I'm happy to make the connection.

I wasn't really expecting a lot out of this one, to be honest, but I'm pleasantly surprised with how much fun the premiere turned out to be. It isn't going to blow any minds or win any awards, I don't think, but Taiyo and Mutsumi make for a very likable pair of leads, which goes a long way, given how important their relationship is to the success of the story. Even better, Mutsumi's insane cadre of siblings make for a delightful supporting cast: Kyochiro is an excellent force of overprotective bloodlust that gets the whole conflict going; Futaba is the kind of level-headed straight woman that you need to balance out the absurdity of everyone else in the Yozakura clan; and the other siblings have plenty of potential to round out the cast dynamic in the future. I'm particularly fond of the big fella with a bucket on his head. He's funny.

Also, anyone looking for some action to add a little spice to their seasonal watchlist will likely be satisfied, too. Despite being confined mostly to a single living room, the fight scenes of the episode do an excellent job of raising the stakes and keeping the spy shenanigans feeling real enough to convince you that, yeah, maybe Taiyo really ought to marry his best friend to avoid getting turned into human toothpaste by her deranged brother. I didn't figure I'd be so interested in seeing what Mission: Yozakura Family has in store, but count me in for tuning in next week to check it out.

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