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Mission: Yozakura Family
Episodes 1-3

by James Beckett,

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

How would you rate episode 2 of
Mission: Yozakura Family ?
Community score: 3.9

How would you rate episode 3 of
Mission: Yozakura Family ?
Community score: 4.1


I really enjoyed the premiere episode of Mission: Yozakura Family. It was fun, colorful, and breezy. It took advantage of the silly potential of its plot and told a story that didn't take itself too seriously. Going into the next episodes of the season, I was curious to see how well the show would hold up to more intense scrutiny. Would it crack under the pressure of my interrogating critic's gaze, or would Mission: Yozakura Family find a way to see its objectives through to the end while keeping up appearances and avoiding the suspicious gaze of its enemies? (In the case of this spy-themed analogy, the “enemies” in such a scenario would be the parts of my brain that ask too many questions about character motivations, plot development, author's intent, and why the funny cartoon from Japan might not be making me laugh and cheer like its supposed to).

We're three episodes into Mission: Yozakura Family's extended operation so far, and I'm glad to report that it remains in the clear…for now. (Cue dramatic spy theme music, here). The biggest concern I had about the story going into these next chapters was whether or not the show would be able to meaningfully establish the reality and the stakes of its unabashedly goofy world, because that can be a hard balance to strike. While we're not quite operating at SPY x FAMILY levels of supremely confident worldbuilding, I'm satisfied with what M: YF has given us so far. The second episode does a handy job of explaining what these clans of so-called “spies” are, what they do, and how our boy Taiyo factors into any of their feuding now that he's a married man. As it so happens, Mutsumi is poised to take over as the 10th heir of the Yozakura clan once she is of age and properly trained, and this has made her a prime target to the other organizations, which resemble mafioso mercenary groups as much they do “spies” in the traditional sense. It's not the kind of setup bound to win any awards but it gets the job done and facilitates the fun spy action.

Speaking of which, M: YF is also doing a good job on the entertainment front, which is a must for any espionage adventure worth its salt. The second episode has Taiyo and Mutsumi dodging explosive booby traps left and right, which is a great little villain-of-the-week premise that is only let down by the unsatisfying last-minute exposition dump/deus ex machina save that the kids get from big brother Kyoichiro. Episode 3 isn't as focused on thrills, since most of the story is devoted to settling Taiyo into life at the mansion with Mutsumi's family, which of course means lots of jokes. Whether or not this series' sense of humor works for you will largely depend on your tolerance for shenanigans; since I am perfectly capable of tapping into the mind of my inner twelve-year-old when need be, I was having a great time laughing at Taiyo screaming for mercy as he desperately tried not to shit his pants after being mildly poisoned at the breakfast table.

Finally, the last point of focus that I was eager to evaluate was M: YF's ability to get me to care about its characters, namely its two leads. The rest of the Yozakura family are fine working mostly in the background for now. However, in a show with a story completely predicated on its two teen protagonists getting married in the very first episode, we must root for those kids, both as a romantic pair and as individual characters in their own right. I was very happy to see that M: YF isn't going the lazy route with its character development. Nothing is exceptionally complex but even straightforward writing can be satisfying and compelling when it's done well. The cute interaction that Taiyo and Mutsumi had right before almost getting blown to smithereens in Episode 2 makes it clear that these two dorky kids do like each other enough to make this crazy new life they are sharing work, and the flashback to when Taiyo cut off his hair to save Mutsumi from some bullies helps us understand why the two are so close.

I'm not expecting Mission: Yozakura Family to change any lives or shake up any industry standards with what it is attempting to do. While I will be more than happy if the show does massively exceed expectations, I'm happy to enjoy this toon as nothing more than an exciting spy adventure with just a dash of cheesy romance thrown in to keep things interesting. So far, the show has proved more than capable of living up to those standards. Hopefully, that will continue to be the case as the season progresses.


Mission: Yozakura Family is currently streaming on Hulu in the United States and on Disney+ in other regions.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.

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