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Spy Classroom
Episode 10

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Spy Classroom ?
Community score: 3.6

©Takemachi Tomari/KADOKAWA/Spy Classroom Production Committee

After 10 long weeks, it seems like Stockholm Syndrome is settling in. This isn't exactly a glowing stamp of approval for the way Spy Classroom has handled its pacing and character development up until this point—if I weren't literally getting paid to watch the show, I would have dropped it months ago—but I can safely say that “Daughter Dearest III” had me invested in both the characters and the spycraft for the first time in…maybe ever? For the first time in who-knows-how-long, I didn't feel the urge to check my phone or scroll through a bunch of Wikipedia articles every time a dialogue scene went on for more than a minute. I even found myself feeling things when the plot took its inevitable turn towards the explodey in the episode's final minutes. Could it be that we have, at last, reached the point where Spy Classroom can maintain a consistent, baseline level of “kinda good, actually” quality?

It's probably too early to tell, but I'm just happy to have been moderately entertained for twenty minutes and change. I think a lot has to do with the titular “Daughter Dearest”, who has proven to be a refreshing change of pace for the story. Sure, I still think the way the show pairs Grette's lovesick crush on Klaus with her crippling androphobia is pretty stupid, as it ends up feeling like a convenient plot device and narrative shorthand for her traumatic backstory. But I'm willing to tolerate some mid-tier stupidity if it means we get at least one other character whose name isn't “Klaus” and is even moderately capable at their spy jobs. The way Grette demonstrates her quick-witted intelligence and steely determination during the back-and-forth planning games with Klaus is a well-written sequence—it does more to sell me on their “relationship” than anything in the prior two episodes. Klaus' superhuman superiority is a joke that has made the character into a complete bore, whereas Grette's skills come paired with her Silly Anime Baggage which, at least, makes her a functioning simulacrum of a real person.

The episode's plot was also much tighter this week, with the setups and payoffs in the same episode for once. Grette's increasingly tense standoffs with Olivia make for compelling character development while also moving along the assassination plot line. I was even shocked when the ostensibly idiotic comedy sketch about Grette's “small” boobs turned out to be foreshadowing that Daughter Dearest was the unseen assassin from last week the entire time. Over the years, I realized there's a kind of alchemy that happens in viewers' brains when character interaction and story development are well-integrated and delivered in harmonious unison. This is a shocking revelation, I know—“It turns out that good writing is…good?”—but the point is that, given Spy Classroom's particular genre influences and narrative goals, I find myself giving much more of a damn about the Lamplight Girls when all of their goofy shticks feels even tangentially relevant to their jobs.

Do you know the real sign of this episode's success, though? When Sara's good bird friend got hit with the shrapnel from Olivia's grenade, I gasped and muttered, “Now, someone needs to pay.” Is it cheap to put an animal pal in danger just to elicit some last-minute pathos? Absolutely. Did it work? Absolutely. I'm going to look forward to the next episode just to make sure that Mr. Bernard is okay, and that Olivia dies a horrible death. So long as Spy Classroom can deliver that, I'm a happy man.


Spy Classroom is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

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.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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