• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

Spy Classroom
Episode 4

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 4 of
Spy Classroom ?
Community score: 4.1


“File: Fool Erna” actually feels like two different episodes that happen to be occurring at the same time. One of those two episodes is fairly successful, depending on how much patience you have for schmaltz. The other episode, though, is…well, it's complicated.

First, though, we have the better half of the episode, which is a solo show for our most recently introduced spy gal, Erna. You know, the stabby one, who got shoved into a box and hid in the very periphery of the show's background shots for three weeks straight all for the sake of the twisty reveal during the fight against Klaus' old master? Yes, in a very interesting choice, Spy Classroom has decided that its first proper bit of character-focused storytelling for any of the cast members that isn't named “Klaus” or “Lily” should go to the surprise character that we didn't even know existed until a week ago, rather than the half-dozen other girls who've been patiently waiting for their turn in the spotlight.

In all seriousness, though, this is a very welcome change in pace, if only because Spy Classroom is in desperate need of someone, anyone for us to give a damn about. For her part, Erna is a perfectly fine little protagonist; her tragic history and bizarre “bad luck” powers are suitably melodramatic for a series like this, and while her writing and delivery fall squarely inside the comfort zone of genre tropes, the episode at least gives the show something to work with so far as character development is concerned. Plus, the show gets a couple of decent laughs out of Klaus' increasingly ridiculous methods of avoiding the bad-luck “traps” that plague anyone who spends more than a few seconds in Erna's presence. Spy Classroom has not revealed itself to be particularly adept at comedy, unfortunately, so even though the running joke of Klaus' superhuman abilities isn't that funny, I'll take what I can get.

Then there's the other half of the episode, which basically finishes up the aborted “The Girls Have to Beat Klaus and Prove Their Skills for the Impossible Mission” plotline from two whole episodes. You see, the whole episode takes place before the team left for the mission that ended with such a bang last week. This is a problem, because the whole story of Klaus and Erna running into a secretly manipulated kidnapping that was orchestrated by the other girls never really feels like a proper flashback. Instead, it just feels like we're watching a story out of order, as if this we an old film print of a movie and the projectionist screwed up the reel splicing. There's no tension or excitement whatsoever to the scene, because not only do we know that nothing bad can possibly happen to anyone involved, but we've already seen the much more interesting and thrilling version of the scene where the team uses their full repertoire of skills to execute a big plan. If this episode had come before Episode 3, we might have been able to enjoy watching the progression of Lamplight's teamwork and spycraft. As it stands, it is simply impossible to care.

Last week, I expressed hope that Spy Classroom would be able to hit the reset button and actually develop its characters properly now that its inaugural storyline is finished, and “File: Fool Erna” only kind of does the job. We technically get to see more of the girls' personalities and abilities, which is a plus, but the plot itself is still a bit of a mess. Still, this episode was noticeably labeled a “File” instead of a “Case”, so maybe the show will really start to pick up once we get to the next big case for the girls to crack.


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.

discuss this in the forum (40 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

back to Spy Classroom
Episode Review homepage / archives