The series is about a girl named Momo who attends high school at the city of Sorasaki. However, she is secretly a member of Tsukikage, an intelligence agency that protects people. As a new member of the agency, she works alongside her colleagues including her senior Yuki and friends. Together, they work to establish peace in the city.
Release the Spyce can be a serious competitor for the cartoon “Totally Spies” from Western and Princess Principal (I still consider the latter better). The main difference, the type of missions and the main characters. There is a mysterious taint created during all the episodes. Also, the bad commentaries do not give merit to the show and it deserves some praise. It is not that abysmal, and it is more entertaining than some shows of the same genre and it is highly better compared with some disasters from the season .. Gob..
On the other hand, the series at the beginning has a cartoonish
behavior. For example, the heroines defeat the bad guys with some easy tasks, gadgets, skills gained from the spice, and they are ready for the next mission like the American toons. Lucky for all, the story revealed a very significant twist, and the outcome improved the whole show.
The story is too easy to follow. A group of heroines (Tsukikage) has a unique goal of protecting their beloved city (Sorasaki) from any criminal, including the organization called Moryo. One day, a Momo high student is involved in a Tsukikage operation and is recruited. This group has the Master and apprentice scheme. Momo is assigned a Master (Yuki) who trains her in martial and sword arts. There are other members of the group, for example, Mei and her student Fuu. Each pair had different skills, techniques and combined they are robust against criminals. These spies are young girls who use their student status as a cover. When duty demands, they become an active group with one unique goal. The city of Sorasaki is the center where the plot is developed, but some actions outside it affect the plot directly.
One of the issues found, in the middle of the show the plot could be seen as too fantastic, cartoonish and focused on children where the good guy always wins. For example, I am the good spy, I throw a kick, and all the villains fall into the ground, easy, right?. This kind of outcome could be annoying for a more mature spectator seeking for some entertainment. However, as the plot advances, the mysteries are more prominent, and there is a breaking point that surprised several of the spectators, it creates a mysterious and dark atmosphere that you will love.
Lastly, the pacing is acceptable. The plot advances constantly. Some details will hook the spectators even more. However, in certain parts, I think they beat some villains very easily. No idea if it is because they needed to rush the plot, but it was too easy and leaves you the impression that the show lacks something but is not a big issue. Overall, Release the Spyce is one of the best shows that I have seen in 2018.
The story has heroines and villains. The Tsukikage group are the heroes and has six members:
Momo aka the noob aka tongue. She is the main character. In the beginning, she is insecure, weak, coward. She wanted to protect the city because her father was a police, but she does not have the courage. After she was recruited, her character evolved and thanks to Yuki, she surpassed her fears. She has a unique ability that is helpful under some circumstances.
Yuki aka badass with a sword. She is strict, hard worker, intelligent, and very skilled with a sword and martial arts. She trains Momo, and for me, she is the leader of Tsukikage. However, there is something weird in episode 10, but I cannot give details.
Mei aka cheerful. She is my favorite character. I love her personality. She is positive, very vivid enjoys life and …. never mind. She is the most agile member and is skilled in knives, espionage, etc.
Fuu aka mask. A master in disguise, I consider her like a ninja. She is like Mei, well she is her Mentee, but I think she is obsessed to be accepted.
Hatsume aka brain. She is the brain of the group. Hatsume is very calm, friendly, recursive, very skilled with gadgets and with a spear. However, she thinks that even the villains can become her friends and she tries to change them during the series.
Goe aka muscle. She is Hatsume disciple. She is a powerful girl that in the deep could fear her strength but tries to be calm and loves her Master deeply.
The other characters are the villains, I cannot give details because I could spoil the plot.
--Art and Sound—
The animation quality is good. I wasn’t expecting a good animation from this show but it is acceptable, and the battles are good and pleasant to the eye. There is a combination between action and sound that fulfills the scene. The camera angles help to maintain the visual in the crucial elements. The show uses a combination of a bright and dark color palette. This technique helps to contrasts the slice of the life and the action events.
The sound is acceptable. It does the job and helps to boost the sequences. The OP and ED are good. The OP has a lovely rhythm, catching, and you could end hearing it a few times.
I liked the show, but there are some "childish" parts as I already explained. The anime can be improved, it can be a bit darker, but the outcome is acceptable. There are some boring episodes but it is not a reason to bury the show. Lastly, you should give it a try at least you can be entertained for a few hours.
Anime about spies and espionage doesn’t appear too often these days on screen, or at least not popular ones these days. We live in a world where cute girls doing cute things has become part of the norm. So seeing an original show like Release the Spyce is rather refreshing. Actually, there was another show called “Princess Principal” that had similar base concepts. Yet, Release the Spyce stands out very much on its own as an action spy thriller.
When we think of a franchise about espionage, the most famous one that comes to mind is James Bond 007. That franchise is not an anime but
pretty much anyone who doesn't live under a rock knows who James Bond is. When I began watching Release the Spyce, it made me curious if this show had what it takes to capture the thrill of a spy-espionage. Granted, the first few episodes establishes the show’s core concepts as we are introduced the action girls consisting of a group known as the “Tsukikage”. They use a substance known as “Spyce” to enhance their fighting abilities and hence, we get cool girls doing cool things.
The main storyline details of their conflict with the Moryo, a mysterious corporation with their own dark agendas. You should probably guess that with these expected concepts, this show can get quite complex. But not really. If we just examine the show on the surface, it actually feels like a slice of life at times when detailing the characters’ everyday lives. Momo Minamoto is a typical high school girl with nothing out of the ordinary and until the day she meets Tsukikage, she’s a rather normal person. In fact, Momo is so normal that a lot of the things she is introduced to often makes causes her to react in hilarious ways. But for the most part, there’s nothing out of the ordinary at first glance until you realize what this show is about.
Once we are introduced to the other main characters, it’s pretty easy to say the series capitalizes on its storytelling and character chemistry. To be honest, the plot’s pacing feels just perfect as the first half consists of getting the viewers familiar with the creators’ ideas. The remainder half consists of episodes that builds into the climax with plot twists and revelations. Most prominently, character chemistry is something that really shines throughout the series that begins from the very first episode to the end. Momo’s character relationship with Yuki plays a big role and motivator for her to succeed. Throughout the series, she sees her as a role model and may even have developed a sense of romance towards her. It’s not really yuri or even shoujo-ai but the show does drop in subtle romance hints from time to time. This extends to other members of Tsukikage such as with Mei and Fuu. Character relationships stands out not just for their connection but how each influences each other. It’s especially important in later episodes as we see the length certain characters goes through to prove themselves. At some point, I even find the character relationships to be emotional; not in the tearjerking way but more of a meaningful way.
On the other side is the mysterious Moryo. Much less is known about them although it’s clear that their intentions are malevolent. However, I would say that their characters are far less intriguing compared to the main cast. Characters like Kurara and Byakko are not fleshed out well enough to make fans care about them. Their existence seems to serve only as adversaries against Tsukikage. Even characters like Theresia Ray isn’t too well established with her relationship involving Hatsume Aoba. In respect, Moryo is more known for their actions rather than themselves. But hey, maybe you’ll be caught by surprise by a certain plot twist later on.
Watch now, later, or never touch? To me, this show is best to watch when you’ve decided the first three episodes are ready for you. While the show’s story may get more complex later on, the first half doesn’t do too much to make itself distinctive. It can actually feel deceptive at times with the character designs. Let’s face it, these girls hardly look like spies. It’s also no surprise that their look resembles characters from Yuru Yuri considering some of the names attached to this project. But on most parts, I think the look and feel of this show is faithful to what it advertised. It’s essentially an action girl series with spies that stays closely to its premise throughout the course of its run. The action is also thrilling with vibrant chereography and style. It even adds elements of disguise and stealth to make the role of spies look more credible for some episodes. Yet, it also has time for lighthearted moments to make humor with some of the characters’ exaggerated expressions. Thanks a lot, Momo.
While Release the Spyce doesn’t have much risks, I would say that it definitely had some with the voice acting. Given the premise, it may feel hard to take seriously at some of the character voice mannerisms. Momo stands out in particular since she sounds far too much like a stereotypical schoolgirl. But as the show evolves, you can see that she matures more and become a stronger person. Other characters all define their own personalities thanks to their voices. I could also say that a certain character from Tsukikage really manages to play her role deceptively to the point where it’s almost unbelievable. Oh and before I forget, who can forget that energetic OP theme song performed by the voice actresses themselves? It’s fabulous.
Spa pa pa parapa 🎶
Spapapapaparapa Spa pa pa parapa 🎶
Release the Spyce is a show that may have turned some people’s heads away at first glance. Hell, this looked like Yuru Yuri but with action girls on the surface until you realize what’s really about. I have doubts this anime will be a big talk of the year but it definitely managed to capture the magic of how a spy espionage anime should be. It sets the example of badass action girls doing cool things, something that I need more of. Emphasis on the badass.
If you wanted to see a worthy spiritual successor to Madoka, this is what this is. Not because it actively tries to be one, like an entire sub-genre of “dark magical girls Madoka-wannabe” series, but because it’s a show with similar themes that succeeds in the similar ways, while being its own thing and telling a different kind of story.
Like Madoka, this is a show with moe aesthetic, dark tone, yet optimistic message centered around cute girls. Also like Madoka, amusingly enough, in its very first scene it openly sets up a very dark tone, yet some people somehow miss
it and get surprised when the heads start rolling.
Like Madoka, it reaps all benefits of being an original anime story, not constrained by the arc/plot structure of the source material. Meaning, it’s a single well-constructed, well-paced storyline that starts in the first episode, ends in the last, and every episode in between has a purpose in advancing this story.
Finally, the style of writing is very reminiscent of signature Gen Urobuchi’s writing - gadgetry/weaponry/fighting scenes that are both impossibly cool and feel very realistic and intelligent at the same time; healthy nihilism; complex narrative threads that pay off in a long run. Supposedly, it should be similar to Akame ga Kill and YuYuYu - other series written by the actual show’s writer, but I’m not familiar with those.
Now, about what Release the Spyce does different and why it deserves attention:
First, the selling point of this show is suspense mystery. A single mystery. In the first episode, we are introduced to a cast of cute girl spies, oh, and by the way, one of them is a traitor and works for the enemy, enjoy your CGDCT. Over the course of the series, all of them are builded up to be cinnamon rolls that you simply don’t want to suspect. Scarce clues and red herrings are dropped here and there, making you pull your hair out, trying to figure who it is. The final reveal absolutely does not disappoint, and no amount of genre awareness, trope knowledge, or even twist/cop-out expectations can prepare you for how it plays out.
Camp. This is a contentious point, because not everyone enjoys camp sensibility, and this show is very, very campy. When a character is shot point-blank ten times, spends five seconds in a hospital with a bandage over their head and then is completely fine - do you think the writer does not understand how bullets work, or do you think it’s funny? Your enjoyment of this series will depend greatly on your answer. If you do love camp, prepare for a wonderful parade of middle-aged women biker gangs, contract-killing preschoolers and okinawan vikings.
Yuri bait. Deserves a separate paragraph because this is a yuri bait that will yuri bait the heaven. To quote someone else’s words, it’s like the series is playing gay chicken - it tries to make things as gay as possible before turning away and saying “no homo.” All part of the same camp sensibility, and it’s hilarious.
10/10 because it’s highly enjoyable, thought-provoking and unique series.
Please note while care has been taken to minimize story related spoilers there may still be spoilers within character analysis. You have been warned.
The tale of how six girls protected the world from the predations of a global crime syndicate with daring missions, special abilities and strong bonds of friendship and trust that exist between them while maintaining the illusion that they are just your average group of high school girls.
Based off an original idea Release the Spyce is a action and school genre anime that gives us the opportunity to see what will happen if a seemingly normal high school girl who
always had unusually sharp eyes were to not just witness a team of ninja girls infiltrate a building while out walking but also not only be drawn into their ranks but also discover that beneath the hustle and bustle of the city that she grew up in and loves a secret war for the soul of the city and its people is currently being waged. Though hesitant at first the sense of love for her city as well as the sense of justice that defines her soon compels her to join the group and enter the shadowy world of Ninja spies where each mission no matter how straightforward it may sounds requires a combination of boundless caution, flawless teamwork and effective usage of the groups creative gear to succeed. While the subject matter of ninja’s is relatively common within the anime world due largely to the mystique that surrounds that profession animes that focus on the more traditional nature of ninjas which is spying and the gathering of information for their cause and in the process thwarting the enemy’s plans are rare ones indeed. Whats perhaps rarer than this however are Ninjas that in addition to having such traditional duties also have access to special skills that rather be used to fight large scale battles across different continents are instead used to help them defend their city from the predations of the many enemies that try to claim it. In an age where ability users allow them to take on entire organizations and countries in no time flat seeing a group of ninja spies make use of a combination of their unique abilities, teamwork and gear as they try to fulfill the original role of gathering intel and trying to piece it all together to find and neutralize the enemies plot to their home was something that I really enjoyed seeing it and was a definite breath of fresh air in the subject of ninjas and ability users. The first episode of the series was one that really impressed me and while it did well in introducing both the main setting and the team it also did well in showing the kind of power that the members of Tsukikage can command when they make use of fieldcraft, teamwork and the unique abilities that they command. As a result of this strong showing, I decided to stick with this anime and I'm glad that I watched it to the end.
The overall story of Release the Spyce takes place in the modern day within the city of Sorasaki a large city whose unique location has allowed it to expand rapidly in recent years and contributed to transforming it into a metropolis that provides its inhabitants with both safety and economic prosperity while at the same time providing a home for hundreds of people. Among the people that call the city their home is Momo Minamoto a young teenage girl whose keen eyes and a unique sense of smell and taste that not only allowed her to meet the secret guardians of the city that she loves but also open her eyes to the fact that like her respected father who died defending the city she too can take up the mantle of becoming a defender of the city and help protect those people and things that are dear to her. As Momo goes through the training of becoming a spy and take part in the many ops that the team undertakes in their quest to defend the city she will slowly come to realize that while the training that she goes through may be harsh and that the missions in which they undertake may be tense and fraught with danger she knows that only by embracing the teachings that she got from training and only by learning to place her trust in her comrades will she be able to not just change as a person but also become an effective protector of the city and its people. But Momo will not be doing this alone for joining her in her mission is her comrades within Tsukikage that include the cool- and level-headed Yuki, the kind and warm Hatsume, the quiet but understanding Goe, the cheerful and confident Fuu and the carefree but surprisingly talkative Mei.
Together these girls must while living the life of a high school student must not only make use of everything that they learned in training but also every ounce of intelligence, creativity, and teamwork that they have as they wage a deadly shadow war against the myriad number of factions that try to bring harm to their beloved city and stop them from corrupting this peaceful and prosperous city to achieve their own nefarious goals.
Momo Minamoto portrayed by new seiyuu Yukari Anzai in one of her first main roles to date is one of the main characters of the series and is the main protagonist of the series. A second-year high school student that attends the local Sorasaki high school Momo in initial appearance can be seen to be a positive, energetic and determined person by nature that approaches each new day with cheerfulness and a smile on her face. While a positive person by nature it can be seen that in the beginning, she was someone that got nervous easily which when combined with her curious and innocent nature also had the effect of making her look cute to others as well. While she can be seen to be rather quiet in the beginning it can be seen quite easily that Momo is someone that is said to love the city of her birth as well as the many people that live within it very much and would do her best to protect them. At the same time, she was also noted to be someone that was law bound and preferred to obey all the rules and regulations that she encounters in her daily life which comes from both her strong sense of justice and the respect that she had for her late father who served the city as a policeman. However, despite this strong desire to become a policeman and follow in the footsteps of her father and her determined nature Momo hides within her a deep fear that restrains this desire of hers due to the belief that she won’t be effective in this role showing that she also has a chronic shortage of self-confidence in her. As a result of this, it's perhaps unsurprising that Momo would admire those people that not just possess boundless levels of self-confidence but also a sense of calm that shows their determination in taking their assigned path in life.
While Momo always knew that she had both an excellent sense of smell and taste she never in her wildest dreams were to imagine that one day these unique traits of hers were to allow her to enter a life where she can not just protect the city that was so dear to her but also serve them as their guardians just as her father did. At first while dumbstruck by not just the scale of the resources that are available to the agency and somewhat put off by the cold attitude that her assigned master Yuki gives her Momo gradually learned to embrace the new sense of purpose that she had discovered after discovering not just the existence of the Tsukikage but also of their role of protecting the city from the shadows as well. While finding the training hard in the beginning which wasn’t helped by the coldness that she got from her mentor that had the effect of creating doubt within her this gradually began to change as a result of not just seeing the types of enemies that the team must face but also of the passion and determination that her teammates have for the role in which they play in ensuring the safety of the city. While still worried to a certain degree Momo gradually learns to overcome the fear that had previously held her back and begins to slowly build up the sense of determination that she needs to be able to make use of when out on missions. As a result, while still seeing the training and the missions as hard Momo rather than seeing them as something that she will struggle with instead see’s them as challenges in which she must overcome. While initially seen by the team as lacking in the ability to stay calm and being wary of their surroundings as the series goes on and Momo’s skills improve she not only becomes able to remain calm under the most stressful of situations but also remain alert of her surroundings as well. Arguably the most important change that came out of Momo finding the determination that she needed to motivate her was her desire to take the initiative during operations while also making use of cunning to lure her enemies into traps where they can be dealt with piecemeal. These changes to Momo’s skills as a member of Tsukikage as well as the gradual change in her attitude to both the teams purpose and her own role within the team I felt served well to show the kind of journey that she went through as she went from a positive and cheerful girl that let her indecisive nature restrain her to a girl that was not just determined to protect her city and her friends from the enemy but also be willing to not just work hard to improve herself but also use these very skills to strike against the enemy using her own initiative.
Yuki Hanzoumon portrayed by veteran seiyuu Manami Numakura of Rail Wars and Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio fame is one of the main characters of the series and is Momo’s mentor within the Tsukikage organization. A third-year high school student that attends the same school as Momo and the rest of the team Yuki on initial appearances can be seen to be a calm, cool and level-headed person by nature that approaches each situation with utmost seriousness. A composed, intelligent and understanding person by nature Yuki while not lacking in social qualities is someone that can be seen to have a level of maturity that is rare within high school students which is shown well in her conduct during missions in which is able to remain calm and composed while making accurate decisions when under pressure. While able to able to display a friendly and sociable side to the people that she encounters in life Yuki, for the most part, is someone that prefers to remain alone or at least with people that she can trust and as a result is seen by many within the school funnily enough of the ideal image of an upperclassman. Despite her standoff attitude however, Yuki is shown to be a perceptive person by nature and able to easily determine when someone is burdened with something and while not always able to help them solve their problems is able to at least hear them out and provide the best advice that she can think off. All of these traits put her in good stead as not just a member of the team but also as their field leader when deployed on missions a role that I felt suited her perfectly. In contrast to Yuki’s default attitude, the attitude that Yuki displays in combat is one that is seen to reflect well on the number of years that she has been a spy as well as the training that she had received as part of that role. In combat, Yuki is shown to be someone that’s not just confident but also inspirational and able to use both her innate sense of caution in conjunction with her fast thinking nature to lead her team to victory no matter the odds against them. This is shown well within the many fights in which the team managed to overcome over the course of the series which shows her talents as both a leader and a tactician.
As the series goes on and more of Yuki’s personality is revealed Yuki’s personality gradually changes. At the beginning of the series while seen to be both capable both as a student and as a member of Tsukikage Yuki was noted to be someone that was very difficult to get close too due to both her quiet nature and the coldness that she shows to strangers. As a result of this, the relationship that she had with her apprentice Momo proved to be a tough one that both struggled with at first. However, after seeing the depth of the determination that lied within Momo and her desire to not just be of help for the group but also be of use to her this frosty relationship of theirs began to change. While shown to be someone that placed her priority in the completion of missions and training than having fun as most high school girls her age would have done at the beginning of the series this aspect of hers gradually began to change as the bond between Yuki and her apprentice began to strengthen as the series went on. While still retaining the harsh training schedule that she had created to train Momo it can be seen that the training while certainly harsh was one in which Yuki took great care to be as through with both in the knowledge that she imparted into Momo and the consequences that can come about should she not heed them which is shown well in the aftermath of the mission to Okinawa. With this, it can be seen that Yuki is determined to train Momo and make her the best possible spy that she can and showing well the increased bond that has been formed between the two. While still largely retaining her workaholic nature Yuki as a result of the improving relationship that she has with Momo also began to realize that while being hardworking and studious is a good thing there must also come a time when you need to take a rest and have some fun to unwind. The character of Yuki I felt was an interesting one whose gradual transformation from a quiet, composed and someone that treated others coldly to someone that was not just considerate and warm but also willing to take steps to bond with her fellows and learn to place her trust in them was a change that I thought was well done. The gradual softening of Yuki’s icy nature when combined with the developing bond that is forged between Yuki and her apprentice, I felt made great use of the mentor-apprentice relationship theme that serves as one of the series main highlights.
Hatsume Aoba portrayed by veteran seiyuu Aya Uchida of Trinity Seven and Devil Survivor 2 fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the members of Tsukikage. A third-year student that attends the same school as Momo and the rest of the team Hatsume on initial appearances is seen to be a kind, warm and friendly person by nature that treats everyone that she encounters warmly and with respect. While a friendly person by nature Hatsume is also shown to be a positive and energetic person that despite possessing both beauty and intelligence is shown to be rather modest in how she sees herself. However, despite the friendly and warm personality that she projects to others it can be seen that Hatsume is also someone that is calm and composed in nature and possesses a great deal of intelligence that she makes use of as both the team’s chief inventor, controller and hacker roles that seem tailored made for Hatsume’s personality. A curious aspect of Hatsume’s personality that manifests itself often within the series is that while she’s very good at explaining things to others she can often get sidetracked and get too engrossed into it something that I felt was quite amusing and matched well with her character.
As the series goes on and more of Hatsume’s personality is revealed her personality gradually starts to change. From the beginning of the series, it can be seen that Hatsume is someone that can be said to take the forging of friendships rather seriously and indeed it can be seen to be something that’s akin to the core motivation that drives her entire being. Though largely as a result of both the kindness and warmth that serves as Hatsume’s core personality traits this is far from being the whole truth for Hatsume instead see’s the bonds that are formed when friends are made to be one of the most precious things in the world and that for every bond and thus friend that she makes the more sense of positivity she can create in the world a motivation that serves to drive her to try to make as many friends as she can in life. In line with this sense of wanting to spread positivity to the world via friendships is Hatsume’s belief that given time she will be able to make friends with anyone that she meets whether they are friend or foe which while dangerous is indicative of just how determined she is to spread positivity to the lives of others by befriending them. While this desire of Hatsume can be seen to be a weakness of sorts given the nature of their jobs it, however, can also be seen as a strength as well for she can use this desire to save those that she has bonded with and in the process possibly gathering intel as well an act that is shown well in Hatsume’s attempts to reconcile with her childhood friend Theresia. The character of Hatsume I felt was an interesting one whose passion for trying to make friends with everyone that she meets and in the process helping them solve the inner problems that they are burdened with I felt was one that contrasted well the role that she has not just as a team member and inventor for the team but also as part of an organization whose job was to take out crime syndicates. While the job itself may be one that’s grim and fraught with peril the fact that some of these enemies can be befriended and turned back from their role, I thought was an interesting idea and one that was used quite well within the series.
Goe Ishikawa portrayed by new seiyuu Yuri Noguchi in her first main role to date is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the members of Tsukikage. A second-year student and a classmate of both Fuu and Momo Goe on initial appearances is seen to be a quiet, friendly and shy person by nature that finds it hard to interact with all but the closest friends. However, despite her quiet nature Goe can be seen to be someone that’s both perceptive, understanding and considerate of the feelings of others. While each member of the team can be said to be multirole Goe has shown herself to be a capable sniper and often provides sniper cover during the team’s ops. Due largely to the fact that her master Hatsume is able to provide her with the kind of familial bond that Goe has never experienced before then it can be seen that Goe is very loyal to her mentor and would try her best to help her with her duties when possible.
At the beginning of the series due in part to her quiet and shy nature Goe often gets eclipsed by her fellow classmate and teammate Mei but despite this, it can be seen that beneath this nature of hers Goe is someone that is caring in nature and is willing to do her best to help her friends. While not one to openly state it out Goe is someone that views the bond and friendship that she has with her teammates and to Tsukikage as something that she considers dear to her. As noted before Goe is very loyal to her mentor Hatsume and indeed seems to view the bond that she has with her mentor to be something that’s akin to a prized possession. As a result of this, she is shown to be particularly sensitive to the bond being tested and is shown to react rather adversely when that happens which in her case sees her becoming much quieter and at the same time enter a state of depression. This shows very well the type of bond that exists between her and her mentor as to Goe her mentor can be said to be the person that not only saved her from a life of solitude but also one that gave her a new purpose in life which is to help in protecting the people in the city by working as a member of Tsukikage. This is shown really well within the series when Goe was affected by a gas attack that was committed in the city. The character of Goe I felt was an interesting one that while contrasting well with the likes of Momo and Mei also served to show not just one of the reasons that can cause someone that Join the organization but also the types of bonds that can be formed between a mentor and their apprentice.
Fuu Sagami portrayed by veteran seiyuu Akane Fujita of Orange and Akashic Records fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the members of Tsukikage. A 16-year-old girl and a freshman that attends the same school as Momo and the rest of the team Fuu on initial appearances is seen to be someone that’s cheerful, quiet and confident in nature that approaches each of her tasks with utmost seriousness. At the beginning of the series due largely to the fact that before Momo she was the newest member to join the ranks of the Tsukikage Fuu’s relationship was Momo was a frosty one. However rather than expressing any sort of actual hatred towards her it can be said that this sense of dislike stems from both the pride that Fuu has for being a member of the group and the wariness that she has towards people that while chosen and held in high regard by her seniors have yet to prove themselves worthy of trust. As a result of this as the series went on and Momo began to not just prove herself to both the team and to Fuu this sense of distrust for her gradually began to vanish and be replaced by a genuine sense of respect and trust that is forged between them. While an intelligent and fast thinking person by nature Fuu is noted to be someone that has a great amount of pride both in her skills as a member of Tsukikage and in the organization itself. As a result of this Fuu while confident in her skills also takes great care to interact with recruits that have managed to pass the tests and have become a full member by trying to bond with them and get to know them both as teammates and friends and at the same time always ready to inject some fun into situations when needed by teasing them. While certainly part of her pride it can be seen that this is also part of her attempts to ensure that the new members have what it takes to fit in and become someone that contributes to the team effectively. However, Fuu while certainly possessing a lot of pride is not someone that allows it to make her conceited and instead is someone that has learned to use it both in moderation and as a source of her motivation. While acknowledging that her skills as a spy are top notch Fuu isn’t afraid to admit that her skills can be improved and indeed she is willing to take up roles and jobs that allow her to improve the skills that she finds lacking. This within the series is shown well in the fact that she’s working in a maid café in order to not just improve her skills at reading people but also in her ability to disguise as others.
At the beginning of the series while noted to be someone that was wary of others and not someone that can be easily satisfied as the series goes on it can be seen that Fuu actually has a softer side to her that she presents to those that she has not just bonded with but also befriended. In this side of Fuu’s personality, Fuu is shown to be someone that’s friendly, kind, considerate and willing to help those in need. While the pride that can be said to be her defining personality trait is still present to a degree this is offset by the rather amusing fact that she can easily lose her confidence and composure when she becomes embarrassed a fact that did well to show that despite all her skills, she is still a high school girl as well. While possessing strong bonds of friendship with the rest of the team and with Momo as the series goes on it can be seen that Fuu also has a very deep bond with her mentor Mei. However, while strong this bond of theirs can also be seen as a unique one due in part to their contrasting personalities. Unlike the bond that exists between Yuki and Momo, the bond between Fuu and Mei can be seen to be somewhat unique as it resembles more of a sibling relationship between a younger sister who’s more responsible and stricter and an older more laid back and messy sister that takes everything in stride. While the two of them are often seen arguing with each other a lot usually in the form of Fuu lecturing her master on things she had done it can be seen that Fuu sees this bond that exists between them as something that’s dear to her and indeed views it as the other half of her motivation to do well in her duties as a member of Tsukikage. The character of Fuu I felt was an interesting one that I felt was developed well as the series went on. Her gradual evolution from someone that was both wary of outsiders and unwilling to bond with them to someone that not just realized the effects that strong friendships and bonds can bring to both her role as a spy but also to her social life was something that I thought was done well. Her relationship with her master I thought was also somewhat unique as Fuu while serving as the apprentice also acted as somewhat as a foil for Mei and help maintain the balance within Mei’s desire to have fun and relax with her duties as a member of Tsukikage.
Mei Yachiyo portrayed by veteran seiyuu Aya Suzaki of Battle Girl High school and Trinity Seven fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the members of Tsukikage. A second-year student and a classmate of both Momo and Goe Mei on initial appearances is seen to be a positive, friendly and talkative person by nature that approaches each day with cheerfulness a trait that mirrors her teammate and classmate Momo. A joking and carefree person by nature Mei is someone that can be said to be the joyful heart of the team as while her attitude can be seen to indicate that Mei does not take her duties as a spy seriously it can be said that the opposite is true. Despite her nature Mei knows very well the types of stress that can come from the job of being a spy that takes on fearsome crime syndicates and as a result takes great care to project a carefree and joking nature to her teammates as a means of both inspiring laughter within them and at the same time help take off the pressure that comes from seeing the things that the enemies does. While carefree however it can be seen that Mei also has a serious side to her as well that she shows when the situation calls for it. In this Mei is seen to be confident, intelligent and fast thinking and depending on the situation can also inject some playful elements into it as well. This last part is shown during the teams first op in the first episode where she began posing despite the battle raging around her. Due to this nature of hers, it's perhaps unsurprising that Mei like her apprentice also has a part-time job that allows her to not just improve her skills but also use it to gather intel. In the case of Mei, however, while the job certainly allows her to fulfill the latter it can also be said that the job also reflects Mei’s true desires to be free to do whatever she wants which in this case is to perform and sing for the joy of others. Interestingly her skill at singing is impressive enough in that she could have taken the path of being a pro singer rather than a spy.
As the series goes on however it can be seen however that despite her carefree nature Mei is someone that is shown to be a caring person and is someone that can be seen to care deeply about her friends. This is shown well in the relationship that she has with her apprentice Fuu as while the two of them often argue mostly due to Mei’s actions it can be seen that Mei in reality values the bonds that she has forged with her and as a result dislikes it when she sees her break the rules and take independent action. This especially is shown well in her desire to stick up for her and in the process protect her something that I felt was especially heartwarming.
In terms of animation I thought that the animation that was used within the series was pretty sharp and while it didn’t try to use too much color and complex effects, I thought that its emphasis on simplicity was its greatest strength. The various locations and terrain that the team visit over the course of the series I thought made great use of this concept as while each of the locations that were featured within the series while featuring a great deal of variety that reflected well on the main premise of the series also made use of many locations that can be said to be both common within cities and easily relatable to high school girls that serve as the girls day lives. This simplicity also lends itself to the character designs of the series main and support cast as well as while the uniform designs for both the girls school uniforms and combat outfits were distinctive, they were relatively simple designs that aimed to be both functional and at the same time allowing us to easily differentiate between the different girls easily. In terms of combat animation, I felt that the series’ many fights and the many operations that the team goes on over the course of the series were well done as these while featuring many unique enemies and situations that emphasized on the use of teamwork between the girls also made great use of the various mission types that the team can go. At the same time, this was helped greatly by the large number of gadgets that the team can call upon. These gadgets, in particular, I felt while cleverly designed and featuring a great variety of tools also gave the team the much-needed flexibility that they needed to complete their missions successfully without drawing too much attention. Gadgets that I particularly liked within the series include the face changing masks, tranq guns, the hidden boot knives and the hacking tool that was disguised as a selfie stick. In terms of enemy designs, I felt that the designs that were used to show the main enemy fighters were somewhat unique and while doing well in showing their intended role on the field also did well to contrast with their opposite numbers within Tsukikage. Noteworthy examples include Byakko who despite her appearance actually resembling an elementary school student was actually a veteran merc and Dolte whose large bulk hid not just how cunning she can be but also how tenacious she can be on the field as well. This concept of having a character whose physical designs do not match their true skills is perhaps best shown in the various designs that are used by Tendo the leader of the main hostile faction that acts as the teams main opponent within the series as while on the outside she acts and has the demeanor of perhaps a secretary this only serves to hide her inner self who is not just cunning and calculating but also a powerful swordswoman whose skills are above even Yuki.
In terms of music, the series made use of one opening and ending theme which was Spatto! Spy & Spyce and Hide & Seek that was sung by the main seiyuu’s of the cast in the guise of Tsukikage. Both of these songs I felt were rather unique when used in combination with the visuals that are shown with them. The opening theme due to both the lyrics and the visuals while being catchy also had the effect of reminding me of the animes that I seen back in the ’90s and had the effect of creating a sense of mystique and mystery as you can imagine the team trying to shine light into the many shadows that their foes hide behind. The ending theme also had a similar effect but in contrast to the work of shining light into the shadows to find their foes it had an effect that reminds me of a mission complete and of the girls returning to their daily lives as they relax and spend time with their friends. The series OST I felt did a pretty good job at providing solid backing music for the many types of situations that the cast encounter over the series with its trademarked theme that plays when the team starts their mission being a particular highlight of it.
In terms of voice acting, I felt that the series main voice cast all did an excellent job at portraying their assigned characters whether they were main ones or support ones. In particular, I felt that Yukari Anzai, Manami Numakura, Aya Uchida, Yuri Noguchi, Akane Fujita and Aya Suzaki all deserve special praise as I felt that they all did an excellent job in portraying the characters of Momo, Yuki, Hatsume, Goe, Fuu and Mei respectively. For Yukari Anzai and Yuri Noguchi who despite being new to the industry managed to pull off impressive performances in portraying the main characters of Momo and Goe, I hope that they were able to gain valuable experience in this series that would contribute in starting their careers within the seiyuu industry.
At the same time, while I didn’t cover them within the review, I also thought that Shizuka Itou, Aina Suzuki, Mikako Komatsu and Saori Hayami who portrayed the characters of Tendo, Byakko, Katrina and Dolte also did an excellent job at portraying their assigned characters.
In overall Release the Spyce was an anime that I really enjoyed and was definitely one of the more unique animes that aired this season. Its main strengths in my opinion was its unique premise, strong story, well designed and developed characters, creative and tense fights, its ability to fuse various elements that often conflict with each other together, a novel way of using the villain of the week type of enemy and excellent voice acting.
The subject of Ninja’s is a well-trodden one within the field of anime and due to the myth and mystique that surrounds the profession has seen it be used in a great variety of anime types be it as traditional intel gatherers or as ninjas that have access to various special abilities with the famed Naruto series being perhaps the best example of the latter. In this reasonably packed genre, how would you introduce an idea that would make use of the concepts of high school girls, ninja spies, abilities and gadgets? And the answer is here in the anime Release the Spyce.
The overall premise of the series which is without a doubt one of the highlights of the series gives us the opportunity to see what will happen if you introduce not just characters but also an organization that in their guise as defenders of the city combine not just the traditional duties of a ninja with that of a spy that has the ability to not just sneak into heavy defended locations to gather intel but at the same time be able to special abilities and gadget’s to not only fight their way through enemy traps and ambushes but also aid them in foiling the enemies plans directly rather than pass it to a higher order. This idea of having ninja’s that are not only able to sneak into the most heavily guarded of locations to gather intel that will aid them in their fight against the crime syndicates but also allow them to deal with them directly I felt was a relatively fresh idea that expanded upon the traditional ninja concept. While the premise of having ninjas that can potentially use their abilities to overpower their enemies and get intel through sheer physical might is certainly a risk to the series I felt that the way in which this hurdle was overcome was an interesting one as rather than a power that can be used that way the power of the spyce to which is the source of the power itself is short lived and its effects are localized and thus can be seen to be akin to a temporary power-up that’s so beloved of ability based animes and as such cannot be relied upon entirely and thus requiring the girls to make use of other tactics and skills like teamwork and their unique skill sets and gadgets to overcome the challenges that bar their path. The fact that the power of the spyce is also localized also allows it to stay true to the theme and their role as spies and not warriors.
The overall story that made use of such an interesting premise was another thing that I particularly enjoyed seeing within the series. While the overall story did an excellent job of showing how Momo and the rest of the team gradually learned to not just embrace their roles as members of Tsukikage and the many personal and professional struggles that they had to overcome to along the way that led to them to forge strong bonds with each other I felt that the series also made great use of the villain of the week concept of storytelling. While traditional villain of the weeks is usually used as stand-ins for the true villains and have no other purpose to the main plot other than buy time for the main villain to appear in the case of Release the Spyce this isn’t the case. In this case, these villains while individually weak still required the team to use strategy against them and even in their defeat they still produced a piece of a puzzle that needed to be used to piece together the true plan that their enemies were planning in the background. This act of making each of these villains relevant in the larger scheme of things not only served to enhance their roles but also make the hunt to determine the enemies true plan that much more tense as the team had to not just determine which of the villains were their targets but also the role that they play in the larger plan as they piece together the evidence that they gathered. This was something that I thought took great advantage of the theme while also making the story that much tenser.
Overall Release the Spyce was an anime that I really enjoyed that did well in expanding upon a well known concept by creatively combining elements that usually don’t work well with other and paring that with a story that was not just heartwarming but also inspirational as we got to see how the members of Tsukikage not just overcome the many challenges that lie in their path but learn to bond with each other as they fight hard to protect their beloved home and friends from the machinations of the hated crime syndicates. As a final score I believe that Release the Spyce easily deserves a final score of 9/10.