Release The Spyce

April 7, 2019

I have a feeling that they wanted to play around with the meaning of the homonym words, spies and spice. Hence we have Release The Spyce! Add the ‘y’ for more trendiness. Haha! Okay. I made that up. But that’s the feeling I get before I started watching this series. A group of spy girls using certain types of spice to power up in their spy missions. Sounds pretty meh to me but I can’t help think and believe this might get as epic as Princess Principal so I can’t really judge them yet until I watch the entire thing.

Episode 1
A group of ninja spy girls hack and infiltrate their way into a plant and destroying all robots that come their way. With the help of some Spyce, of course. After the mission ends and they leave, the eyes of Yuki Hanzoumon and Momo Minamoto meet. Do they have eagle eyes? That’s like kilometres away across the sea! Momo starts her first term in high school. Her goal is to make friends. Not working. So I guess she’ll accept anyone that comes by. Like Mei Yachiyo and Goe Ishikawa. They take her to a curry café. Upon entering, Fuu Sagami gives Momo the jealous eye look since Mei is quite friendly with her. Momo is amazed the store has a few pet animals. But what is amazing is that Momo can pick up the scent of several spices. She can tell more about a person if she licks you! Not kidding! On her way home, Momo sees a snatch thief but is too scared to do anything. Luckily, her policewoman friend, Ayumu arrests the culprit. We see Momo’s dreams of following her late father’s footsteps to become a police officer. When Momo realizes Ayumu has not returned from her patrol, she senses something amiss and goes to look for her. What a coincidence she stumbles upon a group of thuggish women who have captured Ayumu and her partner for sniffing around. Momo tries to be brave and do something but ends up being targeted. Thank goodness our spy girls are here to save the day. Although they wipe out the policewomen’s memories, they won’t for Momo because she was recommended by Mei to join them because of her talented tongue and nose. Because they hid a frog on Momo and spied her all day, that is why they are able to come to her aid quickly. They are Tsukikage, a secret group fighting for justice against an evil organization called Moryo. This scouting is also to get Yuki an apprentice. With some thugs escaping, begins a high speed explosive chase (to showcase some cool gadgets and weaponry too). After taking down the baddies, Momo wants to join Tsukikage as she loves this city and wants to protect it.

Episode 2
Fuu reluctantly tells Momo the task she must do to join Tsukikage. At the curry house after saying the right password, she is greeted by Katrina Tobey who leads her to Tsukikage’s huge underground base. The rest surprise her with a welcoming party. They show her around the cool technology and gadgets they have especially Hatsume Aoba as she creates most of them. Hmm… I wonder who upkeeps this huge place in perfect working order considering they say Tsukikage is a small group. Small group in action doesn’t mean they don’t need a large support team behind them. As Katrina was an ex-Tsukikage member and Hatsume’s mentor, now Hatsume is Goe’s mentor, just like how Mei is for Fuu. Hence the time is right for Yuki to get one. Momo is eager but her harsh training begins now. As expected from a beginner, she falls for all the traps Yuki laid out. Momo gets a bit disheartened as the training intensifies but won’t give up. Momo’s training even includes talking and interacting with other strangers. Intentionally or not, she makes friends with another girl from her school, Nagi Hokuto. And with time, we see that Momo has become a pro. Practice makes perfect. For Momo to pass the final test, she has to catch Mei running around the school. With Momo’s foresight, she manages to trap and corner Mei to pass. Momo is now officially part of Tsukikage and has her own ninja spy uniform. Yuki gives her a sword since she is her apprentice. Meanwhile Theresia Ray from Moryo receives info from a traitor of Tsukikage. It might be a trap but it’s still worth to check it out.

Episode 3
Momo joins Tsukikage on a few missions. However even though the missions are a success, she made a few slipups like leaving her post and hence gets reprimanded by Yuki for not following orders. Another negligent on her part has Momo feel guilty since Yuki has to apologize on her behalf to the rest although they don’t want to make a big deal out of it. With their latest mission of infiltrating the brothel, they find out it has been secretly channelling funds to Moryo who are no doubt going to smuggle weaponized robots in a few days. Speaking of them, they have mercenaries, Byakko and Dolte fight each other to see who gets the right for the next mission. Byakko wins and is given some sort of drug. Goe and Fuu help Momo overcome her mini depression and it’s a good thing Momo gets her motivation back. As Tsukikage waits at the harbour to stop the smuggling, looks like the robots are already up and running to surround them. Byakko decides to fight Momo as she looks like she is stationed alone. Momo could have lost had not Fuu coming to back her up. I guess they also need Goe’s sniping support otherwise this bratty petite girl could have bested them again. In the end, it was probably Byakko’s arrogance that she thinks she is unbeatable that she got beaten by them. Tsukikage takes her in for interrogation and the bratty one is confident she will never spill the beans. Until they lower her close into some lava pit! Woah, she passed out. Still a kid after all. But when she comes to, she has no recollections of what happened. Momo’s licking ascertains she is not lying. On the Moryo side, we see them explaining to other shady figures about this drug when consumed, wipes out one’s memories when they experience fear. Many thought it would be better to kill off Byakko but Moryo think it would cause them problems with the mercenary village she is from. And Tsukikage analyses the sand at the bottom of Byakko’s shoe to determine the Kyuten science facility she came from? Because that kind of sand can only be found there?! What utter convenience?! Who the f*ck could think of analysing the sole of a shoe?! And how the f*ck did sand stuck on her shoe after all that jumping and fighting?!

Episode 4
Mei occasionally performs in the streets for some extra income. As Fuu also lives with her, she helps records the expenses and is not thrilled that Mei often spends the money on useless stuffs. Tsukikage’s next mission is to investigate a drug syndicate. Fuu is eager to do this but Yuki will not allow an apprentice to take such a dangerous task. Unfortunately Fuu still does the infiltration herself and when she finally tails the drug buyer, Mei finds her. That distraction made Fuu lose him. Gee, so sophisticated tailing and she easily loses him like that? Hence they get into an argument to a point where they won’t talk to each other. When the mission calls for Mei and Fuu to bust the drug syndicate together, their lack of unilaterality causes Mei to end up being lightly injured although the mission was a success. This has Yuki warning Mei that she will have to review her mentorship over Fuu if this continues. Fuu feels guilty about this and decides to stop living at her place and return to her own home. As we see them live separately, we can tell from their forlorn look on their faces that they miss each other. It’s just not the same. Eventually they realize they need each other and made up. Convenient that drug guy passes before them and hence the duo are now back in business to chase him down. Because he is on drugs, it not only makes him numb to pain but gives him superhuman abilities. Also, this guy is a masochist. Mei and Fuu are back to being the perfect combo again as they take this sick dude down. The result of this drug investigation reveals another source. They are unsure if it is one of Moryo’s fronts or just another dummy company. Nevertheless, more investigation is needed. But for now, Mei and Fuu are back being the bestest friends ever. Uhm, I think they’re just an inch step away from making this friendship turn to lesbianism.

Episode 5
Tsukikage infiltrates Kyuten to hack its data. However analysis shows nothing in connection with Moryo. Yuki remains suspicious because it is as though they want them to steal their data. Of course the truth is that this is just a dummy data to divert Tsukikage’s attention. To further that plan, they team up with some Italian mafiaso, Emo Pacino (WTF?!). Dolte is tasked to be their bodyguard. My, she is now like She-Hulk? What drug did they give her? Momo continues to train in hopes she will prove useful to Yuki and Tsukikage. With more drugs resurfacing in the city, they traced it to this guy, Marco Nero who is an associate of Pacino. Yuki and Momo track him down while he is taking a train late one night, knock him out and put a tracker on him. While doing so, Dolte attacks. Momo panics when none of her attacks work, even screaming for help. Of course, Yuki to the rescue. Don’t forget to take your spice. Yuki manages to kick Dolte out of the train. With more info on Marco, they storm Pacino’s base and take out all the goons. Although Pacino and a few henchmen escaped, I guess Tsukikage can’t let the party food go to waste and so they celebrate Momo’s birthday. Did they just ‘steal’ somebody’s food? Later, Momo gets ambushed by Dolte. That is one mean punch she took. Luckily Katrina and Yuki again come to her rescue and knock out the behemoth. Momo is ashamed but at the same time very proud of her mentor. She faints but wakes up in Yuki’s home. Yeah, strange dream of Dolte chasing her! Oh, how she wished it was Yuki. Anyway, Yuki has her suspicions that the reason Moryo employed Pacino was to distract them from Kyuten. No rest for justice until all evil is eradicated. Better be quick because Moryo now has got their hands on Hatsume’s data courtesy of the traitor.

Episode 6
Byakko is now a slave in Tsukikage’s hideout? Just kidding. She is just made to do chores. Just keep her shut with great food. Kurara Tendou, the regional head of Moryo gives Theresia a mission. She is to infiltrate as a transfer student in Hatsume’s school to find out if she is really affiliated with Tsukikage and to discover other members. Here is that gelatine drink for the road. Theresia is concerned because she was once friends with Hatsume. What if she remembers? Oh well. She did. Flashback time. In some poor foreign land, Theresia tried to rob Hatsume but her SPs took care of it. Hatsume let her go since she considered her as a friend but WTF pride did Theresia had to throw back her stolen things? Because of that her father beat her up. Next day, Hatsume saw her again and is very worried of her wounds. The more they hang out together, the more they become friends. However they got abducted. A ransom was paid for Hatsume while Theresia was later sold away. Theresia was told Hatsume only saved her own ass and returned to her country and has forgotten about her. Theresia became mad and disillusioned of their fake friendship. In actual fact, Hatsume’s parents rounded up enough cash to secure Theresia’s release but by then the kidnappers were no longer contactable. Theresia was sold to Moryo and they trained her to where she is now. Yuki is suspicious that a long lost friend suddenly reappears in the same school. Hmm… A spy? They will continue to do their ordinary stuffs but keep a close watch on Hatsume and Theresia. Katrina is concerned that if such info is leaked, she wonders if any among them is the traitor. Can you see them as so? Think not. Yeah, believe in your comrades! Uhm, I don’t think that makes a good spy… Meanwhile Byakko wants to go home but Yuki tells her a notice from her village her banishing her for failing to complete her mission. Wait. Does Byakko even remember what she did?! Oh well, I guess she’ll stay here now. Theresia is extra careful as she knows she is being watched. When Hatsume invites her to her apartment, Theresia sees the friendship memento she is still keeping. This has Theresia snap back their friendship means nothing because as a rich girl, she knows nothing about loneliness or being poor. But Theresia will have it no other way since it is better than being betrayed. She has made it this far alone without her help. Hatsume blames herself for being powerless. Momo tries to lick Theresia as she believes Theresia wants to reconcile but gets owned. Theresia will not believe anything more they say and leaves.

Episode 7
Theresia and Hatsume make up and continue to hang out with each other. Wow. That was quick. While doing so, Tendou in disguise unleashes a drone that sprays some drug all over the shopping complex, turning people into obedient zombies. With the commotion, Theresia is waiting to see if Hatsume will leave to save the people. Meanwhile the other Tsukikage members (minus Goe) are being briefed about the situation and need to return order. With their medicine not working, they have to use sleep inducing bullets. Hatsume drops the biggest bomb as she tells Theresia outright she is from Tsukikage. Even more shocking, she knows Theresia is from Moryo. As she wants them to be true friends, there is no point trying to hide things from each other. She hopes to make a deal to keep each other’s identity a secret from the rest but Theresia doesn’t care if Moryo gets exposed or anything. Hatsume then secretly drugs her with some paralysis poison. In 10 minutes she can’t move and the antidote is in her school locker. If she can’t move, she’ll take care of her. Man, she sounds like a crazy BFF stalker! Theresia rushes for the cure. This enables Hatsume to go into Tsukikage action. Meanwhile Goe has been found. She has been hypnotized and singlehandedly destroyed the entire yakuza clan! Yuki and Momo try to subdue her but they are being attacked. However they are no match for her as Goe is the strongest Tsukikage member and supposed to be their ace. So what they do? They pin a communicator on her to let Hatsume talk her to her senses. You mean that would work? Well… With heartfelt feelings of the kind girl she is, blah, blah, blah, Goe manages to fight against her hypnotism and return to normal. Wow. It really worked. The power of words. Not inventions. But Goe feels ashamed for herself for running rampage but you know, nobody is going to hold it against her. Back at HQ, the rest analyse the culprit but Fuu can tell the perpetrator is wearing a disguise. Based on past records, Moryo has done this before but on a smaller scale. The drug robs people of their senses. Analysing the substance from Goe, it seems it comes from a manufacturer in Okinawa. Next stop the southern beaches? Meanwhile Theresia sees Tendou and confirms that Hatsume is from Tsukikage. As other info are not confirmed, Tendou hints she is taking too long and perhaps hesitating. Then Tendou receives praises from other higher ups from her successful test. Now they can go ahead with Project Gekkako. It will be executed on the day the city will be packed with people.

Episode 8
Theresia fights Hatsume and lost. Later Hatsume removes the drug in her bloodstream and believes Moryo intended to take her out with Tsukikage. She wants Theresia to join them but Theresia will not believe her and prefers to be alone. Meanwhile the rest are at Okinawa. They meet a Viking girl, Ingen Lua Ouka Miyamae who saved a few boys from dangerous local snakes. She isn’t too friendly with them until Goe talks to her about her Viking hat then she becomes talkative about her Viking origins. Later Tsukikage sees an old man from The Shisha. However he is the last surviving member as the local evil organization, Nirai Kanai has routed the rest. The drug substance they are looking for comes from a plant that is grown here but inside Nirai’s base. Too bad it is protected by a Viking girl. The thing is, her family is taken hostage and she is forced to do this. He hopes they can rescue her and her family as her grandpa is a botanist. That night they try to infiltrate the base but as expected, Ouka stands in their way. Goe fights her while the rest make their way to the island. Ouka is stubborn she doesn’t need help because all those who did failed. But you know, with Goe really assuring she can help and showing her true strength to break her axe, Ouka’s on their side now. Yuki and co get separated due to the traps but their mission remains the same. Momo stumbles into the plant field and is unfortunate enough to fight Nirai’s boss who also controls the snakes. Thanks to Ouka amplifying the sound snakes hate, it keeps them away. The boss manages to steal her sword and slices her. Yuki almost has a heart attack seeing this. Luckily Momo was quick enough to shoot her tranquilizer and just got a cut on her wrist. Yuki slaps her! Is this the thanks she gets? Yuki specifically told her to run away if she faced danger and she was lucky this time her opponent wasn’t that strong. There will be times when Yuki will not be able to protect her. You mean like just now? Why so mad? Don’t ruin the mood, man! The boss tries to burn the plants and take down the island with him but Ouka destroys the flame thrower canon. With her family rescued, Ouka part ways with Tsukikage. Heck, she gives Goe her Viking hat. Yeah, she got lots of them. Really? In the end, Tsukikage can’t determine if Nirai is connected to Moryo and could be one of the many dummy intermediaries they used.

Episode 9
With Momo still bummed out, as advised by Mei, Yuki goes to talk with her and apologizes for going too far at Okinawa. So the best way to bond back is to hang out with each other. Best time ever. But now for the serious part. Yuki brings Momo to see ruins of an old building caught in an explosion 2 years ago. It was Moryo’s base. Time to talk about Yuki’s mentor, Nagaho Fujibayashi. She came to scout Yuki as she is from a dojo family. After Nagaho bested her speed and strength, Yuki agrees to become her apprentice. Usual mentor and apprentice bonding and going on missions together with Yuki slowly learning to love this city. Then on that fateful day 2 years ago, that time this Russian dude, Aleksei was in charge and was supposed to control satellites all over the world. Tsukikage infiltrated the base and manage to defeat all the robots, guards and even Aleksei himself despite taking some sense enhancing drug. Tsukikage’s job is to download the data and then blow up the building (because some regional assistance won’t come in time?!). While Nagaho and Yuki were doing so, they had to fight Tendou (who was tasked by Moryo to assist). Too bad Tendou was strong as she blinded an eye of Yuki and dealt a lethal blow on Nagaho. Nagaho blew herself up in hopes of taking her down but all Tendou got was just an elbow scar???!!! Anyway, Yuki became disheartened seeing her mentor die as other Tsukikage members take her by force to flee. In the aftermath of the building’s explosion, despite Moryo’s plan failed, they promote Tendou is promoted as the leader of this region. She thinks of reviving an old Moryo technology using Spyce instead of drugs. Now Momo understands Yuki’s fury then. She doesn’t want to lose anyone close again. So more bonding and assurance and the best way to prove that is to investigate together. Not sure if Momo is damn lucky because she noticed this beautiful lady that is always showing her back and never her face. Like as though she know where the cameras are and purposely avoiding them. Damn they can zoom in and check their database for this person?! No match. But when they put in that Kyuten substance, f*cking 1 match!!! Does this special executive officer Fumiko Torimaru from Kyuten look familiar? You bet she is. Oh yeah, let’s thank great teamwork for it.

Episode 10
Some mentor-apprentice bonding before the big mission. Like Momo asking Katrina how she joined Tsukikage and in turn Katrina pops the question of Momo taking on an apprentice one day. I think we can skip the Hatsume-Goe, Mei-Fuu and Yuki-Momo bonding because it feels like a red flag of some sort of tragedy that is about to happen… On mission night, Yuki easily kidnaps Fumiko. When she comes to, Yuki reveals they are from Tsukikage and although Fumiko claims she is unaware of anything, nobody escapes Momo’s lick of truth. With that, Fumiko drops the act and is of course Tendou. With Yuki pointing out that tower incident, Tendou remembers her now and even mocks to cut down Momo before her. I hope Yuki doesn’t get too emotional with this. Tendou surprises Momo as she knows a lot about her. Then Tsukikage realizes this is a trap as they are cornered by Moryo. Time to fight those mass manufactured robots. But in a sudden twist of fate, Mei disables Goe! Before she does the same to Fuu, she reveals she is the traitor that sold info to Moryo. As hard as Mei denies her mentor could be such a turncoat, reality says otherwise. Time to sleep, girl. Hatsume just finished defeating Theresia so Mei tags in to help defeat her. Does she think bombing her in the water means she is dead without actually confirming it? Anyway Theresia looks so surprised her friend is dead. So she wasn’t really trying to kill her then? Yuki and Tendou fight. But oddly Yuki after striking that same elbow on Tendou, she goes off to fight the robots? I know she wants to ascertain about Mei but she left Momo wide open and allowed Tendou to defeat her. This is what you call karma as Yuki gets slashed before Momo’s eyes. The surviving Tsukikage members are taken away so Tendou could experiment on their Spyce. Why do baddies always make the mistake of never confirming the dead stays dead?

Episode 11
The apprentices are captured and about to be tortured. They are still in shock especially Mei as the traitor and she’s being so overly friendly with Tendou. Mei reveals how everything she did was a setup, from leaking info to Moryo and even to having Theresia getting transferred to school. Now it’s time for the apprentices to be subjected to some torture experiment. Momo manages to snap out of her depression. Yeah, no time to cry for Yuki. She notices Goe’s strength to break out from her seat. So as she distracts the torturer, Goe manages to break out and beat her up. Then they interrogate her on this Project Gekkako and learn it is a massive plan to hypnotise the public with some hypnotic drug. They escape but can’t return to base because Katrina’s shop has a gas explosion and is cordoned off. Thankfully there are other secret entrances, right? As they make plans to stop Gekkako, they realize their families are in danger if Moryo realizes their escape. Phew. In the nick of time they neutralize those dumb agent weaklings and then bring their family back to Tsukikage’s base. Are they going to be unconscious all the while they take action? After making their preparations and heading out, Yuki finds them. She’s still alive! As expected. Momo’s lick confirms it. Yeah, some trick she explained to make her look dead. But anyway, since they are going to take on Moryo, Yuki who is still injured can only be their support role. The day for Gekkako is here. A large party is even held for all the Moryo top dogs to witness this spectacular event. Tsukikage apprentices barge in. Goe fights Theresia while Fuu faces her ex-mentor. Eventually Theresia loses again because the power of I-wanna-be-your-friend. Looks like Goe is taking over that role. But as Goe lies thinking about that possible friendship, Tendou is disappointed in her for the last time and slashes her wrist to let her bleed to death. Fuu’s fight ends prematurely as Mei makes her explosive escape. I don’t know what Tsukikage’s plan but there is still time for the event to carry on. Like, what the f*ck is Tsukikage doing at this moment?! A giant artificial device pops out from the underground of some factory. Gekkako is here. It’s show time. And Tsukikage think they can get there in time? I thought the counter has already reached zero?

Episode 12
Tendou explains the stages of the drug effect that will eventually turn you into a permanent zombie! They can take on the world if Gekkako is successful. Not if Tsukikage can help it. They are attacking the tower but lots of robots show up. Even Katrina and Byakko show up to help. Better hurry because the people are already collapsing from the drug. When Mei reports the higher ups have been taken out, Tendou knows that Mei is the one who did it. Mei betraying Tendou now? Double double agent act, huh? Oh, Hatsume is still alive. Mei reveals that this double agent thingy was planned quite some time ago between her and Katrina. It would put others at great risk but Mei was up for the job. The oldest trick in the book of deceiving your friends first to deceive your enemies. Hatsume’s body was just a dummy but for Yuki, it was a miscalculation and thank goodness she lived. Too bad with that bragging, Tendou had time to restart the tower. Yuki has found out the core weakness but they need to get through Tendou first. Momo is nearest as she receives Yuki’s blessing to fight her despite Tendou clearly being the superior swordswoman. Believe in your apprentice! Tendou tries to rile her up by talking about her father’s death and the possible reason behind it but Momo isn’t shaken and is focused on her job. In the end, a stroke of luck as Momo hits her scarred elbow before putting another scar across her chest. Then dropping the bomb into the core with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock! Wow. So amazingly unbelievable. No wonder Tendou just gave up and seemingly falls to her death. In the aftermath, nobody had everlasting effect of the drug and life returns to normal. Now the biggest dilemma for Momo as Yuki tells her she is planning to graduate from Tsukikage (as the Spyce effect is wearing out the more she uses it) and wants her to use this memory erasing bullet on her. Of course Momo can’t do it so cue for some emotional drama and conversation. Thank you this, thank you that. There is nothing more I can teach you. You have surpassed your mentor. Yuki points out an old lady Momo frequently interacts was once a Tsukikage member. She is living a normal life now. I guess it’s going to take the whole night crying for Momo before she eventually gets to it. Bang. 9 months down the road, Momo is a skilled Tsukikage and in a similar fashion is trying to recruit a meek and low confidence girl as her apprentice. I bet she will after seeing how cool Momo is. One day as they are training, Momo sees Yuki passing by. Not sure if she remembers but that smirk on Yuki’s face… But no rest for Tsukikage as they continue more spy missions. With Spyce!

Spyce World! Spyce Up Your Life! Totally Spyce!
By the time I finished watching this series, somehow it dawned to me that Yuki and Momo’s relationship seems to mirror that Alicia and Akari from the Aria series. Mentor takes on an apprentice who doesn’t have a lot of confidence in herself. Undergoes some training and practical before the apprentice finally becomes ready to take her mentor’s place after the latter retires. Wow. So similar in that sense. Brings a tear to my eyes. Remembering the Aria series, that is. Oh, sorry. We were talking about this spy series instead. Got a little off tracked that with that dilemma. Because I’m sure I was going to end my blog by saying and so once again the day is saved thanks to Tsukikage! Or as crime never sleeps, so does Tsukikage! Or Tsukikage’s work is never done. Cliché quotes for a typical cliché life-goes-on ending.

Too bad the story and plot doesn’t feel as interesting so now I can say that it is inferior to Princess Principal in this sense. Heh. It is just the basic story of a small good organization versus a big evil organization. The obligatory newbie joining the force so we can show some training stints to make her as the same level as the rest in an otherwise mundane and predictable plot for Moryo trying to just control the city but always thwarted by Tsukikage. Yeah, if they can’t handle a city of this calibre, can they even take on the world? Better start small first before taking on something on a global scale.

It is unfortunate that there are a few plot holes that I started pondering. Not actually so much about the series’ storyline but more of Tsukikage’s flow of operation. You see, if Tsukikage hires only young girls, and seeing that all of them are high school students, do you not think the turnover for membership of Tsukikage is very high?! Like OMG, it is unbelievable to train a normal high school student and turn her this good in a matter of months! Even if you are some sort of prodigy genius, that would at least take years! So what happened to all the old Tsukikage mentors? Don’t tell me they all die in their mission. And thank goodness they trained their pupils well before their demise, huh? Even if they don’t die, don’t you think the city will be filled with ex-Tsukikage mentors? Oh right. I forgot about that memory erasing bullet convenience. Heck, every woman you see in town could be an ex-member of Tsukikage! I don’t know how long Tsukikage has been really established but if it was a really long time ago, yeah there should be a lot of such mentors living their normal lives now. Maybe they migrated to another city? But who knows? All I’m saying is that the recruiting rate of Tsukikage is ridiculous considering how they only have young girls at the helm of active operation. Those who don’t probably get drafted by Moryo…

Unlike Moryo, Tsukikage is only a very small and perhaps a localized organization (although Moryo uses other smaller organizations, dummy or real, at least Moryo is the big umbrella corporation). I don’t remember seeing or hearing Tsukikage having branches anywhere else in the world or even other parts of Japan. Sure, their policy is to work in small groups and we once see that there are other good organizations in other cities keeping the local peace. But even mind boggling is how super big their underground base is and how nobody else really maintains the facilities and amenities because they are seen running in tiptop condition. It’s not like they have some sort of resident nerd technician even though we have Hatsume who creates gadgets. What I mean, is the kind of technician who doesn’t go into the battlefield like Hatsume and stays in the background to do maintenance work or tuning weapons, gadgets, etc. I don’t know if Katrina is doing all that alone because since she has her curry shop to run. Yeah, maybe those critters lend some help too, huh? I wonder how Byakko is holding up… It’s not like she’s really complaining…

Unfortunately the characters feel boring and uninspiring. Somewhat shallow too. Just because they are cute girls doing, uhm, cute things (?). I know that they are spies and hence there needs to be some sort of mystery pertaining to their background, so we don’t really know them in detail. Therefore the characters lack a lot of development deemed necessary and the most we get is the playing up of Momo and Yuki’s relationship. I guess it has to be because there is potential drama to see a newbie trying to fit in and live up to her mentor’s expectations. Unbelievably, Momo managed to learn and adapt quickly (it’s a good thing for her) that by the time the final episodes roll about, you would probably forget that she was the youngest member of Tsukikage since she is acting like a pro and veteran who has been in Tsukikage for a long time. And the only thing you’d remember cute Momo by is her weird ability to find the truth via licking. Gross. Imagine if a guy does that as his ability. Not going to cut it. Because they didn’t show that Momo fired the shot at Yuki, it leaves some room for our own interpretations that she might not and that they can simply pretend not to know each other. I mean, there’s no rule saying those who leave Tsukikage must have their memories fully erased, right? Is there?! Plot twist when Yuki comes out of retirement in season 2 to help Tsukikage in a pinch!

Same thing for other members. Like Goe the secretly super strong and Fuu the tsundere. That’s all we need to know about them. Don’t need to get too attached to them and be their fans. They’re not idols per se. Yeah, girls only Tsukikage membership because possible lesbianism play out. If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends/ Make it last forever, friendship never ends/ If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give/ Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is… Damn I was hoping this song would play somewhere because it so fits the narrative here well. But it gets a little confusing because spies are supposed to be spies and this means lying. Yeah, Yuki trolled Momo once about not being able to protect her always and she became hypocritical by continuing to do so. All under the ‘acceptable’ reason that they are spies. So it’s okay to lie as long as you’re a spy, huh? This is sure going to have some trust issues about believing in your comrades… Because in that case speaking of Mei then…

Mei being the traitor and then not, isn’t that much of a surprise. Somehow a traitor in the organization didn’t sounded as important due to all the missions that were taking importance for Tsukikage. Hence the traitor thingy was somewhat on the back burner of our minds. At times we think who could the possible traitor be as all of them as spies have the potential. From Yuki’s cold and distant personality to Hatsume’s friendly persona, even Katrina may be doing some double agent thingy (that’s why she retired), all of them could be possible suspects. And when Mei is revealed, it wasn’t so shocking. At least to me. In the back of our minds we were expecting a betrayal anyway. Or not. And with Mei trolling us again at the end, she has got to be the best spy ever? Never believed Yuki was dead. Never believed Hatsume was dead. Never believed Mei was the spy. It’s that kind of anime. Yeah, I guess in that sense they never really got me. Haha!

Feeling wasted are the pet mascots of Tsukikage. An owl, a frog and a racoon would have done wonders since this show has 3 freaking critters as cute kawaii mascots. Instead they feel like playing not even secondary role and only more like convenience when the plot calls for it. But who knows? Maybe these are the eternal gods watching over Tsukikage for a long time? Otherwise, who the f*ck trained these animals to be so good at doing spy work?! Hah! Another part you missed addressing, you producers!

Moryo being the one dimensional villain too doesn’t fare well with Tendou being the sole antagonist at least for this city. She sounds scheming and confident as the local female boss but ultimately the fatal plot hole that Tsukikage and Moryo can’t find out each other’s identity for the longest time shows they aren’t really can’t get the job done to take down one another. Maybe it’s to show that they are neck to neck with each other but I see Moryo having maintained a few steps ahead of Tsukikage because of their dummy companies and leading Tsukikage astray. And Tsukikage having all the best technology in the world that really seems like BS. Damn they should have some of the technologies applied in daily lives of normal people! The other henchmen under Tendou also don’t fare well with Theresia being more of a plot convenience so that Hatsume has some sort of background. Also potential for bad guy turning over a new leaf potential. Oh look, she is now a Tsukikage member and looks so happy smiling and having friends. Good for her.

Dolte isn’t forever lost as a She-Hulk as she somehow ended up being Katrina’s curry house assistant and Byakko some sort of chibi comical relief as the ‘janitor’ of Tsukikage (probably to also keep Katrina and Hatsume company). What a waste of her talents. Shouldn’t she at least try to be Tsukikage’s apprentice? I know she doesn’t want to but it beats bumming around knowing that her old organization doesn’t want her anymore. Of course she looks like she is supporting Tsukikage from the shadows but with those martial arts talents, I thought she would be better off in the frontlines. Looks like these ex-cronies of Moryo ended up somewhere although it cannot be said for Tendou because villains falling to their death in a shady way that doesn’t confirm anything is one way to pull off a shock cliché factor that the villainess is still alive if they ever needed to come back for another season. Uhm, isn’t Tsukikage growing a bit larger than before and thus defeating its purpose as a small local peacekeeping unit?

Action bits are rather okay. Seeing Tsukikage kicking ass looks cool and aided by some far out gadgets but I’ve seen so many cute girls in other series doing the same so this one just feels average. Yeah, my dopamine levels have increased. Like drugs, huh? I also feel that the Spyce thingy is somewhat underutilized and more of a plot convenience and tool for Tsukikage girls to go into a temporary superhuman mode. Because I don’t see any difference as the girls are able to take down robots and even low level baddies without the use of Spyce. Even in pinch situations, if they don’t rely on using Spyce, I still believe they can get through it. Because they’re highly trained so I assume they’re already much better off than using this ‘drug’ just to give a slight boost in stats. Ultimately this Spyce thingy also feels like drugs because you will get overdose if you eat it in succession. That’s why you see the girls only biting it once, right? Again, who grows and harvest the Spyce for them? They don’t just grow on trees, do they? Uhm, technically parts of plants…

Art and animation feel pretty standard. The characters are designed in a colourful and cute way so sometimes it is pretty weird and awkward to see a spy themed series and having cute girls helming as the main characters. Oh wait. They did that with Princess Principal too. But Tsukikage sometimes looks more like the casts of YuruYuri growing up and turning into spies. Seriously! But what I’m saying is that the ninja outfits of Tsukikage sometimes feel like it is not really effective in terms of efficiency. You see, watching the girls doing all sorts of dangerous missions, you would think that they would dress up or at least protect themselves better than this. The ninja outfit makes them look like they’re going to some cosplay convention. Besides, the biggest flaw of the outfit is that they don’t even mask their faces! Sure, they do cover up sometimes but most of the times that they are running around with their face being visible! Is the city so dead at night that nobody actually sees them in action? Or are they that confident people can’t see them? Yeah, it’s amazing nobody knows who the members of Tsukikage are. It’s not like the city is like the size of Russia, right? I love it when they can do their spy job and still lead ordinary high school lives. Oh, right. I keep forgetting they have this convenient memory erasing bullet. Carry on girls. Don’t need to wear those masks.

Also, I want to mention how the robots themselves look so bland and boring like as though the producers didn’t actually put any effort into thinking a better design. I mean, if you are going to have generic robots whose role is to only get cut down for Tsukikage just for the sake of action, why the heck do you need to make them look so badass cool like say, Transformers? Imagine if somebody designed a really cool and awesome killing machine but it gets cut down easily by Tsukikage, oh, imagine the heartbreak. Besides, it saves time to just animate simple looking robots than all those complicated coolly designed ones. This isn’t a mecha series, remember. Oh, now I remember why those generic robots look familiar. Don’t they look like Android’s mascot?! Damn! This anime is done by Lay-duce who brought to us Magi: Sinbad No Bouken, Classroom Crisis and Fate/Grand Order.

Voice acting feels pretty okay and nothing spectacular. I only recognized Shizuka Itou as Tendou as her laidback voice feels very much at home playing the character although she doesn’t normally play antagonistic characters. I didn’t realize Saori Hayami was behind Dolte’s voice. I guess one would really sound different if you try to sound like the Hulk. Yeah… The other casts as Yukari Anzai as Momo (Minori in Happy Sugar Life), Manami Numakura as Yuki (Narberal in Overlord), Aya Uchida as Hatsume (Kotori in Love Live), Aya Suzaki as Mei (Kaede in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Akane Fujita as Fuu (Sagiri in Eromanga Sensei), Yuri Noguchi as Goe (Kaun in Reikenzan), Mikako Komatsu as Katrina (Neko in K), Risa Taneda as Theresia (Xenovia in High School DxD series) and Aina Suzuki as Byakko (Mari in Love Live! Sunshine).

Both the opening and ending themes are sung by the sextet of Tsukikage. Being the spy themed wannabe, it is no surprise that Spatto! Spy & Spyce as the opener tries to sound very spy-like but also maintain its kawaii anime style. So don’t expect it to be something like 007 James Bond material. Hide & Seek as the ending theme throws away all that spy thingy as it now sounds like a generic anime pop piece.

Overall, this series is just pretty average. Some weird mind boggling bizarre moments (Tsukikage celebrating Momo’s birthday using the mafia’s party food!), some funny moments (as in shady moments – because how the f*ck can Momo observe a certain lady facing her back in every surveillance cameras?!)and even strange characters (who could forget that name Emo Pacino???!!!). If you really want some spy action thriller, Princess Principal is still my best suggestion to go to. It is still enjoyable in its own right but with today’s standards, such series isn’t really going to cut it in the crowded field of other animes in the season as well in the genre of cute girls doing cute things. I mean, can we certainly consider this genre so but with more kickass and action bits? No? Oh well, at least they tried. It’s not like about fixing things that are not broken. It’s not like about sticking to the tried and tested tropes. It’s about having some variety and Spyce of life. Heh. Just wanted to make that pun just be the Spyce of life.

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