The Cambridge Geek

Release the Spyce

I was not at all expecting this to be as good as it is.

It's effectively an anime about a Kingsman style organisation, that's funded with the historical fortune of spice merchants. However, all of the agents happen to be teenage girls. That's because the society makes use of a mystical "Spyce" that greatly improves the physical capabilities of anyone who takes it.

But it only works on teenage girls. After you reach a certain age, the power of the Spyce no longer works, and you're left acting as support staff. (Or getting a memory wipe.)

The series is seen through the eyes of Momo, a new recruit to the team, who has to slowly learn how to work with them, and not get herself killed, while bringing her own unique talents.

Weirdest superpower ever.

Because it is a surprisingly dangerous world. Behind the majority of the crimes the team prevent is an evil organisation, Moryo, who take the role of Spectre or Smersh. They have their own secret weapons, including some particularly cool robots (or "puppets") that could have been taken straight out of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (which I will always recommend.

That cyberpunky feel extends from the villains to the world in general. The music for the action sequences has an excellent smashy sound, with some similarities to Spybreak! or Clubbed to Death. (Though the opening is rather more upbeat.) The music in general is good, but it really shines in the fights.

Pleasingly insane villains.

The espionage angle runs strongly throughout this. The kids have gadgets that resemble things they'd be likely to carry around, but also have hidden tricks. For example, they're all flaunting mobile phones that turn into tranq guns, and there's hand cream that has special properties.

"Nobody can see what gesture I'm making."

They've even got Mission Impossible style latex masks, useful for when they get up to standard teenage activities like fighting child soldiers or infiltrating a brothel. They've even got their own version of Nick Fury in the form of Yuki, who has one eye permanently scarred closed and a grumpy attitude.

The anime isn't short on action to go with that feel though. There's quite a deep plot here around the criminal empire, and it's got some seriously unpleasant people working for it, and when they clash with the girls' team, the choreography is great. There's some wonderful stunts that wouldn't be out of place in a full on action series.

While the series does contain elements of the schoolgirls' lives, and their somewhat childish approach to things (they are still learning how the world works, after all), that never detracts from the entertainment value. You get the occasional character conflict you expect, as personalities develop and clash, but it never feels like that bogs down the plot. Really, it adds an additional layer to a show that is getting increasingly complex the more I watch it.

Very good indeed. Am heartily recommending it.

Score 4

Tagged: Anime Thriller Contemporary Fighting Antagonism Hidive Subbed