- Mangaka : Takemachi (Author); Seu, Kaname (Art)
- Publisher : Yen Press
- Genre : Action, Romance, Comedy, Seinen
- Published : January 2022
Spy Classroom is a manga adaptation of the light novel of the same name, both of which were originally published in 2020. For the official English translation of this spy comedy, Yen Press published the light novel in 2021 and the manga adaptation in 2022. We’ve already taken a look at the original, so here's our review of the manga version of Spy Classroom volume 1!
The last great war cost an untold amount of lives and resources, not to mention the damages suffered by all of the nations involved. Because of that, the leaders of each country decided that it would be more effective to conduct wars in the shadows through the use of spies.
The story focuses on Lily (codename: Flower Garden), a washout student from the Din Republic’s Spy Academy who is tasked to be a member of a group called Lamplight. Unbeknownst to Lily, the group consists of other female washout students like her while the instructor is a scatter-brained handsome man named Klaus who is supposed to be the nation's best spy.
To make matters worse, Lamplight is set to embark on an impossible mission on the enemy's soil in just a few months. Since he doesn't know the proper way to teach the girls, Klaus decides to give them one simple task. No matter how, no matter when, Lily and her teammates have to find a way to defeat Klaus.
1. A Good Blend Of Lighthearted Comedy And Subtle Thrills
This first volume of Spy Classroom focuses heavily on the initial interactions between the girls and their teacher, Klaus. For the most part, everything happens in a comedic and lighthearted manner, such as the time when they try to get Klaus to pay for dozens of steaks that he didn't order… only to get their hands cuffed to the table while he orders big bowls of ice cream for them and then disappears into the crowd.
On the other hand, there are also exciting moments when the author injects subtle elements of the thriller genre into the story. One of the stand out scenes that illustrates this concept is when Lily takes Klaus on a small boat and paralyzes him with poison. That whole situation is so thrilling and exciting that you can't help but feel sucked into the story.
2. A Hint Of A Greater Mystery
As mentioned before, the bulk of the story in this first volume revolves around Klaus and his students. Takemachi-sensei hasn't revealed what kinds of obstacles the characters will have to overcome later on, but there are some bits and pieces that sort of hint towards a larger mystery that likely lurks beneath the current story.
There's one page at the beginning of the first chapter that showcases something that resembles a command room. There's also a brief scene at the end of the last chapter when one of the students accidentally finds a hidden camera. All of these mysteries point to the fact that there seems to be something larger happening in the story.
1. Extremely Familiar Premise
Spy Classroom may have its own way to present its story to the readers, but unfortunately, the premise of the story itself is extremely similar to other manga that came before it. For example, “warring nations that send spies to each other's territories” is the story of Spy x Family.
Not only that, a story about an eccentric teacher who teaches deadly techniques to his students and asks them to defeat him is basically the premise of Assassination Classroom. At this point, it seems Spy Classroom’s strategy is to take premises from other, more famous manga, mix them all up, and add some other elements to make the result a bit different than its predecessors.
2. Chaotic Action Sequences
Another thing that needs further improvement is the action sequences. It's unclear whether the problem lies in the manga’s story or illustrations, but some of the action sequences in this first volume are so chaotic that it's hard to follow what happens in certain moments.
The best example of this is when Klaus and Sybilla are kidnapped by a group of gangsters. The girls ambush the gang and attack them. There are so many people involved in the fights and all of them are drawn in such small panels that it is hard to see what actually happens. Two pages later, the fight suddenly ends. Better clarity during scenes like this is certainly needed.
Spy Classroom is another addition to the subgenre of cute girls in action/military settings, with a heavy harem undertone added for good measure. Although quite overused, that alone is not an indication of a good or bad story. However, the fact that the premise is a blend of stories from other manga definitely won’t leave a favorable impression to most readers.
That being said, it is still the first volume, so the problems found here can still be fixed in the subsequent volumes. Not only that, but the hint of a greater mystery that is presented in this first volume can spark enough interest for most people to at least read the second volume.
So have you read Spy Classroom? If you have, do you like it? Would you read the next volume? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.