Twilight, the man of a hundred faces, has taken on some of the most difficult and grim missions, but when this spy finds himself in need of a cover family for a mission, code-named Operation Strix, he realizes he is in over his head. Going by the fitting name of Loid Forger, Loid is tasked with getting close to Donovan Desmond, leader of the Ostania National Unity Party, and infiltrating his plans to start a war with neighboring Westalis. However, Desmond only goes out in public for the Imperial Scholar mixer at his son’s school. So for the sake of peace, this top-rate spy must transform into a family man and enroll his new child at the prestigious Eden Academy.
Loid starts by adopting a young girl named Anya and soon after forges a marriage with Yor Briar. As a man who trusts no one but himself, domestic life proves difficult. Doing everything he can to maintain a normal household, little does he know that his family also has their own secrets. Anya is a telepath and Yor is an assassin known as the Thorn Princess.
Mixed up in an information war, modeled after the 1960s Cold War in Berlin, it’s no wonder everyone has a secret identity. Thankfully, we don’t have an animated version of The Americans on our hands, but a story of a family made for each other even if its original purpose was to be temporary. Loid needed a family for the mission, Yor a marriage to presume her killings without causing suspicion, and Anya an accepting family who would not be put off by her secret and quirky powers. This found family is the most unique, clueless, and adorable one I’ve seen in anime.
Even if you haven’t watched SPY x FAMILY, you know SPY x FAMILY. This series captured the attention of viewers across the board, earning the top spot amongst other anime over the Spring 2022 season, and redefining what it means to be a “spy show”. Not all spy content is crime and violence, it can be funny, cute, and wholesome.
The first cour of SPY x FAMILY made up of 12 missions (episodes), loosely follows a slice-of-life formula with a comedic twist. Much of the comedy comes from the irony of Loid and Yor’s secret identities which are immediately uncovered by Anya, thanks to her mind-reading abilities. Of course, she eats this up; Anya, once deprived of love and excitement, is full of glee as seen by her “waku waku” eyes at the mention of her parent’s missions. The toddler goes to great lengths to live out her dream spy life, as seen in her favorite show, Spy Wars. One of the first rewards she asks for is a pistol with a silencer, and thanks to her parent’s questionable career choices, her dreams are becoming a reality (well, not the owning a gun part). These outrageous scenarios are out there, but do a great job of making each episode more hilarious than the last. All of these elements work together, speaking to Tatsuya Endou’s storytelling abilities.
As the audience, we not only get what’s happening in front of us but the character’s secret thoughts when Anya uses her telepathic abilities. For a 6-year-old she is incredibly perceptive and aware of her role in Loid’s mission, often using her skills to aid his efforts. Not only is the whole secret spy family thing funny, but witnessing Loid and Yor experience the bumpy road of parenthood adds to it. To Loid’s dismay, not even spies are immune to the struggles of parenting.
Loid was set on completing the mission and returning to his normal life of spyhood, but each day shows a new side of him that he didn’t even know existed. For a facade, Loid and Yor sure as hell go to great lengths to protect and enrich Anya’s life. Slowly the walls around them begin to crumble and we see the development of a loving family, proving that a family, even if not by blood, can be legitimate. Through slight smiles and flushed cheeks, it’s clear as day that the Forger’s have forged a blossoming relationship that hopefully lasts.
They will never be a “normal” family, but that’s exactly why we love them. Although the premise revolves around a time of espionage and violence, SPY x FAMILY leans into a comically wholesome show that is missing from the family-themed genre. I especially love Anya’s perfectly timed goofy antics and facial expressions, Yor’s uncanny love of sharp objects and momma bear persona, and Loid’s wavering aloofness and confusion at his developing paternal instincts. All of which makes the adapted series a knockout.
SPY x FAMILY is on a roll with no sign of slowing down. During the first cour’s runtime, every week was met with excitement for the new episode and I have no doubt in my mind that the second cour will do the same for fans. The manga is still being serialized at the time of writing this, so expect more spy adventures to come! Should you need more SPY x FAMILY, there’s a podcast with the voice actors hosting each episode, aptly named Operation Podcast. The main point you should take away from this review is if you haven’t watched SPY x FAMILY yet, get to the nearest streaming device and do yourself a favor.
The second cour of this season began airing on Oct. 1, 2022, on Crunchyroll.
Title: SPY x FAMILY
Season: Spring 2022
Studio: WIT Studio x Cloverworks
Director: Kazuhiro Furuhashi
Original Creator: Tatsuya Endō