[Review] SPY x FAMILY

I’m writing this at a bit of an appropriate time–right at the tail end of a family visit that has taken over our lives for the past week. I had all these plans to finish the spring shows on a timely schedule and write all my reviews before the summer shows hit, but here we are now with several new episodes already out and I’m still stuck finishing up steps 1 & 2. Thanks, Mom! I’ve found some down time in between the sightseeing and eating, so what better place to start than with another family, SPY x FAMILY.

This historical fiction piece in a world both familiar and strange places our main characters, who in any other scenario would either be enemies or completely indifferent to the others’ existence, into a single family unit of father, mother and child. Yet despite the tense political climate and the adults’ careers spanning across espionage and assassination, the tone here is comedic, and I dare say heartwarming.

Best mom?

We start out with renown spy Loid Forger, an agent for WISE (Westalis Intelligence Services’ Easter-Focused Division). He’s sent to Ostania to investigate notable figures of their National Unity Party which threatens peace between Westalis and Ostania. Or so we’ve been told. To fit in as a normal citizen, he’s tasked with creating a “family,”, which immediately leads him to the main star of this show: Anya. This is where historical fiction starts to lean into the supernatural–Anya is an esper who can read the minds of anyone within an unknown proximity. Nobody knows this, not the orphanage where Loid finds her, or Loid, who spends the most time with her yet never suspects the true nature of his daughter. Lastly, we meet Yor, an assassin whose affiliation is not yet clear (unless I somehow missed as an anime-only viewer). What is clear is that she is exceptionally talented while simultaneously oblivious to her surroundings. Somehow she can accurately kill someone in a crowd, yet doesn’t pick up on the true identities of her husband, child, and even her little brother.

With all of our family members accounted for, the actual focus of this anime turns to their relationships with one another and their immediate friends, coworkers, and family. As mentioned before, the only other family member is Yuuri Briar, younger brother to Yor whose cover as a diplomat obscures his true profession as a secret service agent. While I stated friends as side characters, I’m not sure any of the Forger family actually considers others to be friends in the truest sense of the word–they tend to be coworkers or tolerated classmates, like Becky and Damian.

Best dad?

It’s amazing how a cast full of feigned connections can still display moments of real emotion in their protectiveness over one another and concern for the family’s wellbeing. These slices of authenticity shine out of the mostly comical natures of their personalities clashing and at times jiving with others. Loid putting on an entire Disney-esque performance to “save” his daughter the princess from his own agents underlined just how much the Forgers care for one another. Yor tirelessly working with Anya to train for a school dodgeball game is the epitome of Mom just helping her daughter do her best. And then there’s everyone’s favorite Anya, a little girl who stumbles over words she overhears but doesn’t actually understand, who tries so hard yet so badly to accomplish everything she knows Loid needs for his mission, and who desperately wants a forever home. I love this family and want to see them come out of this pretend time intact.

Unfortunately, we don’t yet get to see this ending, as this gem of the series ended abruptly after a single cours, and will resume later in the year. I don’t think the breaking point was necessarily bad given their attempt to wrap up emotionally with another play pretend with the Forger family, but I definitely didn’t feel ready to stop here. As amazing as SPY x FAMILY has been since the very first episode, there’s still so much we have yet to see and resolve, and characters who are in dire need of elaboration, like Yor. Loid and Anya took the majority of the screen time and as such feel like the most complicated characters; Yor still suffers from a one-note label as an assassin, and I hope the next cours will remedy that injustice.

Anime of the season? I’m not sure yet, given our forced break, but SPY x FAMILY is definitely up there among the best of 2022 as of now.

Rating: 2 dango

*Rating system:

  • 0 dango – average and forgettable.
  • 1 dango – very good in its category.
  • 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
  • 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.
How cute are the OP graphics!?

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