Story and Art By: Tatsuya Endo
Translation: Casey Loe
Touch-Up Art & Lettering: Rina Mapa
What They Say:
Not one to depend on others, Twilight has his work cut out for him procuring a wife and a child for his mission to infiltrate an elite private school. What he doesn’t know is that the wife he’s chosen is an assassin and the child he’s adopted is a telepath!
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The nation of Westalis has always been in conflict with its neighbor Ostania, but now it seems they are planning something more sinister, and so in order to discover their intentions, the intelligence agency must send their most accomplished agent – one code-named Twilight. But as this talented spy finishes his most recent assignment and ponders if he will ever have a normal life with a wife and child, those thoughts are quickly thrown aside as he remembers those foolish intentions were lost when he took up his current occupation. However, as he swiftly discards his past persona and picks up the new mission from the drop, this emotionless operative learns who his next target is to be: Donovan Desmond, the leader of the National Unity Party who is a threat to the present truce, but in order to get close to the man, he must don the identity of a married man with child. Shocked by this egregious addendum, Twilight’s orders state the quarry is normally a recluse and only socializes during events presented by his son’s elite private school called Eden Academy. Therefore, so in order to get close to him, Twilight must enroll a child within this institution, but the enrollment period is quickly approaching, with but one week remaining.
Operation Strix is the key to maintaining peace between the East and West, and so Twilight dutifully progresses with his instructions in order to accomplish his goal. After securing a single-family apartment and establishing it met to his security standards, the agent proceeds to a local orphanage to adopt a child, with every intention of utilizing the youngster as another tool to succeed in the mission. While he surveys the institution as being unlikely to have parentage records, thus making establishing a backstory all the easier, the man now calling himself Loid Forger specifies he would like someone who can read and write, causing the shady owner to call over a cute little girl named Anya. Thinking to himself she may be too short and underage for the Academy, the daring youth hesitantly stands on her tip-toes and boldly states she is six, and erasing any doubt once she finishes a complicated crossword by herself. However as the new father and daughter begin to learn about each other, Twilight is amazed by how well Anya adapts to her environment, especially of how she picks up on his thoughts during the most embarrassing of situations. And yet as they adjust to each other’s quirks, Forger cannot but think he has succeeded in the first part of his mission, with the second part of finding a wife now ahead … how hard can that be?
When first hearing about Spy x Family, of course I immediately thought this book would evoke an exciting espionage escapade, with the entire family being involved in a high stakes scheme to save their country, but after fully enjoying this comical adventure by Tatsuya Endo, it is certain the former standards will not become the norm for this unusual title. It is amusing to watch Twilight trying to adapt to his new circumstances, especially his interactions with Anya who seems to frustrate him more than any unforeseen complications as expected during an assignment, and yet one cannot but smile as this unusual girl slowly engenders herself toward Loid and the audience. To watch him try to understand his new daughter via child-rearing and psychology books was a highlight for the opening, allowing the reader to almost hear his frustration materialize as we watch his calm demeanor partially collapse. For someone who tries to control every circumstance within his missions it must be infuriating, but cannot be charmed by this new hindrance who is so innocent and easily influenced by this new father figure, even though this supposed master spy cannot comprehend her mysterious powers and never connects the unusual events. Papa and daughter are an odd couple, and the circumstances are made all the more perplexing once Yor is introduced as his wife, with her situation only adding to the hilarity of Endo-sensei’s strange story, making every successful hurdle overcome all the more pleasurable and their welcomed success a growing need to want to see what happens next.
Spy x Family is an appealing escape from the usual violence we experience within adventure manga, and while Viz Media may have partially spoiled the story thanks to their overly descriptive volume synopsis, the title still has a charming appeal to make us come back for more. To watch Twilight, Anya and Yor attempt to live ordinary lives within the chaos outside influences bring to their familial adventures is what lies at the core of the story, and yet it is the overly complicated occupation influenced solutions which lead to comical events that make the title so amusing and enjoyable, all while normal people within the narrative react to their dispassionate reactions, allowing readers to only shake their heads in disbelief and smile as we grow more attached to this strange family. While the success of their missions may be in question, one cannot but be constantly entertained by this appealing title, ever wondering if success for Twilight is important, even as the end result of his improbable dream draws closer to fruition.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: Teen Plus
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: June 02, 2020