Search SFE    Search EoF

  Omit cross-reference entries  

Spy X Family

Entry updated 11 July 2022. Tagged: TV.

Japanese Anime tv series (2022). Wit Studio, CloverWorks. Based on the Manga by Tatsuya Endo. Directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi. Written by Honoka Katou, Tomomi Kawaguchi, Daishiro Tanimura and Rino Yamazaki. Voice cast includes Takuya Eguchi, Saori Hayami and Atsumi Tanezaki. Twelve 24-minute episodes. Colour.

Ostania and the Westalis are nations engaged in a Cold War. The new assignment of Westalis spy Twilight (Eguchi) is to monitor the reclusive Donovan Desmond, leader of Ostania's far right National Unity Party (see Politics), who is suspected of planning to end the truce between the two countries. So Twilight becomes Loid Forger, psychiatrist: he plans to adopt a six-year-old child who will attend the same elite school as Desmond's sons. At a run-down orphanage he considers Anya (Tanezaki), but thinks to himself she must be too young ... Anya, apparently spontaneously, tells him she's six, so he adopts her (in fact, she's four or five).

Twilight intends to return the girl to the orphanage once the job is complete; fortunately he only thinks this whilst she is asleep, as Anya is a Telepath "unintentionally created in an experiment by a certain organization", who escaped their facility. She is a fan of the television series Spy Wars, and the prospect of a father who is a secret agent delights her. However, though Anya passes the entrance exam, the college insists on meeting both parents, so Twilight looks for a wife ...

Socially awkward Yor Briar (Hayami) is in her late twenties and single – a state Ostanian society views with deep suspicion. This hinders her work as an assassin, the Thorn Princess. When Twilight and Yor accidentally meet, she – seeing Anya – assumes Twilight is married: however Anya decides a parent who is an assassin would be great, so starts loudly bemoaning her lack of a mother. Circumstances lead to Twilight and Yor agreeing to a sham marriage: a family of three, neither adult knowing the other's secrets.

The storyline is split between Anya at school and the family's interactions. Though she knows what people are thinking, Anya's understanding is literal and often lacks comprehension: to her the phrase "secret police" simply means police who are secret, which sounds exciting; she is unaware of the dread the phrase stirs in adults. Anya's abilities are the result of science – a brief flashback shows the Scientists who created her. In the eleventh episode we glimpse a Precognitive dog, the side effect of a scientific experiment that increased its intelligence (see Uplift): in the manga – and presumably shortly in the anime too – he becomes Anya's pet. The world has elements of a Parallel World and Alternate History: geographically it differs from ours, whilst Ostania is a sort of mid-twentieth century East Germany (its capital is Berlindt), but socially and politically more fascist-leaning than communist.

Though Twilight and Yor tell themselves they are maintaining a fiction that enables them to do their jobs, by the end of the first season the family is clearly a comfortable unit. Despite the genre elements, Spy X Family is at its core a heart-warming slice-of-life comedy about family, spiced with ESP and action scenes. The musical cues portray Twilight as a James Bond figure (see Ian Fleming), though his personality is more sympathetic: indeed, all the leads are very likeable, particularly the endearing Anya. The manga and anime have both proven extremely popular, the former having digital and physical sales of 15 million by the end of 2020. There has also been a Light Novel (strictly speaking, a collection), whilst a stage musical has been announced. [SP]


previous versions of this entry

This website uses cookies.  More information here. Accept Cookies