If you’ve been following manga trends for the last couple months, you have probably seen some chatter on social media about this manga. I certainly have, and that’s one of the reasons why I decided to pick up the first volume and even get a subscription to Shonen Jump to continue reading it as it comes out. This has to be one of the best break-out hits this summer, with sales topping 4 million copies worldwide and an anime adaptation in the works. All of this hype is well worth it in my opinion. Spy x Family has one of the most fun and unique family-centered stories that is able to reach across demographics with its wacky characters and subject matter. I highly suggest looking into getting the first volume or even checking out the couple free chapters that are available on the Shonen Jump site.
The story of Spy x Family follows international spy Twilight as he is given his most tricky mission yet: infiltrate a rich private school to gain access to and information on a certain high-level political figure. The only problem is that he now has to find a child that he can enroll in the school to gain access and a wife to complete the picture of a perfect high-class family. What he doesn’t realize is that the child he got from an orphanage is a telepath and the wife he found is an assassin. But even with their differences and secrets, all members of their dysfunctional family come together to make sure their daughter gets accepted into the school while working to make sure they’re secrets are safe from each other.
The story and art is done by Tatsuya Endo, and as someone who primarily reads shoujo manga, I can definitely feel the influence of more shonen styles on their art style. Don’t get me wrong, I do love it and I think Endo has done a fantastic job with the character designs and action scenes throughout the volume. I get a slight vibe of Lupin within the art and how some of the side characters are drawn as well as some of the other more spy-centric scenes. I also love how different the character designs are between even the side characters in the face and body structures, however it seems to only be obvious with the male characters as most of the female characters seem to have the same basic face shape. It’s not a huge issue, but I think it’s something that could add another level of depth to the manga if Endo wanted to work on it.
I love the designs for the main characters. Twilight (AKA Loid Forger) is your typical pretty boy, with light hair and a strong build. While the design isn’t flashy, it makes for a charming spy who has the ability to impress and blend into high-class society. Plus, Twilight makes it a habit to take on the faces of other people while he works, giving him another level of visual interest. The daughter, Anya, is absolutely adorable with her tiny build and big round eyes. Her design allows us to easily see her as this naive 6-year old girl who is just looking for a home to call her own while holding onto this secret of being a telepath. Her big, hopeful eyes make us root for her to succeed. Yor (AKA Thorn Princess) has the slim athletic build of someone who takes care of her body, while also looking the picture of a kind of slow-witted office girl. Together they try and succeed in creating the picture of a successful high-class family.
One of the things I love about this manga and Endo’s art style is when it comes to the action scenes. Both Twilight and Yor engage in fights throughout the manga, which are always depicted in a very dynamic way, with Endo showcasing the movement of the characters with the line work. Each chapter seems to have some kind of action scene either with Twilight or Yor. Endo’s art is really kicked up a notch in these scenes, with character designs stretching to depict fighting and movement, the linework becoming heavier and thicker, and motion lines being used in a visually appealing way. These fights not only provide interest to the manga as a whole, they also provide a nice contrast to the overall story that focuses on building a family and caring for an adopted child.
I love stories where grown men are forced to care for small children, especially men who are otherwise a little rough around the edges and don’t necessarily have the experience to care for one. Spy x Family gives us a man who has been taking on secret identities his whole life, living alone, with no experience with children now having one thrust upon him. We see quickly in the first chapter that Anya begins to grow on him a little bit as he tries to learn how to be a father while also maintaining the mission he was assigned to carry out. Basically, underneath all of the political intrigue, fighting, and spying, this is a story about putting together a dysfunctional family and coming to care for one another. Anya sucks them both into her innocence with her large eyes and whole-hearted willingness to put her trust in them as her new parents.
I really love the character of Anya. She’s adorable, but also so willing to accept her new parents even though she knows they’re secretly an assassin and a spy. Her innocence and need for excitement shows in her eyes. She sees her new life with her new parents as almost a TV show to watch and be entertained by. She’s drawn to TV shows featuring spies and detectives and so sees the activities of her parents as an extension of that. This is all a fairly understandable reaction given her age of 6 and her previous life being stuck in an orphanage with little or no entertainment to keep her engaged. Now she’s thrown into an exciting life with exciting new parents. It’s adorable seeing her interact with her new parents and how she manages to pull them both in and bring out their protective instincts.
I’m really interested to see where this story goes. I actually really enjoy spy stories, so it’s been really fun to see what Twilight would do next and how he would get out of the next sticky situation. I love seeing how his mind works and how he takes into account all the different situations that might crop up. However, I could see the story becoming how their new-found love for their cobbled together family could get in the way of the overall mission. Maybe even seeing if or how the family continues after the mission is over. Do they reveal their true natures and work together on something? Or keep hiding it from one another?
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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