• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Spy x Family (2022) review

ByJohn Wintroub

Aug 2, 2022
Spy x Family

When a Shonen Jump title receives an anime adaptation, it naturally becomes the talk of the season. Spy x Family is no different, but it’s unique blending of genre, gorgeous animation & art style and charm has made it one of the most popular anime in recent memory.

Spy x Family follows Twilight, a secret agent who has been given a mission to form a bond with Donovan Desmond. Desmond is the leader of Ostania’s Nationalist Party. The rival country, Westalis, hopes to avoid a war with Ostania. However, Loid must adopt a child to attend the same school as Desmond’s son, Damian. Along the way, he is also forced to find a wife to appear as a traditional nuclear family. That way he can dodge suspicion from Ostania’s Secret Police.

Yor Briar, the wife of the Forger family, also must appear more “normal” as to dodge suspicion. The suspicion initially seems as just gossip among her civil workplace, but Yor too harbors a secret. As the Thorn Princess, Yor works as a contract assassin for Ostania, killing those that could cause conflict with Westalis. Not only that, but their daughter, Anya, carries one with her as well.

Anya, the poster child of Spy x Family, acts as glue that holds Spy x Family together. Anya is a telepath, able to read the minds of any conscious being, which includes her adoptive parents. While Yor and Loid are completely oblivious to each other’s true professions, Anya is giddy over the idea of a spy and an assassin falling in love.

Loid’s mission hinges on Anya’s academic prowess and forming a bond with Damian Desmond. However, because of Anya’s telepathy, she often says the exact right and wrong things at key moments. She can tell exactly when Loid is doubting her, often leading to Anya melting down. This is due to her fear over losing her new family.

Yor, never having a traditional family before, relishes in the idea of becoming more normal, hoping to develop skills outside of murder. Her dedication to Loid and Anya, even if the story Loid gave her is complete malarkey, is endearing.

However, despite all of this, Loid is the one that feels the least normal. Keeping his card close to his chest, he often feels robotic and unfeeling, causing a disconnect with Anya and Yor. He prioritizes his work over his own wellbeing, and it takes Anya and Yor’s naivete and compassion to ground him, bringing out his humanity.

The premise lends itself to comedy, drama and action incredibly well, often balancing each within the same episode.

Add to that the above and beyond adaptation by Cloverworks (My Dress-Up Darling, Horimiya) and Wit Studio (Attack on Titan, Ranking of Kings), and a masterpiece is created. Director Kazuhiro Furuhashi (Dororo, Rurouni Kenshin) and the animation team took Tatsuya Endo‘s charming manga and elevated it further. The breathtaking action set pieces, and quirky character animation make it wholly unique experience comparatively.

That is all without mentioning the phenomenal score by composers Makoto Miyazaki (One Punch Man, Fairy Gone) and Shuhei Mutsuki (Lycoris Recoil, Fairy Gone). It is equal parts James Bond and Loony Toons.

Considering how everything else is top tier, it is no surprise that Spy x Family‘s English dub is as well.

Alex Organ (Psycho-Pass, My Hero Academia) presents that gentleman persona one would expect from a master spy like Twilight. However, it’s those sudden bursts of humanity where he truly shines. One such example is the scene where Loid collapses out of exhaustion after lifting Anya up to celebrate her success in the pilot.

Natalie Van Sistine‘s (Love Live! Superstar!!, Moriarty the Patriot) performance as Yor balances out Organ’s methodical Loid with her more upbeat line delivery. While not the most energetic of the main cast, Sistine’s Yor feels like a strange middle ground between them.

Megan Shipman (Kageki Shojo!!, My Hero Academia) probably had the toughest job of the main cast. She had to capture Anya’s adorableness without the annoyance that comes with so many child characters. I am excited to see what more all of the cast bring to the table going forward.

None of this would be as amazing without ADR (automated dialogue replacement) director Cris George (Snow White with the Red Hair, Wonder Egg Priority) and script writers Tyler Walker (Dr. Stone, Combatants Will Be Dispatched) and Matt Shipman (Sonny Boy, Dr. Stone).

Spy x Family is a darling Shonen series that is for everyone. It’s ability to balance multiple genres, while handling a complex spy thriller plot, is incredible. When combined with the spectacular adaption, it is no surprise this series has garnered so much acclaim in such a short time. The first cour of Spy x Family is currently available to stream subbed and dubbed on Crunchyroll. The second cour premiers this Fall.

Rating: 9/10