Spy x Family – Two seasons of shenanigans

Very few shows I’ve seen will stick with me as much as Spy x Family has. It’s not the best show I watched last year, simply because I think there were some areas where it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. What makes this show so special in my opinion is that the points where it does hit the mark, it absolutely nails it. From soundtrack to art to animation to voice acting. There’s so much polish on this show it almost shines too brightly for me to even see it. So with that endorsement out of the way, let’s dive into one of 2022’s biggest hit anime, based on a shonen jump manga by Tatsuya Endo.

That smile. That darned smile.

One little fun fact is that the mangaka has gone on record saying he doesn’t feel particularly attached to the characters from his own manga. Spy x Family isn’t the story that he wanted to tell so he feels no real attachment to the Forger family. That’s got to be hard on your mental health after a while. I guess it’s more important to write what sells than to write what you want if you want to make it in an industry as brutal as the manga industry. Makes me wonder what a manga he does want to write will look like. Perhaps we get to see this once Spy x Family ends and he has enough recognition to take a little bit more risk. But putting aside whether the author likes the characters or not, he definitely has a knack for creating a fun story, so let’s dive into the story proper then.

I think I might be obsessed with this opening theme. It’s gorgeous and just sounds so pleasant.

Contrary to the author, I do feel a level of attachment to these characters. Loid Forger is the fake name for a spy going by the name Twilight (Tasogare). He is infiltrating the neighboring country that they have a cold war with. There is no active fighting going on, but things aren’t exactly great either. This is basically a reflection of post world war 2 Germany. The east and the west are represented and there’s tensions yet life has to go on. His target is a member of the government. To get closer to his target and find a way to convince him to broker peace between the two nations proves to be nearly impossible. Thus WISE, the spy organization he works for, devises a plan. He needs to have a child get close to Desmond’s (the target) child, so they can talk to the man through that connection. The problem is, Twilight doesn’t have any children. So he does what any reasonable spy does; he adopts an orphaned child.
The child he settles on is the star of this show. Anya is adorable in everything she does. Not only that, she has a secret super power. She can hear other people’s thoughts. She uses this power to get Loid to adopt her and later on in several other situations. With his new daughter, Loid sets out to apply to Eden College, the prestigious school where his target’s son will soon enroll. But things aren’t quite in the clear yet, as the process of enrollment requires the presence of Anya’s parents. Plural. With this problem, Anya and Loid need to quickly find someone who can play the role of Loid’s wife.

What an elegant way of sitting in the tram, Mr. Forger.

This is where my favorite character, Yor, comes into play. Yor is an assassin called The Thorn Princess (Ibari Hime). She’s nearing her thirties and is still single. In a world like this one, that’s rather suspicious. She is thus on the lookout for a partner so no one will interfere with her work. Basically, Loid and Yor are perfect for eachother in that sense. They get married in the middle of a crazy action scene and neither of them figure out the other is a spy or assassin. This is where we get into the suspension of disbelief portion of the show. Because we need a bit of that. It’s really hard to believe that one of the most talented spies in the world and one of the most feared assassins are somehow completely oblivious to the other’s work and talents while living in the same house. 

You can do it Anya, protect the peace in your new home by…. studying I guess?

But this is shonen anime, not a thesis on the believability of your plot. Sometimes things need to be a little bit crazy and unbelievable to make for a fun story and one thing Spy x Family always delivers on is fun. I do think that if future arcs create suspicion between the characters it would make for some more interesting story telling than just keeping them as the densest two masses in the universe for the entirety of the story. 
The rest of the cast of this show is pretty decent too. Damian is a great foil for Anya who is about as likable as an annoying brat will ever be. His father is rich and important so he is a bit taken aback when some people don’t immediately suck up to him. The head teacher is a great caricature of an old stuck-up gentleman with his “elegant” obsessions. Becky is a bit annoying at times and I’m not a whole fan of the “this prepubescent child is somehow madly in love with an adult man.” It just feels weird to me. Franky is an informant is great too, especially how he sort of turns into Anya’s fun uncle as time passes by.

Call it like it is, Anya.

Before I give my final verdict, there’s two things I want to talk about; music and production quality.
First up; the music. The first opening and both endings are solid, fun to listen to but not amazing and unforgettable. The second opening however, is an absolute banger. Bump of Chicken has been one of my favorite bands ever since I first saw their opening Hello World play at the start of Kekkai Sensen. I’ve liked many of their songs on Spotify and they’re just so relaxing to listen to. 
Souvenir is the song used for the opening here and I don’t know if I can put into words how gorgeous this opening is. It sounds amazing by being upbeat yet melancholic at times as well. It perfectly fits with the top tier animation used for the opening credits. I think it’s close to being the perfect opening sequence and I can’t think of many openings that will top it that aren’t also by Bump of Chicken. It’s near the very apex of anime music for me, together with greats like Kenshi Yonezu, Aimer and LiSA. Moving on to animation and art. This also looks great throughout the show, even peaking at certain moments. Nothing that’ll absolutely blow your mind during most episodes, but it always felt fluid and fun to watch. It’s not quite on the level of something like Chainsaw Man though, but for the kind of show it is, it really doesn’t have to be.

It’s a good thing he decided to punch the table because Yor was about to murder everyone in this room without an ounce of mercy.

That brings me to my final verdict. Spy x Family is a great concept that’s not at all believable but still really fun to watch once you accept how ridiculous it is. The production is high quality and the characters are a lot of fun. I wonder how good the story is going to be at keeping its ridiculousness fun, but for these first two seasons it passes with flying colors. It made it into my top 10 shows of the year with ease and the only thing that doesn’t put it higher is the fact that the story itself has not been super intriguing so far. But with all that it has to offer, it doesn’t have to be and with the success it’s had I’m sure we’ll delve deeper into the story with future seasons. But that’s me and my opinion, now I’m curious what you think of the first two seasons of Spy x Family. Please let me know in the comments down below and as always, thanks for reading.

You drive a hard bargain..

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