Spy x Family is a 2022 anime directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi and animated by Wit and Cloverworks studios. Today, I present a brief review of this anime’s two parts. (I’m treating it all as one anime, rather than writing separate reviews for each cour.) But first, let me explain what it’s all about.
Twilight is a secret agent helping keep the peace between the countries of Westalis and Ostania. His next mission is a long-term one wherein he must gather information about a certain target. The only way to get to that target is through his son, who attends an elite private academy. Twilight’s mission is to adopt a child, masquerade as a family, and send the child to the same school as the target. To help him take care of the child and emulate a family, Twilight also needs a wife.
Enter Anya, a psychic orphan girl who can read minds but doesn’t want anyone to know. Under the fake name of Loid Forger, Twilight adopts this girl. Then there’s Yor, a deadly female assassin looking to get married to keep up appearances at her day job. Loid, Yor, and Anya together form a chaotic family, wherein nobody tells each other their true identity or occupation. Let the fun begin!
Spy x Family looks great. Visually, the first thing that pops out at me is how cool or cute the characters look. The designs for the Forgers will definitely make them stand out in my memory. Anya is insanely adorable with her pink hair and sparkling green eyes. As a pansexual person, I find Yor and Loid both keenly attractive.
The color pallet is nice in this anime, and the lighting, shading, and general detail are all good. Some shots definitely look more polished and detailed than others, but that’s just how it is in anime. When there are action scenes, the movements are exciting and fairly smoothly animated. My personal favorite thing about the visuals was the way they gave Anya so many exaggerated, cartoonish face expressions. Her over-the-top reactions are always endearing and/or hilarious.
For the most part, the story in Spy x Family surpassed what I usually expect of a comedy/drama anime. Episodes often feel a little less serial and a little more anthological, but there is a driving plot in the background. Said plot is to keep the family stable and keep Anya doing well in school so Twilight can spy on his target. It’s a pretty solid storyline. Occasionally, I became slightly bored with the pacing, but the humor helped a lot to keep me focused. Sometimes, there are also action/suspense scenes. Those were always enjoyable. In part 2 of Spy x Family, it seemed like the plot wandered more. It was still great overall, though.
The story category encompasses many aspects beyond basic plot. It also includes the effectiveness of humor, the appeal of emotional elements, the use of tropes, and the exploration of story themes. The creativity and uniqueness of the narrative is also an important element. Spy x Family delivers satisfactorily on all of these fronts. For this type of anime, humor matters more than deep emotional connection and philosophical themes. There isn’t a lot in this anime that I would call deep or fascinating. However, it’s fresh, wholesome, and fun. That’s more than good enough.
The music, songs, and voice-acting in Spy x Family are all terrific. A group of music creators called (K)now_Name is credited with making the OST for this anime. Some of the tracks are fun for background music. The first opening song is “Mixed Nuts” by Official HIGE DANdism, but I’m not much of a fan of it. However, the OP for Spy x Family part 2 was amazing. It’s called “Souvenir” by Bump of Chicken and it’s easily one of the best anime songs of 2022. As for the ending songs, both were highly enjoyable. The first was “Comedy” by Gen Hoshino and the second was “Shikisai” by Yama. All these songs have their own interesting sounds, so check them out.
I’m known to nerd out over voice-actors for several paragraphs, but I want to keep it brief in this review. The voices for the three main characters were excellent: Atsumi Tanezaki as Anya Forger, Saori Hayami as Yor Briar, and Takuya Eguchi as Twilight/Loid Forger. I’m not as familiar with the work and roles of Eguchi, but he has such an attractive voice! I’m a big fan of Tanezaki ever since she played Chise in The Ancient Magus’ Bride. The range of voice styles she can do is impressive. As for Hayami, she is beloved by many for her heavenly, melodic voice. She did a great job as usual with presenting a likeable, adult female character.
To me, it seems like there’s not a lot of deep or interesting character psychology, which is the only reason I didn’t give this category a score of 9 or 10. However, not every anime needs to have serious and involved character psychology. Light-hearted anime series can still have a high score for characters. Spy x Family does well with its characters because they are so likeable, relatable, and endearing. How can anyone not love Yor with all her cute clumsiness in daily life? How can it not be hilarious that she’s simultaneously a deadly assassin by night? Loid is admirable for working so hard to prevent war. His talents and genius are impressive.
Besides just being easy to love, the main characters all have interesting starting concepts. For example, Anya is a psychic with an energetic, curious personality. We don’t see a lot of character history or backstory explored, which is a slight weakness. Similarly, there is little progress where the characters improve their shortcomings. But again, these characters are so lovable and funny – with such unique starting concepts – that they make up for the absence of profound development. On a final note, I found it very refreshing and inclusive that Spy x Family features both a foster child and an adult, single woman for main characters. It’s rare for anime to do these things well.
Personal Enjoyment: 8
There was so much to enjoy in Spy x Family. I appreciated bits and pieces from each of the other four categories, such as music and animation. I also have the following list of examples of specific elements that I found highly enjoyable.
1) I loved almost everything about the character of Yor, including admiring her skills and laughing when she got drunk. 2) The humor in this anime is great, from the exaggerated reactions to the absurd situational comedy. 3) Anya’s cuteness is impossible not to love. 4) The wholesome family vibes are also great. 5) I enjoyed the appearances of “Handler,” and found her very sexy. 6) Finally, I liked the historical aspects of this anime.
Overall Score: 8.2 / 10.0
The overall score is the average of the five categories explored above. As you can see, Spy x Family ended up with a solid score. For comparison, this anime is currently sitting on a score of 8.68 on MyAnimeList.net. The reception was overwhelmingly positive. As for me, I need something a little darker and deeper to give it that high of a rating. However, I agree that Spy x Family is a truly fun and enjoyable anime!
Thank you for reading~
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