Spy x Family and Tatsuya Endo’s formula


Lukas Maarleveld

The somewhat new anime, “Spy x Family,” has already garnered itself huge praise and following while only having 12 episodes total for the first part of the season. By the second episode of the show, the show was ranked as the second anime on MyAnimeList under the “Top Anime” category, as well as having every available volume in the Top 20 Sales on Onada. So why is this? What caused manga sales to go up as well as the show’s popularity with only a few episodes?

Wit Studio and CloverWorks combined efforts have perfectly adapted Tastuya Endo’s spy-film aesthetic with modern touches to create the series’ unique style. And while the art is impressive, the show’s success is due to the main trio of characters, their dynamics, and the comedic opportunities offered by the latter. The first protagonist we are introduced to, one of the three, is Loid Forger A.K.A Twilight, a lonesome spy with a variety of missions preventing a cold war between neighboring European-esque countries, is given the mission of killing a high-ranking elite in the enemy country. He is tasked with going undercover with a family so that the child of this family can enter an academy known as Eden Academy so that Loid may become closer to his target. By mostly coincidence, he ends up with an assassin for a wife and a telepath for a daughter.

Yor Briar aka Thorn Princess, a woman posing as a clerk at city hall with her true occupation being an assassin, her job as well keeping the cold war from becoming hot. Though skilled in combat with a thirst for murder, Yor is more naive than most, and while this flaw makes her different from Loid, they both share their social ineptness due to their secret lives taking up most of their time. Loid and Yor both use each other and their fake marriage to hide their identities without knowing the other’s secret. The only one who is aware of the entire family’s identity is their pink-haired telepath daughter, Anya Forger, the show’s true secret weapon.

 Anya Forger’s secret telepathic ability, acknowledgment of her parents’ professions, and her need for peanuts acts as fuel for the comedic moments on the show. Her power not only allows her to read the minds of adults around her, but is the reason she’s never been adopted as her foster parents in the past have only been scared by her unusualness. The owner of her orphanage explains to Loid she has been brought back many times before, and he adopts her for the mission. Anya acts as the main catalyst for the story’s theme of a found family and as the glue keeping the three protagonists together. The recent episodes/early chapters of the series have focused on Anya and her journey of being accepted into Eden Academy and the struggles she faces with academics and the school’s hierarchy.

While other shonen protagonists tend to have character arcs spanning hundreds of episodes where they learn to trust their friends and believe in themselves through trials and tribulations of god-like battles, Anya Forger provides viewers with satisfying feats in the form of figuring out how to multiply fractions and apologizing to her classmates. The slice-of-life aspects of the show perfectly play into the occasional action scene involving Loid and Yor’s abilities, satisfying not only our own enjoyment but also that of Anya’s. The antics and jokes delivered through her psychic abilities and the secret lives of her parents provide the show with an endless amount of gags and scenarios for the Forger family to confront together as they not only navigate hiding their secrets from each other but figuring out how to actually be a family. For all of these reasons, “Spy x Family” has cemented itself as the anime of Spring 2022.

“Spy x Family” is now streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu. Part 2 of the season will be available starting in October.