Spy x Family is an anime series based on a manga by Tatsuya Endo. The series was directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi and produced by Wit Studio and CloverWorks. The first cour of the anime premiered in Japan on April 9, 2022 and had 12 episodes. The second cour of 13 episodes premiered in Japan on October 1, 2022. Crunchyroll simulcast both cours as they aired in Japan. As of this writing, Crunchyroll holds the North American rights for the Spy x Family anime.
In the series, there is a conflict between two nations: Westalis and Ostania. In order to maintain peace between the two, a Westalis agent with the codename “Twilight” is given the assignment to spy on an Ostanian leader named Donovan Desmond. He’s a reclusive man, and the only way to get close to him is for Twilight to obtain a wife and child so the child can be enrolled Eden College, the same private school that Donovan’s son attends. This is known as “Operation Strix.”
Twilight takes on the identity of a psychiatrist named Loid Forger, and he goes to a shady orphanage to find a child. He meets and takes in a young girl named Anya, who, unknown to Loid, has telepathic abilities. After this, with the help of Franky Franklin, an informant for WISE (the group Loid works for), he gets information on single women in the community. Loid ends up meeting Yor, a woman who works at city hall but is also secretly an assassin, and for their own reasons, they decide to form a fake marriage. But things become a little complicated for Loid after he finds out that Yor’s brother, Yuri, works with the secret police of Ostania. Yuri doesn’t like Loid, but ultimately tolerates him because Yuri is overly loyal to Yor because she raised him after their parents died.
After the “found family” of Loid, Yor, and Anya is formed, quite a bit of the first cour focuses on trying to get Anya into Eden College and the three of them trying to become a family. After the humor and drama that’s involved in getting Anya into the school, the series focuses on her joining the school’s student body and introducing the audience to her classmates. In particular, there’s Becky Blackbell (who becomes Anya’s best friend) and Damian Desmond, the son of Donovan Desmond. Anya and Damian don’t really get along at first, which hampers Loid’s mission because he really needs Anya to become friends with Damian in order to potentially get closer to Donovan. The only other option is for Anya to earn eight Stellas and become an honor student, but let’s just say that there’s no way for Anya to pull this off. By the end of the 25 episodes, Anya and Damian can’t be considered friends, but it seems like Damian isn’t quite as antagonistic towards Anya as he was earlier on in the series.
Near the end of the first cour, Anya earns a Stella not for her grades, but for something she does outside of school. As a way to reward Anya for earning the award, Loid agrees to get Anya a dog. The early episodes of the second cour show how Anya’s dog, Bond, becomes a part of the Forgers’ “found family.” It turns out that Bond has a secret of his own, which Anya picks up on due to her telepathic abilities. Because their abilities work so well together, Bond becomes a perfect partner for Anya.
After the first three episodes that focus on Bond, most of the rest of the second cour is made up of episodes that contain two or three shorter stories. Even though each individual episode doesn’t have one overarching story, most of these stories become important to either provide hints for elements that will propel the main story forward or are important in and of themselves to propel the overarching story of the series.
The second cour also introduces “Nightfall,” a female member of WISE who is going by the identity of Fiona Frost. She’s in love with Loid, and in the episodes where she makes a major appearance, she has the goal of trying to force Yor out of the picture so she can become Loid’s wife and partner for Operation Strix.
I decided to watch Spy x Family for the Spring 2022 anime season because I only had two shows on my watch list for the season, and one of them was very hit-and-miss about airing new episodes during the Winter 2022 anime season. I’d heard a lot about the Spy x Family manga on social media, and when I saw there was an anime adaptation that would be simulcast on Crunchyroll, I decided to give it a shot. By the time I finished the first episode, I had fallen in love with the series and couldn’t wait to watch more. My interest in the series never wavered during that first cour, and I couldn’t wait for the second cour to premiere in Fall 2022. Even though the second cour had a little bit of a different feel to it, primarily due to having the bulk of its episodes telling multiple stories, I found that I still enjoyed the series.
The writing in Spy x Family contains the right blend of humor and drama and helps to make its cast, especially the Forgers, engaging and lovable characters. As a viewer, I really liked seeing over these two cours how Loid, Yor, and Anya do become more and more like a real family, even if they don’t notice this for themselves. There are many times where Loid will think he’s doing simply for the sake of his mission, but the audience can tell that he’s more genuine about what he’s doing than he realizes. Yor really turns into a mother figure for Anya, and by the time Fiona comes into the picture, the audience can tell that perhaps Yor has started developing real feelings for Loid (but again, she doesn’t really notice this herself). And Anya is just an incredibly cute child.
When it comes to the animation, I really like the look and feel of Spy x Family. The character designs are pleasing to the eye, and the color palette used for this series works well for the tone of the series’ writing. I was quite impressed to realize that the quality of the animation of Spy x Family hardly wavered throughout the series’ 25 episode run. Being able to keep the quality of the animation to that high of a standard for that long is actually rather impressive.
I’m a little bummed that Spy x Family has ended, but I can console myself with the fact that there will be a second season and an anime film coming out in 2023. Unfortunately, I don’t know when in 2023 the second season is scheduled to be released, so I have no clue how long I’ll have to wait in order to continue following the adventures of the Forger family.