Spy x Family Volume Four sees the Forgers getting mixed up in events surrounding an assassination attempt on a foreign minister.

Spy x Family Volume Four
Written by: Tatsuya Endo
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 2, 2021

Volume Four opens with Loid taking Anya and Yor to a pet shop that is affiliated with WISE and specializes in military dogs. Let’s just say that Anya doesn’t like any of the options that she was presented. As the owner tells Loid about a pet adoption event taking place, Loid sees another WISE operative is giving him a signal that he has a new assignment. He gives what he thinks is a plausible excuse in order to slip out.

It turns out that Loid’s mission to help investigate and thwart an assassination attempt on a visiting foreign minister. While this is going on, we see a couple of the college students that are part of the plot walking two dogs they had acquired on the black market that were once research subjects. One of the dogs seems to know that a child is about to get hurt and rescues the child before the incident can happen.

When Yor and Anya go to the pet adoption event, Anya sees the unusual dog walking by and reads its mind. When she does, she sees an image of herself, Loid, and Yor. Even though she’s been told to stay within eyesight, Anya sneaks off and follows the dog… and finds herself in the hideout of the group planning the assassination. The unusual dog manages to save Anya from harm, and Yor even gets in on the action when she finds Anya, the dog, and the criminals in an alleyway.

Most of Volume Four focuses on the events leading up to the attempted assassination of the foreign minister. One of the standout moments in this volume is a scene of Handler interrogating the suspects they’ve managed to round up. She doesn’t mince her words with them, and she makes it clear that she’s gone through a lot leading up to this point. I remember being blown away by this scene when I saw it in the anime, and Handler’s speech here grabbed me just as much now as it did when she delivered it in the anime adaptation. Handler obviously has some kind of a backstory, and I’d love to find out more of it at some point in the future. It’s at this point in the series that Handler truly becomes a character in her own right.

This storyline with the assassination attempt is one of the most-action packed stories in Spy x Family up to this point in the series. In addition to the action, we also see that the dog’s ability to see the future is a great complement to Anya’s telepathic abilities. This is the most apparent when Anya reads the dog’s mind and learns that Loid will die at a particular location at a particular time. In the end, Anya does manage to do something that helps Loid to avoid this fate, and what she does is actually rather amusing. I have to give Endo credit for being able to naturally incorporate some of the series’ usual humor into what is an usually more serious story for this series.

Speaking of humor, I can’t forget to mention some of the epic moments that Yor gets during this section of the manga. We get to see her superhuman strength when she kicks a man and sends him flying like a pinball against nearby buildings, as well as kicking a moving car and making it move. She also gets a great panel when she growls at an angry dog and sends it running away in terror.

When all is said and done, Anya is able to get the unusual dog as her reward for earning a Stella back in Volume Three. The remainder of the volume sees Anya adapting to having a dog and trying to come up with a name for him. Anya comes up with his name right at the end of the volume, and the name she chooses seems rather appropriate for her to come up with. This was also a nice note to end the manga on, especially since so much of it was tense and action-packed. These final scenes with Anya and the dog give the reader a much needed breather before the volume ends.

Volume Four also includes two bonus short stories, and I recognized both of them because they were included in the anime adaptation of Spy x Family. The first one sees Anya with the big penguin that Loid got for her at the aquarium and pretending that they, along with her chimera and her parents, are secret agents. This is a cute story that showcases Anya, and Loid and Yor get to be part of the action. While I already knew this story from it being the final scene of the episode that adapted the stand-alone story at the aquarium, it was interesting to see that this bit originated from the manga and wasn’t a scene created specifically for the anime.

The other short story focuses on Franky, Loid’s informant, and his attempt to ask out a woman he likes on a date. He goes to ask Loid for help, and it was amusing to see Loid trying to apply his spy tactics to this situation. The story doesn’t have a happy ending for Franky, but we do get a nice character moment for Franky and Loid right at the end of it. This was actually adapted for the Spy x Family anime during its second cour as part of the section where there were multiple stories in each episode, and the anime adaptation perfectly captured the story that was presented in this short manga.

With the addition of the dog to the Forger family, it seems that the complete family has now been established. And as I said earlier, Anya and the dog’s abilities really complement each other, so it makes sense that Anya has become attached to him. Loid kind of grumbles about how he has take care of the dog while trying to make sure that no one discovers his origins of being a test subject for a particular experiment since those animals were supposed to have been destroyed, but he understands that keeping Anya happy is an important part of his mission.

I enjoyed Spy x Family Volume Four, in large part because of the focus it has on the dog. However, I also appreciated the combination of drama and humor in this volume. Readers who have been following the Forger family will want to read Volume Four in order to see how the dog becomes its newest member.

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