Anime With Light Action On the Side: A Review of the Japanese Manga Series ‘Spy x Family’

A look into the hit anime ‘Spy x Family’ and how it has been able to capture the hearts of its viewers.


Shelley Yang '24

During Halloween festivities at Bronx Science, several students dressed up as various fan-favorite characters. Shelley Yang ’24 wore one of Anya’s most iconic facial expressions that expresses her goofy personality throughout the anime ‘Spy X Family.’

If you’re craving a wholesome, family-friendly anime packed with light action on the side, then I have the perfect show for you 00 ‘Spy x Family’. To those that may prefer reading instead, fear not, as it comes in a manga form as well. In a short amount of time, ‘Spy x Family’ has managed to dominate leaderboards, receiving numerous awards and becoming one of the best-selling manga series.  The anime was able to successfully live up to the manga hype, keeping manga fans satisfied with how the adaptation turned out. 

As of October 2022, the manga has over 27 million copies with an average of 2.70 million sales per volume. This means that it takes a spot in the best selling manga list, with it also being one of the most recently published and one of the highest sales per volume on the entire list. At the moment, the manga has 10 volumes and the anime has a completed season 1 with 16 episodes, and an ongoing season 2 with an expected 13 episodes. Additionally, on MyAnimeList, the anime has an average rating of 8.73/10 throughout approximately 600k users, though at one point it was able to reach an average of 9.14, which made it the second highest ranking anime of all time on the website.

‘Spy x Family’ tells the story of a spy named Twilight, who is tasked with the job of restoring peace between two nations: Westalis and Ostalia. In order to maintain peace, he must get closer to an influential figure named Donovan Desmond, the Chairman of the National Unity Party of Ostania. However, he is rarely seen in public, with the occasional exception of attending events at his son’s school. After learning that his son attends the prestigious Eden Academy, Twilight is tasked to infiltrate the school by creating a family and sending his adopted child there to develop connections with the Desmond family.

Unknowingly, Twilight ends up adopting Anya, a young telepath who can read anyone’s mind. In fear of being abandoned, Anya keeps it a secret from Twilight, who also goes by the name Loid in this family. Additionally, since the academy looks into students’ familial backgrounds, Twilight finds himself a wife named Yor who also benefits from a fake marriage. Once again, unbeknownst to Twilight, Yor is actually a trained assassin during the night. Due to increasing suspicions around single women during this time of hostile tensions and where spies are prominent, Yor gladly accepts his offer to not only hide her work, but also prevent her younger brother from worrying. Other than Anya, the telepath, who can obviously read their minds, everyone else is unaware of each other’s identity. However, despite them all being aware that their relationship is just a façade, they establish a sincere and close bond as the story progresses. 

This anime is great for whatever mood you are in – if you’re craving something chill and cozy that you can sit down and watch with your family, or if you’re craving action that is not too overbearing, ‘Spy x Family’ will work for you. The author was able to well integrate various genres such as slice of life, romance, comedy, as well as a hint of action on the side (after all, the entire plot revolves around a spy mission executed to prevent a war from emerging) to produce such a sensational show. 

“I really like ‘Spy x Family’! It’s actually the first anime I’ve watched, and I think it’ll definitely become my comfort show. The graphics are really nice, especially with the openings and endings. I can’t wait for the rest of Season 2’s episodes,” said Kristen Li ’23.

“I believe that Spy x Family is amazing! It’s such a wholesome anime that makes me feel really soft inside whenever I view it! I am a manga reader, so I was very happy as I saw the release of each anime episode. Anya, Loid, and Yor are wonderful and have each have their own unique, but awesome, traits that allow them to be connected as more than just a ‘fake’ family,” says Shelley Yang ’24. 

A big part that draws people to ‘Spy x Family’ are the dynamic characters. First, we have Anya, a young bubbly and lovable telepath who has been able to capture the hearts of all the viewers through her naïvety and comedic moments. Next, we have Yor, a fan favorite character who also goes by the name “Thorn Princess.” Despite being an assassin by night, Yor’s maternal instincts will make you rethink whether or not she’s simply a pretend mother, as she is quick when it comes to her protective nature for Anya and will take down anyone that poses a threat to her. Lastly, Loid’s character is a perfect contrast to the other characters, as he is more calm and serious. Though his main goal is to prevent a war from breaking out, he is still able to keep up with the role as a perfect family man and unintentionally comes off as humorous at times. 

If you’re interested in watching this wonderful anime, you can watch it on Hulu (subscription required), HERE.

“I really like ‘Spy x Family’! It’s actually the first anime I’ve watched, and I think it’ll definitely become my comfort show. The graphics are really nice, especially with the openings and endings. I can’t wait for the rest of Season 2’s episodes,” said Kristen Li ’23.