Sometimes a family is a child, a mommy, and a daddy. Sometimes a family is a daddy, another daddy, and a child. Sometimes a family is a mommy, a dragon, and a smaller dragon. In the first volume of Spy x Family, a family is a master spy, a hitwoman, and a child who knows the true nature of her “parents” thanks to her telepathic powers. And said family is too legit adorable for its own good.
Sometime during the Cold War, the world’s greatest spy, Loid Forger, a.k.a. Twilight, is on his most important mission yet: to infiltrate a corrupt politician’s inner circle and gather information that could stop a war between the nations of Westalis and Ostania. The plan requires that his daughter be enrolled in the same academy as his target’s child. It’s a solid strategy, if it weren’t for one problem: Twilight doesn’t have a daughter, or any family at all. Fortunately, a stroke of luck provides Anya, a five-year-old who knows exactly what her new “daddy” is up to thanks to her telepathy—and she loves it. Then along comes Yor Briar, a.k.a. Thorn Princess, a master assassin looking for a stand-in boyfriend to use as camouflage.
The setting may be a politically charged global stage peppered with deadly spies and assassins, but the story is pure comedy. The first few pages are a good indicator of what’s to come: the information Twilight is assigned to steal in this gritty spy-laden world turns out to be photographic evidence, negatives and all, that the Foreign Minister wears a hairpiece. Much of the comedy comes from cute little Anya, who has the ability to read minds but is prone to the same misunderstandings as any young kid. Anya is a great character; her telepathy gives her a more active role and provides endless comic setups as her “parents” try to conceal what she’s capable of.
The manga takes its time to build the characters before throwing them into espionage action. As of Volume One, readers have yet to get to the meat of Loid’s mission, but the story remains page-turning thanks to a satisfying episodic blend of double-life hijinks and the unlikely family of lovable misfits slowly beginning to bond. Love can make a smart person dumb and a dumb person dumber; it can also turn a grenade pin into a wedding ring if you want to add some flair. The family may be fake, but the love is clearly proving to be real. It’ll be exciting to see how the rest of the mission unfolds. Recommended.
publisher: Viz Media
story and art: Tatsuya Endo