Tista is An Earlier, Serious Work from the Creator of SPY x FAMILY
by Danica Davidson
June 26, 2023
Back before Tatsuya Endo wrote about assassin Yor Forger in SPY x FAMILY, he wrote about assassin Tista in a manga series of the same name. Tista originally came out in 2007, and while it wasn’t Endo’s first manga, it was his first serialized work. It is contained in two volumes.
Tista takes place in New York City. Tista, the character, is a college student who seems awkward and ungainly, but she’s incredibly skilled at killing people. The manga juxtaposes the two sides of her, and how she’s seen by other people and how she’s viewed by the police. She’s never killed on a Sunday, and has gotten the name Sister Militia. She’s connected with a Catholic Church, and, as the cover image implies, there is quite a bit of Christianity woven into the story, including prayers and symbolism.
The manga is much more serious than SPY x FAMILY, lacking the gag humor. It also isn’t as strong as SPY x FAMILY. There are some interesting mysteries going on — like what is up with Tista’s eyes, or what the background is with her father, and why a girl got caught up in assassinating in the first place. She also gets involved with an artist named Arty Drawer — not involved as in dating, but he saves her life at one point, and the two go to school together, and they start hanging out. This is where you really see Tista being awkward and unsure of herself.
After the story is a short comic showing Endo traveling to New York City for his research, and this is pretty fun. Now and then you see a glimmer of SPY x FAMILY’s style and skill showing through, and the art is great. Still, this feels like an earlier work of Endo’s where he is growing as a creator. He is not yet at the polished standard he is with his most famous manga series.
Story & Art: Tatsuya Endo
Publisher: VIZ Media
Translator: Misa ‘Japanese Ammo’
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.