Some story ideas write themselves, and some make you kick yourself for not thinking of them first. As you may have guessed, the new series Spy X Family manages to do both.
It’s a story that pulls together 1960’s-style spy intrigue and action with sitcom-style hijinks and even some heartfelt moments of genuine warmth into a show that is impossible not to love. At the time of this writing, there are only six episodes, but the show is so fun I couldn’t wait to write about it.
In the fictional nation of Westalis, tensions are on the rise with their neighboring nation Ostania. An ultra-nationalist figure named Donovan Desmond is stoking the flames of war, and due to his reclusive nature, he is difficult to get close to. Westalis sends their best spy, the debonair agent known only as Twilight, to Ostania to get close to the man and learn his plans. However, the only way to do this is to pose as a parent in the elite private school where Donovan sends his own children. As such, Twilight sets about creating a fictional family for himself, beginning with adopting Anya, an orphan with the secret ability to read minds. He then marries Yor Briar, a young woman who seems to the world awkward and airheaded, but is in reality a deadly assassin known as Thorn Princess. While both Twilight (now going by Loid Forger) and Yor acknowledge theirs is a marriage of convenience, neither knows the other’s secrets, or those of their “daughter,” who is the only one aware of everything going on.
And really, that’s everything you need to know. It’s a story about double lives and lies as not a single member of the family is being fully honest with each other, but while it wouldn’t be surprising if such a story was rather dark in tone, it somehow manages not to be. All three of our protagonists are lonely, isolated by their work or abilities from ordinary people, but it quickly becomes apparent that even through their various deceptions, the familial bond between them is sincere. And lest you think it’s all sappy, heartfelt moments, there are plenty of car chases, gun battles, and hand to hand combat to keep it spicy.
While many stories have played upon the conventions of the spy genre in a light-hearted manner, it’s all in the execution, and the execution of Spy X Family is top-notch. With great animation, excellent characterization, and fun to follow plot, it has something for just about everyone. And if all that still doesn’t sell you, I hear that down the pike the family’s going to get themselves a dog!