Manga Unmasked: Spy × Family

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Manga Unmasked Spy x Family

Welcome back to Manga Unmasked! In this series, we take a deep dive into the various manga series available in our collection. So, whether you're already a fan of manga or just a curious reader, we hope you might learn a little about your next potential reading obsession. In this second edition, we're jumping into a world of high-stakes missions, espionage, assassins, and... family life? It's all for the sake of world peace! Waku waku! 

Check out more manga explored with the Manga Unmasked series—My Hero Academia, Sailor Moon, and Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki.

A Little History

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128 Park Avenue Exterior

Spy × Family is a spy action/comedy shounen manga series written and illustrated by Tatsuya Endo. It was first serialized biweekly on Shueisha's Shōnen Jump+ (Manga Plus outside Japan) in March 2019 and licensed in North America by Viz Media. The chapters have since then been collected into 10 volumes as of October 2022. 

Before Spy × Family, Tatsuya Endo wrote and illustrated seven one-shots—including Ishi ni Usubeni, Tetsu ni Hoshi (2017), and I SPY (2018)—and three serials—including Tista (2007-2008) and Gekka Bijin (2010-2012). 

Though the manga series is still relatively new, Spy × Family already has a few awards to its name! In 2019, Spy × Family took first place in the web manga category of the Next Manga Awards (Tsugi ni Kuru Manga Awards). In 2020, the series won a top spot in the 4th Annual TSUTAYA Comic Awards. In 2022, the Da Vinci manga news magazine announced Spy × Family won its 22nd Annual Book of the Year award.

Spy × Family hit the small screen with its anime debut on April 9, 2022. The first season was split into two cours—the first half of season one ending in June 2022, and the second half beginning in October 2022. A second season and an original movie were announced at the Jump Festa '23 event, both expected in 2023. The movie will have an original story written by Tatsuya Endo. 

Declassified Intel

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Westalis and Ostania

Spy × Family takes place in a fictional Europe-esque setting, centered within the rival countries of Westalis and Ostania. It has been years since the countries were in a hot war that slipped into a cold war after a tenuous peace was brokered between them. 

When a Westalis diplomat dies in a suspicious car crash in Ostania, Westalian Intelligence suspects the far-right National Unity Party of Ostania is plotting to start a new war. 

To keep the fragile peace and prevent another war, the Westalian Intelligence Services' Eastern-Focused Division (WISE) send their most talented agent, "Twilight" to Ostania. Using a false name, Twilight must go undercover in Ostania and succeed in his mission to get close to Chairman Donovan Desmond to keep him from pushing for war. The only problem? Desmond only shows up in public at social gatherings at Eden Academy, an elite private school for children. So, in order to fulfill his mission, Twilight needs to create a perfect fake family: the Forgers. 

Meet the Forgers 

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Twilight aka Loid Forger

Twilight
Alias: Loid Forger 
Spy / Husband and Father 

Agent Twilight is many things: a skilled spy, a master of disguise, a man with a photographic memory and a sharp wit... and now, a husband and father. 

Twilight—or, during this mission, Loid Forger—is the series' protagonist. As an agent of WISE, he is dedicated to doing whatever needs to be done to keep his country safe from another hot war, but he faces a novel challenge when he is ordered to assume a new identity, obtain a wife and child, and create a family to get close to his target. 

Despite Loid Forger's many talents and skills as Westalis' greatest spy, adopting and raising a small child to be a stellar student at the prestigious Eden Academy is perhaps his most difficult mission to date. 

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Anya Forger
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Anya and Loid

Anya Forger 
Code Name: Test Subject 007
Telepath / Daughter 

Appearing about four or five years old (though she claims to be six), Anya is an energetic child, a lover of peanuts, and a fan of the in-world TV Show Spy Wars. She is the series' deuteragonist.

Created by accident by an unknown organization, Test Subject 007—Anya—escaped that facility and moved through various foster homes and orphanages. When Loid Forger finds her, Anya is living in a rundown orphanage. Anya, being a telepath, immediately knows Loid is a spy on a mission and uses her telepathy to impress him by completing a difficult crossword puzzle with Loid's own answers. 

Adopted by Loid, Anya will do what she can to keep her telepathy secret, help Loid with his mission, and—most importantly to her—remain in a family. 

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Yor Forger Thorn Princess
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Loid and Yor

Yor Forger
Code Name: Thorn Princess 
Assassin / Wife and Step-mother 

Yor Briar works as a clerk at Berlint City Hall and leads a double life as the assassin, "Thorn Princess." She is the series' tritagonist. 

As a single woman in her late twenties, she fears her unmarried status may attract suspicion and threaten her job as an assassin. She also worries her younger brother will reject a promotion at his work in order to help look after her if she doesn't have anyone else. 

Desperate for someone to fill the role of at least a pretend boyfriend, she is more than willing to strike a deal with Loid to pose as his pretend wife to help Anya get into Eden Academy. 

So—after some trouble and Loid's unique marriage vows with a grenade pin—Yor Briar becomes Yor Forger, completing their family. 

Spy × Family Volumes

**This list includes a brief summary of the events in each book. Here there be spoilers, so read the later summaries at your own risk. 

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Book Cover. Spy x Family Volume 1.

Spy x Family, Volume 1 by Tatsuya Endō

Not one to depend on others, Twilight has his work cut out for him procuring both a wife and a child for his mission to infiltrate an elite private school. What he doesn’t know is that the wife he’s chosen is an assassin and the child he’s adopted is a telepath!

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Book Cover. Spy x Family Volume 2.

Spy x Family, Volume 2 by Tatsuya Endō

Twilight must infiltrate the prestigious Eden Academy to get close to his target Donovan Desmond, but has he ruined his daughter Anya’s chances with his outburst during the admissions interview? Perhaps the truly impossible mission this time is making sure Anya both becomes an exemplary student and befriends Donovan’s arrogant son Damian!

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Book Cover. Spy x Family Volume 3.

Spy x Family, Volume 3 by Tatsuya Endō

Twilight has overcome many challenges in putting together the Forger family, but now all his hard work might come undone when Yor’s younger brother Yuri pops in for a surprise visit! Can Twilight outsmart Yuri, who actually works for the Ostanian secret service?!

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Book Cover. Spy x Family Volume 4.

Spy x Family, Volume 4 by Tatsuya Endō

The Forgers look into adding a dog to their family, but this is no easy task—especially when Twilight has to simultaneously foil an assassination plot against a foreign minister! The perpetrators plan to use trained dogs for the attack, but Twilight gets some unexpected help to stop these terrorists.

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Book Cover. Spy x Family Volume 5.

Spy x Family, Volume 5 by Tatsuya Endō

Anya Forger has been trying her best to befriend Damian Desmond, the son of the powerful Ostanian political leader Donovan Desmond, but her attempts have been constantly rebuffed. Despite the setbacks, Anya is determined to gain access to the Desmonds’ inner circle and even devises a new plan—acing her midterm exams to earn stella stars! Can the academically challenged Anya pull off this feat for the sake of world peace?

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Book Cover. Spy x Family Volume 6.

Spy x Family, Volume 6 by Tatsuya Endō

Twilight and Nightfall enter an underground tennis tournament, hoping for an opportunity to obtain an intelligence document that threatens to bring the world to the brink of war! But will their mission be compromised by Nightfall’s secret crush on Twilight?!

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Book Cover. Spy x Family Volume 7.

Spy x Family, Volume 7 by Tatsuya Endō

As Donovan Desmond is about to share a rare family moment with his son Damian, Twilight cuts in to meet his target face-to-face for the first time. Can Twilight find some way to endear himself to the inscrutable Donovan?

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Book Cover. Spy x Family Volume 8

Spy x Family, Volume 8 by Tatsuya Endō

Yor is assigned to be a bodyguard for a mafia family on a cruise ship by the secret organization Garden. But with Loid and Anya also on board thanks to a giveaway they won, Yor is starting to have doubts about her secret life as an assassin…

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Book Cover. Spy x Family Volume 9.

Spy x Family, Volume 9 by Tatsuya Endō

Yor’s on assignment and finds herself up against a gang of assassins on board a luxury cruiser. Meanwhile, Loid and Anya each discover that bombs have been planted throughout the ship! Will their best efforts be enough to save the vessel?

More volumes to come!

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Book Cover. Spy x Family Volume 10.

On the Air! 

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Spy x Family Movie Promo

The Spy × Family anime is produced by Wit Studio and CloverWorks and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi. Season One was released in two parts. Season One Part One began airing in Japan on April 9, 2022—June 25 in the U.S.—and ran for 12 episodes. Season One Part Two began airing in Japan on October 1, 2022—December 24 in the U.S.— and ran for an additional 13 episodes. 

Season One Part One covers the Introduction Arc, Admissions Interview Arc, Eden Beginnings Arc, Secret Police Arc, and Stella Star Arc (Volumes 1-3). 

Opening Theme: Mixed Nuts by Official Hige Dandism

Ending Theme: Comedy by Gen Hoshino

Season One Part Two covers the Doggy Crisis Arc, Midterm Exams Arc, Cambelldon Tennis Arc, and part of the Imperial Scholars Mixer Arc (Volumes 4-6). 

Opening Theme: SOUVENIR by Bump of Chicken

Ending Theme: Shikisai by yama

In December 2022, TOHO animation released a teaser trailer confirming the second season and movie are coming in 2023.

Unfortunately, we do not have the DVDs to watch in our collection currently. 

Staff Reviews

Charissa: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This series is, for the most part, lighthearted and doesn't take itself too seriously. The found family aspect—even if the Forgers are a fake family—is super sweet. Twilight/Loid is hilariously over his head when it comes to parenthood. Anya is adorable, earnest, and more than a little mischievous. Yor is doing her best—her roles as assassin and mother don't always mix. Overall, very enjoyable. 

Tyjan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Spy × Family has a fantastic plot with lovable characters that the author Tatsuya Endo has brought to life. The fact that Yor and Loid have no idea the true identity of the other, makes me laugh every time. And their pretend daughter, Anya, knows who they really are with her ability to read minds. The perfect setup for a comedic adventure. 

Also, the animation of the anime, thanks to Wit Studio and CloverWorks, is colorful and bright, and each character stands out in that classic anime sort of way (may it be hair color, head shape, etc...). It is definitely a story worthy of Yor attention. 

By Charissa on August 16, 2023