Spy x Family Code White Proves Anime Belongs In Theaters

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

anime movies

As I was in my seat at the theater waiting for Spy x Family Code: White to begin it occurred to me that, outside of Studio Ghibli films, I’d never watched an anime movie in theaters before. I grew up in the era when anime movies based on series were non-canonical, low-budget affairs that went straight to video in the United States. This movie experience changed how I view anime movies based on pre-existing series, which I now firmly believe belong in the movie theater.

Spy x Family Code: White On The Big Screen

Spy x Family found success first as a manga then an anime series before Spy x Family Code: White brought the story to the big screen.

It follows the fabricated Forger family consisting of a spy father (Loid), assassin mother (Yor), telepathic daughter (Anya), and a precognitive dog (Bond). 

Loud sends Anya to a prestigious academy where she must collect awards called Stellas as part of a plot to get close to the reclusive dictator he’s targeting. 

Many Genres At Play

While there are elements of a spy thriller, supernatural fantasy, and science fiction, Spy x Family is first and foremost a comedy.

The adults in the family don’t know about each other’s real identities, or the powers their adopted daughter and dog have, creating plenty of opportunities for family-sitcom misunderstandings. This dynamic is why I love the show and it’s on full display in Spy x Family Code: White

Fans Of Spy X Family Will Love It

spy x family code white

The comedy in the movie adaptation is identical in style to the series. It plays up unlikely coincidences for comedic effect like a hawker crying out that the prize for winning his shooting booth game just happens to be the specific ingredient the family is looking for. It also has bigger comedy moments, like an extended fantasy based on how good it feels to poop after holding it for a long time. 

Spy x Family Code: White follows the family as they take a trip to the foreign country of Frigis so Anya can learn a specific dessert dish and win a Stella. A misunderstanding leads Yor to think Loid is cheating on her, while Loid is at risk of losing the operation that warrants his fake family’s continued existence.

Beautifully Animated Setpieces And Scenes

spy x family code white

The stakes are constantly raised throughout the movie as the family’s trip becomes part of an international incident that threatens to start a world war. 

What sets Spy x Family Code: White apart from the show is its beautifully animated setpiece scenes. The film ends with two highly stylish fight scenes, along with the aforementioned extended fantasy sequence that involves Anya meeting the God of Poop, each in a different animation style. These scenes sold me on the film as something bigger than the show, something that justifies seeing an anime movie in theaters. 

Some Issues With Pacing

spy x family code white

The only major flaw in Spy x Family Code: White is its pacing, hampered by the need to catch new viewers up with the show. Starting with a voice-over explaining the premise and characters, the movie briefly shows each character’s unique skills, followed by an exposition-heavy set-up for the rest of the movie.

I can’t speak to the experience of new fans, but as someone familiar with the series it caused the first act to drag on for too long.

Rating Spy x Family Code: White

spy x family code white


Spy x Family Code: White is a must-watch for fans of the series, but it’s self-contained enough to appeal to new fans. It’s a beautiful film that does justice to its comedy roots with surprisingly well-done action sequences.

While it was released last year in Japan, Spy x Family Code: White is in theaters now in America, and that’s where I suggest you see it if you can.