When anime fans are asked to list their current favorite shows, there are the ones everyone expects to hear: Attack on Titan, One Piece, Naruto and Boruto, and even Dragon Ball Z. The show people don’t expect to hear, is Spy x Family, but after watching just one episode, it’s clear why this family comedy is one of the hottest anime today.
Set in a world of espionage between nations on the brink of war, Westalis super-spy Twilight has to adopt the persona of Loid Forger, a family man, to get close to the head of Ostania’s National Unity Party, Donovan Desmond. To do so, Twilight needs a fake family, and that’s where Anya Forger (a telepathic orphan) and Yor Forger (an assassin known as The Thorn Princess) come in. Oh, and the family dog is clairvoyant.
The Fake Family That Makes Spy x Family Special
Twilight tries hard to remain emotionally distant from his new, fake family, but of course, it’s clear to everyone that he truly cares about them. His inner monologue explains his methods and why he’s making the choices he does, and yet, it’s also seemingly at war with the growing connection he feels with Anya and Yor. Spy x Family Season 2 looks like it’s going to take this internal conflict even further.
While Twilight keeps his cards close to his chest, Anya Forger is an open book. The adorable pink-haired girl who loves peanuts hasn’t let anyone that she can read minds, a fact she uses to assist her fake parents in their missions quietly. Thankfully for the Spy x Family viewing audience, Anya’s reaction shots to other people’s thoughts never stop being hysterical.
Thankfully, Spy x Family Season 2 is going to give us more of Yor Forger, with the first episode of the season already showing her at work and recovering from getting shot in the butt. It all makes sense in context, promise. Season 1 seemed to short-change Yor’s potential, but she had her moments, especially when Twilgiht’s partner, Nightfall, gets involved and quickly learns that Yor is the strongest of all the cast.
What helps make Spy x Family accessible for new fans is that each of the three main leads can be easily summed up as spy, psychic, or assassin. There are no Devil Fruits, Saiyans, or giant mechs involved to keep track of; just nod along that Anya can read minds and the family dog, Bond, can see the future. The deceptively simple premise lets the series explore different types of stories, from the insane underground tennis tournament to Anya’s struggle to make a paper-mache griffin so she can win the favor of Desmond’s second son and enact “Plan B.”
The Balance Between A Spy Action Movie And A Family Sitcom
Technically, the point of Spy x Family is for Twilight to get access to Desmond (known as Operation Strix by the agents of WISE)and help prevent a war from engulfing both nations. Plan A is for Anya to become an Imperial Scholar, allowing Twilight to attend the same school social as Desmond. Anya may be able to read minds, but if no one is thinking of the correct answer, she….needs a little help.
Plan B is the one Anya is pursuing to help her “father,” and that’s becoming friends with Damian Desmond, getting invited to his mansion, and letting Twilight meet Desmond there. There’s also, from the manga, a Plan C involving Yor and Desmond’s wife, but that hasn’t been adapted in the anime yet, though it’s on its way. In case you can’t tell, Spy x Family doesn’t take itself too seriously.
That lighthearted nature comes through in every episode and is another reason why Spy x Family is a great gateway anime for new fans. When every character is exaggerated, they stand out and can be easily recalled even episodes later. There’s no mountain of deep lore, no converging timelines, and so far, not even shifting loyalties to keep track of.
Spy x Family is simple, lighthearted, well-written, and well-acted, making it not only one of the best new anime series of the last few years but also the perfect entry point for anyone curious about anime in general.
It’s the fun characters that drive each episode of Spy x Family forward, making it similar in practice to the classic sitcoms, from Full House to Home Improvement. A few episodes even hinge on “wacky misunderstandings,” usually with Anya unable to solve the problem without revealing her powers. That’s why the series has become a favorite across most anime fandoms, and it appeals to everyone!
Best of all, Spy x Family has one of the best dubs I’ve heard in a long time. Often, a child character in anime is immediately hated because of the high-pitched, irritating voice, but with this series, all the child characters are well-voiced, and Anya, performed by Megan Shipman, is a standout. While the dub vs. sub debate will never be settled, we’ve all had the experience of trying to get someone to watch an amazing series, and the subtitles turn them away, which is why a great dub is so important for new fans.
Spy x Family is simple, lighthearted, well-written, and well-acted, making it not only one of the best new anime series of the last few years but also the perfect entry point for anyone curious about anime in general. Season 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll (though subs only at the moment), but all of Season 1 is available, fully dubbed.