Spy X Family Vol. 1 by Tatsuya Endo (Spy X Family #1)
Publisher: Viz Media
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Available Through The Book Depository: Spy X Family Volume 1
Summary: Master spy Twilight is the best at what he does when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions in the name of a better world. But when he receives the ultimate impossible assignment—get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head!
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!
My Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts: Spy X Family is a debut spy-comedy manga series that’s action-packed and has top tier tropes! Dark, entertaining, and thrilling start to finish! Endo’s manga delivers humor, espionage, and a bit of sci-fi layered in a dynamic story that is the literal definition of FOUND FAMILY!
The neighboring countries of Westalis and Ostania are on the verge of war. In order to prevent any threat to the already unsteady truce between them, mastermind spy Twilight is put on the case!
He is tasked with gathering intel on a political figure named Donovan Desmond, so Twilight’ll need to infiltrate a prestigious academy where he’s usually seen but to do that he needs to create a family: which means he has to find a daughter and wife!
The atmosphere and presentation of the story is reminiscent of the 50’s/60’s spy and noir films. From the heightened stakes of the mission, to clever 007 references, ‘Spy Wars’ tv show, even the characters fashion choices.
Twilight heads to a local orphanage where he finds Anya and as it turns out, she’s a telepath. Even though both are keeping secrets from each other, their dynamic is still so fun and wholesome (especially in the endearing moments they have together 🥺).
As Anya gets entrenched in Twilight’s life as a spy, Yor is undercover as a city clerk by day and assassin by night. Soon due to beneficial circumstances, Yor joins Twilight and the “Forger” family is ready to become the perfect family.
If you love plot-heavy manga, this is a perfect series! There’s different plot threads, characters, and mysteries that make Spy X Family a debut filled to the brim with a page-turning story.
Twilight, Anya, and Yor each have their own unique backstories and I can’t wait to learn more about them! Twilight’s and Anya’s pasts were the more emotionally impactful ones as we get a brief glimpse into his childhood where he’s crying and surrounded by debris. While Anya is a former test subject who lost her family. Then with Yor, there’s a deep sense of melancholy due to the societal ideals that constantly pressure her (like finding a husband or being deemed ‘suspicious’ at her age) whether from co-workers or family, so I LOVED how that juxtaposes her independent role as a ruthless assassin.
What I love about this first volume as it sets up Twilight’s main mission is how they are essentially critiquing and challenging this idea of the “nuclear family.” It makes sense given the era / aesthetics the series is laying out, even as it comments on gender roles and this society’s expectation for women (seen from Yor’s pov). The manga also comments on this idea of class as these misfits con their way into the prestigious Eden Academy.
So now a spy, a telepath, and assassin are living together! And each has their own secrets! Where can it go from here? What Spy X Family executes spectacularly is the central layer of humor that’s present throughout this entire volume and no doubt, the rest of the series! Anya with her mind reading abilities is rightfully confused about all the things she’s hearing from her new parents and those around her, making for great comedic timing! From the quick one-panel jokes to certain character personalities, its clear that the series has a brilliant approach to its comedy! The situations and reactions the characters have is entertaining and reminds me a lot of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun.
Now remember when I said this debut has top-tier tropes? Well here’s what you can expect: Found family (obviously), marriage of convenience, misfits working together!! Need I say more?!
The art-style joins perfectly with the panel design/layout! Its detailed in the characters, setting, and with each panel specific details are highlighted to bring more into each scene. Action scenes are accompanied by phenomenal linework and were some of my favorites that I’ve seen in contemporary manga. Its exaggerated to showcase the intensity of the particular scene or an emotion and overall there’s not a single page that feels underutilized. There’s blood, some violence, and the art balances it perfectly with the lighthearted and comforting family moments.
My only issue is that I still felt the world (while interesting), is something were kind of thrust into at the very beginning. While the espionage motifs are great for atmosphere, it still feels like Westalis is a country I’m still trying to fully immerse myself in.
Overall though, I can’t wait to continue with this series because I adore this misfit family a lot and I’m really interested in learning more about them and how their mission is going to continue playing out!
Spy X Family Vol. 1 is a phenomenal start to a spy, action, comedy manga series that you don’t want to miss! There’s a brilliant cast of characters, clever comedic timing, and a unique page-turning story you will not be able to put down!
I’m also shouting out a fellow book blogger review today! 🔎🎉
For a more in-depth look into the aesthetics, artwork and characters of this manga I recommend reading Yon Nyan’s review from Biblionyan. For a look into the great artwork, Yon’s review includes some panels. I have yet to read more of Yon’s posts, but its clear Yon has a lot of great knowledge of manga that makes it into the review and if you need anymore convincing to check out this debut, read this review! ✨