Anime’s Great – It’s the Fans That Suck: Spy X Family

Anime’s Great – It’s the Fans That Suck: Spy X Family

Storge (store-jay) refers to familial love. 
Storge is one of the Greek variations of love, which describe different aspects of love, or ways to love other people. Most often, storge is described as the love shared between parents and their children 

I used to be a believer in writers setting up estates to protect their life’s work. The past three years have forced a major reevaluation on my part. The absurd lengths of time that entertainment conglomerates have inflicted on copyright protection laws, as well as these self-same corporations having no interest in protecting the worlds you created, (in truth they are now a source of vandalism), leave the creative professional with little choice. If you’re a writer try to be fiscally responsible, pass on a decent-sized trust to your dependents, and put your works into the Public Domain upon your death. Your son might be devoted to protecting your life’s work but your great-grandchildren will have cocaine and hookers to pay for, they’ll do that by selling you out. 

Look at what has happened to James Bond. Far from being the sixties cool master spy and ladies’ man, he’s now a hen-pecked husband who is probably sneaking smoke breaks in the carport and praying his wife doesn’t catch him. 

It’s impossible for a spy-hero to have a normal family. 

An exceptional family is a different story. 

Spy X Family takes place in a world that is very much Cold War Cool Sixties. The nations of Westalis and Ostania had a very nasty war not too long ago and tensions are running high again.  

Westalis’ best secret agent is code-named Twilight (as yet we don’t know what his real name is) and has been assigned the task of spying on Ostania’s National Unity Party. The problem is that Donovan is such a recluse that the only in that Twilight can find is to enroll his child in the same private school as Donovan’s and hope to force the camel’s nose under the tent that way. His new cover identity is psychologist Loyd Forger. 

Problem: He doesn’t have a kid. Or a family. He is a sixties spy after all.  

Solution: He’ll have to find a kid and a wife. He’s the best spy in the world, how hard can it be? 

Test Subject 007, aka Anya, is a six-year-old (possibly younger) orphan who was raised at a secret facility where she was altered to become a telepath. After escaping she ended up at an orphanage where she was acquired by Twilight as part of his cover. Anya is addicted to a TV spy show called Spy Wars and super excited to be helping her new father’s secret mission. Whatever that is. 

Yor Forger is the world’s greatest assassin or at least in the top 5. She’s code-named Thorn Princess. She needed a husband because she lives in a country with a very active secret police and just being single at 27 is too suspicious.  

Mutal problems and solutions to those problems is how the Forger family came together. At this point in the story, the Forgers still consider themselves “a fake” family. Or at least Loyd and Yor do, they haven’t even kissed yet. Anya for her part is determined to keep her family together. Bond likes that idea too. 

Oh, sorry. Bond is the family dog. A demi-sapient, precognitive Pyrenees Mountain dog. He wears black tie. 

Anya and Bond know her parents’ secrets whereas Loyd and Yor don’t know each others’ or Anya’s or come to that, the dog’s. 

Okay, that’s the over-complicated Japanese setup.  

To the outer world, the Forgers are the perfect family. However, at a much deeper more secret level, they are still the perfect family. It’s the in-between layers they have trouble with. 

What makes this show worth watching is the dynamic of a group of people who simply need to be family. What makes it special is watching this group of highly exceptional and highly defective people coming to love each other.  

And they are defective. Loyd is too dedicated to being a field officer to risk being human, he comes across as a Vulcan in the early episodes and tends to fall back on that in situations where he doesn’t have a ready answer. Yor has trouble instinctively grasping what is normal human behavior and lives in constant dread of screwing up common everyday interactions with people. Anya’s problem is that she is fundamentally lazy and has the easiest out on Earth when it comes to studying, she can just read the right answer in other people’s minds. Assuming of course they have the right answer. 

Another intriguing element is that all of the authority figures in this series are demanding but compassionate. They know they are asking too much of their charges and are trying to keep them from breaking. It’s not immediately apparent with any of them but once the show develops their characters for a bit it becomes clear that they are trying to take care of their subordinates in a world that won’t let them be gentle to them. 

This anime is violent but not excessively so. It is very light-hearted. The artwork strongly suggests sixties-cold war era without tying you down to any one location or period. Ostania’s architecture is kind of a European mix, there are suggestions of Prague and Budapest but nothing to really tie you down to those locations.  

This is an extended narrative that is nowhere near finished yet. The Forgers have quite a ways to go before Loyd and Yor can admit they can’t live without their makeshift family. Loyd in particular. Their character development is the real story here. It’s certainly the reason I’ll be coming back. 

The Dark Herald Recommends with Confidence (4/5) 

Available on Crunchyroll for a subscription and Apple TV if you want a license. Blu-ray is available but it ain’t cheap. 

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