Why you absolutely must read and watch “Spy x Family”

With more than a million copies sold in France, the spy manga is a success in every way. Volume 8 will be released in early May in France, and the anime has just hit the scene. Back to the reasons for this success.

There may have been a Covid effect. Since the start of the health crisis, bookstores and more generally the world of books, manga and comics have held up well. Among the cultural sectors particularly affected by the containment measures, that of the book is indeed the only one to have limited the breakage. For the year 2020, for example, the National Publishing Union (SNE) speaks ofa 2% drop in turnover compared to the previous year. By way of comparison, the cinema lost 69% of its admissions during this period. And among the big winners of this complicated period, there are many manga, including Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer or Spy × Familyprescribers of escape, relaxation and lightness.

Spy × Familya funny, touching and believable family story

But attributing the success of the series solely to the various confinements would be unfair. Spy × Family, it is above all a manga of remarkable finesse. Unlike many shōnens, the characters avoid clichés. Just like the scenario, yet visited and revisited by Hollywood and other spy novels. The story is simple: even if Ostania and Westalis seem at peace, tensions persist between these two border countries, one in the East and the other in the West. For a new mission, to get closer to a politician from Ostania and extract information from him, Twilight, single, flagship spy of Westalis, master in the art of dissimulation and disguise, needs a family.

He will therefore adopt Anya, a telepathic orphan and in need of love. It will allow him to approach the son of his target. For his wife, Twilight will make a pact (initially for the cover and a little more over time) with Yor Briar, Princess Ibara of her real name, a hitman by profession. Because their interests converge, all three will get to know each other, to live together despite their different secrets and dark sides. Touching, deep and believable, they are the main reason for the success of Spy × Family. Their relationship works wonderfully and the drawing, at first glance black and minimalist, offers a wide range of nuances in terms of the emotions of these three heroes.

Manga, light novel and anime, universal and accessible

The other strength of the saga is the fact of not speaking only to manga fans, both in terms of the universe and the narration. The manga (official plot) and the light novel (spin-off) are equally accessible to readers unaccustomed to shōnens. In a world reminiscent of many spy films, Cold War atmosphere, Tatsuya Endō’s manga takes the side of making fun, sometimes going away, in short, having fun with the codes of the genre, dark humor at the rendezvous. you, without falling into caricature.

Twilight, supposedly clairvoyant and phlegmatic, often finds herself compromised by the childish behavior of Anya and the far too pronounced and therefore suspicious discretion of her wife. For her part, Yor is torn between her routine job as a civil servant at the town hall and her overtime as an assassin. So many contrasts and situations that make you almost laugh out loud.

A manga that mixes action, comedy and drama

The humor is there. And the dramatic intensity is not left out. Spy × Family multiplies twists and moments of tension. Whether at the international and political level or on a smaller scale, within Anya’s school. In the second volume, a fight scene between Anya and a friend perfectly illustrates the family, comic and poignant side of the series. The anger builds crescendo until ending with a punch so realistic it feels like you’re hitting it in the head.

Since its release in 2019, the manga has received many awards and it is fully understandable and deserved. In Japan, it notably exceeded 12 million copies sold, even before the release of the anime. Which is rare enough to be underlined. Broadcast since April 9 on Crunchyroll, the first episode should further boost sales of the manga. Short, Spy × Family continues to break records.