There are spoilers ahead, so please proceed with caution if you haven’t read Volume 1…
Master spy Twilight, has assumed the identity of Loid Forger, psychiatrist, and made a family for himself, adopting little orphan Anya so he can carry out his latest vital assignment, Operation Strix, to prevent the outbreak of war between East and West. The mission? To get Anya into prestigious Eden Academy where she’ll be studying alongside his target Donovan Desmond’s son, Damian. And as the second volume opens, the little ‘family’ is plunged into despair because Anya’s name is not on the list of successful entrants to Eden Academy. However, all is not lost…
Anya scrapes in – and after all the family celebrations, Loid realizes that his troubles are only just beginning. Orders from on high dictate that Anya must become an Imperial Scholar, which means earning eight Stella for exceptional work – and she must not, on any account, be awarded the opposite: Tonitrus bolts. Students unlucky enough to earn eight of these demerits are expelled. Sounds like my anxiety won’t be going away anytime soon, reflects Twilight unhappily.
And what happens when Anya starts school? She immediately makes an enemy of Damian Desmond and his cronies! Their first encounter is not really helped by the advice the well-meaning Yor has given Anya, “A smile is the strongest weapon. It stops a fight before it starts!” The smirk that appears on Anya’s face only pours fuel on the fire and Damian can’t resist taunting her even more. There’s only so much aggravation Anya can take. Her fist shoots out – and punches the very boy she’s supposed to make friends with. This earns her a Tonitrus on her first day – a disastrous start to Twilight’s carefully laid plans. Except, it’s not all a complete disaster… a highborn girl in her class is mightily impressed with Anya’s attitude. Has Anya made a friend after all (even if not the ‘right’ one)? Nevertheless, the first full day of lessons sees Anya and her new friend Becky ostracized by the rest of the class. Anya knows she must swallow her pride and apologize to Damian – but all the negative feelings she can sense around her don’t make the task any easier. And Damian, for all of his blustering, seems increasingly flustered in Anya’s presence. Could it be that he…?
Meanwhile, Yor has neglected to tell her younger brother Yuri of her ‘marriage’ – until a mutual acquaintance fills the young man in. There have been hints about the closeness of the relationship between the siblings – and now we get to see what Yuri’s’ real’ work involves. As the Forgers invite Yuri over…who’s going to see through whose fake identity first and give the game away?
Much of the sly and mischievous humour in Spy x Family comes from the fact that the reader knows only too well what the little family have not shared with each other: Loid is not a psychiatrist but a spy; Yor hides her lethal abilities as an assassin behind her mundane role as an office clerk at Berlint City Hall and Anya is a telepath who is sometimes overwhelmed by information overload when out in a crowd. Tatsuya Endo is especially skilled at the well-timed comic reveal. He uses panels and page turns to extract the maximum comic effect – and his ability to draw facial expressions is second-to-none: Anya’s ‘smile’ has almost taken on a life of its own since it first appeared. The story is developing nicely, too, with danger lurking on every corner, leading to Loid utilizing all his master of disguises skills as Twilight to the max.
Casey Loe’s translation for VIZ Media continues to bring out the dryness of the humour (much of it deliciously dark) and Rina Mapa’s lettering skills are again put to excellent use in dealing with an astonishing variety of sound effects and speech.
As well as the official bonus, there’s also an extra story at the end of Volume 2. Extra Mission 1 turns out to be designed for readers unfamiliar with the manga from its run on Shonen Jump as an introduction to the series. The Forgers go on an outing to Aqualand (Loid is desperate to convince the nosy neighbours that they really are a normal family unit who enjoy trips together) but, of course, nothing goes according to plan. If you like penguins, you’re in for a treat because penguins are involved…
Read a free extract at the VIZ Media site here
SPY x FAMILY © 2019 by Tatsuya Endo/SHUEISHA Inc.