There are spoilers ahead, so please proceed with caution if you haven’t read Volumes 1 & 2…
Yor’s younger brother Yuri has come to dinner to meet her new husband, Loid Forger. Loid is unaware that Yuri works for the Ostanian secret service – and Yuri (just like his sister) is unaware that his new brother-in-law is really master spy Twilight, working for the Westalis secret service. What is immediately apparent, though, is that Yuri has a humungous sister complex and would resent anyone who dared to steal his beloved Yor’s affections. It’s fortunate that young Anya sleeps through the whole evening, for who knows what she might blurt out if she were to meet her ‘uncle’ Yuri and read his murderous thoughts? Twilight, expert that he is in all things to do with his profession, smells a rat, cleverly laying a little verbal trap for Yuri into which the young man falls. Twilight’s secret is safe…for now.
But little progress is being made on Twilight’s main mission, Operation Strix, and Anya shows no sign of growing closer to her classmate Damian Desmond, the second son of Twilight’s target, Donovan Desmond, leader of the National Unity Party.
If you’re an Anya fan, you won’t be disappointed as the youngest member of the Forger family has plenty of opportunities to react in her splendidly idiosyncratic way – and, for once, her unique telepathic abilities prove an advantage, rather than leading to yet more misunderstandings. Anya comes through a heroine – and, like so many children, decides that what she wants more than anything is a dog (there are Reasons). Will the Forgers indulge her and get a pet?
Casey Loe’s translation works really well in delivering the riot of complex reactions taking place in the main characters’ heads while they try to maintain an outwardly calm appearance. Outwardly, Yor is smiling and saying all the ‘right things’ but inwardly, her brain is going nineteen to the dozen in total panic mode. The ‘Yuri meets Loid’ chapter is one of the most accomplished pieces of comic writing/drawing in the manga so far, the timing of the reactions of all three protagonists perfectly judged.
And a special mention should go to letterer (also responsible for the touch-up art) Rina Mapa who’s done stellar work yet again for the action scenes, the family dinner to introduce Yuri to Loid being one of the most spectacular.
The Top Secret Bonus for this volume includes Yor’s Week in Fashion (cute) and How Yor Does Her Hair: Revealed! However the Extra Mission 2 is a complete story about Twilight taking Yor on a date, utterly unaware that she’s been wounded in a very embarrassing and painful place while carrying out an assassination mission – and what happens when Anya and Franky, Loid’s assistant (who’s reluctantly babysitting) decide to shadow them.
The main underlying shtick in Spy x Family is that Twilight’s fake family works so well as a unit because all three members are withholding their true identities from each other. Anya, the telepath, is the one most likely to unwittingly reveal what she’s reading in the minds of her adoptive parents but because of her young age and blend of childish naïveté and fantasising, no one would pay attention to her, even if she were to blurt out the truth. Besides, it’s down to Tatsuya Endo’s great skill as a writer that he’s able to make us root for the Forgers (even though both adults are utterly ruthless in their secret professions). We really want this little family to succeed, even though it’s all built on lies. When Yuri insists that Loid kiss Yor in front of him to prove that they’re madly in love, we’re half-willing them to comply (even though Yor, flustered, glugs down half a bottle of wine while telling herself, ‘Oh right. I read somewhere that first kisses taste like lemon. So it’ll be just like that marinade!’ as, for some reason she’s thinking about the plate of fish Loid has prepared for dinner). Do they kiss? You’ll just have to read the manga to find out!
Read a free preview at the publisher’s website here.