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‘Spy × Family’ book review: Wholesome and entertaining

‘Spy × Family’ book review: Wholesome and entertaining

I watched Spy × Family on Netflix a year ago. I wanted to read the books first as I had heard great things about Tatusuya Endo’s artwork but I couldn’t find the manga anywhere in Kathmandu. The online bookstores, which generally have titles I can’t find anywhere, didn’t have the books either. I was contemplating asking a friend who lives in Japan to get the book series for me when, lo and behold, Bookverse stocked them. I bought six volumes in one go. The manga series has 12 books. I’m hoping the bookstore will bring the rest soon.

The manga series has great artwork. You can get lost in a page for several minutes. The expressions of the characters will blow your mind, and make you laugh out loud. Though the story is simple and engaging, you will want to take your time with it as it’s entertaining and each page has something or the other you will want to look at for a while. For those of you who are new to manga, it might take some getting used to as you have to read it from right to left—the reverse of English which is read from left to right.

The plot is convoluted, crazy, over-the-top, and so much fun. Twilight is a spy. He works alone and he is great at his job. But for his next mission, he has to create a family as he has to infiltrate a school. So, he needs a wife and a child. Enter Yor and Anya. They are meek and thus the perfect candidates. But Twilight doesn’t know that Yor moonlights as an assassin and Anya can read minds. The fake family now consists of a spy, an assassin, and a mind reader, all of whom are keeping their real identities a secret from one another.

Then there’s the issue of Twilight (or Anya) still having to pass a rigorous interview process at the school to gain access to another student whose father is his target. For that, he must train his fake/temporary wife and daughter how to act like the perfect family. All of it leads to some hilarious and heartwarming moments. Twilight, Yor, and Anya are strong and lovable characters, each with backstories of their own. You will identify with at least one of them.

Spy × Family is a laugh riot. It’s also a wonderful tale of a found family. There’s a lot of suspense and intrigue to keep you hooked. The Netflix adaptation has two seasons with a total of 37 episodes. Each episode is 23 minutes long. It’s as good as the manga series. The characters come alive before you and it’s such a pleasure to watch. Read it or watch it, the choice is yours. But don’t miss it. Better yet, do both. You won’t regret it.

Manga/Graphic Novel  

Spy × Family

Story & Art by: Tatsuya Endo

Translation: Casey Loe

Published: 2020

Publisher: VIZ Media, LLC

Pages: 12 book series, Paperback