Spy X Family begins with the faces of the three main characters having dinner. They look like a normal, perfect family. But the narrator gives an ominous speech on the secrets people hide to continue that facade called normal. The reader turns the page to a splash illustration, showing the dead bodies and defused bombs lying underneath the table. This theme and sense of humor never lets up throughout the book, making this one of the most entertaining and original reads of the year.
Set in the Not Cold War Era in the countries that are Not West and East Germany, lies the city of Not Berlin called Berlint. In Berlint conflict is brewing. A top Not East Germany government official, Donovan, is trying to cause a massive war between the two nations, and it’s up to Not West Germany to stop him. They call in their best spy, Twilight (His codename, real name unknown) to stop the man. A master of disguise, he only works alone and loves the single life. Twilight’s mission: To neutralize Donovan. The catch? Donovan only shows his face at academy events his family attends. In order to infiltrate the academy, the agency orders Twilight to obtain a temporary wife and child. This will be the hardest mission in Twilight’s life.
The first volume is about Twilight “recruiting” his fake family and attempting to get his stepchild, Anya, into the academy. What he doesn’t know is that Anya is a telepath and his wife, Yor, is an assassin. So you have these people keeping secrets from each other, but those secrets make them grow closer and closer to each other. Setting all this up has tons of potential pitfalls, but the author does a good job navigating them. Yor agrees to marry Twilight not because she loves him, but because it’s a cover for her assassination jobs. It’s the perfect marriage not in the romantic sense but the business sense, and neither realizes they’re being duped by the other. Then there’s Anya, who knows the truth of her parents but can’t tell anyone about it because she knows if they fail, the family she’s always wanted is over. Anya works as the emotional core of this book, and she is super easy to root for. I hope in later volumes she will be more defined by her traits and less by her cuteness.
The character dynamics are so good it’s easy to forget there’s some nicely drawn action as well. The action, while at times serious, is mostly played for laughs. Twilight lies to his family that he is a psychiatrist, so when “delusional clients” (enemies) start attacking him on the street, he gives them “concussive therapy.” When animals from the zoo get loose, it’s up to Yor to subdue a bull by touching the bovine’s pressure points. It’s these events that, while crazy, make them closer as a family than any normal activity would.
I can safely say that I haven’t read anything like this before. I’m glad that it’s receiving commercial and critical success in Japan, and I expect the same thing to happen worldwide when more people get their hands on this volume. It’s a fun read that knows what it wants to accomplish and does so with precision, like any great spy and assassin.
Master spy Twilight is the best at what he does when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions in the name of a better world. But when he receives the ultimate impossible assignment—get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head!
Not one to depend on others, Twilight has his work cut out for him procuring both a wife and a child for his mission to infiltrate an elite private school. What he doesn’t know is that the wife he’s chosen is an assassin and the child he’s adopted is a telepath!