Like alot of these recent Manga reviews that I’ve been featuring here on Bar Harukiya, I’ve gone into Spy X Family completely blind, I had no expectations going on and had no idea what I was letting myself in for. So that I’ve come out the otherside feeling really rather confused is, in my opinion, a cause for concern.
Here’s what I think is happening, Twilight is a spy, he is given a mission, to investigate a paranoid politician who’s only public appearances are usually related to his son’s school. To do this Twilight decides he needs to start a family, first he adopts Anya, a troublesome young girl (according to the orphanage) who happens to be a telepath, he then marries Yor, an assassin (though I think Twilight is supposed to be unaware of this), and so with the set-up in place we’re provided with a slice of life, action comedy that see’s the trio attempt to have Anya enrolled at a presitigious (and incredibly picky) school, the very same school that politicians son attends.
There, I think I’ve got it, or thats my interpretation of it, the problem is this volume doesn’t really know how to slow down and spends alot of its time spinning plates. It wants to have excellent action sequences that lead into amusing situations whilst having a protagonist who is incredibly measured in everything that he does but is also surrounded by two other main characters who cause him more headache and put him into situations where he has to think on his feet, and for me, the tone is a little too over the place with the pitch changing regularly from panel to panel.
This is probably coming across as overly critical, I don’t intend it to be, at times it reminds me of some of the more ridiculous scenario’s that the player finds themselves in in the Yakuza games. In those it works, there’s enough room for those moments to breath and provide amusement but here everything feels rushed, as a first volume I totally get that it wants to give the reader an insight into the sort of thing thats to come, and maybe in further volumes it gets the pace right, calms down and stops with throwing the mismatched family into situation after situation just to try and keep the reader hooked, purely because some of this stuff works, in particular when the family are going through the selection program to have Anya enrolled and they happen to have suitable changes of clothes to deal with the handful of situations that lead to their current outfits being ruined, this impresses the owner of the school greatly and its just one of those ridiculous situations that is actually given room to breath and be amusing.
It’s a shame then that Tatsuya Endo tried to cram so much into this first volume, it left me with a confusing mess of an impression and I’m not entirely sure my review has done the whole series justice, I only hope things improve from here as the basic set up could lead to some amusing situations.