MANGA REVIEW | "Spy × Family" - Volume Eight
It’s surprising that we’ve gone this long in Spy × Family without a Yor-focused narrative. While Twilight and Anya are technically the big focus of this series, the assassin-turned-stepmom acts as the backbone for the trio. So it’s nice to see Yor finally getting her due in the eighth volume. And it just so happens to be the most actioned-packed volume of Spy × Family yet!
Yor is placed on a mission to protect a mafioso and her infant son, who aim to escape their life of crime for one of peace. But a target is on their heads, with almost every sort of assassin imaginable wanting the bounty. It requires Yor to act more careful than before, as any injury she may get might be hard to explain to Yor and Anya. Such a conundrum forces Yor to ask herself, “Is the assassin life still for her?”
The banter between Yor and the mafioso is what makes her wonder about her life. As the woman aims to protect her son from a violent life, Yor finds herself feeling the same about Anya. Even though the family is supposed to be just for show, Yor can’t help but feel motherly when thinking of her step-daughter. Fortunately, Anya already knows all of this, as she aims to help her mother on her mission.
Since Anya and Twilight are on the same ship, it makes it easy for Anya to know where Yor might be…so long as it’s not super-crowded. Her wanting to help and escape from Twilight’s side results in a surprisingly good amount of comedy. And this time, it’s Twilight that is the butt of the joke! On top of him not being able to understand what Anya’s thinking, but his vacationing tactics are, well, tacky! (Him trying to wear the part of a vacationer may be one of Spy × Family’s best visual gags yet, with Anya’s facial reaction saying it all!)
These moments showcase Twilight as not a spy, but a father trying his best to make his step-daughter happy. It may be all for the mission, but Anya’s happiness is most important to find success in it. So seeing Twilight be a good dad to Anya — who’s only trying to distract him to aid Yor — is not only endearing, it also brings out new levels of comedy for the series. Him failing on some occasions — hilariously, mind you — is just the icing on this cake.
But there’s no time to laugh; assassins are on the trail. At first, Yor thinks outside the box when dealing with assassins. Using buttons, dance moves, and making people think they’re watching an impromptu circus act are when the action and comedy elements mesh perfectly together. However, when it comes time for Yor to go all in for the attacks, the comedy goes out the window and straight into a fiery spectacle.
Reading as Yor fights off countless assassins showcases Tatsuya Endo’s art work at its finest. Every punch, kick, stab, and shot is presented with rich detail, in ways that make you feel these moments instead of merely looking at them. While Spy × Family has had plenty of excitement thus far, it’s here where the manga reaches a new peak of excellence in its presentation. And although the volume ends on a cliffhanger, what is on display here is 100% satisfying!
After spending the last couple of volumes refining its groove, Spy × Family returns to the top of its game. Yor’s mission is showcased with such care and beauty, on top of delivering a solid dose of laughs in-between the intense moments. Whether or not Yor continues to be an assassin after this remains to be seen; for now, be glad she got to have her own arc like this. It’s exactly what a character like the Thorn Princess deserves to be given!
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media