I’m writing this in early November. Like everyone else, I have been reading Spy x Family and completely engrossed by it. It seems to be popular opinion that a Spy x Family adaptation is pretty much inevitable. Still, I really would like one sooner rather than later.
To be clear, there are tons of reasons to adapt Spy x Family to anime. Probably the most important being that it seems as almost assured success. But I still wanted to put my own personal reasons out there. Just in case it could convince a studio to get one out for nest season… cough, cough.
Varied (and pretty) character designs
This is of course a personal point. Well, they are all personal points. But this one is even more so. I happen to find the character designs in Spy x Family very pretty. Some of them are downright attractive. But in case we don’t have the same tastes in anime character looks, there’s also the fact that they are quite varied.
I love anime that have wide casts of characters that are very different from each other. Just on a technical basis, it’s fun to see characters that are short, tall, young, old, with different weights and skeletal structures and how these characters move around. It’s cool to see them on a page but the physics of seeing them animated is just so interesting. Not many anime have such a wide demographic range in their casts.
Anime is overwhelmingly manga adaptations. And up to a certain point, most manga is written in a way that lends itself well to anime adaptation. But I think it’s particularly true of Spy x Family.
For one, there is very little voice of god. Most exposition happens through characters’ thoughts or is integrated in the plot, through instructions and so on. Which makes it much less likely that the anime will need to have major expo dumps throughout.
Also, because of the nature of the story, there’s not too much left for the reader to infer between panels. As such, not too much for an adaptation team to add in either. It seems no matter what, an adaptation is likely to be quite faithful. And as I really enjoy the manga, that’s a good thing.
Spy x Family has a lot of action in it and therefore if a production was given the necessary budget, they could make a really impressive animation out of it. You can go really wild in some of these action scenes without it seeming too out of place because there is something already excessive about the characters and the events.
However, even without a luxurious animation budget, there are so many available built in shortcuts. As spies, a lot of their work is in the shadows, under cover of smoke or the like. You can easily storyboard it so that a ton of action seems to be taking place yet only minimal animation is required. And it won’t just look as if the production is cutting costs. It’s justified by the narrative itself.
This gives so many options for a production to structure its budget without making any huge compromises.
Wow, those last two points sounded so reasonable. Let’s go back to just stuff I want cause I want it.
Even though we do have a little girl as one of the main characters, Spy x Family is still mostly an adult cast and I like that. It’s not all that frequent. Don’t get me wrong, it’s way more common than it uses to be. Especially in action thriller types of anime. But the majority of shows are still about teenagers and once in a while a like a change from that.
This said I don’t necessarily want a show starring 5-year-olds. Basically, an adult cast with slightly different preoccupations and reasoning is nice to see. It,s also a bit easier for me to relate to as it’s been a while since I cared about my reputation at school is.
Political Spy Thriller
I once wrote a post about anime genres I want to see more of. It’s right here, see? I wrote that two years ago and Spy or Political Thriller is clearly one of my picks!
This is not a genre we see often. The closest and most recent thing I can think of is ACCA-13 and that came out in 2017. I think asking for one show every 4 years isn’t too demanding.
I honestly believe that this particular genre could explore some really unique areas of storytelling through the animation medium. When liberated from the constraints of material production needs and overly strict realistic narration. For me, Death Note is sort of an example of what we can do with the genre by thinking way outside the box. Although not exactly spies or politicians, the mind games between L and Light mimic spy dynamics. And light was in fact trying to create a political and ethical reform through subversive means.
And it’s only my lack of imagination that makes me recall an existing example. The genre has tons of potential but has been traditionally bound by too many rigid tropes. Sprinkling some anime weirdness in there is an experiment worth conducting.
And there you have it. Did I convince you that we should have a Spy x Family adaptation? I’m just joking, I know that you already wanted one and didn’t need convincing at all. Do you have your own reason for wanting one? And do you have plans for it? Is there a studio that would be better suited to the task?