It’s not exactly a secret that Spy x FamilyThe Forger family is anything but ordinary. Made up of a spy, an assassin, and a telepath, there are a number of reasons why this family is rather unconventional. That is, if you even dared to call them a real family; they are together because of Loid (Takuya Eguchi) mission, at Yor (Saori Hayami) deception to appease his brother. The trio was brought together not out of lack, but out of necessity, a means to an end. Loid often thinks about it throughout the series and wonders if he should use Anya (Atsumi Tanezaki) and Yor to achieve its goals.
From the first episode, we see how having a family connection affects both Loid and Anya. For Anya, Loid represents hope. He was her escape from an orphanage where people treated her badly. She does everything she can to be a perfect kid for Loid at first, and every time she hears him thinking about her skill, she starts crying and begging for forgiveness. It’s a set of actions that shows that Anya is used to people putting her down and abandoning her. However, it’s easy to see by the end of the first episode that Loid has no real intention of taking Anya back to the orphanage. When he hears her cry, when she demands to accompany him, we glimpse Loid’s own lonely and painful childhood. He sees himself in Anya, and while he doesn’t always show it outwardly, he has a very parental attachment to her despite their short time together. In this relationship alone, it is clear that Spy x Family aims to show that this family, despite its strange dynamics, does not perpetuate the cycles of trauma that its members have faced.
Although Loid still sees this family as part of the mission and tries to distance himself from them, we often see him think of Anya as his own child. He goes to great lengths for her, seen the way he saves her and tries to leave her to protect her in the first episode and as he sets up an elaborate prize for her after her acceptance into Eden Academy. It’s also clear that he wants to protect her from the school interview scene when he loses his temper when a teacher makes Anya cry and in the way he immediately reacts to Anya being overwhelmed by the crowd taking her to a quiet place to calm down. .
Loid is shown to be a strong, cold person driven by his goals; however, we don’t often see this harshness spill over into his treatment of Anya. When it does, like when he’s helping Anya study, we see Yor stepping in to provide advice. If the cycle of trauma were to continue, Loid would not take his suggestions to heart. He would fall into the trap of hurting Anya to achieve his own goal, despite his ultimate dream of making the world a place where children don’t have to cry. However, Loid respects Yor’s contribution; he listens to her and takes her words to heart, using her advice to be a better caregiver for Anya. He is never defensive when Yor tries to help, nor does he try to justify his bad behavior with his trauma. He’s just doing what’s best for the girl he now calls his daughter.
Yor is another example of how the cycle of trauma is broken in the series. Like Loid and Anya, she is also an orphan and she has been tasked with caring for her younger brother. This eventually led to her becoming an assassin and gave her a personality and thought process that often leads people to call her robotic or cold. It also caused her to have a lot of anxiety about her worth beyond her job. However, she never pushes this on her family; for her, Anya and Loid are reasons to improve and learn to open up. Although she recognizes that their family is a ruse, as Loid does, the love in the family still encourages her to do her best to heal from the difficulties she has faced.
It might seem like this cycle of broken trauma isn’t something incredibly big on the show. It’s much more fun to watch Spy x Family like a fun, action-packed anime. However, it is a unique dynamic, especially when used in a forged family where each member comes from a similar background. For each of them, a family is something they only knew a short time before their lives were taken by devastation and heartache. It would have been incredibly easy to make them a family that was cold and insensitive to each other, or constantly reminded that their family wasn’t real. Instead, there is slow growth into a whole, functioning family trying to give themselves the freedom to be themselves and find comfort and healing in their relationships.
The family the Forgers have created is a beacon of hope for themselves and for the watching public. While their family’s success means there is hope that the mission will be accomplished, it also means there is hope for each of them individually. It means they can heal, they can find connection and love despite the hardships they have been through. By extension, it gives hope to the public. For people who have been in the shoes of the characters, who have their own cycles of trauma that they hope to escape from, Loid, Anya and Yor show that it’s possible to do, and it can be done in many ways outside of conventional channels. Spy x Family is a shining example of how family dynamics don’t have to be traditional and how it’s essential to break the molds of the past in order to shape a better future for the people you care for…even if it’s is about a group of strangers brought together by a great mission for peace in the world.
Sports anime and the art of relatability