Spy x Family Code: White

Many of the anime movies that get released in the U.S. involve fighters who must constantly develop new powers or level up old ones. Spy x Family Code: White is a refreshing change of pace, courtesy of a hooky premise. Loid is a spy. As part of his cover, he’s in an artificial marriage to an assassin named Yor. Together, they have an adopted daughter named Anya, who has telepathic abilities. They also have a dog that can see into the future. From the outside, the group looks like a normal family.

That proves key to the latest step in Loid’s ongoing “Operation Strix.” He needs to get special merits that will put him in proximity to an important figure. One way of doing that is for Anya to win her school’s cooking competition. (I’m not going to explain it, but the plot point makes sense in full context.) To study what they believe will be the winning dish, the family takes a winter vacation to a Swiss-like town. On the way, Anya accidentally eats a chocolate truffle that contains a highly coveted piece of microfilm in its center. Bad guys are soon on her tail, and the question becomes whether she can escape their clutches, find the necessary ingredients for her desert, and make it back to win the competition.

Spy x Family Code: White has a good time exploiting the idea of a faux family fighting crime. The characters are well developed, each with their own amusing twist. Loid is very work-focused and intent on keeping up the charade. Yor becomes worried that he’s “cheating” on her after noticing a few red flags her day job coworkers point out. Anya isn’t supposed to know her parents’ real occupations, yet she does, and she finds it completely awesome. The dynamics between the trio are consistently entertaining to watch. Unlike the Spy Kids series where the whole family is on the same page, the players here all have an individual angle they’re operating from.

The movie is animated with great skill, particularly the action scenes. Yor kills a bad guy in a spectacularly bloody manner, and there’s a wonderfully insane finale set in and on top of a combat plane. Director Takashi Katagiri and his team bring those adventure-filled sequences to life in visually sophisticated style. Interestingly, one of the most suspenseful scenes doesn’t even involve physical action. In it, Loid is challenged to a high-stakes taste test against the villain, a warmonger named Colonel Snidel. That scene ends with an unexpected twist.

Humor is what most makes Spy x Family Code: White enjoyable, though. The clairvoyant dog earns laughs, as does an extended bit about Anya trying not to pass the microfilm after being captured by Snidel. That leads to a trippy dream sequence where she’s visited by a poop deity who whisks her off to the magical “land of toilets.” Hey, it’s anime. Anything can happen, right?

The story’s ending feels slightly rushed, although the series will presumably follow up on those events in the near future. Otherwise, Spy x Family Code: White is certain to delight fans. As an added bonus, it’s accessible enough that a newcomer can jump right in, thanks to a prologue that provides the necessary background information. With manic action and some comedic flavoring, the movie offers wall-to-wall fun.


out of four

Spy x Family Code: White is rated PG-13 for some violence, language, and smoking. The running time is 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Universal

© 2024 Mike McGranaghan