Spy x Family Code: White is failing the mission by serving every fan

I love it when Spy x Family turns into a slice-of-life drama. I enjoy seeing super-duper-capable spy Loid Forger and deadly assassin Yor navigate mundane activities like cooking dinner or planning date nights. I get dizzy when the telepathic Anya uses her powers in a dodgeball match. I’m sure there are fans who prefer the more action-packed, spy thriller episodes, but I like it when studios Wit and Cloverworks keep it cool. With twenty episodes per season, the anime has the room to deftly balance these two tones.

Spy x Family Code: White tries to dance that dance without the same rhythm. The new film is almost two hours long, but whatever type Spy x Family fan you are, only half of it will be a joy and the other half will be a slog.

(Ed. remark: This review contains some spoilers for Spy x Family)

Image: WIT Studio/CloverWorks

In Spy x Family Code: White, the Forger family goes on vacation to an idyllic mountain village. There’s a big ulterior motive behind this: Anya’s latest class assignment involves cooking a dessert, and if she bakes the best dessert, she’ll receive a coveted Stella, the school’s top academic prize. And since she needs as many Stellas as possible to get a spot at an elite party, where her family can meet the Prime Minister, Loid decides the best strategy is to investigate the director’s favorite dessert herself.

At the same time, the future of Operation Strix is ​​up in the air. Loid really wants Anya to win this match so he can exert influence to stay on the assignment. Oh, and thanks to a misunderstanding, Yor thinks Loid might be cheating during their (fake) wedding.

Directed by Spy x Family episode director Takashi Katagiri, the first half of the film contains a lot of lighthearted shenanigans, with some spy stuff sprinkled in. It’s my ideal ratio. Loid, Yor, Anya and the prophetic family dog ​​Bond traverse this mountain village, which looks like something out of a Hallmark movie, in search of ingredients so the restaurant’s chef can make dessert. Of course, this also includes Loid using his spy-trained marksmanship to beat a carnival game so he can get his hands on an elusive bottle of orange liqueur, and Yor accidentally kicking Loid out of a Ferris wheel car with her super-strong assassin legs when he tries to kiss her .

And while the shenanigans are happening, there are also some fun discussions about family and spending time together. Loid wants to handle everything himself, but Yor insists that they should do things together as a family because that will be important in the end. Anya worries that Operation Strix will fall apart and possibly lose her family.

Yor Forger, a dark-haired woman, who is about to fight

Image: WIT Studio/CloverWorks

Loid Forger infiltrates a wine cellar

Image: WIT Studio/CloverWorks

But there are clues to a larger storyline, involving Ostania’s army and a crucial piece of information that could spark a war. At first it’s woven into the background, but it suddenly rises towards the back half of the film, and the tone shifts into heavier action and thriller mode.

Yes, there are still a lot of funny jokes (including an extended gag about Anya trying to hold in her poop, which is a lot funnier than it sounds on paper), but there’s also a lot of kicking and explosions and a lot of complicated contrived political issues (which in true Anime OVA fashion are neatly resolved so that they won’t really affect the next season). I’m sure this is exciting for a certain type Spy x Family fan, but I spent the second half of the movie daydreaming about what the plot could have been if the Forgers had spent the next half hour making the overly complicated dessert. I know there are people who want the dessert storyline to be accelerated.

As a TV show Spy x Family handles these tonal changes skillfully. Having over twenty episode seasons means a nice balance between both the silly and the more serious episodes – and because the episodes are half an hour long, it never feels like too much focus on one thing. But as a movie Spy Family Code: White can’t find that balance. Each half of the film represents a different aspect of the film Spy x Family‘s profession, and each half is pretty good for what it should be. They just don’t match on feature length. When the tone changes, it’s stuck and doesn’t have as much to offer as the show. Still, it doesn’t matter what kind Spy x Family If you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy at least half of the movie.

Spy Family Code: White is in theaters today.