Beneath the wholesome exterior that is Spy x Family lies an interesting character study of the Forger family—especially Anya, who I believe is the villain.
That’s right, there is reason to believe that the face of many an anime fan’s profile pic right now is actually the antagonist of the series.
Note: there are no spoilers for Spy x Family here, beyond what has already been shown in the anime. This is purely observation and inference mainly based on the first few episodes of the anime. To start things off, let me make something absolutely clear.
Anya is the Antagonist (but She is Not Evil)
While Spy x Family has not portrayed a clear, overarching villain, I am making this bold claim simply because of how the story is presented so far—and it’s important to note that Anya is by no means evil. A story can have an antagonist who’s not evil.
A good example of this would be L from Death Note. Whether L or Light Yagami is good or evil is something that’s still debated by anime communities to this day, but one thing that’s absolutely clear is that L is the antagonist, and Light is the protagonist.
In the case of Spy x Family, who’s the protagonist and antagonist isn’t as clear cut. Whether you view Twilight aka Loid Forger as the protagonist with Anya and Yor as deuteragonists, or the whole Forger family as the protagonists—there’s a case to be made for both perspectives.
Despite that, it’s my view that Loid is the protagonist of the series. It’s his story after all. He’s the one with the mission. He’s the one who put the family together. He’s the one who’s actively moving the story along, creating the funny situations we see as the series progresses. In a purely writing sense—you can replace Anya and Yor, but you can’t replace Loid.
Loid VS Anya
With Loid as the sole protagonist in mind, how in the world does his daughter whom he adopted for the sole reason of aiding his mission—the antagonist? How is the character who’s willing to throw away a relationship at a moment’s notice the good guy, and how is the cute, innocent daughter the bad one?
The answer lies in both characters’ goals. Loid and Anya are helping each other, but their goals stand at odds with each other. Sure, Loid is providing Anya happiness as her father and sure, Anya is helping Loid’s mission, but what both characters are doing goes counter to the other’s objective.
The closer Loid gets to completing his mission, the quicker Anya’s happy family will crumble. Anya faces a big dilemma in Spy x Family. On one hand, she wants to be useful to her adoptive father—failure to do so would mean her getting replaced.
On the other hand, once Loid’s mission is accomplished, Anya will no longer have any use for the spy known as Twilight. Of course, we—the audience, hope that this wouldn’t happen and that Loid will have a change of heart, but as it stands, Anya’s happiness lies in complete opposition to Loid’s mission for peace.
The child may or may not have realised this, but unless she changes her goals or Loid retires/gets a different mission that requires Anya, there wouldn’t be a happy ending for her. Ultimately, Anya is the double agent in the Forger family—standing on a tight rope, balancing between seeking to preserve her happiness while helping Loid advance his mission. It’s in her best interest to drag the completion of the mission for as long as possible—which is the antagonistic force opposing Loid.
Spy x Family is a wholesome, cute and funny series that like Death Note before it, challenges the notion of what is good and what is evil. Is Loid, someone who orchestrated this whole “happy family” charade for the sake of peace good? Is Yor, a murderer who would jump into action to stop a thief from stealing from an elderly lady, evil? Is Anya, someone who just wants a happy family the villain of Spy x Family?
I’d argue that yes, Anya is the villain, but I don’t blame her at all. At the end of the day, despite their questionable actions and methods, Loid and Yor are fighting for causes that they believe are right. They’re both fighting for something greater than themselves.
Likewise, Anya is stringing them along because she wants a loving yet exhilarating, action-packed family. Unlike Loid and Yor, Anya knows full well the dangers that being together with each other holds, yet she goes along with it for her own amusement.
I don’t blame Anya for being selfish. She is a child, after all. As someone who’s been tossed away by adoptive family after adoptive family, how can you blame her for wanting affectation and excitement outside the orphanage and laboratory, where she’s treated as an outcast and a guinea pig?
Spy x Family is a show meant to be enjoyed with a good laugh, but whether you agree or disagree with this analysis, there is no denying that it’s certainly one of the most unique and exciting anime to have been released as of late.