Media Mindfulness Blog

Spy x Family: Why EVERYONE is Rooting for Them

Spy x Family: Why EVERYONE is Rooting for Them

Spy x Family is a delightful anime show which has many fans watching just for its hopelessly endearing main character: little Anya (voice of Atsumi Tanezaki). The show isn’t just about a 4-or-5-year-old orphan girl. It is about her life in a make-shift fake family, and her desire to make that family a real one. 


“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” - John 14:18 


Twilight (voice of Takuya Eguchi) is a spy of the highest caliber, a master of disguise, with a reputation for getting the job done. When he is assigned a target so elusive that the only way to get to him is through the target’s 6-year-old son, Twilight realizes he needs to infiltrate the boy’s school. Since the boy is attending a prestigious, high-security private school, the only way for Twilight to do that is to have a 6-year-old kid himself. 


Twilight heads to the local orphanage and ends up with Anya, a slightly-too-young girl who, unbeknownst to him, can read minds as a result of a failed medical experiment. Anya knows Twilight is a spy, not because he told her but because she can read his mind. However, being so young, she can only interpret what she reads in people’s minds as a preschooler would, and her attempts to act on the information she discovers often leads to chaos and confusion. 


Anya has been adopted out from the orphanage several times before, but always returned for her bizarre behavior. She is longing for a place to belong, for someone to belong to. Who more amazing than a world-class spy! 


“I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters.” - 2 Corinthians 6:18 



Anya and Twilight in "Spy x Family."  © 2023 Cruchyroll. All Rights Reserved. 


When he realizes the school favors students from stable, two-parent families, Twilight needs to find a wife fast. With a little help from Anya, he strikes a deal with Yor (voice of Saori Hayami) - a hapless government employee with a secret of her own. Yor has a side-gig as an assassin, a job she got into as a teen when she was desperate to provide for her younger brother. She sees her position as a noble one, one that keeps her country safe, and this fake marriage will protect her. It’s the perfect business deal. 


Yet even keeping things technical and businesslike, Twilight and Yor cannot help noticing the inner father-and-motherhood that is awakening within them as they inadvertently fall in love with their quirky little Anya, nor the softening care they are developing towards one another. Both find themselves wondering, on occasion, what it might be like if this was more than just a ruse. Yet both feel like it could never be more than that. They feel that the real them wouldn’t be accepted by the other, and therefore they keep themselves hidden. Which has, of course, inspired every fan to ship this couple and wait with hopeful anticipation for the day these three misfits open up to each other, accept one another fully, and become a REAL family! 


“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. Who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” - John 1:12-13 


Twilight, Anya, and Yor in "Spy x Family."  © 2023 Cruchyroll. All Rights Reserved. 


But why is this such a universal response in viewers? Why does everyone want them to be a forever-family? Why do we, whether we have experienced adoption in our families or not, feel such conviction over little Anya’s belonging with these people who were not originally her own? 


“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ…” - Ephesians 1:5  



Anya, Twilight, and Yor in "Spy x Family."  © 2023 Cruchyroll. All Rights Reserved. 



Did you know that statistically in the US, practicing Christian families are more than twice as likely as other families to adopt? There is an important reason for this. Whether we have directly experienced adoption in our family or not, all Christians are touched by adoption. For we have all been adopted into the family of God. In our baptism, we are reborn into his family. We call him our Father, even “Abba” (Daddy), we gain Jesus as our brother, we receive the Holy Spirit as our intimate advocate and confidant. In the heart of the Trinity, we also gain a multitude of brothers and sisters in Christ - those here on earth, and those who have gone before us. Not the least of which is a tenderly loving and fiercely protective mother in Mary. 


But, like Twilight, Yor, and little Anya (and their dog Bond, of course), we often struggle to be vulnerable enough to really accept this belonging. This is where the struggles of one of our dearest brothers in Christ can teach us something important: 


Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples (John 21:1-7) 


After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 


Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he had taken it off, and jumped into the sea.  



Detail of Appearance on Lake Tiberias by Duccio di Buoninsegna (Source: Wikimedia Commons


There are so many times while we wait for Jesus to reveal himself to us – to be there the way we want him to – we get frustrated and go back to old things for comfort, meaning, or a sense of belonging. Those things may not be bad in and of themselves, but we may seek them to fill that impatient nagging in us that maybe, just maybe we don’t belong the way we thought we did, that perhaps we aren’t connected with the bond we thought we were. 


Peter goes back to where he had belonged before - on the water, fishing. Except he finds no satisfaction there. They catch nothing. 


When Jesus shows up, hidden from their recognition, he calls out the word that confirms Peter’s real belonging, “children,” he calls to them, “you have no fish, have you?” When Peter finally realizes who is standing there on the shore, after the stun of a deja-vu miracle and John’s “It is the Lord,” Peter realizes he does not belong out on that water. He belongs to Jesus. Jesus is his home. He bails from the boat to claim the belonging he had been doubting since the day he’d denied it in front of everyone. 


This is our belonging. This is our home. This is our family, our forever-family.  


We are adopted into the family of God. And nothing can ever separate us from the love of the one who has sealed us as his own. But it is up to us to respond. It is up to us to jump from our boats as Peter did, towards the One to whom we belong, and in him to discover a family closer, larger, and more vibrant than any we could have possibly imagined! 


“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” - Romans: 8:14-15 


Yor, Anya, and Twilight in "Spy x Family."  © 2023 Cruchyroll. All Rights Reserved. 


Spy x Family S1 and S2 are available for streaming on CrunchyRoll



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