Greetings and salutations, my dear reader! This year (so far) has been a great year for anime lovers as we’ve been blessed with many great titles, and the year still has a few more months left before it comes to a close. Each season has given us top-tier animation for our eyes to feast on, from the romantic-comedy genre of My Dress Up Darling last winter, to Part 2 of the final season of Attack on Titan in the Spring, and the long-awaited return of The Devil is a Part-Timer during the summer. Yet, somehow, the one’s I’ve mentioned earlier have paled in comparison to Tatsuya Endo’s slice of life action-comedy, Spy X Family!
Yes, you’ve read it right, dear reader! While many of the manga’s readers have been waiting patiently for its anime debut, many were certainly caught off guard just how immensely popular it’ll eventually become. This anime, which its first season premiered near the end of March totally dominated the anime landscape, and managed to swept our hearts in the process with its memorable cast of characters.
Before we can talk about the anime further, its only appropriate we take a moment to look back how it all began. After Endo’s earlier series, Tista, for Jump Square had ended, he along with his editor Shihei Lin transferred to Shonen Jump +. Endo and Shihei began developing a new series taking inspiration and elements from the mangakas previous one-shots: “Ashe of Purgatory”, “The Pink in Stone, the Star in Steel”, and “I Spy.”
In the initial drafting stages, the working title for the series was just called Spy Family, but written in Japanese. Edo had written down over 100 potential names for the series, but he ultimately decided on naming the series using the project title instead, and translating it into English. The X cross in the stylized title is a subtle homage to the anime Hunter X Hunter. Additionally, it should be noted that X is not really meant to be pronounced and remained silent.
When it came to writing the story, Endo and Lin remained very conscious of the fine line between violence in the spy genre is necessary and the action found in shounen manga, as well as the usage of comedy to lighten the mood. With Endo’s previous works like Tista and Gekka Bijin having such darker themes, Lin advised the mangaka to make Spy X Family more cheerful but retaining the elements of lost, grief and longing undertones found throughout the manga.
The first chapter of Spy X Family was officially released on the 25th of March, 2019, and is on a biweekly release schedule since. The chapters can all be found on both the Shonen Jump+ app or the website, with new chapters are uploaded every other Monday. As of the time of this writing, the chapters have been compiled into nine tankabon volumes, all published by Shueisha. Also, the publishing company publishes the series in English translation for free on the Manga Plus app. While publishing and translations are done by Viz Media.
For the animation side of things, the announcement was made public back on November 1st of last year. Now, here is where things get really interesting, did you know that the anime was done by two separate animation studios; Wit Studios famous for Attack on Titan, and CloverWorks who did My Dress up Darling early this year. It turns out the decision to split the production of the anime came from good relationship between the head of Wit Studio’s George Wada, and a producer at CloverWorks who wished to remain anonymous.
With the workload being split in half; CloverWorks taking the even-numbered episodes, while the staff over at Wit taking the odd-numbered ones. With the episodes assign to the respective studios, they’ve relatively made without much involvement from one another, with the exception stage affects such as lighting or special effects. This was done together to ensure the end result remained consistent. Furthermore, series director Kazuhiro Furuhashi laid the ground rules and procedures both studios must abide like how characters and the world is animated.
Well, despite an unconventional production process, both teams were successful in bringing Endo’s colorful world to life. Though, it’s not yet over as they still have the remainder of part 2 animate before Spy X Family returns to the airwaves this fall.