Review: Spy x Family Code: White


It’s rare for an anime to become mainstream. For every show like Attack on Titan or Demon Slayerthere are hundreds of shows that have slipped through the cracks and become lost in the annals of anime history. I can list countless shows like this, but when a show gets mainstream attention to the point that it has a theatrical release, it makes me just a little bit happier since more people can give it a shot. Spy x Family may not be my favorite anime, but I’m pleased that a movie like Spy x Family Code: White was able to get a theatrical release here in the States when even five years ago that would have been an impossibility.

Despite its growing popularity, anime is still a fairly niche genre in the West and it’s difficult to get a person into it. I personally think that Spy x Family is an excellent gateway anime because of how easy to understand its premise is and how you can tune into any episode and find something to laugh at. Spy x Family Code: White is basically a feature-length episode of the series, so your opinion of the film will be almost exactly the same as your opinion of the show. If this is your first time watching Spy x Family, then Code: White will be a pleasant little movie that will probably make you want to check out more of it. In that regard, then the film must be doing something right.

SPY x FAMILY CODE: WHITE - Official Trailer (HD)

Spy x Family Code: White
Director: Takashi Katagiri

Release Date: April 19, 2024 (Theatrical)

For those unfamiliar with the premise of the series, Spy x Family is set in a Cold War-esque world where two countries, Westalis and Ostania, are on the brink of war and Agent Twilight (Takuya Eguchi/Alex Organ), a spy from Westalis, is tasked with preventing a high ranking government official from doing this. To do so, he needs to get close to him, but because he’s reclusive and only shows up to his son’s school events, Twilight creates a fake family to help his mission. His fake daughter, Anya (Atsumi Tanezaki/Megan Shipman), is actually a telepath who can read his mind, and his fake wife, Yor (Saori Hayami/Natalie Van Sistine), is an assassin who decides to pretend to be Twilight’s wife to prevent anyone from finding out her secret. Everyone is trying their best to conceal their true identities, which causes hijinx to ensue.

In Spy x Family Code: White, due to a political shake-up, Twilight is at risk of being reassigned and the mission being tanked because of it. To try and assuage the government, he arranges a family trip to help Anya do better at school and strengthen their family bond. On the train ride over, Anya accidentally eats a piece of chocolate that contains a microfilm (just go with it) that is being sought after by a radical military group seeking to ignite a war between Ostania and Westalis. That microfilm is the last thing they need to kickstart the fighting. Anya gets kidnapped, leaving it to Twilight and Yor to rescue her, all while still keeping their true identities secret from each other.

I admit, writing all of that out sounds like a lot. Thankfully, Code: White does a pretty good job at introducing the premise in its first five minutes and catching audience members up to speed. If this is your first time seeing anything to do with the series, this is an excellent jumping-on point that sums up the core dynamics and sense of humor that the show is known for. Sure, the actual plot of the movie stretches a lot of suspension of disbelief. You may not be able to get all of the references made in this film, especially in regard to its side characters. Still, the relationships between Twilight, Yor, and Anya do a lot to cover up any of the narrative problems the film may have.

Review: Spy x Family Code: White

Copyright: Crunchyroll, Sony

Moreso than the original series, it feels like there’s actually a lot of time and effort spent to establish their bond as a family. The first half of the film doesn’t have much to do with the microfilm plot as we just watch the three of them, and their future seeing dog Bond, have a simple little vacation. There is technically a reason they’re on vacation beyond strengthening their family bond (they’re in a city called Frigis so Anya can learn to make a dish for a cooking competition at school), but it falls to the wayside in favor of just letting these characters interact with each other. We see Twilight try to juggle being a good dad and fulfilling the mission, Yor worrying that Twilight is cheating on her, and Anya just having fun being on vacation.

This is a non-canon film, meaning that none of the events here will impact the main plot of the series, but it does allow for the production team to have fun with concepts and ideas that they normally wouldn’t be allowed to work with. I mean, the climax does take place on a burning Zeppelin complete with an aerial dogfight, which never would have happened in the show. Despite that creative freedom, the film is ultimately pretty restrained. Of course, the climax is a big spectacle, but if you were to just watch the first half of the movie with no context, it would just seem like another episode of the show. There are no grand emotional moments in the film or tear-jerking scenes. Again, it’s just a feature-length episode of the show in every way, shape, and form.

Code: White is a microcosm of everything that makes Spy x Family unique, for better or worse. Spy x Family was never a series that relied on these melodramatic characters moments, so neither does the movie. The show has a lot of moments where Anya’s antics can be pretty grating, and that’s true here. Yor’s vicious fight scenes are always a treat in the show, and the same is true when she fights a cyborg in Code: White on the aforementioned burning Zeppelin. Where the film does go a little above and beyond is with its animation. It’s not by much, since many of these scenes are still grounded, but there were a few sequences here and there that impressed me with what Wit Studio was able to craft. Again, much like the show it’s based on, Spy x Family Code: White doesn’t need to wow audiences over with immaculately animated scenes to keep them interested. Well-executed jokes are good enough.

Review: Spy x Family Code: White

Copyright: Crunchyroll, Sony

Look, I’m not the biggest Spy x Family fan by any definition of the word. I think that after a while, the jokes of the series become a bit too familiar, and that’s true of Code: White. Anya getting into trouble gets tiring after a while and the supporting characters, when they do pop up, really only have one joke going for them. As someone who’s watched both seasons of the show so far, this does come across as familiar territory, but at the same time, it’s in such a small dose that I’m not bothered as much by it. If I was watching the show week to week and then saw Code: White, I’d probably find a lot of the jokes repetitive. But as someone who hasn’t seen the show recently, it made the jokes and dynamics feel at least a little bit fresh.

With that in mind, I think a newcomer will find a lot to like with Spy x Family Code: White. While it’s by no means a substantive movie, it has a firm grasp on what makes Spy x Family such a unique comedy in the anime industry today. It balances dry wit with goofy antics and all in an espionage package that you just don’t find nowadays. Veterans of the series will either be happy to see a lot of the same types of jokes reused from earlier seasons or be disappointed that it’s just more Spy x Family and nothing else. It’s kind of hard to criticize a movie that is exactly what it says on the tin, so your enjoyment really will depend on how much you like the series. No matter your thoughts on the franchise or your familiarity with it, Spy x Family Code: White is still a fine enough time that will hopefully encourage at least one person to get into anime, which is fine enough for me.




Spy x Family Code: White is just a feature length episode of the show. While that means it captures all of the show's unique charms, it also has its weaknesses too.

Jesse Lab
The strange one. The one born and raised in New Jersey. The one who raves about anime. The one who will go to bat for DC Comics, animation, and every kind of dog. The one who is more than a tad bit odd. The Features Editor.