Spy x Family is written and illustrated by Tatsuya Endo and has just about everything you could want. Comedy, romance, an attractive dad trying to be the best he can be, action, and espionage all wrapped into one title. Oh, and now there’s a dog. Spy x Family Volume 4 is localized in English and published under VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint, with individual chapters available on the Shonen Jump app. This volume is translated by Casey Loe and features touch-up art and lettering by Rina Mapa.
Spy x Family Volume 4 collects Missions (chapters) 18-21 and has two bonus side missions. If you’re unfamiliar with the series thus far, it follows a fake family that is quickly becoming a real one. Loid Forger, codename Twilight, is a spy tasked with infiltrating a prestigious school to get close to his mark. To do so, he has to form a fake family. Enter Yor, codename Thorn Princess, an assassin with a brother in the Secret Police, and Anya, a telepathic orphan. Over the course of the last three volumes, we’ve seen the family grow closer, and the mission takes a backseat.
Now, in Spy x Family Volume 4, the Forgers look into adding a dog to their family, but this is no easy task. A day of shopping for a new addition is thrown into chaos when Twilight is called to simultaneously foil an assassination plot against a foreign minister. The perpetrators plan to use trained dogs for the attack, but Twilight gets help from his family in an unexpected way when one of the dogs trained for the attack comes to Anya’s aid.
Spy x Family Volume 4 highlights the best and worst parts of the series. The worst is small, and that’s the vague East/West Cold War espionage talk that sadly doesn’t hold my interest. While it is amusing to see Twilight in his element, the context around it is something I truly can’t make myself care about. And that’s because the way Endo writes the Forger family is this series’ strength.
While the start of the volume is heavy on the espionage, once Anya meets her future dog (pun intended), the story kicks into high gear both from an action and a family perspective. Anya is the one character who knows the truth about everyone. She knows that her mom is an assassin, that her dad is a spy, and does what she can to help mitigate their danger in their respective roles. That’s what makes her shine in this volume and pulls together the other parts of the story. Anya is the center of it all, and that’s why it works.
Endo’s ability to write dialogue from a child’s perspective and use a child’s view of the world to push humor and the story is on full display in this volume. While the last volume focused on Yor’s perspective as a mother and wife, this one focuses on Anya’s perspective and how she views the world and communicates with her new dog. This allows for simplistic solves for assassination plots and allows Yor to let her motherly love fuel her terrorist take-downs.
Additionally, Endo’s panels are action-packed but also humorous. The emotion from the characters are easily distinguished, and Anya’s eccentric expressions remain my favorite of any manga currently. There is a balance between action illustration and comedy that works extremely well.
Overall, Spy x Family Volume 4 continues to be a strong series and one of my favorites published from VIZ’s Shonen Jump imprint. Hilarious, heartfelt, and filled with intrigue and family shenanigans, the Forger family features some of the best characters out right now.
Spy x Family Volume 4 is available wherever books are sold on March 2, 2021.