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‘Spy x Family – Code: White’ review: The Forgers make their big screen debut

February 7th, 2024

With the recent conclusion of Spy x Family’s second season last December, most of us assumed that it’ll be a long while before we see the Forger family’s antics on screen again. Thankfully, the wait for season three will be a little more bearable because Wit Studio and CloverWorks have blessed us with a feature film spinoff in the meantime. Directed by Takashi Katagiri and featuring a wholly original script from by Ichiro Okouchi (not adapted from Tatsuya Endo’s best-selling manga), Code: White is an entirely standalone story designed to gratify both newbies and devoted fans of the acclaimed series.

The movie even goes so far as to recap the premise of the show and its main characters in its first ten minutes. For the uninitiated, Loid Forger is the alias of Westalis super spy Twilight, who is working undercover within neighbouring country Ostania. In order to keep up appearances, he enters into a marriage of convenience with a lonely civil servant named Yor and adopts an adorable little orphan called Anya. Unbeknownst to him, Yor is moonlighting as an underworld assassin, while Anya is secretly a telepath (who knows about both her parents’ double lives). Between maintaining a fake family and hiding their identities from each other, the show has been a lively blend of domestic comedy and slick action from the jump.

A still from ‘Spy x Family – Code: White’. Image: Encore Films

That successful formula carries over in Spy x Family’s much hyped theatrical debut, which begins with Loid’s handlers becoming frustrated with his lack of progress on Operation Strix – ingratiating himself with an Ostanian official via Anya’s placement in his son’s private school. With the threat of reassignment looming, Loid is desperate to help Anya win Eden Academy’s cooking competition so that he can eventually get to hobnob with said official. So, they hatch a plan to bake the principal’s favourite dessert, which requires them to travel to Frejis in order to get the recipe for the traditional dish. Thus, the Forgers embark on what should be a relaxing family vacation to the picturesque town. However, things get complicated when Anya unwittingly eats a bonbon containing microfilm integral to a nefarious military plot.

Much like the show, this film revolves around a hilariously absurd scenario which leads to zany adventures, wacky misunderstandings and heartwarming moments – punctuated by amazing fight sequences showcasing just how skilled Loid and Yor are when push comes to shove. With regards to the action, it’s encouraging to see Spy x Family spotlight Yor more (especially after her spectacular Cruise Adventure Arc). While there’s lots of cool action on offer, one dazzlingly choreographed set-piece featuring Yor at her badass best might be the greatest pleasure Spy x Family has ever concocted. But as always, rascal Anya is the scene-stealing star, continuing to win the hearts of viewers everywhere with her lovable mix of goofiness and cuteness. A large portion of the movie revolves around Anya resisting the urge to poop – leading to one of the strangest and most delightful hallucinations you’ll ever see on the big screen.

Unfortunately, the same issue that plagues every semi-canonical movie adaptation of a popular anime series also afflicts Code: White – a complete lack of tension or stakes. Since OVAs and cinematic spinoffs such as these are typically not based on the source material, whatever happens in the narrative means nothing, due the fact that the story must revert to the show’s status quo by the end. Therefore, it’s extremely difficult to invest in the twists and turns of Code: White when audiences already know that its dangers, complications and developments will be undone in its climax. Couple that with the movie’s underwhelming villains and its storyline’s inability to carry the length of a feature film (this would’ve worked better condensed as a three episode arc) – and you get a solid, charming, but ultimately inconsequential Spy x Family outing.

‘Spy x Family – Code: White’ is set for release in Asia on February 8. The film has yet to receive a release date in the UK, but will be available on Crunchyroll in the future.

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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