Review: ‘Spy x Family Code: White’ is Adventurous, Explosive Animated Fun on the Big Screen

Based on the widely acclaimed Harvey and Eisner Award-nominated manga written and illustrated by Tatsuya Endo, the television series Spy x Family originally debuted on April 9, 2022. It was quickly embraced by fans across the globe with glee with the first two seasons available to watch on Crunchyroll. As I previously hyped up, when teasers and trailers started dropping, one of our favorite anime families–The Forger Family: Loid, Yor, Anya, and Bond the dog travel together under the guise of a weekend winter getaway. 

He’s a spy. She’s an assassin. Together, Loid and Yor keep their double lives to themselves (mostly) while pretending to be the perfect family. However, their adopted daughter Anya, a telepath–the heart of their little family– knows both of their exciting secrets unbeknownst to them. In Spy x Family Code: White, this weekend getaway may have started as Loid’s attempt to make progress on his current mission, Operation Strix, but as the weekend progresses, the lives of one of our newest found families in anime are all at stake along with world peace after Anya accidentally gets caught up in some top-secret business. 

I was so grateful to be invited to the red carpet premiere this Thursday, April 11, 2024 to enjoy the festivities as Crunchyroll hosted the English dubbed red carpet world premiere event of the highly anticipated feature film Spy x Family Code: White in Los Angeles at the DGA Theatre Complex. The fans came out and the red carpet came alive!

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 11: A general view of atmosphere at World Premiere of the English Dub Version of “Spy x Family Code: White at DGA Theater Complex on April 11, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Crunchyroll)

BNP briefly spoke to a few of Spy x Family Code: White’s English dubbed voice talent the night of the red-carpet event. We were on the tail end of the red carpet so we asked all the fun questions as things were wrapping up so we all could enter the theatre to watch the film! 

We asked Megan Shipman (Anya): In real life, where do you think Anya would like to be taken on a family vacation? Disneyland, the Ghibli Museum in Japan? Or maybe the First Peanut Museum in the U.S. Waverly, Virginia? 

Megan: Why not Disney World? But where would she go? It would have to be a place where her favorite characters would be! Like if Lions were her thing, she’d want to go and drag her parents to the Disney Animal Kingdom. 

We asked Anthony Bowling (Franky Franklin): what Hollywood heartthrob or singer IRL would Frankie want to emulate? 

Anthony: Oh, that’s a good question, Franky would probably go with Timothée Chalamet since he has such a big fan base and is pretty big in Hollywood, right now!

We asked Lindsay Seidel (Fiona Frost/Nightfall): What game of sports, video games, or table top game do you think you would have a solid chance at winning against Fiona aka Nightfall? I know it won’t be tennis!

Lindsay: Well, I’m terrible at sports, video games, and I can’t think of any tabletop games, but I just know that it would NOT be poker!

Lastly, we asked Natalie Van Sistine (Yor Briar-Forger/Thorn Princess): What is one thing that you’d love Yor to teach you? A takedown move?

Natalie: Her resilience. I love that Yor pours her heart into her family and wanting to do right by them! Like, she’s not great at cooking but carries on–getting cooking lessons, even ending up with band-aids all over her fingers and hands. She sticks to trying and her dedication and resilience shows so much, and I admire that!

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 11: (L-R) Tyson Rinehart, Anthony Bowling, Tyler Walker, Phil Parsons, Megan Shipman, Alex Organ, Natalie Van Sistine, Cris George, and Lindsay Seidel attend World Premiere of the English Dub Version of Spy x Family Code: White at DGA Theater Complex on April 11, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Crunchyroll)

Spy x Family Code: White welcomes to the big screen one of our favorite anime families, The Forgers and serves an adventurous romp with much fanfare and heart. Loid, Yor, Anya, and Bond the dog take a train for a weekend family trip–sure it is for research for another scheme for Operation Strix. Yet, everyone is excited and off they go! Darling Anya wanders off, as she tends to do, and accidentally gets caught up with some top secret business that she was better off knowing nothing about. The Forger family find themselves separated when the two goons little Anya previously came across at the beginning of the trip snatch her up and a rescue mission is launched, and world peace is once at stake!

The Sub(titled) and Dub(bbed) debate continues fiercely into the 2020’s, as in what version of the anime at least is better, more valid, etc.–and I refuse to allow it space here. Note: Spy x Family Code: White will have subbed and dubbed versions showing in theaters. Count yourself a fan? Go see both versions! This is something I often do with anime films in general just to see how they differ and support my favorite voice talent on different versions. I am so impressed by the efforts of the English Dubb team: the original cast reposed their roles before the anime adaptation with some new voices, of course. Voice actor Alex Organ as Loid effortlessly commands attention on the big screen whether instructing Anya on her studies while on a train or being undercover on an enemy vessel. Natalie Van Sistine as Yor gives us multitudes as the sometimes hapless but never damsel in distress undercover assassin who wants to protect her precious little family yet still questions her place in it. Van Sistine and Organ both shine individually and the magic of them interacting together marks a hilarious misunderstanding that follows them out of town and on this family weekend trip.

Spy X Family Code: White (© 2023 Spy x Family The Movie Project © Tatsuya Endo_Shueisha)

Megan Shipman’s Anya returned to steal my heart away with such precision with childlike wonder, curiosity, and offbeat pronunciations in one too many situations that only Anya can get herself in. Shipman does wonders especially in the quieter moments with her parents and with strangers, the two enemy lackeys (one of them being Tyson Rinehart’s Luca) that end up kidnapping her and pursuing her again and again throughout the film. I was also happy to see and hear Tyler Walker as best doggo Bond, Anthony Bowling (Franky), and Lindsay Seidel (Nightfall) once again to help flesh out the voice cast with much affection (Bond), attempts at charisma (Franky) and intensity (Fiona). The eccentric big baddie on the film, Phil Parsons as Domitri gave a domineering and rightfully terrifying at times performance and weight to the voice cast. Parson flexed his skill set and it showed throughout the film from everything from imitating small children everywhere to ordering terrible (war) crimes to be committed. 

Spy X Family Code: White (© 2023 Spy x Family The Movie Project © Tatsuya Endo_Shueisha)

The animation in Spy x Family Code: White did not disappoint: audiences will find their eyeballs lingering on all the delicious food the Forger set out to try on their vacation. I appreciated several small details and scenes in the film like the reveal of the item that Anya snuck away to find and special ride attractions between different members of the Forger family. Spy x Family Code: White’s animation is produced by two acclaimed anime teams: WIT STUDIO (Attack on Titan (Season 1-3); VINLAND SAGA; Ranking of Kings) and CloverWorks (The Elusive Samurai; Black Butler: Public School Arc). In the later part of the film, the action sequences alone punch up the volume and the animation quality as the life-or-death stakes continue to get raised: fan favorite Yor’s fiery spar against a mysterious enemy makes for a devastating showdown not to be missed. 

Spy X Family Code: White (© 2023 Spy x Family The Movie Project © Tatsuya Endo_Shueisha)

My favorite animation sequence in Spy x Family Code: White came courtesy of Anya who in a hilariously delirious state has a sort of vision that I can only describe as hilariously distracting and on brand for the little girl. This animated scene, near the end of the film, adds a vibrantly gorgeous and gut funny component to the film that made the theater erupt into laughter nearly all the way through. Reminiscent of internet humor and perhaps even a bit of homage to gag manga, it helped add even more humor to the film which already had audiences laughing and reacting to what was happening on the big screen. This was the momentum peak of humor in the film for me even though the adapting the original material for the English dub voice talent cast led to many snappy, on liners and funny little moments throughout.

Spy x Family Code: White operates on the same energy of the anime adaptation in a way but in a way more explosive fashion. The film bounces successfully from action to heart-warming moments to quiet realizations to chaos once again making the Forger’s the family to adore and continue to keep watching. Their film debut makes a successful landing at the end of its nearly two-hour showtime, balancing a story of a few narrative threads: most important that family sticks together and that we are responsible for each other and come through for each other. Every Forger family member found themselves balancing different agendas and desires on this trip, and yet they all came together for each other and ultimately for others for their shared future together. Saving the world, means saving the ones we love, of course!

Spy X Family Code: White (© 2023 Spy x Family The Movie Project © Tatsuya Endo_Shueisha)

Do fans of animation, anime in particular and fans of the Spy x Family franchise, need to watch Spy x Family Code: White? No. Here’s the thing: if you want to be entertained, wowed by the animation, impressed by a great English dub effort, and reminded of why we are endeared to the Forger family so much, you’ll buy a ticket today. These pandemic years have introduced and reintroduced many people to anime via streaming apps and to enjoying more of it, in theaters attendance too. Spy x Family Code: White serves an adventurous, explosive romp with much fanfare, humor, and heart. While this film was written as an all-new original story, it surely encases the spirit of the anime adaptation and makes me hope for another film adventure featuring the Forger family sometime in the near future. Spy x Family Code: White is a treat to watch in theaters, and I’d watch it again!

Credits: Directed by Takashi Katagiri. Written by Ichiro Okouchi. Original story by Tatsuya Endo. Produced by WIT STUDIO x CloverWorks.

Spy x Family Code: White hits theaters on April 19th. Seasons one and two of the series are available for streaming on Crunchyroll.

Thanks again so much Crunchyroll and RCPMK for the invitation to the event and to be part of the grand experience!

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  • Carrie McClain is writer, editor and media scholar. Other times she's known as a Starfleet Communications Officer, Comics Auntie, and Golden Saucer Frequenter. Nowadays you can usually find her avoiding Truck-kun and forgetting her magical girl transformation device. She/Her

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