Cover Image: Spy x Family: Family Portrait

Spy x Family: Family Portrait

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Okay, I did not realize that this was a novelization and got so thrown off. It took a while to get into the book but, once I did, I settled in to the familiar characters. I don't think there was enough character building for a person who hasn't read the comics to jump in but I could be wrong.
In the first story, Anya is going camping. The good news is that Damian, the boy her adopted father would like her to make friends with, is going too. And they are put on the same team. Of course, there is bad news and Anya gets the two of them lost during a storm.
The second story has Yor's brother Yuri finally taking a day off. He hopes to spend it with Yor but she has to work also. Instead, he ends up taking care of Anya for the day, taking her to a place where children can pretend to different jobs. Yuri has to get involved as well and maybe gets a little too invovled.
Franky learns about love in the third story. He is beating himself up for not having a girlfriend and feeling jealous of Loid's good looks. Then he hears a young woman singing and meets a beautiful nineteen-year-old. She's blind but part of a musical family so is practicing her music. Franky spends time with her and begins to get even closer to Franky. When Franky hears she's about to have eye surgery, he reacts about how you'd expect.
The final story has Loid and Yor playing in the park with Bond and Anya when a young man offers to paint them. While Loid is suspicious, he is backed into agreeing to the painting when the artist offers Anya his bag. The artist turns out to be Felix Curtis who is very well known. As a professional spy and an assassin, neither Loid nor Yor can have their faces anywhere in public in case they are recognized. But how can they get out of this painting without acting suspicious?
One final short story rounds out the bunch. Two servers are talking about their dating lives. Their discussion veers to the families they see in the restaurant. One happy family they admire is our very own Forgers.

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Spy x Family is one of the cutest, funniest manga currently being published, in my personal opinion. I was really looking forward to reading Family Portrait, but found it extremely difficult to get into. I think this is mostly due to the writing feeling like it was more for children than young adults, much less for actual adults. I thought the story premises were cute and for the most part the characters' quirks came through, but I just didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would.

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They can't all be the Sasaki and Miyano novels. That's probably not an entirely fair standard to hold light novelizations of manga series to; Kotoko Hachijo is an unusually good mimic of Shō Harusono's writing style and tone. It's also, arguably, an easier task, given that those stories are basic BL slice-of-life in the modern world. There's no research required outside of the original series. That's not the case with SPY×FAMILY. Original creator Tatsuya Endō has built a surprisingly in-depth world based around Cold War-era Germany, and that means that along with capturing the characters, light novel author Aya Yajima also has to dig into the setting and period. None of this is to say that Yajima doesn't pull it off, but rather that although they do their best, the overall feel isn't quite the same as the manga or anime.

It can be felt in the first story, an Anya-centric tale set on a school trip. Eden Academy is taking its students on a two-day, one-night camping adventure, and Loid thinks this is the perfect time for Anya to become better friends with Damian. Anya's into it too, until she completely forgets about it, and even though her dad has pulled strings to ensure that Damian and his cronies are in the same small group as her and Becky, things go somewhat less than smoothly. Where Anya's psychic gifts work well as a plot device in the speech bubble style of manga or with the voiced narrative of anime, in prose format, it feels a little clunky, which is the main issue here. Despite the use of italics for thoughts, it's hard to get a solid foundation for the humor, and reading about the faces Anya makes isn't quite as good as seeing them. The story is still fun, and Damian and Anya's interactions are always entertaining, but there's a real sense of something lacking that pulls this story down.

The second Anya-driven story fares much better, and I'd call it the strongest in the book. In this story, which is told from Yuri's perspective, Yuri ends up having to spend his day off babysitting his niece, something he is less than enthusiastic about. He decides to take Anya to the local in-world version of a children's museum. Still, it turns out to be much more than he was bargaining for: unlike most children's museums, this one is strictly formatted to have kids and their accompanying adults act out real-world jobs. There's a wide variety of professions to choose from, but Yuri is in no way prepared to play. The fact that he's oblivious to Anya's talents also adds to the story's fun, and watching an unsuspecting adult who has never spent time around little kids be gobsmacked by her play-acting is fantastic. The story also allows Yuri to be more of an actual person – yes, he's still a raging sis-con, but we see a little more about why he's that way and what's going on beneath his mildly insane exterior. Yuri is holding Yuri back, and we get a glimpse of who he could be if he grew up.

Loid's characterization is another interesting piece of this book, albeit one I'm not entirely sure I agree with. Yajima's Loid feels more calculating than his manga or anime counterparts, and he appears to be actively stopping himself from being a real father to Anya when we see inside his thoughts. While this does make sense and is a fair interpretation of the character (at least pre-volume ten, which is the setting of this book), it also feels a little jarring. Even in his thoughts in the manga, Loid seems more taken aback than distant regarding Anya, as if his "Loid" act is always on the verge of becoming more real than "Twilight." That's absent here, and while it makes sense in the Franky narrated chapter, it feels a little awkward in the one that gives the volume its title.

We don't get much of Yor in this book, which is a shame, although one that's true of many of the original manga volumes. Franky's chapter is a much more bittersweet romantic adventure than we typically see from him, and while that may not sit well with all readers, it does work. Yajima's writing is readable and flows smoothly. The book is at about a middle-grade level, both in terms of vocabulary and the actual content – assassination and spycraft are both mentioned but not present in the text. However, I wouldn't call SPY×FAMILY: Family Portrait a must-read; it is a fun addition to the franchise, and that's all that it aims (and needs) to be.

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This collection of short stories is a great addition to any Spy x Family collection. You really get the characters personalities, even without the visual cues, though there are a few pictures sprinkled throughout. There's also a short story at the end about how an outsider views the Forgers, and it's a cute way to end the collection.

Mission 1: Anya goes camping. It was a cute little story starring Anya and Desmond and is a great opener for this collection of short stories. Low stakes and cute moments fill this story, while still giving a peek into the hot and cold friendship/rivalry of Anya and Desmond.

Mission 2: Yuri babysits Anya, and this is the best story in the collection. I laughed out loud multiple times because of the back and forth between Yuri and Anya. They are so over the top in different ways, that them together just made for a great story.

Mission 3: This is a story starring Franky, and I think this is the weakest one for me. He falls in love but it doesn't last. It didn't really expand much on the characters or story.

Mission 4: A cute story about the Forgers as they go out to a picnic and are asked to sit for a portrait. This is obviously not great for people with a secret, so seeing how Loid and Yor handle the issue was fun. I'm just a sucker for seeing this fake family falling into becoming a real family.

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Naturally, I love the anime and this story didn't disappoint. If you miss the Forger family then check out this fun story and get to know them in a whole new way.

* Thank you for the ARC!

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thank you to netgalley for the advanced reading copy. I really enjoyed this and will be getting copies for my shop.

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Even though this book doesn't add to the overall plot, I thought it was a cute, fluffy addition to the overall spy x family universe.

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If you have been reading the Spy X manga, you will want to read this collection of four missions and one short story. Mission One has Anya camping as part of a school outing while trying to get closer to her target - Damian. Of course Anya's plans did not work out as she hoped. Mission Two has Yuri babysitting Anya. This mission is actually the best in the book and was a very funny read! Mission Three takes Franky into unfamiliar territory - dealing with a girl! Now, how can he mess this up? Mission Four has a family picnic interrupted in a way that sends Yor and Loid into a panic. Fun times! The short story is an interesting slice of life at a restaurant in Berlint. Taken all together, these tales reveal parts of the characters that do not always show up in the manga. Now, I need to go back and read the manga again!

Thanks Netgalley for the chance to read this title!

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An extra dose of fun for fans of the SpyxFamily series. This book doesn't offer much in the way of new plot or information, but it's a fun read overall. If you are a fan of the Forger family, this one is worth the read.

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This was a fun addition to the Spy x Family collection and I would recommend it for anyone wilho is a fan of the manga or anime. I would recommend reading a couple volumes of the manga first, just to make sure the connections between the cast members. This was a lot of fun to read and I'll look forward to purchasing a physical copy

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Perfection! A novel based on my favourite manga. Four delightful stories full of the typical antics of this fake family. I could visualise it all so easily, having read the manga. Love, love, love!

I received this arc from netgalley and VIZ Media in exchange for my honest review.

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A big thanks to Netgalley and VIZ media for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.


Spy x Family: Family Portrait by Aya Yajima, is a continuation of the beloved manga series. In this book of Spy x Family original prose stories, Anya attempts to make friends with her target Damian during an Eden Academy camping trip, Yuri spends his day off babysitting his niece, and Franky seeks Loid’s help in winning the heart of a blind opera singer. Then, when the family sits for a portrait painting, Yor is terrified that her secret identity will be blown. And in the final story, the family is scrutinized by a pair of unseen observers… There’s never been a family quite like this one!

Yes. Yes. This book is just all yes. I never knew I needed more Spy x Family in my life.

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Spy X Family: Family Portrait

By: Aya Yajima

Publish Date: 26 December 2023

Publisher: Viz media, Viz media LLA Children’s Fiction/ General Fiction (adult)/ Teens and YA


100 Book ReviewsProfessional Reader

I would like to thank both NetGalley and Viz Media for allowing me to read and review this book.

Good Reads Synposis:

Join the beloved cast of the best-selling series Spy x Family as they embark on five all-new adventures in this exciting novel!

Join the beloved cast of the best-selling Spy x Family as they embark on five exciting adventures!

In this book of Spy x Family original prose stories, Anya attempts to make friends with her target Damian during an Eden Academy camping trip, Yuri spends his day off babysitting his niece, and Franky seeks Loid’s help in winning the heart of a blind opera singer. Then, when the family sits for a portrait painting, Yor is terrified that her secret identity will be blown. And in the final story, the family is scrutinized by a pair of unseen observers… There’s never been a family quite like this one!

Book Review:

First, I want to let you know that this book is already out in some areas. Also, this book is not a manga it is in regular print format. That throw me at first, but it was still an enjoyable read. I gave this book 4 stars. There are 4 missions and a short story.

Mission one is about Anya going on a school camping trip. She has never been on one and reads up on, but things are not like the books.

Mission two is about Anya and Yuri going on an outing together. Yuri is called to babysit, and he wants to impress his sister, so he takes Anya out for an adventure.

Mission three is about Franky and a rich blind girl. Franky sees this girl at the back of the hospital and befriends her. He sees her every day and falls in love with her.

Mission four we are back with the family and this time their ask to do a family portrait and Loid and Yor aren’t sure about this, but they don’t know how to politely tell the artist no, so they get the portrait.

The short story is about how other people sees the family. A waitress is talking to another waitress about marriage and the Forger family is brought up.

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In this Spy x Family novel, the Forger family embarks on four missions. Mission 1: Anya must impress Damien with her skills on a school camping trip. Mission 2: Yuri babysits Anya. Mission 3: Franky falls in love with a young blind girl. Mission 4: The Forger family sits for a family portrait painting by a famous artist, but Loid and Yor worry about their secret lives being revealed.

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This is a great supplemental piece of media for fans of the main Spy x Family series. It is a great peek into the characters' lives and inner monologues beyond what we see in the Manga.

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as delightful as I expected it to be. loved this one so much. one of my most favourite universes ever and I hope you will dive into it today

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Fans of Spy x Family get a few new missions to read in this collection: Anya goes on a camping trip with her class and tries yet again to make friends with Damian; Yuri ends up babysitting Anya for a day; Franky falls for an opera singer who has lost her sight; and more.

For me, the two strongest stories were the first two. Anya's attempts to succeed both in school and in making friends with Damian are always endearingly awkward, and this one is no exception. And though Yuri is one of my least favorite characters, his interactions with Anya in this story are funnier than usual. But the writing overall is a bit simplistic, leaning into overly obvious description as if giving a panel by panel reading of the manga. Perhaps this is standard fare for light novels but it felt almost juvenile in spots. Some of the dialogue also felt a little off for the characters (especially Franky).

The book does include a few original drawings by Tatsuya Endo, the creator of Spy x Family, which is a treat, and it's fun to imagine additional adventures in this universe, but overall the stories are a little lacking. 3 stars.

Thank you, VIZ Media and NetGalley, for providing an eARC of this book. Opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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