Combining action, stealth and outrageous comedy, Spy x Family has become one of the most unlikely hits currently published by Weekly Shonen Jump. Featuring a comedic and exciting story involving a spy's adopted family, the Eisner Award-nominated series subverts tropes and expectations to create a fun and fresh reading experience. However, said reading experience might soon become a watching experience if the rumors of an anime adaptation are true.
While an anime adaptation would likely be a hit, Spy x Family is one of the few manga series that could succeed in live-action -- potentially being a better idea than an anime. Here's a look at how the concept could lend itself better than most manga to a live-action series.
Spy x Family's Down-to-Earth Premise
Though it's still not exactly a slice of life, realistic drama sort of series, Spy x Family is a lot more everyday than, say, a shonen battle manga. Created by Tatsuya Endo, the series stars a legendary spy named Twilight in the case of his life. It involves him going undercover as a normal family man, taking on the name Loid Forger. He even gains a fake wife and child in the form of Yor Forger and Anya Forger, hoping that they'll help with his ruse of a normal family man.
Unbeknownst to him, however, his new "wife and child" harbor incredible secrets of their own. His wife Yor is Thorn Princess, an airheaded but incredibly efficient assassin. Likewise, Loid's adopted daughter Anya secretly has telepathic abilities, and because of this, she also knows the truth behind her new family. The trio attempt to live life together amid each of their flaws, all while avoiding the increasingly obvious skeletons in their closets.
Why Spy x Family Could Work as Live-Action
Though the idea of a family made up of a telepath, spy and assassin might not be the usual premise for a live-action sitcom or espionage thriller, it's certainly a lot easier to make than a live-action version of several other anime. Several popular anime and manga, mainly those found in the pages of Shonen Jump, are known for being incredibly zany and outlandish. This includes such hits as Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto and other books which feature paranormal, supernatural or otherwise fantastic concepts.
Due to these concepts, many Western and Eastern companies have been ambivalent about producing live-action remakes of some of these colorful anime, especially after the failures of movies like Dragonball Evolution. These movies would require a hefty budget to look good enough to be proud of, and that's not counting other vital factors like casting and scripting. This has also made fans incredibly worried about upcoming non-animated adaptations of franchises such as Gundam.
Spy x Family, on the other hand, has no such requirements to adapt the source material faithfully. Having a relatively practical story involving comedy, spies and assassins, it isn't that far removed from some of the more exciting ideas throughout television history in the East and West. There are no flashing beams of energy, flight, dragons, or otherwise out there elements that would either be an immense burden on the budget or repel an audience used to more down-to-earth storytelling. The narrative also contains several historical and real-world references that would arguably be glossed over if the material remained in animated/drawn form.
There's also the fact that "more than normal" families have become quite a trend in television, particularly in shows that find their home on streaming platforms. The Umbrella Academy and Jupiter's Legacy have both played with the idea of superheroic families, and cable classics like the now ending Supernatural have featured this idea, as well. While it hasn't been officially confirmed if Spy x Family will receive an adaptation (animated or live-action), considering the series' popularity, it's only a matter of time before fans can watch the Forger family.