Close this search box.

Spy X Family Code White review: Hilarious Spin-Off

An animated girl with pink hair and green eyes holds a fork and a spoon with her mouth open in the film Spy x Family Code: White

Spy x Family Code: White is one of the best anime spin-off movies out there, but also is ultimately nothing more than a reminder of how good the show is.

Directors: Kazuhiro Furuhashi & Takashi Katagiri
Genre: Anime Film
Run Time: 100′
US Release: April 19, 2024
UK Release: April 26, 2024
Where to watch: in US theaters and in UK & Irish cinemas

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by anime. There’s something about how unique and ambitious the premises that the medium generates feel that always drew me in and engaged me far more than western animation could. I mean, how can western cartoons compete with an industry who gives us this many shows a year, with concepts ranging from spectacular kaiju fights to simple, moving romances?

Whilst I have yet to fully succumb to my inevitable anime obsession, I have dipped my toes in several times, and each time I was surprised by the gems I encountered. Spy x Family (2022-) is one such treasure:, a bizarre comedy with a premise that seems almost too complex to be true, which has managed to capture the hearts of audiences worldwide, leading to it getting its own feature film in the form of Spy x Family Code: White.

The show, based on the manga by Tatsuya Endo, follows the spy Twilight (Takuya Eguchi) who must adopt the identity of Loid Forger to help in his latest investigation. To aid his cover, he builds a fake family for himself, consisting of his new “wife” Yor (Saori Hayami) and his newly adopted daughter Anya (Atsumi Tanezaki). Unbeknownst to him, however, his newfound family have their own secrets, Yor is secretly a skilled assassin whilst Anya has telepathic abilities. This combination of wacky characters each trying to keep their secrets from each other whilst also slowly coming together as a family results in an incredibly entertaining and endearing show, which might just be my favourite anime of the decade so far.

When I first heard that the show, in typical anime fashion, would be getting its own feature film, I must admit to being a little hesitant. See, part of what makes Spy x Family work is how self-contained and small-scale each episode feels. Yes, there are overarching plot lines, but it’s the low-key nature of a lot of its situations contrasted with the over-the-top nature of its protagonists that creates a lot of the entertainment value. That’s a hard quality to translate into a feature film, as the inherent “upgrade” from one medium to the other demands spectacle and a certain sense of “epic-ness”. How could Spy x Family Code: White provide this whilst also staying true to what makes the series work in the first place?

Well, after having seen the movie, I’ll admit that I still don’t think that Spy x Family quite works as a feature film. By the time we get to the big third act, it just feels so removed from the core appeal of the show that I couldn’t help but feel somewhat disappointed. That’s not to say it’s bad by any means -, the writing is still as hilarious as ever and, if I’m being honest, I could watch these characters do just about anything and still have a great time -, but it struggles to reach the heights of a regular episode. 

An animated man with blond hair holds a lipgloss in the film Spy x Family Code: White
Spy x Family Code: White (© 2023 SPY x FAMILY The Movie Project © Tatsuya Endo/Shueisha)

Spy x Family Code: White employs a pretty conventional trope in the realm of “animated movies in a franchise about a family”, as it takes the protagonists away on a family vacation. It’s a trope that’s used as often as it is for a reason, as it allows for not only a change of scenery, but also gives the writers an excuse to play around with new supporting characters and come up with new, wacky scenarios for our cast to find themselves in. The Forgers find themselves staying in the gorgeous land of Frigis, which features plenty of snow-covered locations to enjoy, giving the film its own distinct look, which when combined with the naturally higher budget, helps result in a gorgeous film visually.

As this is Spy x Family and it’s as much a parody of spy movies as it is a parody of sitcoms, there’s also plenty of action for viewers to sink their teeth into. The action scenes aren’t anything too special, and at times they almost feel like they’re there just because they have to be, but at the same time, they’re never a chore to get through, even if they can’t compare to the more surreal, out-there moments like Anya visiting the “God of Poop”. Yes, that is a real sentence that I just wrote. Honestly, that’s probably the only litmus test you need for if you’ll enjoy this movie. Does someone visiting the “God of Poop” sound like a good gag to you? If you think it would, then this is absolutely the film for you. If not, then you might need to re-think your sense of humour.

Spy x Family Code: White is certainly one of the best anime spin-off films I’ve seen, but at the end of the day, that’s all it really is. It’s a great extension of an already superb show, but I would never recommend it over either the original anime or manga, despite its shorter overall runtime. Spy x Family is at its best when it’s allowed to be this weird, unique mix of about fifteen different genres, and thus when it’s forced to constrict itself to a conventional three-act structure, it doesn’t quite capture the magic that makes the show the masterpiece I’ve proclaimed it to be throughout this review. It’s a good movie, possibly even a great one, and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to any fan of the series, but if you had to choose between one or the other, I can’t imagine anyone would ever say to watch Code: White over the alternatives.

Spy x Family Code: White is now available to watch in US theaters and will be released in cinemas & IMAX across the UK & Ireland from April 26, 2024. now available to watch on digital and on demand.

Spy x Family Code: White: Trailer (All the Anime)
Thank you for reading us! If you’d like to help us continue to bring you our coverage of films and TV and keep the site completely free for everyone, please consider a donation.