We are only 2 episodes into Spy x Family and most fans have already unanimously decided on a favorite character.
Anya Forger steals the show, not just because she’s an adorable bubbly 5-year-old esper, but because her personality and reactions are so compellingly human.
However, Anya has a backstory filled with darkness and trauma. Rather than isolating her as a character or making her bitter, her past only makes her more sympathetic and relatable.
An unknown Ostanian government organization experimented on Anya when she was younger, which accidentally caused her telepathic abilities.
Her superpower may stem from an underground experimentation gone awry, but the way she uses them is what matters.
Before she escaped the facility, Anya was called Test Subject 007. The scientists conducted research experiments on her and treated her as if she were a test subject. Even though she was only a child, she wasn’t allowed to play or have a normal childhood.
Instead, she was ordered to practice her new abilities and learn how to use them at will.
She was told that her powers would help bring world peace. But she was being experimented upon on the orders of the Ostanian government so she could be used as a human weapon against the enemy nation of Westalis.
At the age of four or five, she runs away from the organization because of her inhumane treatment. She evades capture because she can read the minds of the authorities. Looking for a place that can take care of her, she lands up in an orphanage.
Since Anya is a telepath with a traumatic past, she isn’t really an ideal child to adopt. She is fostered and returned 4 times and is transferred to 2 different orphanages.
Eventually, she lands up at the orphanage where Loid spots her.
How does Loid Adopt Anya?
Loid/Twilight ends up adopting Anya because she telepathically manipulates him. She reads Loid’s mind and realizes he is looking for a child who can read and is intelligent enough to get into a prestigious school.
Loid needs a fake child so he can tail Donovan Desmond, the chairperson of the National Unity Party in Ostania, whose son is enrolled at Eden Academy.
Anya is a huge fan of spy anime, and when she telepathically finds out that Loid is a real spy, she decides it would be cool to spend her life going on adventures with him.
Anya lies about her age and then impresses Loid by completing a crossword puzzle in just a few seconds. As a result, she is instantly adopted.
Anya’s Personality And Character Explained
Anya is not inherently manipulative. She has had an exceedingly difficult past that has taught her to look out for herself.
She is riddled with deep mental and emotional scars because of her childhood experimentation and abandonment. Even after she escapes, she is ostracized because of her telepathic abilities.
When she sees – or rather, reads – Loid, she instantly takes to him. She latches on to him and wants him to love her like an actual father.
She does what she can to help him, even trying to help in his spy missions, but is unfortunately unsuccessful. When Loid sees that Anya is not actually as smart as she had led him to believe, he thinks about going back to the orphanage to return her and get another child.
She reads his mind and bursts into tears, asking him not to leave her behind. It is these moments that really tug at the audience’s heartstrings.
We know that due to the harshness of her life, Anya has not had any classical education, or known love and compassion. Despite this, she is unusually clever and resourceful.
Even Loid notices this when she is giving her entrance exam – if she wouldn’t have made so much spelling errors, she would actually have scored quite well.
When she interferes in Loid’s espionage work, she saves him from potential danger and death due to her quick thinking and powers. She is also supremely street-smart – again, owing to her life as an abandoned, exploited orphan.
She is competent enough to lead an ordinary life, although her idiosyncrasies and telepathy make her come across as odd and mysterious. But she is a child nevertheless, who just wants a family.
She does her best to keep her fake parents together in the hopes that they will one day become a real happy family.
Since she can read minds, Anya is the only one who is aware of the dual lives that the Forger family leads.
Her “mother”, Yor, is an assassin, her father a spy. She, being an esper, is always in on any situation, and serves as the perfect stand-in for the audience – aware of all intentions and secrets.
In her reactions to the characters’ private thoughts, she shows us the best and the worst of all on-screen characters.
But it is in the others’ reactions to her that we see how much of an impact Anya has on people.
Loid, who is characteristically apathetic and stoic, folds instantly when it comes to Anya. Yor, too, a cold-blooded killer, is completely taken by Anya.
I love seeing the growing attachment between the Forger family and the evolving dynamics between their false personas and real identities. Anya is most definitely the glue that holds them together.
About Spy × Family
Spy × Family is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tatsuya Endo in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump.
The story follows a spy who has to “build a family” to execute a mission, not realizing that the girl he adopts as a daughter and the woman he agrees to be in a fake marriage with are a mind reader and an assassin respectively.
Season 2 and a theatrical film are releasing in 2023.