Welcome to This Week in Shonen Jump, our weekly check in on Viz’s various Shonen Jump series. Viz has recently changed their release format, but our format will mostly remain the same. We will still review the newest chapters of one title a week, now with even more options at our disposal. The big change for our readers is that, even without a Shonen Jump subscription, you can read these most recent chapters for free at Viz.com or using their app.
This week, Ken checks in with “Spy x Family.” If you have thoughts on this or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
Spy x Family Ch. 49
Written & Illustrated by Tatsuya Endo
Reviewed by Ken Godberson III
How long do you do a job before it changes you?
This is the central question that permeates through this Yor-centric chapter of “Spy x Family” as this arc continues. We get to see a bit more parallels between the group that Yor is to protect with the little found family at the center of this story. While the chapter feels a bit down beat and actionless, it serves as a nice and a bit somber calm before the oncoming storm with a fantastic ending.
If there is one criticism of “Spy x Family” that I believe is valid is that at times it feels like we don’t get a full grasp into Yor’s perspective alongside this feeling of hesitation of seeing the assassin actually assassinate someone. On a level I get why because this series doesn’t tend to get super violent, but it has been a question. This chapter, through her interactions with Olka and Zeb alongside her own reflections, calls into question as to whether or not she even wants to be in the position she is in now.
The “Thorn Princess” had always been called an emotionless killer wearing a mask but that’s the thing about a mask: wear it too long and you may come to like it. This is where Endo’s artwork really shines in the final third of the chapter. The use of light pencil to depict flashbacks of warm times with her new family contrasts amazingly with the use of heavy inks to depict her fear of getting a wound so serious that she couldn’t explain away to Loid and Anya so well it feels at times that the monologue is unnecessary.
As I said earlier, this chapter is very low key and while the bits that focused on Yor or Olka and Zeb are either heartfelt or amusing, the rest of the issues parts are just okay. I won’t lie, I find the antagonists of this arc a bit underwhelming. There’s nothing outright bad about them, but I don’t particularly find them interesting or really that threatening. Maybe that will change when things start to tense up, but as of now it does put a bit of a damper on the story.
“Spy x Family” is reaching a point where it has set in on what it is and what it wants to be. It is now beginning to add some real character meat onto itself and we may begin to see the flourishing of real conflict that will be much longer lasting. While it has some minor growing pains, the arcs of its three main characters and the artwork are still well worth checking out.
Final Verdict: 7.0- While it has some underwhelming antagonists, the Yor-centric character work makes this very enjoyable.