In Spy x Family Chapter 63, information proves to be a powerful and dangerous tool that is exploited by those with the most influence.
The following contains spoilers for Spy x Family Chapter 63 by Tatsuya Endo, now available in English through Viz Media.
The Spy x Family manga has recently taken a more serious anti-war route with its reveal of Loid’s past as an orphan. It depicted the horrors of war and how the government lied to both sides to incite hatred. As a young soldier, Loid had been taken in by the propaganda and believed the Ostanians were monsters, until he realized the true enemy was ignorance. Being a spy is the perfect fit for Loid as he gathers information and intel for the two sides to live in peace.
Chapter 63 of Spy x Family focuses on Handler, Twilight’s main point of contact at WISE. Even though this chapter isn’t about any of the Forgers (although Twilight does get a small but funny mention) and consequently feels like filler, it provides an important message that’s connected to the earlier chapters about Loid’s past. Not knowing anything is bad — but a lack of critical thinking is just as bad, if not worse.
As part of the ongoing efforts to maintain peaceful relations between Westalis and Ostania, a cultural exchange event is planned with an opera singer by the name of Jonas Wellman headlining it. However, just before the event, the papers get flooded with news around the singer’s problematic behavior from extramarital affairs to treating disabled veterans badly. It’s not looking good for Wellman to travel to Westalis with how lowly the public now regards him.
Nonetheless, it’s WISE’s job to ensure the event is successful for the sake of world peace. However, one of the agents — who only has two years of experience under his belt — is utterly enraged when he reads about all the allegations against Wellman. The opera singer is scum for all he cares. However, the agent’s mind is changed just as quickly when another paper comes out the next day that refutes all the previous claims.
Events in Chapter 63 get decidedly more hairy when the agents have a death threat to contend with. Handler and the newbie, along with an undercover agent selling kebabs, work together to disarm the man who was about to kill Wellman. Fortunately, Wellman is able to fly to Westalis safely and peace is once again saved.
It turns out the man who tried to assassinate Wellman was a former solder who wanted to “punish the corrupt.” Having fought in the war, this soldier held a great deal of pride and most likely saw himself as a savior figure whose duty was to protect the people. In other words, the man had been in a similar boat to Twilight when he was a young soldier: both of them taken in by the propaganda spread by their governments, resulting in their perspectives being twisted and manipulated.
Back when Handler was still training Twilight, she once told him to not view things with a black-and-white binary perspective. She also warned him to not “try to make everything fit into [his] preconceived notions.” People hear what they want to hear and media knows and exploits that. Information is both powerful and dangerous in that with just a few words, it can make someone into a hero or an enemy. History and media are not as impartial as people may want to believe. It’s written by people and no matter how hard they try, there will always be a specific narrative the writer wants conveyed. Objectivity in journalism or history will not and can never exist. The concept of having “balanced reporting” is a lie, and presenting harmful or outright false views as equally valid is dangerous.
At the end of Chapter 63, after some of the scandals are revealed to be true, Handler tells the young agent to “Use that head of yours to find [the answers] for yourself.” Tatsuya Endo is clearly using Handler to indirectly give Spy x Family readers a message. The narrative, or propaganda, is controlled by those in power — but that does not mean readily accepting whatever is being fed. Handler’s message is loud and clear: think critically about what you read and find out the truth for yourself.
Anime Features Writer for CBR. Loves anything with a good anime OST. Always eager to chat about anything anime/manga/donghua-related.