SPY×FAMILY is one of the most popular anime series today. This series, which premiered on April 9, 2022 and is currently airing globally. This Cold War-inspired espionage story is one of the hottest works in the otaku community, but, is it appropriate for all ages? If you’re wondering whether you should allow your children to watch it, you should read our parental guide, as we are going to tell you whether your kids should watch SPY×FAMILY or not.
Japanese rating standards are a bit different than Western ones, so we have to look at the targeted demographics. SPY×FAMILY is categorized as a shōnen work, which means that it is targeted at boys from the ages of 12 to 18; now, this is only a general notion, meaning that both younger and older viewers can enjoy it, and girls as well. What is important here is that the series is child-friendly in every aspect.
In the paragraphs that follow, we are going to elaborate on this answer and give you some additional information on the show’s content. You’re going to find out whether SPY×FAMILY is appropriate for children, how scary and gory it is, whether there is sex, nudity, and profanities, as well as what age it is appropriate for. This is going to be your ultimate parental guide for SPY×FAMILY.
What age is SPY×FAMILY appropriate for?
As we have said, Japanese rating systems are a bit different, so what we know about Western animation doesn’t necessarily apply to anime as well. The Japanese usually classify their works based on the targeted demographic, as the targeted group also implies what kind of content you can expect. In that aspect, SPY×FAMILY is categorized as a shōnen work, which is a term used to describe a genre of manga and anime marketed toward young, teenage boys from the ages of 12 to 18. What does that tell us?
This categorization means that SPY×FAMILY is appropriate for children in every aspect, although it might be a bit too difficult to comprehend for the youngest viewers. But, children in elementary school and older are free to watch it, since it’s completely appropriate in every category. Adults can also watch it, as well. SPY×FAMILY‘s content is marketed towards teenagers, so the content shown in it is also appropriate for that age group.
SPY×FAMILY: Sex & Nudity
Nudity is practically non-existing in the world of SPY×FAMILY. This makes perfect sense, since these shows are aimed at underage children, so portraying nudity wouldn’t be fully appropriate. There is one scene where a portrait of a naked woman is shown in the frame, but there are absolutely no details and the portrait has, of course, some artistic value so it’s not actually nudity per se. This is the only “nude” scene in the whole series so far, so you can see that the level of nudity is basically non-existing.
As you can see, this is really not much, but it might be suggestive for younger viewers.
SPY×FAMILY: Violence & Gore
The violence and gore of SPY×FAMILY have been described as mild by some fans, which is – in most cases – an exaggeration since the violence portrayed in the series so far is completely in line with what is considered to be traditional cartoon violence. Even in the West, such violence would be considered very mild. Here are some examples:
- Quick, bloodless action scenes where goons with guns are beat up and knocked out, possibly killed.
- Several characters are blown up and seemingly killed by a grenade, but the aftermath is not shown as it is not the main focus of the scene.
- The violent scenes are not extremely violent. Some battles do contain blood and in one scene a man is stabbed in the back.
- A kid gets kidnapped but is not harmed.
- Twilight’s backstory as a child stranded by war has the potential to be very dark, but it is only quickly shown.
- Occasional smoking and drinking, characters get drunk and make poor decisions.
As you can see, the violence, gore, and darkness of the show are very mild and serve a precise narrative function. There is no blood, there are no violent deaths, mutilations, or gruesome violence. Just your traditional ass-kicking from time to time, which is mostly humorous than anything else. In our opinion, SPY×FAMILY does great in this category as well and is fully appropriate.
If you scroll through the episodes of SPY×FAMILY, you’ll notice that there aren’t any profanities in the series. This makes sense from two perspectives. The first one is that it is a show aimed at teenage children. Sure, teenagers do use profanities from time to time, but it’s not common for such shows to portray the use of such language. This is why SPY×FAMILY is completely appropriate in that segment since it doesn’t break the traditional rules of such shows.
The other reason is that Japanese people rarely curse; the Japanese are a traditionally polite people and although they have curse words, they don’t use them as often as Westerners. This is, also, reflected in the anime series, where curse words are present, but only rarely; plus, a lot of them are due to imprecise translations, rather than the original meaning. This is why SPY×FAMILY respects this as well.
In that aspect, SPY×FAMILY is absolutely clean and you do not have to worry that it’ll be inappropriate for children.
Should you allow your kids to watch SPY×FAMILY?
SPY×FAMILY is a show that offers a lot of entertainment and a very intriguing plot. The narrative of the show is nothing even borderline disturbing, so it is absolutely appropriate for all ages, without any restrictions. It has a lot of humor and although some of the topics are political and involve espionage-related activities, which are a bit darker than DoReMi, for example, this is nothing children couldn’t happen; SPY×FAMILY never crosses the seinen border and it never becomes neither dark nor disturbing.
The world of SPY×FAMILY is meticulously crafted and although there is an underlying political plot, we still have a world that is very clear, very light, and very family-friendly. The content that is borderline adult is usually portrayed in a very comical way and is, by no means, something your children should avoid. Plus, the content is very mild and is focused on the plot, rather than on any external elements. So, should you allow your kids to watch SPY×FAMILY?
Well, the official ratings do suggest that you should not but it all comes down to your parental approach. We at Fiction Horizon honestly don’t think that there is anything bad in watching such anime shows (yours truly has personally grown up with watching Dragon Ball, where he was exposed to a fully naked kid Goku, blood, characters piercing other characters’ bodies, and whatnot), and SPY×FAMILY doesn’t really cross any borders which would make it overly inappropriate for children (in fact, there is no nudity, and the violence is extremely mild).
Children under the age of 13 might be a tad confused with the political context, but we don’t think that those older than 13 or 14 will have any problems with the show. So, in our opinion, SPY×FAMILY doesn’t contain anything overly inappropriate for children, but you should ultimately decide for yourselves whether to allow your kids to watch the show or not.