Movie Reviews

One Dark Spy x Family Theory Explains Why Anya Can't Read A Key Character's Mind

spy x family anya telepathy and the desmond family

Tatsuya Endo has continued to weave an intriguing yet endearing espionage comedy fantasy with Spy x Family, but its unlikely telepath Anya Forger can’t read everyone’s mind. Much of the plot focuses on how the Forger family upholds their cover despite their lack of blood ties. Still, Anya wishes, above all else, to stay where she is by helping Loid. Loid’s mission, Operation Strix, requires him to get close to Donovan Desmond, an elite politician and former leader of Ostania. However, some of the Desmond family might show signs of immunity to Anya’s telepathy in Spy x Family.

Operation Strix is part of Loid’s intelligence agency, WISE’s efforts to infiltrate the elite circles the Desmond family associates with, namely Eden Academy. It’s here that Anya tries to help by becoming an Imperial Scholar or ingratiating herself to the Desmond family so that Loid can meet Donovan and stave off any sabotage attempts on Ostania’s peace with Westalis.

Anya’s talent for telepathy makes her an asset to this goal in Spy x Family, even though nobody seems to know it. Still, Donovan’s older son Demetrius might be immune, along with other possible secrets in the family.

In Spy x Family chapter #93, Demetrius is introduced to readers with a surprise appearance as a middle schooler at Eden Academy. His brilliant mind is celebrated as he’s awarded six Stella Stars from the recent term final exams alone. Still, he briefly meets with Damian to congratulate him on his recent achievements. At this moment, Anya tries to read Demetrius’s mind, but there’s an eerie silence in the absence of audible thoughts in this surprising Spy x Family development.

While Anya finds this odd, she gets closer, only for his thoughts to suddenly come out about how Demetrius doesn’t understand his father. This enigmatic statement is the most exciting part of the interaction, and whether he is blocking his thoughts as claimed by fans or utterly devoid of distractions as a focused student is currently up in the air. After all, his sleepless eyes resemble his father’s, but the absence of any thoughts is new for Anya and has some significance to the plot in one way or another.

Still, this absence of thought could be the opposite extreme of cases like Fiona or Yuri, whose thoughts are so overwhelming that she practically burps them back out after hearing them. While it’s uncertain whether Demetrius is just the most focused student she has ever met or somebody actively blocking Anya or anybody else from reading his thoughts, it is still up for debate in Spy x Family. There’s no indication that he should know Anya, but it speaks to a prior connection with eerie implications: Demetrius and Damian’s father, Damian Desmond.

Donovan Desmond first appears in chapter #37, or episode #25 of the anime, as Loid takes a chance by meeting with the politician at the Imperial Scholars mixer. The interaction is initially awkward, with Loid’s attempts to apologize for Anya’s actions brushed off by Donovan, despite said actions, including punching his son Damian in the face. His eerie refusal to let Loid make up for it seems to suggest he’s not looking to interact very long with anybody and the suggestion that he can read minds might explain his initial attempts to brush off Loid.

Viewers and readers have quickly latched onto Donovan’s design to imply he has had experiments performed on himself, namely the scars on his temples shown in Spy x Family. It would especially explain the knowing, suspicious glance he flashes toward Loid when the two part ways in chapter #38. It’s undoubtedly farfetched to consider a leading member of one of Ostania’s principal political parties to have himself experimented on, but the scars are too tempting to ignore.

Donovan is, if not in mind, but in his mannerisms, a hard person to read, as Loid judges. This is echoed by Demetrius and a subject of Damian’s frustrations, especially knowing how much time his father used to spend with his brother in the past. This sparks questions, including what caused Donovan to stop spending time with Demetrius. However, another Desmond family member’s behavior is also highly unusual, implying some other dysfunction in Damian’s home.

Despite being a possible lynchpin to getting Anya closer to the Desmond family, Melinda seems a little “off” to Yor after their chance encounter in Spy x Family chapter #66. This is especially clear after the Red Circus Arc when Melinda reunites with Damian after his being taken hostage. Anya gets to see this exchange where Melinda’s overjoyed to see her son in chapter #75, yet shows a swirling vortex of conflicting thoughts inside after Damian’s simple request of her not to tell Donovan that he cried.

What’s more concerning is that her behavior isn’t concealed well, as Spy x Family chapter #76 proves that she lives in a different residence while still caring for Damian. It’s speculation to assume this is proof that Donovan can read minds, with her thoughts likely overwhelming to hear over time. It’s a worthwhile fan theory, but Donovan could have driven her from their home. But this could also point to how the Desmond family doesn’t feel entirely safe around her. But pulling at the threads of the Desmond family inevitably leads back to Anya’s connection to it all.

Observed in passing by Henry Henderson during his time as a new teacher at Eden Academy, he overhears rumors of human experiments being conducted on P.O.W.’s. There is no confirmation of this, but it draws parallels to real-world Cold War tactics similar to it, such as the MKUltra program. While this takes place over four decades before the main plot, it could connect somehow to Anya’s origins, seemingly born as part of ongoing research by an unnamed organization.

There’s a belief that Donovan has had a hand in this research, especially with his mysterious bankrolling of Glooman Pharmaceuticals to keep the research team from falling to bankruptcy. It’s a leap to call this confirmation of Donovan’s involvement with Anya’s experiments or any experimentation at all, but it leaves prominent, unanswered questions in his wake. With Anya’s horn-like hair decorations being dismissed as a likely red herring, there’s still plenty to theorize about in Spy x Family.