Tatsuya Endo takes a step away from depicting the PTSD-filled aftermath of the Red Circus Bus Hijacking in Spy x Family Ch. 78. Instead, this chapter focuses on Loid’s immediate superior in Ostania: Sylvia Sherwood, the extremely cool lady handler. Is this a good thing? Well, it is if you like character development, slice-of-life comedy, doggies, and surprise attacks from onion ninjas.

Spy x Family Ch. 78: Details

'Spy x Family' Ch. 71.1 special illustration.
You can see Sylvia right there to Loid’s right.

Spy x Family Ch. 78 is the latest chapter of this action comedy spy manga by Tatsuya Endo. It’s also the first chapter to not feature any aftermath content from the Red Circus Bus Hijacking arc (you can read reviews for Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5, and Pt. 6 of the arc here), as I mentioned before. Casey Loe returns as the translator for this chapter, with Rina Mapa also returning as the letterer. Shueisha is the publisher of this manga in Japan under their Jump Comics+ in their magazine Shōnen Jump+. Meanwhile, Viz Media is the company publishing this manga in NA region.

Spy x Family Ch. 78 made its debut on April 2, 2023. You can read it online for free on Shonen Jump at Viz Media. Ch. 78 will remain free for 2 chapter releases after it. Upon the release of the third chapter after Ch. 78, it will then go into the Shonen Jump vault. Once there, you will need to pay a $2.99 per month subscription fee to read it. So if you want to read it for free, then you might want to hurry.

As a side note: Spy x Family now has an anime adaptation that premiered on April 9, 2022 and is ongoing as of this writing. You can watch it on Crunchyroll or Hulu, although you will need a paid subscription to either streaming service to watch it. Note that Crunchyroll will simulcast new episodes as they air, so that’s where you want to go if you need to watch the anime as soon as possible.

Warning: spoilers for Spy x Family Ch. 78 below. If you want to watch Sylvia Sherwood, Loid’s WISE handler, finally get some character development for yourself, then stop here and come back once you too have finally woken up after stopping your alarm clock.

Spy x Family Ch. 78: Plot Summary

''Spy x Family" anime screenshot depicting Sylvia Sherwood briefing Loid and looking very neat and organized.
She looks very neat and organized, doesn’t she? Well…

As you might’ve expected from the opening paragraph of this review, Spy x Family Ch. 78 does not pick up where we last left off with Loid providing PTSD counseling to Mr. Austin. Instead, we get to see what Sylvia Sherwood’s morning routine looks like. Said routine consists of: alarm clock waking her up at 7 AM, angrily stopping the alarm clock, going right back to sleep, and then her German Shepherd dog Aaron wakes her up by literally pulling the blanket off of her. By extension, we also get to see what the inside of Sylvia’s house looks like. Said house’s interior is a complete mess, with trash and dirty laundry completely concealing the floor from view.

Sylvia even arrives at work in Westalis’s embassy in Ostania in a mess, with a hastily done hairdo with hair sticking out everywhere and even a bit of dried pasta stuck to her coat. At least some of it is camouflage though, as we see when she enters the WISE section of the embassy, which for the sake of coolness, can only be accessed by pressing the buttons of a specific elevator in a specific pattern. Very spy-like, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it seems some of it is her own personality, as we see when an old man who’s presumably the station chief starts berating her for leaving “half-full cups of coffee and half-eaten donuts” lying around everywhere. It seems that Sylvia is just naturally a messy person. She has a reason for that though.

Sylvia Sherwood and the Chronic Depression

'Spy x Family" anime screenshot depicting Sylvia Sherwood in a disguise smiling sadly at Anya.
There’s a reason why she smiles so sadly whenever she sees Anya.

As it turns out, the reason why Sylvia Sherwood is so messy, both personally and at home, is because she doesn’t care anymore. A single brief flashback panel shows that she once had a happy life with a loving husband and young daughter. Though the manga hasn’t gone into full detail about her backstory yet, that one panel hints at their deaths. Thus, Sylvia no longer cares about the mess she’s making due to chronic depression over said deaths. It’s only when her dog Aaron slips on some trash and bonks his snout on a dresser that she finally begins to clean some of the mess up.

Fortunately, playing around with Anya and Bond at a local dog park while briefing Loid (and revealing that Project Apple may still be active and the Desmonds may be involved in it) seems to lift her spirits a bit. She even promises to play with Anya again under a different disguise, completely unaware that Anya can see through any disguise she wears. In fact, she even makes a promise to Aaron to finally clean up her house…apparently again. Will Sylvia keep this promise to her new baby for real this time? Well, hopefully, we’ll see if that’s the case in some future chapter of Spy x Family.

Spy x Family Ch. 78: The Good

'Spy x Family" anime screenshot depicting Sylvia Sherwood sitting on a chair bathed in a spotlight in the dark.
She’s definitely a Big Good, despite how much she looks like a villain here.

The best thing about Spy x Family Ch. 78 is, if it isn’t obvious, the fact that Sylvia Sherwood gets character development. Quite a bit of it to boot. We even get to see a very brief flashback of her past life, showing a happy man (presumed to be her husband) holding out his arms to a happy little girl (presumed to be her young daughter) running towards him. This chapter is hinting very strongly that we’ll eventually get a full-on backstory chapter for Sylvia or even a full arc, just like Loid did. I already anticipate the onion ninjas waiting to ambush me in those future chapters. However, I eagerly await them.

However, that doesn’t mean that the slice-of-life comedy antics with Anya and Bond were bad. On the contrary, they give meaning to Spy x Family Ch. 78. It’s Sylvia’s willingness to indulge in playtime with Anya that shows just how much she cares about this new little girl in her life. Anya may not be a replacement for her lost daughter, but at least this new niece of hers is helping her heal. That combined with adopting that Project Apple German Shepherd seems to be what’s finally restoring the color in her world, little by little. It’s also slice-of-life chapters like this that make Spy x Family as a whole great. We can’t have dark and depressing drama all the time, after all. No matter how much Tatsuya Endo likes that sort of thing.

Spy x Family Ch. 78: The Bad

'Spy x Family" anime screenshot depicting Sylvia Sherwood staring down into the audience with the most terrifying expression.
She doesn’t look as scary when she goes right back to sleep after hitting her alarm clock.

As a fan of the slice-of-life chapters of Spy x Family (as well as of the manga as a whole), I have even less to complain about than normal. And normally, I don’t have anything to complain about the manga at all. If you don’t like slice-of-life for some weird reason though, then this manga isn’t for you. Maybe you’d be better off with a more action-packed story like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba or Jujutsu Kaisen?

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