So I read a preview chapter of this new mange last year, and later when I wanted some kind of mindless entertainment I went and got the published first volume of Mission: Yozakura Family. The premise is almost as goofy as the story: painfully shy and traumatized Taiyo can hardly function in school except with his childhood friend the pretty and popular Mutsumi Yozakura. It turns out she’s part of a family of spies and they end up “married” to save both of them from the manipulations of Musumi’s obsessed oldest brother, master spy Koichiro. I hate this trope in manga and anime; the sibling obsessed with a sibling is as unfortunately common as it is just kind of gross. Ther rest of the set up also pretty trope heavy: the outsider has to suddenly be trained and learn to function in the new way of life, and turns out to be surprisingly good/talented at it; hilarity and chaos ensues.
Two things saved this story for me; first, there’s an emphasis on social media use. Apparently spies use social media a lot to advertise their services and kind of socialize professionally; this gets openly called out several times. The self-awareness of the story on this factor gives it a little more meaning than it might otherwise have, and does actually sort of suggest a little commentary on the real world. The other thing that saves the story is that some of the other trope-ynesse also gets directly called out, although sometimes it’s more subtle. Koichiro’s obsession with Musumi is explained (trope again) but he also gets called out on it directly by other characters, including other members of his own family. Usually that kind of thing might receive a “weirdo” comment in passing and be left as is. Likewise, Taiyo’s surprisingly quick grasp of spy training (and it’s Mission Impossible level silly) also gets called out when the oldest (I think) sister Futuba directly points out the physical strain and damage that Taiyo is taking and risking. The focus doesn’t stay on the sort of reality for long, because Musumi gets kidnapped and it’s time for more hijinks. Final example from the footnotes: during the opening phase of the family going to rescue Musumi, Tayo pulls out a stun gun which is described in terms of very powerful (in the millions) voltage but also on “Low power is good for treating shoulder stiffness.”
I think I might actually pick up volume two at some point to see if the balance between trope, silly, and adventure is sustainable.