So I'm a Spider, So What? Creator Okina Baba and Illustrator Tsukasa Kiryu

by Kalai Chik,

Ever wonder what it's like to wake up as the weakest monster in the world? No? Thankfully you can live vicariously through the main character of So I'm a Spider, So What? The isekai light novel began in 2015 and now has an anime coming in January 2021. Author Okina Baba and Illustrator Tsukasa Kiryu take some time out of their busy schedule to speak through their thoughts on the animation project and their work process.

Similar to others in the world, Baba and Kiryu have been staying home and continuing to work hard on the series as the global pandemic continues. Because both guests usually work from home, life hasn't changed too much. They don't normally communicate directly at all because of the editing stage between the written work and the illustrations. Their work pipeline can vary from day to day, as Baba sometimes spends all day writing and sometimes writes nothing at all. For Kiryu, she is able to work with an editor to bounce ideas off of and confirm designs before submitting to Baba for final review—just the illustration itself can take up to three weeks to complete.

Regarding the anime, Baba was involved heavily with the script and scenario writing and Kiryu would provide advice on adapting the character designs. When the anime was confirmed, they were ecstatic, but Baba was afraid if his work was really suitable for an adaptation. Kiryu on the other hand was so excited she ran around the house, and then quickly wondered how the anime would proceed with the lack of humans in the beginning of the story.

Unfortunately, due to social distancing measures, Baba wasn't able to attend any recording sessions, however he was able to listen remotely. Of course, he thought Aoi Yūki's voice acting as Kumoko was incredibly cute and fans should look forward to it. There are so many scenes in the novel to adapt that are beloved by both Baba and Kiryu that they couldn't name one that they absolutely wanted to see in the anime.

The latter half of the panel transitioned into fan Q&As related to personal questions and weren't related to the anime, but it's enjoyable to see how Baba and Kiryu are very different from each other both in personality and hobbies. For example, Baba doesn't necessarily like spiders but Kiryu is fascinated by them. At this time, Kiryu needed to leave and the last portion of the panel featuredjust Baba by himself talking through how he became a writer. One interesting point from Baba's experience was how he laid down the foundation for his plot by deciding on the ending first before writing the rest of the story.

As the panel came to a close, Baba thanked audiences all over the world for their support and hope that they watch the upcoming anime.

Anime News Network was able to have a one-on-one interview with Baba and Kiryu where each went into further detail about the series and its upcoming anime adaptation.

Okina Baba: Creator of So I'm a Spider, So What?

How did you feel when you were told that your light novel would be receiving an anime adaptation?

OKINA BABA: Naturally I was elated, but more so I was worried.

When you began your otherworld story, what led you to choose a "spider" for a main character?

OKINA BABA: I get asked this question a lot, but actually there's no major reason. It just so happened that a spider appeared in my dreams the day I started writing the story.

Are there any specific details or characteristics of your story that you wanted to keep for the anime adaptation?

OKINA BABA: I told them that they didn't need to follow the same structure of the novel. If anything, I asked that they don't follow it. Anime has its own charm, and I wanted them to build a structure that brought that forward.

Now that there will be voices behind your characters, did you have an idea of what you wanted the characters to sound like before you heard the actors?

OKINA BABA: I didn't have that many requests for voices. All the voice actors are so good, it's not my place to speak out. (Laughs)

What do you feel are the main character's strong points and weaknesses?

OKINA BABA: The main character's strength is her grit and mental strength. Her weak point is her lack of cooperativeness. She doesn't even realize she can ask for help, instead trying to do everything herself.

Tsukasa Kiryu: Original Novel Illustrator of So I'm a Spider, So What?

What would you do if you were in the world of So I'm a Spider, So What?

TSUKASA KIRYU: I want to walk around the world. I want to see how people live or what the food culture is like in each area. I particularly want to learn about flora and fauna, where everything grows and how it's distributed.

What considerations did you have to make when designing a spider as a main character? Coolness vs cuteness vs creepiness?

TSUKASA KIRYU: Initially, we started exploring a realistic & inexpressive cuteness style, but midway we changed directions towards adorable designs so that it would be more acceptable for people who hate spiders. It was a very difficult journey, and by the end of it, I produced close to a hundred different patterns. People who don't like spiders hate the legs the most, and I remember working with my editor on various solutions, such as not showing the hair, or simplifying the joints.

On average, how long does it take for you to complete an entire illustration cover?

TSUKASA KIRYU: It takes me about one to three weeks. If I have a good rhythm, I can complete the rough sketch in one day, inking in one to three days, and coloring in about three days. I also work on ideas in between other tasks.

How do you and Okina Baba work together to design the characters, monsters, and the setting?

TSUKASA KIRYU: I received specifications from my contact. While I'm working, I don't directly talk with Okina Baba. However, the Monster Hunter figure I previously received from Okina Baba has been very useful when thinking about composition.

What references do you use when you're drawing the characters and the setting? Considering it's based in a fantasy world, how do you balance the tone of the intimidating monsters with the human character designs?

TSUKASA KIRYU: I'm better at drawing based on personality or characteristics rather than appearance descriptions, so for characters I often start drawing based on my impression of them from reading the text. If I'm at a loss for expressions, I think back to a character or actor from a movie I previously saw whom I feel has similar stances or personality and reference that. With monsters, I feel their relatability depends on whether or not you can see their pupils. I feel that if the animal doesn't have pupils or you can't look it in the eye, there's a fear where you don't know if it'll attack or what it's thinking.

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