So I'm a Spider, So What?
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 12 of
So I'm a Spider, So What? ?
Even anime-only viewers could probably anticipate that the bulk of this episode was going to involve Kumoko's epic fight against Earth Dragon Araba. The only question, then, was whether the series was going to try to initiate anything on the human side to send the first cour out on a cliffhanger. Instead, the production team opted to end the episode the same way the third novel does: with Kumoko finally exiting the Great Elroe Labyrinth.
After seeing how things fit together in the episode, this was the right call. The brief scene of the human side near the end conveys a definite anticipation that something major is about to go down, with Hugo and Sophia looking at a castle that Oka is also galloping towards with a look of concern on her face. Is it Schlain's castle? Probably. Clearly it is not the location where Katia is, and since the curtain style looks different, probably not where Sue is, either. (Both of them are still supposed to be at the academy anyway.) That means that whatever nefarious act Hugo is up to, only Fei will be around to help Schlain – and then only if she completes her evolution in time. That promises big events to start the second half. Given how far ahead the spider side is from the human side in an adaptation sense, the next episode or two should be mostly human-side. However, some tricky issues on handling the out-of-sync timelines await, so I continue to be interested to see how the adaptation team will pace the story from here on out.
The feature of the episode is, of course, the fight against Araba. The novel version of this is one of the most epic fantasy fights that I have seen in print in recent years, and the anime version at least mostly captures that. The big detracting factor is Araba himself – or, rather, the CG used to animate him. The movements are not bad, but he looks too shiny to be as fully intimidating as he is supposed to be, and that bothered me a bit throughout the fight. Still, the fight conveyed every bit of the grand scope of the activity going on: the constant movements of both characters in a 3D space, the barrages of magic flying both ways, the active dodging on both sides, and the split-second tactical decisions by both, including Araba burning skill points in the middle of the fight to obtain skills specifically to counter his opponent. Kumoko going into it with more of an overall strategy than she let on – essentially, forcing Araba to burn himself out at an enhanced rate due to her new Sloth skill – was reassuring, given how tactically-minded she had behaved so far, and the threat factor felt real. Kumoko may be powerful now, but she had to use absolutely everything (including sacrificing parts of her body) to pull this one off.
For all of the flurry of action, though, the most interesting part may have been how the fight ended. Araba seemed content with meeting his end against a foe worthy enough to take seriously; draconic pride, as the Demon Lord later puts it. However, given everything that she has been through herself, Kumoko cannot accept anything less than a bitter struggle to the final gasp. She finds nothing noble about admitting defeat, and that her greatest opponent appearing to do so frustrates her. Perhaps this is a side effect of her Perseverance, but it is a defining character moment for her and the one time so far that I have found the series getting a little emotional.
Among other matters, the scene involving the Demon Lord sure seems to still be implying that Kumoko eventually becomes Demon Lord Ariel, doesn't it? The images of White in the window behind Balto, which may or may not be reflections of White standing elsewhere in the room, also seem meaningfully placed. The scene implies a lot, but like with other content the series has shown so far, how many of those implications are true is another story. The ominous image of the mama spider at the end also portends that Kumoko's journey outside will not be smooth sailing,
Unlike the other two major isekai titles this season, this series will directly continue into the Spring 2021 season. Regrettably, however, this review will conclude my coverage of the title for ANN. Of the 70 or so series that I have done episode reviews for over the last seven years, this one is easily in my Top 5 for how much I enjoyed writing about it (up there with Re:CREATORS and the first season of Re:Zero), so I will likely continue my commentary in an independent blog. Whether you decide to check that out or not, I do encourage you to continue with this title. This is one of my current favorite anime/LN franchises for reasons even beyond what has been shown so far, so you can expect a lot of fun developments and dramatic revelations to come.
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