So I'm a Spider, So What?
by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 22 of
So I'm a Spider, So What? ?
Episode 22, “Be Forever, Me?” returns viewers to Kumoko, who is reporting live from a raging battlefield in the ongoing war between Sariella and Ohts. Best spider girl is smack dab in the middle of what she alludes to as the world's worst Summer Comiket, getting waylaid by blood as blades fly and soldiers are cut down.
As Kumoko plays spectator to a war she definitely caused, she sees this not as the human tragedy that it is, but a perfect chance to get some good ol' EXP from all those squishy humans slicin' and dicin' one another up, especially since she just received word that the Demon Lord Ariel is currently locked in battle with an Earth Dragon. In other words, it's EXP harvesting season y'all, and Kumoko's ready to reap what she sowed! As such, aligning herself with the Sariella Army (though when Kumoko's out for a level-up, is she really on anyone's side?), Kumoko easily wipes out a large number of Ohts troops, seemingly deciding the outcome of the battle in a single strike. Just as she's about to leave, however, Demon Lord Ariel (who Kumoko hilariously mistook as the Terminator) makes a sudden and unexpected appearance, stopping her dead in her tracks. But how did Ariel manage to locate and reach Kumoko so quickly?
Here, the episode shifts back to the aforementioned battle between Ariel and the Earth Dragon, which appears to continue directly from the post-credits scene in Episode 19. Despite launching a barrage of deadly attacks against each other, there isn't any animosity between the two, and their cordial conversation continues the tantalizing drip-feed of information about So I'm a Spider, So What?'s world. The dragon is revealed to be Gakia, one of the oldest of the Earth Dragons, and a subordinate of Güliedistodiez. Gakia repeats his request for Ariel, the "eldest of the Divine Beasts", to make way for the "newcomers" (reincarnations) who will alter the fate of the world. Ariel refuses and slays Gakia, a fate that the latter seems to welcome.
More interesting (and humorous) are the bizarre disjunctures in Ariel's mannerisms, thought processes, and speech, something that neither Gakia nor Ariel herself fails to notice. Eventually, and with Gülie's help, Ariel figures out that her soul has been invaded by Kumoko's body brain (though not without difficulty, thanks to the constant distraction of Kumoko's carefree and food-oriented thought processes). Gülie further notes that while her consciousness still resembles Ariel's, it has been so thoroughly entangled with Kumoko's disembodied self that it's no longer possible to distinguish between the two. On the plus side, Ariel takes this transformation relatively well, and she is no longer so bloodthirsty for Kumoko's utter destruction anymore. On the not so plus side? She still intends to deliver punishment for everything Kumoko has done.
Back on the battlefield, Kumoko finds herself thoroughly overpowered by Ariel, largely thanks to a barrier that prevents her from teleporting and negates the majority of her magical arsenal. She's forced to resort to her physical abilities, which are just enough to prevent herself from being totally annihilated. Thankfully, Kumoko is still able to utilize some basic Light magic, which does make a dent in Ariel's HP. Slowly but surely, things seem to be turning in Kumoko's favour...until Ariel reveals her “Ruler of Gluttony” skill, which allows her to regen her HP, MP, and SP by eating anything, including good ol' dirt itself! Still, Kumoko hangs on by a thread, relying on the EXP of the dead human troops to stay alive. With all avenues of escape or victory for Kumoko exhausted, it eventually takes a young Julius to stop Ariel's offensive and bring things to an awkward stalemate, but even that doesn't last for long as the episode leaves things on a cliffhanger.
The final scene of the episode brings us back to Shun and Hugo's confrontation in episode 21. Interestingly, Hugo doesn't seem to remember Tagawa, supporting Oka's theory that he is being manipulated. He also possesses the Demon Lord skill, which he appears to have acquired through proficiency instead of his own choice. Apart from these revelations though, the episode continues the stalemate between Hugo and Shun.
To be honest, this feels like one of the weaker episodes in this second cour. Perhaps that's because last week's entry felt like it meaningfully advanced the plot, resulting in this week's comparatively slow plot progression feeling a bit like two steps forward, one step back despite revealing more about the characters and setting. Perhaps it's the somewhat lackluster action animation that persists from episode 21, which made this episode's multiple fights less exciting than they should be. In any case, this episode felt just okay, which is foreboding considering all the plot threads drifting in the wind ahead of the end of this Spring season.
I have a feeling that next week's episode will better propel us towards the finale, if only because time is limited and there's a lot to wrap up. Also, the after-credits scene was enough to get me back on the hype train, albeit a lot more cautiously. And while I personally feel quite let down by this episode, I also think that it's not out 'n out a bad episode. In fact, I know there are folks out there who enjoyed it; it's just not my favorite. Hopefully next week's episode will return us back to good spider antics, plot movement, and setup for a spectacular finale.
So I'm a Spider, So What? is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Mercedez is a JP-EN localization editor & QA, pop culture critic, and a journalist who also writes & reviews at Anime Feminist and But Why Tho?. She's also a frequent guest on the AniFem Podcast, Chatty AF. This anime season, she's all about Super Cub, which is great because she's also reviewing it here on ANN. When she's not writing, you can find her on her Twitter or on her Instagram where she's always up to something.
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