So I'm a Spider, So What?
by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 23 of
So I'm a Spider, So What? ?
Episode 23, “My old friend, why…?” starts off with Potimas observing the approaching imperial and demon armies from an oddly futuristic-looking control room. He appears to be calmly dismissive of both the impending imperial threat and Shun's efforts to stop it, focusing instead on ending his feud with the Demon Lord Ariel once and for all. To that end, he orders the full deployment of ominous-sounding "units", a move that is considered excessive by his subordinates even in the face of such seemingly overwhelming odds.
Post-OP, the POV shifts to Shun and his fight with Hugo, who doesn't hold a candle to Shun's might. Hugo is easily overpowered in a heavily CG-animated fight scene, and his Jinx Magic has no effect on Shun. Sophia, who has largely been watching from the sidelines, decides that Hugo's defeat is the perfect time to discard him, telling him directly that he's served his purpose and is no longer necessary. Right on cue, Merazophis – Sophia's butler who is now the commander of the 4th Demon Army – reports that the demons have successfully invaded the elf village. Naturally, Hugo is pissed, but he couldn't do much before being struck down by Merazophis.
The action picks up again as Shun decides to stop Sophia, but it is immediately obvious that defeating her isn't going to be quite as easy. This spurs most of the reincarnations who are with him into action: Kunihiko and Asaka takes on Merazophis, while Katia, Filimøs, Hyrince, and Anna join Shun's offensive against Sophia. Yet, despite coordinating their attacks (in yet another very gummy-looking CGI fight sequence that…doesn't always look the best), Shun's party fails to even put a scratch on Sophia, while Sophia is under strict orders not to kill any of the reincarnations. It all makes for a fight that is not all that exciting and drags on perhaps a bit too long, something that even Sophia herself acknowledges. Thankfully, Fei understands the futility of the whole exercise and offers to surrender in exchange for everyone's lives.
Sophia is on the verge of agreeing to the truce when she is disrupted by Tagawa and Asaka, who have apparently defeated Merazophis – or, rather, a projection of him. Shun gets a new burst of motivation but is stopped in his tracks by the arrival of Kyouya, his classmate and friend from the previous world. Kyouya is now Wrath, the commander of the 8th Demon Army, and his allegiance with the Demon Lord raises more questions about whether the elves are in the right (Kyouya has been previously described as a self-righteous person). This is further muddied when the elves do eventually arrive and summon what appears to be mechs, which they refer to as "Gloria" units.
Episode 23 is mostly spent on Shun's side of the story, and the production is noticably struggling. This isn't the first time the animation has looked wonky, but it's much more jarring this episode, resulting in sequences where the characters all look slightly off-model, or too shiny. It's not horrible but it's also not the greatest thing the show has offered up. Still, I enjoyed getting to spend more time with Sophia, Shun, and the humans. While it's a bit weird to completely sideline Kumoko's perspective once again, the show proves that it still works without her providing some antics and comedy.
Honestly, I'm still not sure what to expect next week, though episode 23 definitely feels like the second to last episode of this cour. I liked this episode, but it also makes me very worried for how many plot threads have been left dangling before the finale. Will there be another cour? I have to assume so, given the pacing of this episode. There's just too much to wrap up (effectively), especially with everything that happened last week in episode 22.
I've, by and large, really enjoyed So I'm a Spider, So What? as an anime-only viewer, though it hasn't always been a perfect show. That said, I found myself feeling frustrated by this week's episode. In a way, it felt like spinning the proverbial wheels: yes, we get movement with the demon army's assault on the elf village, but… there's also a lot of stuff that hasn't gotten even close to being resolved. It didn't help that the fight sequence with Sophia was overly long, eating up time that could have been dedicated to other aspects of the plot.
What of the other reincarnations trapped in the elf village? What of everything they've learned this season regarding the nature of this world and the administrators? Some of these have been discussed at length, or hinted at, but not yet fully answered. And while these maybe aren't questions viewers reading the light novels have, I found them buzzing around the back of my mind constantly this episode. I suppose I'll be here to see what comes of the finale for this cour.
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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