So I'm a Spider, So What?
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 3 of
So I'm a Spider, So What? ?
The review of episode 2 ran so long that I did not get to how the series is doing so far as an adaptation of the source novels. This is a complicated enough situation that it may even be of interest to anime-only viewers.
The construction of the first few novels is somewhat chaotic, with a lot of shifting perspective, jumping around between different locales, dialog with unspecified speakers, and events that do not seem at first to be in sync with each other. Because of those factors, novel readers expected this to be a difficult story to adapt. (Even the original author is, if I recall correctly, on record on saying something to this effect.) The first three episodes show how tricky the adaptation process was. The human side of the story skipped most of the first novel and does not currently look like it is planning to flash back; the first human-side scene in episode 1 was, in fact, from early in novel 2, and a couple of scenes so far that were from the first novel (most notably Fei's conversation with Shun about feeling that being reincarnated as a pet was justice) have been transplanted into episode 2 contexts. The magic lesson in episode 3 takes place about a third of the way into volume 2. Contrarily, the spider side is still only a little more than halfway through novel 1.
Though I had some misgivings about this after each of episodes 1 and 2, episode 3 shows that pacing things this way was the correct call. The skipped-over content involves Shun, Katia, Fei, and Ms. Oka's initial encounters with each other, but the first human scene in the first episode established well enough how they are all connected. What's lost is a sense of how Shun, Katia, and Fei struggled to adapt to their new circumstances and the brief introduction of a character who becomes hugely important later on but is not directly involved in events at this point. The gain, however, is bigger: each episode so far aligns analogous events on both sides to demonstrate the contrast between them and make the transitions between the sides much smoother.
In episode 1, this effect is used to frame the dining scenes, with the sumptuous banquet at the reception being contrasted with Kumoko chowing down on a nasty monster. In episode 2, the contrast was between the two different perspectives on school life and the character of Hiiro Wakaba. In episode 3, the contrast comes in the encounters each protagonist has with an earth wyrm. On Shun's side, though he ultimately gets to be the hero, he has plenty of support in fighting the rampaging wyrm. On Kumoko's side, she must cower in fear and hope to use other monsters as a distraction so she can get away (and then isn't able to at the end). This is not at all a fair comparison, as Earth Dragon Araba is an immensely more powerful foe than what Shun and the girls were facing, and Kumoko does not have magic yet or anyone to protect but herself, but it gives a good sense of how much more dire her circumstances are by comparison. Also, Fei's reaction to earning the Kin Eater title differs from Kumoko's; while the latter took it in stride, the former is clearly bothered by it.
Among other significant developments, Kumoko is once again being harried by humans who are now apparently specifically hunting her (does this have anything to do with the egg scene last episode, perhaps?) and Hugo is looking increasingly put out when his arrogant, careless bravado doesn't work; again, a definite sign of future trouble. Yuri, the reincarnation who is the Saint-in-waiting, also seems to have a religion going on involving the voice which proclaims level-ups and skill increases; honestly, why wouldn't people form a religion around something like that? Shun's sister Sue (the novel clarifies that she is a half-sister) is also getting even creepier in her devotion, and it looks like the human side is going to get graphic as well. Oh, and we must acknowledge the episode's best joke: Kumoko as Spider-Man had to come at some point.
The episode ends with Kumoko in possibly her greatest peril yet. And the monkeys, which I felt was the best early fight scene in the novels, are coming next.
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