So I'm a Spider, So What?
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 4 of
So I'm a Spider, So What? ?
Community score: 4.1
After three episodes of pushing the human-side story way ahead of the source novel counterpart, the series is back to devoting an episode exclusively to the spider side and wrapping up the battle against the monkeys. Kumoko has had some close calls and had to flee from foes before, but here she learns that all the bravado in the world means squat when faced with menaces so much stronger than herself.
The Great Elroe Labyrinth is the ultimate Survival of the Fittest environment, so how does one survive when they are not even one of the stronger critters around, much less the strongest? Do what every other creature that is not at the top of its home ecosystem's food chain does: hide when necessary, eat awful things to get by, and get clever about using your innate abilities. Kumoko does all of this, but she also learns the hard way that understanding your surroundings is critical. That leads to a near-fatal mistake: killing a creature colloquially known in the setting as a “revenge monkey.”
Why these monkeys (formally called anogratches in the novels) have that nickname should be quite obvious after seeing the second half of the episode: when one of their kind is killed, they swarm the killer until the killer is dead or they all are, heedless of their own lives. That's a nasty racial trait, and it leads to the biggest fight scene to date as Kumoko must try to survive against dozens – if not hundreds – of them. Here the series does what it has done best so far: force Kumoko to use every trick that she has learned and come up with some dramatic new ones on the fly (er scrabble), including taking full advantage of how she restores her health when she levels. Poison-bombing right into attackers' mouths is a nasty stunt of her own, but my favorite move was easily the one where she uses her webs and the weight of the monkeys to pull the outcropping down on her attackers.
This fight also showcases the strengths and weaknesses of the series' visuals more than ever before. On the strong side, Kumoko's movements are just fun to watch whether she is scurrying along a wall or wrapping a target up with her thread, and the staging of the battle gives a good sense of constant threat level. The injuries Kumoko suffers throughout the battle also show convincingly how real the threat is. On the downside, the non-evolved monkey is the first critter so far whose CG appearance has fully disappointed. The somewhat glossy CG look of the critters is fine when they are not humanoid, but when used on even a vaguely humanoid face the expressions seem too unnatural and frozen. I have fewer issues with the way they move (although the scene where the evolved one runs forward to jump could have been smoother) and don't feel that the CG here killed the fight – it is certainly still leagues above something like, say, Arifureta – but the fight only achieved maybe 80% of its potential impact because of this.
That's why I am not rating this episode any higher even though it's all-spider, all-the time and still has its share of (in some cases morbidly) fun bits, like Kumoko imagining her death after eating the nasty slug or casually tossing bones around from critters she has eaten.
So I'm a Spider, So What? is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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