So I’m A Spider, So What? episode 13
Rating: 4 (of 5)
NOTICE: This is the first of the episode reviews of this series that I am doing for this blog. If you did not follow me to this blog from Anime News Network, then you can find the episode reviews I did for the previous 12 episodes here.
Although the second half of the series starts with a brief rehashing of the end of the first half (presumably to allow for a more natural follow-through into the revelation of what Kumoko immediately encounters upon exiting the Labyrinth), it does not waste much time on getting into fresh action. The result is an episode packed both with all sorts of goodies for series fans and numerous interesting adaptation choices.
On the former front, much of the appeal of the series squarely depends on Kumoko, and she continues to deliver here. Whether it’s the way she tries to play off the havoc at the defensive wall around the Great Elroe Labyrinth’s entrance as being her fault, or the way she convinces her Parallel Minds to do what essentially amounts to a reverse-hack of the Queen Taratect, it’s classic Kumoko being gleefully performed by Aoi Yuki. (I have to think that she is having a lot of fun with this role.) Even the gusto with which she chows down on the Queen’s “A Team” strike force after defeating them plays into this. The minor downside here is that she never really seems seriously threatened by that strike team, even though she did expend a lot of effort to beat them; the sense of mortal peril just isn’t quite there. That’s not a big problem, and as the new opener suggests, big challenges still wait down the road, but it is a formal transition of sorts from Kumoko being the underdog to now being a player in bigger events.
Speaking of bigger events, things are finally setting up on the human side. Whereas the spider side is partly covering material from the fourth novel and partly transplanting a major skipped encounter from the third onto the surface, the human side is doing all kinds of modifications in preparing for finally making a run through the human-timeline part of the third novel. The anime-original scene of the strategic conference about dealing with the war with the demons allows for introducing a couple of characters whose novel introductions were skipped over much earlier; in fairness, though, the characters in question have had little relevance to the human plotline until now. The first of these is Anna, Schlain’s long-time half-elven attendant. While her appearance here is innocuous on the surface, the camera lingers on her curiously long, suggesting that something may be up with her, and it definitely looks like Hyrince might have had his eye on her as well as she walked away with Schlain.
The other, and ultimately more important, introduction is Potimas, the leader of the elves and Oka’s father in this world. His strategy conversation smoothly allows the series to bring up a couple of other details much earlier than in the novels: that Dustin is the pontiff of the Word of God and a schemer himself and that Potimas has a long-standing antipathy with the current Demon Lord, one which seems to go well beyond this war she’s launching. His reaction to Anna is also interesting: it seems more dismissive than derogatory. We have seen no indication yet about how half-breeds are treated in this world (in fact, she is the first one to appear), so that may or may not meaning anything. Oka does not seem to share her father’s reaction, however.
The real juice of the human side is what Hugo is up to, however. He has apparently gained some new ability which has allowed him to put both Sue and Katia into a trance state by the end of the episode. He is also conspiring with Cylis – Schlain’s eldest brother – as well, so the hints that the latter had a grudge against Schlain (possibly for upstaging him?) were not red herrings after all. Or is Hugo manipulating him, too? Either way, this isn’t going to be pretty, especially with Fei still out of commission in egg form.
As a final thought, the new opener, which shows Kumoko fighting the Demon Lord, more firmly suggests that the Demon Lord and Kumoko are two separate entities. But we shall see; her Parallel Minds did go off on their own, after all. . .
Other Thoughts for the Week
Beginning with episode 14, I will use this part of the post to offer brief thoughts on some of the other titles that I am following for the season. Those will only be paragraph-length entries and I may not cover each title each week if it’s not doing something worth commenting on.