Kumo desu ga, Nani ka?

Title:Kumo desu ga, Nani ka?
So I'm a Spider, So What?
Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Millepensee
After an explosion (or something similar) in a classroom, the students find themselves reincarnated in an alternate reality. One girl finds she has been reborn as a spider.

24 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:4239#628]
(All episodes watched):

Spider girl (who still has the mind and sense of taste of a human), briefly tries to rationalize what has happened to her, which is more than most anime characters who find themselves in mind-blowing situations do. But she quickly decides that it is pointless and with some enthusiasm she embraces her new life as a spider (she has a sort of cute face while the rest are ugly and disgusting). We learn that she was basically a shut-in NEET previous to this. And, what do you know: this new reality operates just like a video game would!(surprise, surprise). You accumulate points and trade them for skills and such. OK, I asked myself, this is weird and modestly funny, but how in the world can a twelve or so episode story come out of it? I was somewhat relieved that most of her classmates wind up as humans in this game-like world, since that means the plot will involve more than the life cycle of arthropods. Maybe, like in Slime, she will soon have a human-like body herself; otherwise, it's hard to see how the two plot strands could possibly connect. We are introduced to a large cast of reincarnated/resurrected people, too many for me to keep track of. The sheer weirdness and the fact that the basic premise has yet to be completely revealed demanded that I keep watching for now. Two plots develop and run in parallel: the adventures of Spider Girl and the experiences of the rest of her classmates, who are unaware of what became of her. What happens to Spider Girl manages to stay fairly amusing and exciting, and surely she will meet her old classmates sooner or later--she has already run into humans a couple of times. I suppose for some people being reincarnated to basically play a video game would be like going to (temporary) heaven. Episode four is spent entirely with 'Kumoko' (Spider Girl) as she is attacked by a horde of monkey-like creatures and narrowly escapes with her life. She not only survives but levels up drastically--good thing this world functions like a video game rather than like nature on earth. In episode five she racks up even more skills--she seems to have stumbled across just the right choices to improve exponentially. If you must be a spider, be a super-spider with all sorts of fearsome abilities. There's a hint of conflict with her human classmates--one of them considers Kumoko's 'Taboo' skill to be an unforgivable heresy. In episode six some humans go on a big game hunt for a fearsome spider they've heard about. The trend seems to be that in each episode Kumoko takes on some sort of monster and defeats it. This is getting repetitive, but her manner of thinking and talking to herself are amusing. I sort of wish we would learn even more about her and how her previous life has affected her current one, and what lessons she has learned, but the strategy here seems to be to rely on the humor and action to entertain us, and it works fairly well.

In episode seven the humans express some curiousity about what became of their still missing classmates, one of whom was Kumoko. Perhaps more significant is the fact that she notices that the video game-like mechanism that controls this world seems to be responding to her wishes, and she wonders what that might mean. Anime characters trapped in isekai situations very seldom do that! Something like 90% of the time they just accept their situations and move on without trying to figure out exactly what has happened, probably because the writer didn't want to get into human psychology and complicated stuff like that. Before she has time to think too much, however, yet another monster attacks her. Something funny is going on among her human classmates as they are told that she is dead, which is either a lie or someone is able to sense that she just had a very close call. Kumoko learns that it wasn't just her imagination that the game system which controls this world is paying attention to her, and with her rapidly expanding abilities she has drawn the attention of others as well. As a result, the plot seems to be going somewhere--she won't just be engaged in fights of the week against a succession of stronger and stronger opponents, no, she'll apparently be figuring out what the deal is behind this world and maybe find a way to improve it. That's must be why this series is two seasons long. I got the feeling while watching episode ten that this series does a better job than most of holding my interest and remaining engaging even though it is less than halfway finished. Sooner or later the two parallel threads of what's going on with Kumoko and with her human classmates will have to meet, and I genuinely want to see how that will go. And then there's the third plot element, the 'administrator' who is watching over things--what is this person/entity up to? I wonder.

Season one ends with Kumoko having met another formidable challenge. The feelings she expresses as both she and her opponent are on their last legs were confusing--nobody forced this creature to attack you. But she clearly has feelings, as we continually see as she talks to herself and her growing set of alter-egos. It looks like she will finally find a way out of the labyrinth of caves she was reborn into, which means she will encounter the other humans and the brewing war between them and some Demon-lord person. Season one was fun; I always looked forward to new episodes of Kumo-.

For a good while the feeling has been growing that Kumoko will turn out to be the salvation of the humans who are caught in a war with demons which isn't going well. just when unity is needed to defend against the demons, human hero Schlain (another reincarnated Japanese teen) is betrayed and narrowly survives a coup attempt. I would have preferred if we had continued to pursue this plotline rather than Kumoko be drawn into another multi-episode battle with the evil Queen Spider (her mother). I doubt if the queen will play any part in the climax of the series, so this seems largely like a waste of time. Kumoko finally escapes from the labyrinth and begins to get an idea of the different factions struggling with one another just when they need to be united, like the two religions. It was tricky to keep track of all these different groups but this show remained one of my favorites even in its second season. It turns out that one religion has a legend of a heroic spider that saved its founder, and rumors begin to spread that this creature has returned. Kumoko has gained some abilities which are absolutely lethal to ordinary humans, and sometimes uses them on people who deserve it (which was fun). One thing which hadn't dawned on me until late is that while she has a cute, goofy face when we see her, she looks hideous (like a spider) to ordinary people.

The one thing I had been waiting for with baited breath was the moment when Kumoko reveals herself to her classmates and no doubt saves their asses from an otherwise hopeless situation. That, and the reset-ed story afterwards. But this show seemed determined to minimize the amount of entertainment I was going to get. Episode after episode passed and the clock to the end of the final episode was ticking, yet again and again Kumoko doesn't show up. When the fuck was she going to appear?! I didn't give a damn if the commander of demon army X is a reincarnated human or not, I just wanted the climax to get started. Kumoko's side of the story is infinitely more fun than that of her classmates, yet they were getting the limelight. This seemed like a shameful waste of resources to me. When the next-to-last episode ended still without her being reunited with her classmates, I could barely believe it (I could also barely believe when mecha show up in this sword and sorcery show).

OK, then the final episode (which was delayed by some sort of technical problems) would have to contain the slam-bang conclusion. NO! What we get is basically nothing more than 'to be continued!'. There has been a realignment of the two sides, and the fighting will go on with Kumoko now an ally of about the last person one would expect. Likewise, this was about the last thing I had been expecting, after two full back-to-back seasons after all, and I didn't know whether to feel crushed by the lack of an overdue conclusion or ecstatic that the show would continue. As a result what I felt was more akin to apathy. I desperately need a summary episode to make sense of where things stand, because I hadn't been paying much attention to the politics of the human world. Whatever happens, I'd be willing to bet that this show would have been better if it had consisted of just 24 episodes.

Last updated Monday, July 05 2021. Created Sunday, January 10 2021.

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