Watch or Drop? Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka?

Spider - "Nope! No Idea! Time to put it aside!
If at first you don’t succeed – give up. Positive messages from a kid reincarnated as a spider.

Watch or Drop? Rules

  1. The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
  2. At least 3 episodes have already aired.
  3. Episodes 1- 3 to be watched in a single sitting and a decision reached as to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
Spider - "It worked! It actually worked!"
Gotta remember to celebrate the little things.

First Impressions:

If you read my first impressions of the light novel series you will know that while I enjoyed the story of So I’m A Spider, So What? (or Kumo Desu ga, Nani Ka?) I did find some of the writing quite clunky and at times the game mechanics and stat displays really interfered with the enjoyment and immersion of the story. Basically reading whole pages of stat displays isn’t interesting. That said, there were enough other points that I did enjoy that I read on from book 1 and found myself really quite enjoying the series of light novels having currently read through 6 volumes with volume 7 sitting in my to be read pile (that pile is a slowly getting worked through). When all is said and done, this is one story I wanted an anime adaptation for because I think inherently the story will work better visually then having to read through some of the more awkward bits.

So how did episodes 1 – 3 go?

My first impressions were very positive. This series is so far delivering on all the fun and energy that were in the books, as well as the nastier parts with some hints even in these three episodes that not everything is going to be dancing spiders and kids playing with water. The game mechanic elements, including stat displays, are working significantly better on screen than they did in text and really I have very few complaints. The story is still a little manic as we kind of chop and change between the human reincarnations at the school and the spider in the dungeon and if I was going in cold without prior knowledge I’d be more put off by this, however this is a case where I’m pretty happy to wait for it to bring itself together. Would I say the same if I hadn’t read the light novels? Hard to say. There’s a lot of charm here but unless the audience is hooked on the spider antics, the bigger picture stuff is really not coming through in these early episodes so I could understand people deciding this anime wasn’t for them.

Series Positives:

I don’t give it a shout out often enough but I am going to make a clear mention of it here, they’ve nailed the voice acting for our reincarnated spider. I was really surprised when I looked up Aoi Yuuki’s role list to find out she was the bully in San-Gatsu, played the cute younger sister in ACCA, and has had a whole range of main and supporting roles in lots of anime I’ve watched and when looking at the characters she’s played, she’s always delivered a quality performance. She’s seriously impressive here as she goes through depressed and defeatist, to grim determination, to cocky and celebratory and everywhere in between as she learns about her spider skills and about her environment. So far Hugo’s voice actor, Kaito Ishikawa (who also voices Iida in My Hero Academia) has also delivered an A+ performance. While some of the other characters haven’t been quite so nuanced, no one has delivered a poor performance and this one is just a pleasure to listen to as the characters are really working to draw you into this world.

Hugo - "This is what they mean by chosen by god!"
Hugo is confident, I’ll give him that. He is however a character who is set up to be despised and he does a great job of being despicable.

Outside of the impressive voice work, the visuals are actually pretty appropriate here. Sure, you’ll find cleaner and more fluid animation elsewhere, but they’ve got a style here and it suits the story well and doesn’t intrude on things too much. Besides, animating all those spider legs is pretty impressive. I do appreciate that even in the dark cavern they are careful to ensure the characters and action are actually light enough to see. While this may not be super realistic (what do you want from an anime about a girl being reincarnated as a spider) it at least means I’m not squinting through murk to try and figure out what is actually going on (perhaps Arifureta could take notes for their first few episodes).

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Series Negatives:

With a whole classroom of kids getting vaporised and reincarnated, while these first three episodes focus primarily on the spider and the growing rivalry between goody-two-shoes Schlain and the obnoxious Hugo, there’s a lot of other characters who aren’t getting much of a look in. Karnatia who was a boy reincarnated as a girl and Fei who reincarnated as a dragon are both present here but barely get much of a look-in outside of being allied with Schlain and the audience remains pretty in the dark about everything else (again this kind of carries over from how the books were written, but I still feel it is a small failing given it makes it harder for the audience to really get into things).

Spider in trouble.
Have you ever just had one of those days?

Outside of the same basic narrative issues the source had though, I have very few complaints about this anime. It is fun to watch and while some of the events seem a little predictable, and the spider seems to just run headlong from one situation into another, there’s enough personality about it to keep it feeling fresh rather than just another isekai with the gimmick of being a spider.

Verdict?

Karandi Excited Transparent
Watch

I was pretty sure that this was absolutely going to end up on my watch list even if it wasn’t very good just because of my curiosity about how much of the story would end up being covered and how some of the descriptions in the book would actually appear in action. That said, these first three episodes were better than I had dared to hope and so far I’m loving this adaptation. Very much looking forward to watching more but as this one is 24 episodes it is going to be awhile before I can do a binge watch. I may, when it gets to episode 12 just binge the first cour and do a mid-season impressions post, largely because I’m not sure I can wait that long.

Other Impressions:

Images from: Wonder Egg Priority. Dir. S. Wakabayashi. Cloverworks. 2021.


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10 thoughts on “Watch or Drop? Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka?

  1. I didn’t know anything about the show before it started, but I heard Yuuki Aoi was getting the main role (a year or two ago), and I knew I had to watch this. Yuki Aoi is one of the best choices for a surface-goofy role. She can switch from silly to emotional like no other. There’s a scene in Symphogear where she demonstrates this. I’m trying to remember when I first became aware of her. I know it was after Madoka, because whatever show it was that made me look her up had me surprised she was Kaname Madoka in that show. I knew her by Symphogear, so I must have watched the show between 2011 and 2013. It might have been Kurenai? (The show’s older, but I watched it later.)

    I actually liked the switch between spider side and human side. The spider side was definitely what sold me on the show, but for an entire 20 minutes that frantic to-and-fro would have been exhausting, and they did a fairly good job cross-referencing the setting (e.g. the taboo skill). The show just makes me trust the wrting.

    I’m currently terribly confused about our spider’s identity, and in more ways than one. But since I trust the writing, I think I’m supposed to be at the point. Having fun with this one.

    1. I’m very much looking forward to more or it. The books have been a great read and I should probably keep going because the story was getting quite epic in the last volume I read. While I don’t know how far the anime is going to go, I know that it will be a fun ride if they keep going the way these early episodes did.

  2. The back-and-forth does feel a bit choppy sometimes, but now that one has gotten used to it, and knows a little more about the nature of the two storylines (and I inadvertently got a couple of spoilers recently), I am starting to think that it’s one of those things where it’s a little rough at first, but turns out to be a genius narrative move.

    Oh, and I’m just plain old enjoying it so much! 😀

  3. I just dropped this after last week’s episode. I really enjoyed the first episode but the series goes down hill soon afterwards. It feels like two very separate shows slammed into one. It may tied back together later down the road, but between that and the super cringey 3D stuff, and a lot of the spider’s redundant monologues, I got bored and mildly frustrated lol. I’ve heard the light novel has a better flow to the storytelling that anime hasn’t really been able to capture very well.

    1. I found the first volume of the light novel just as clunky but it finds its rhythm as the volumes continue. That said, if the spider annoys you then it just won’t work for you.

  4. Yay! Glad you decided to watch this one. 🙂 I haven’t read the novels, so I’m going in cold. Love the spider scenes, less so the humans.

    1. The humans get more interesting as the story continues (or should). I was really looking forward to this one and am pretty happy with how it started.

      1. Great! I’ll look forward to that then. There’s clearly a complex world here, and I’d like to understand it more.

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