So I'm a Spider, So What? LN: Volume 15
Ach ja, after over half a year, I’m finally back to gushing about my favorite fictional spider and what better way to celebrate this, than with a volume in which almost nothing happens. Truly, So I’m a Spider just keeps being peak. Since I am back to writing about a single volume again, this post might turn out to be pretty short, though this didn’t stop me from writing over 4.000 words for volume 6.
Potimas is defeated, now what? This is essentially the question volume 15 answers, though it is not like we don’t already know what path we are supposed to tread on. For as much a menace and the very reason all the events of the previous volumes happened Potimas was, he is but a stepping stone in the grand deal of things. Clean up the mess that is the battlefield at the elf village and Great Garam Forest, get the last sin/virtue keys and head straight to the System Core in the Bottom Stratum of the Elroe Labyrinth. We’ve got a goddess to save, after all. However, before White and friends can do just that, there is something else that needs their attention and a certain evil god is getting slightly bored too.
So, we finally get what we all have hoped for since everything went from bad to worse: A class reunion. Considering how many opposing factions there are, it is not like there exist a clear “bad guy” among any of of them, especially now with Potimas gone, which begs the following question: Can’t we just talk it out? Afterall, for what the specific conflict at hand is about, the reason the reincarnations and their respective allies clashed against each other is a simple matter of available information, or rather the lack thereof. The whole war was never really strictly about different politics, opinions or personal beliefs, but about those in the know, those who aren’t and those who would act on it.
As such, White brings herself to confront all the other reincarnations and attempts to explain everything and why this whole ordeal, from the initial reincarnation to the war, happened in the first place. Tragically, despite her best intentions, this whole setup was doomed from the start and destined to end in the disaster it eventually evolved into. To get the obvious out of the way first, White is not going to explain shit. While she mentally has to drag herself into the house the reincarnations are kept under supervision, as she normally doesn’t want to partake in the conversation under any circumstances, White is able to confront the other reincarnations nonetheless and does the bare minimum at giving some explanations without making things actively worse for a change. A for effort, F for execution.
White is not really what you would call a “people person”, so far nothing new, but the entire extend of it all is at full display when talking to her former classmates. For every word that goes through her brain, only a fraction will ever leave her mouth and those that do are neither the words the other reincarnations need nor want to hear. Fundamentally, whatever White hoped to achieve with this stunt, she never could have fully succeeded, which is sad, as it came from a genuine place of kindness and responsibility and was not just an attempt to make her feel better about herself and what she has done.
In short, White is not able to address the worries everyone has. The better half of the class was sold to the elves and grew up in total isolation of their new surroundings and the other half got tangled in White’s web of machinations to one degree or another. Now, the person presumed dead by the former and responsible for the latter suddenly makes an appearance after causing the events that shattered any kind of foundation left for her whole class… I hope I do not have to explain why pulling out your PowerPoint presentation about MA energy shouldn’t be the first thing to do in such a situation, because what White doesn’t seem to understand is that the other reincarnations are not in need of answers, at least not of this kind, but of empathy, any semblance of safety for their future and potentially even the truth. However, if there is one thing White does not want to disclose, it is the truth of her ambitions.
As such, superficial explanations about the world and what literally happened it is and while it might be enough to soften the blow for Kudo and the other reincarnations that were stuck in the elf village for the majority of their new life, the same can not be said about the other reincarnations (we actually care about), as they were all directly affected by White’s actions and essentially told that every tragic moment of their new life can be reduced to an “It had to be done”, without getting an actual explanation on why it, in fact, had to be done. Also, she literally put several of their classmates out of commission, even if Shun later joined the discussion and everyone else was filled in later. With how much White failed to address most of the actual concerns, Katia and Fei might as well have shot actual daggers at her, because even White noticed the amount of glares directed at her that essentially tell that, at best, some of the reincarnations are not satisfied with the provided explanation and, at worst, some are simply not buying it and can’t trust her, as they are currently POWs with extra steps and under constant surveillance of White’s personal army.
The funny thing is that despite all that, White is arguably still the most qualified person to lead this conversation. I initially wondered why they didn’t simply get Ariel to explain it all for them, because she actually possesses the communication skills necessary to not bring everyone into uproar every few sentences and is also able to shoulder all the possible blame directed at White’s group. After all, she is the demon lord and has long assumed the role of the villain. But again, literally just explaining why Potimas and the elves had to be stopped isn’t really the problem. It needs to come out of the mouth of a fellow reincarnation and from some one that can provide some form of closure to them. The reincarnations' business is not with the demon lord, but with White, Sophia and Wrath, as they wonder how it came to be that they are now standing on opposite sides.
Speaking of Wrath and Sophia… oh boy. Wrath really didn’t want to be there, did he? It is very telling when he took over the conversation and covered for White’s inability to speak and when he decided to not do so. It is almost like a defense mechanism, because Wrath is aware what would happen, would he go all out and just tell the reincarnations the whole truth and not just the “technically I am not lying”-version White tries to wring out of herself. He is aware that the others will think bad of him, because there is no way he can portray himself as a good guy anymore. Again, this isn’t even all about what literally happened. Even Shun can accept that the elves had to be dealt with, but what he can’t accept is that Wrath grew to accept human lives as less worth than in his previous live and that he goes along with this, from an outside perspective, insane plan. White can handle whatever is thrown at her and Sophia literally couldn’t care less, but Wrath actually has something to lose here, even if only in the form of his previous relationships with his classmates. As such, seeing him be silent and uncomfortable puts into perspective how derailed this conversation can become.
Meanwhile, Sophia behaved exactly how you would expect her to behave. She shows no interest in the matter, because she herself has already closed off with her old life and is utterly unable to empathize with her ex-classmates. As such, she does exactly what is not recommended when talking to scarred people who are confused about their future and drops the bad news head-on: They are not entitled to an explanation, going forwards, they do not matter and the best thing they can hope for is that they get a head start in whatever this new world will have in store for them. Blurting out the possibility of returning to earth, only for White to stop her in her tracks, was just the final nail in the coffin for the much anticipated class reunion. What a total disaster.
Again, there is no universe in which this conversation would have ended well. Put yourself into most of the reincarnations' shoes and ask yourself the following question: Are you fine with the explanations White provided? For what my opinion is worth, I would say most characters would simply shake their head and answer with a straight “No”. Hell, I know all the answers and why it all happens and am still unsatisfied with how it all turned out. White tries to make amends, but is literally unable to. Internally, this whole conversation can only be classified as a disaster, but from a narrative standpoint, this is nothing short of a tragedy.
And this is just the perspective from White and friends. The resolution of the hitherto main conflict clearly affects the other reincarnations in their own bubble too. Oka literally passed out from the stress after being revealed that she helped Potimas and brought her students into quite a bit of danger, Hugo finally breaks down and Shun didn’t even begin to voice his complains, despite being quite literally at the center of it all. Actually, Shun genuinely reflecting on his past and the events that followed might be the biggest surprise this volume had to offer. For once, he allows himself to drop the hero title and returns to being Yamada Shunsuke for a second. I really enjoyed the tangent about the value of a human life and how it differs greatly in this world compared to his previous life in Japan. It not only recontextualizes the attempt on his life at the hands of Hugo, but also nicely contrasts him with how Wrath tried to justify his actions in front of everyone. Shun’s got that Seigi no Mikata in him and I have to respect that. That’s the rules. Considering how I basically assumed he would immediately flip when the first opportunity arises, Shun definitely earned some points in my book. I know the end of the volume sets him up to be able do something very stupid, but he also might actually turn around and be a decent character in the end.
Interspersed are some minor events that really tie the bow on it all. The infighting between the reincarnations stuck in the elf village and the ones having to survive the events outside was rather interesting to see play out, without it turning into a competition of who had it worse. Hugo randomly crashing the party, throwing the towel and getting beat up was certainly something. I doubt him being in denial will hold up in the court of judgement, in fact we already know it doesn’t, but him refusing to actually own up to his mistakes, only for Fei to literally punch and kick the misery out of him, hopefully leads somewhere. Also some much needed backstory. Him hating his new life is actually pretty based and having no one to keep him under control, thus leading him to go fully unhinged, because he might as well, is a pretty nice, if predictable, development… if only we would have seen any of it, instead of being told last minute.
Lastly (not really), Yuri. Not gonna lie, inflicting self-harm to increase your Pain Mitigation skill to hear the “Voice of God” after being told about the contents of Taboo, was not on my bingo card. Also, the fact that her Skill is at Lvl. 9… Like Hugo, we never really got much information from her perspective and as such, I really appreciate every second we do get from our religious zealot, because there are layers to her character. Bonus points for Phelmina not only babysitting a bunch of angsty teenagers, but also this nutjob specifically. Also, where is Hyrince? I know he is not technically part of this and also a clone of Gülie, meaning he has nothing to gain from this conversation, but I simply want to see him pull a poker face and pretend he doesn’t know what is going on.
Lastly (actually now), there are Kunihiko and Asaka. Ironically, these two are the only ones that actually got any sort of closure, despite Kunihiko not even wanting one, as their affairs are primarily related to Merazophis, not White. However, it doesn’t take long for the two of them to realize that Merazophis is not necessarily the bad person they kind of had to assume he would be. He can explain the events in a way that neither paint him as a monster, nor as completely innocent and he also does so with compassion and understanding for the two. Sure, actually taking the time out of the day and offering beverages can go a long way, but at its core, Merazophis knows the very feelings that reside inside the two adventurers in front of him, as he lived through similar experiences himself. This is why he can also offer up an opportunity for Kunihiko to challenge him, because he understands just all too well what he is going through. On the other hand, Kunihiko now has to live with the fact that his arch nemesis turned out to be a pretty decent guy.
Despite not a lot happening, the first two thirds of this volume really resonated with me and encompass what I adore so much about this series. The way the character drama is combined with the events of the “actual” plot just make for an incredibly engaging read. One might argue, that I am not interpreting anymore and just straight up project my thoughts on the series, but at the end of the day, these are my honest thoughts and I am not afraid to share them with the world.
However, as much as I would like to end it on such a note, there is still a third of the volume left to talk about. Eww, get that plot progression out of my face! Anyway, Gülie messed up… I mean, he didn’t, actually, but this will not stop him from apologizing either way. We have long since known how the reincarnations got reincarnated into this world, but only fragments of why and with like almost anything bad, it all comes back to Potimas. He convinced the previous demon lord and the hero before Julius to attack Gülie. However, Sariel presumably changed the target of the attack and it hit D and her immediate surrounding instead. Should Gülie take the blame for it? I mean, a huge amount of MA energy was lost in the process and the whole thing with the reincarnations happened as a consequence, but talking about what could have been is an endless ordeal. Not like there is any time to discuss this question either, because D has lost her patience and initiated the end game.
“World quest activated”. With these words, now everyone is aware of what is at stake. It has always been preferable for White and Ariel that no one actually knows what they are about to do. Best case scenario is that they free Sariel with not a soul being any wiser. After all, from the perspective of humanity and the demons, saving the planet is all fine and dandy, but a lot of people will die in the process, which some characters might raise a slight objection against, including the pontiff Dustin, the hero Shun and a certain administrator in black armor. As much as Gülie wants to save Sariel, he also heeds her words and wishes and as such doubles down on the warning he gave Ariel and White a long time ago: If their actions run counter to his, then he will stand in their way. Pitied against each other, White and Gülie start fighting in some sort of pocket dimension for the fate of humanity and the planet… but not before taking care of the walking wild card.
I genuinely don’t know how to judge what happens in Shun’s remaining chapters. The absolute sicko in me might have actually wanted for Sue to realize that she is a little sister in a light novel series and to just go through with it. The other sicko in me would have been excited to see how this plot point would be resolved. And yet the other, other sicko in me was delighted that it all turned out to be a joke of questionable taste. He is, however, the only main character I can think of that explicitly rejects the advances from his little sister, which must count for something, right? But I mean, Shun also got his first real Harem moment with four girls tugging at his limbs. Not sure why Yuri is there, or why she apparently has plans to marry Shun, but the more the merrier, I guess. However, with Shun being stuck at the “Love Nest” in quite possibly no man’s land, it seems White’s plan was a full success in terms of excluding Shun from interfering any further. If only one of the girls had a convenient ability to transport a group of people in a relatively small amount of time… actually, they don’t even need Fei, because Ronandt is with them and he already was at the Bottom Stratum of the Elroe Labyrinth this one time training along White’s parallel minds, so teleportation it most probably will be.
At the same time, D drops the second stage of the world quest and gives everyone access to Taboo. This primarily affects someone who, until this moment, could have simply sat back and reaped the rewards: Dustin. Now with the secrets of Taboo out of the bag, he and the “Word of God” Religion are in a bit of trouble. After all, their entire deal was for no one to find out the truth about the world and getting rid of anyone acquiring the Taboo skill. As such, he suddenly has to deal with quite a bit of an unhappy populace, though the politician at heart he is, and the last stage of the world quest being revealed shortly after, he actually tries to turn this situation into his advantage. With White and Gülie being seemingly equally matched, the fate of the world comes down to a simple vote. Dustin tries to convince as many people to vote for the black god, while Ariel puts churches on fire in her UFO and hightails to the System Core. She doesn’t need to convince anyone, not only because she believes in White, who’s simply build different… as in, she’s got her spider body back, but also because Ariel will simply not allow anyone to get in her way of rescuing Sariel. Conviction is strong with her.
And this is it. The stage is set for the finale of this series. I already have a suspicion how the fight between White and Gülie could turn out. After all, it seems it is only a matter of time until White gains a territorial advantage over Gülie and we already know she has a not-so-secret-anymore secret attack designed specifically for Gülie up her sleeve. Also, while Dustin will probably manage to get the majority of humanity to vote for Gülie and thus lend him strength, we should not forget that the “Word of God” Religion is not the only religion around. In fact, the second largest religion is the Goddess Religion, which just so happens to worship the very god that is currently stuck as the System Core and they also have champions in the form of Ariel and White. Alas, this might become more interesting than initially thought.
However, what will probably cause the most trouble is not even the outcome of White vs. Gülie, but what ever happens at the Bottom Stratum. Because while Ariel needs White to win the fight, she also has to prevent the System Core from being shut down before it can be destroyed. Now, Dustin will surely make personal visit, but there is still the question of what Shun will do. He admits that it is cruel to have to choose between saving the planet and saving humanity, but he is the current hero of humanity and, maybe even more importantly, wants to fulfill the dream of his late brother of everyone being able to laugh in this world… or something along the lines, I can’t find the concrete wording right now. Basically, Shun will most likely stand in direct opposition to White and considering he has the means to not just fight Ariel, who actually lost most of her power, but also White head-on with his nifty Hero Sword, I can’t see how this will turn out good for the both of them.
Damn, I sure have opinions, huh? I have a feeling I kind of lost a bit of steam in my last blog posts about this series, but it was rather cathartic writing this one. I am sure I could haven gone more in-depth about the first part of this volume, because there is probably a lot to unpack here if one were to go scene by scene and not by memory.
It’s kinda funny how I deliberately waited all this time to essentially talk about the finale of the series in one post and then got so hyped up for what is essentially a “build-up” volume for the finale, only to dedicate it its own one. What can I say, except that this absolutely tracks and should be expected from me? I love the quiet and calm moments of this series and I will not shut up about them until everyone agrees with me. Maybe it is also part denial and not wanting to confront the reality that after the next volume, it is done. Sure, there is an EX volume, but like… a world with no new Kumoko? Nai wa~.
So I’m a Spider, So What? (ePub) is available on BookWalker.
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