So I'm a Spider, So What? LN: Volume 16
Ach ja, over the years, I have started far over a hundred stories that I will most likely never see concluded ever. I actually just spend 20 minutes on my MyAnimeList profile counting how many of the anime adaptations actually concluded, only for me to miscount, so unfortunately no concrete numbers today, but I guess only less than 15% of the anime adaptations I have seen have some kind of end, even if it is not the same end as the source material. What I want to say is that I normally do not assume something to necessarily have an end. At best, it just simply stops at some point with some kind of closure. However, this is not the case with manga and light novels, as, unforeseen circumstances not withstanding, they will eventually end and it is simply a question of when.
However, since I mostly watch anime, I don’t often have to deal with a series ending. Such was the case with the So I’m a Spider, So What? anime adaptation. I watched it, then watched it again and this could have been it. Of course I want to know how it continues. After all, this is the very reason why I have rummaged out my tablet I have never found a use for in four years and started reading the novels. However, until recently, there was also this kind of idea in my head that I could lull myself into a sense of security. Sure, I read volume after volume and while I will reach the end eventually, this is neither now nor soon and I can just continue reading and have fun with the series… and then I reached the last volume… and then I finished it. There is something scary about the thought of something not necessarily ending, but rather not having any more of it, specifically. It is like it died. It is alive when being published and upon conclusion, it is now dead. Forever.
So, why the overly dramatic introduction? I am mourning, clearly.
After volume 15 essentially served as a giant build-up and paved the way for the conclusion, the final volume ties up all loose ends and gives a farewell to almost all the characters we got to know over the last 16 volumes. And I can’t stress the last part enough. Literally the first thing I noticed was how the chapters in the table of contents broke the pattern for how they are normally labeled. It was either just the chapter number with a letter in front when denoting a character other than White, or an interlude, which title mostly described the character in a roundabout way, though the last volumes did start directly including the name of the point of view character. However, this volume just straight up puts the character’s name in the chapter titles, like lifting the veil from the mystery beneath it. It has a certain feel of finality to it. Now that everything is said and done, the characters can finally be themselves.
The same can be said about the actual contents of the chapters. While the stage is set for whatever climax the series has in store, it sure takes its time to actually get there and instead commits to what the series as a whole does best: Going through all possible perspectives one last time and let every character add their two cents on what is happening. As always, the necessity of them is debatable, but also always appreciated. It paints a pretty clear picture of one’s character, once confronted with a possible end. Some will fight a losing battle to the very end, some accept defeat and others are determined to find another way.
Speaking of which, Shun… I kinda thought he would die. There are actually two reasons as to why. Firstly, if you google “so i am a spider shun”, the third recommendation auto-completes to “death”… a feature google should maybe overhaul for fictional characters, but more importantly, Shun’s role in the story up this point kind of lends itself for it. After all, he is directly opposed to White in several ways and being confronted with the reality that there is no alternative to saving the world without confronting White and her group directly, I was sure he would end up in a fight with White and use the Sword of the Hero against her.
Actually, I assumed the finale to be set up a bit different and generally be split in two, with one half covering Shun’s group versus the demon lord’s and the other one being about D. In fact, while the confrontation with D is a generally well-educated guess, I thought the first one would be a given. Like, there are two Chekhov’s swords present… at least one would
go off slice White, if not for revenge, but the continuation of humanity. It wouldn’t even change the outcome much, as White’s actual plan was to sacrifice most her energy to save Sariel and revitalize the planet anyway, so it wouldn’t even matter if she survives the sword strike or not… which she clearly would… I mean, when has the magically overpowered weapon, prophesied to bring an end, ever done its job?
Other than me really wanting a fight between White and Shun, preferably consisting of 90% just talking, the fight against D went mostly as I imagined it would. Specifically how it all came to an end. While I would explain White surviving the sword mostly due to narrative convention, D has actual reasons to. Mostly, why would she give not just one, but two swords, enough energy to surpass her and, even more importantly, what would be the point in her dying by them? For all the the stupid stuff she pulls, her motivation was always rather clear and easy to understand: She does it, because it is fun and wants to be entertained. D doesn’t need to die for the others to win. She could free Sariel any day of the week. As such, her simply setting a win condition for the others and reducing it to whether they would not only use the sword against her, but also having the strength and conviction to go beyond it, is all it really takes. It would be something else, if D had a history of lying and wouldn’t hold her promise, but this isn’t the case here. Alas, her actually dying of it would almost seem silly.
However, what still stands is how the finale almost resolves too perfectly. I can accept the almost hand-waved explanation of why everyone wants to go to D, as speaking with the one responsible is most certainly a better idea, than just fighting each other and it definitely gave some characters a final chance to shine, but the way how everything ends almost perfectly and with no real downsides feels off and kind of rubs me the wrong way. Logically speaking, I guess it is sound, but I want to view it the same way as with D’s non-death. Basically, what has a larger impact? For a story that defined itself over several long stretches of time by overcoming incredible odds and never giving up and White specifically learning to be able to live her life in pride, it is a bit of a bummer that their victory was basically granted by an all-powerful god that is, with the exception for the kick of it all, at best indifferent to the literal end of the world. It of course doesn’t take away the actions and sacrifices everyone did went through, but considering it either still wouldn’t be enough, or could never have worked out how White ultimately imagined, if D didn’t let it all happen, is… *literally kicking and screaming right now*.
White finally found a purpose in life beyond just surviving the threats of her surroundings. She has a beautiful wife and four sweet children. She deserves a happy end. Look at the cover image of the volume and how peaceful and serene it is. Let her be happy! I know D proclaims herself to be an evil god, but come on! I don’t even want to rationalize the ending, I just want throw a tantrum. Of course D wants to keep her pet, but not just ending it on that exact note, but also not giving White the time and space to make her final goodbye? I doubt there is still much left to say for White, but just imagine the catharsis of White actually saying more than just a couple of short sentences to everyone. Resolving one of her last hangups would be more than just bitter sweet to end it all, though a singular “Thank you!” still holds a lot of emotions. I just really would have wished White’s story to not end at the side of D, but at her newfound friends instead.
This all would have not nearly stung as much, if we got an actual epilogue. As much as I don’t necessarily like how the end turned out, I enjoyed the little tea time between D and Meido and ending a story with the title of the novel is peak, but what about everything else? Sure, we get some short glimpses into the life of everyone, but that’s about it. What about how the entire world slowly changed? I want some details on how Shun got back into position, or how Yuri actually reformed the religion. It doesn’t even have to be long, but at least a bit more detailed than “they were never seen again” and “they lived a happy life”. While White’s story concluded, this can not be said about everyone else. Again, for a story, whose focus are the several different character perspectives, there is a certain lack of closure for most of them and at best implying what happens is simply not enough for me. I enjoy the idea of half the cast now living in a castle with our vampire princess… just gimme more!
Actually, “just gimme more!” might be my biggest wish overall. Over the course of the entire series, not just this final volume, the biggest throughline for me was not necessarily a lack of information, per se, but how not everything introduced was went through with in some form or another and the associated information therein. Even when it was eventually irrelevant, I still wished to know how exactly the hacking of the System Core be done, or what the actual deal with the keys is. What about the fact that apparently a large chunk of the planet is already destroyed and how other dragons, like Iena, apparently took part in the humans not finding it out. In fact, what about the other dragons and Dustin’s plan to deal with the destruction of the planet? Wasn’t there also another sword that could have been used against D? I figure Ariel couldn’t use it, but not even mentioning it? Also, remember Aurel? I don’t think characters need to have a narrative justification to simply be, but I still thought it mostly strange how Aurel simply exists at the side of Ronandt, at least sometimes, but otherwise never did anything other than partake in one battle in the Human-Demon War. Lastly, I really would have appreciated some insight into the world of gods. By far not a necessary element of the story, but considering how apparently the Web Novels gave Meido some background and an explanation of why Sariel is the only angel left, I wonder why these details were omitted for the Light Novels.
I just feel like there were some plot points and ideas that were only hinted at, but ultimately came short, which is a shame, as I like basically all the ideas this series came up with. Overall, I think the final volume is a bit rushed, but not bad. After all, 80% is just another volume as we know it, but the last 20% are, at worst, underwhelming and unsatisfying, which is sad, as it is the final volume and by all means the end.
I didn’t really talk much about what specifically happened in this volume, because it is mostly the conclusion of everything set up beforehand and I doubt anything that could have happened in this volume would change my view on the series at large. Sure, I mostly noted everything I didn’t like about this volume, but at the end of the day, it is still So I’m a Spider. The ending isn’t even that bad, just a shame that it couldn’t stick the landing on a personal high note.
It might be more easy to look back on something that concluded superbly. “The ending is paramount”, or something like that, but I will never forget the journey it took to reach it either. Also, let’s be honest here: What could have possibly ruined it for me? I was obsessed with the anime to the point of returning from my YouTube hiatus and actually ended up reading a book, because I really wanted to know how the story continues and even wrote down my entire experience with it. Over the last year, I wrote almost 35,000 words about this series, which is probably twice my bachelor’s thesis. For me, So I’m a Spider, So What? is a 10, just like Girls und Panzer, Fate and KonoSuba are a 10. Are they actually a 10? Who knows, but I don’t care if they are perfect or not. So I’m a Spider is very dear to my heart and this notion didn’t change when I started reading the novels and it sure as hell didn’t when I finished reading them.
As such, my final review of So I’m a Spider, So What? is the following: If you suffer from the same brain rot as I do, you will have a fantastic time.
Since this will probably be the last time writing about this series to such an extend, let’s say it one last… with feeling, of course:
So I’m a Spider, So What? (ePub) is available on BookWalker.
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