So I'm a Spider, So What? LN: Volume 6


Ach ja, reading the events covering the anime was fun, but this is where it gets serious. For anyone having only seen the anime, this is where the LN spoilers start. Please proceed at your own discretion.

Overall Impressions

You know how there are just some things you are glad exist? Something you look upon and can’t help but form a small smile? This is volume 6 of So I’m a Spider, So What?! Formerly, I would have gone around and say this series is obviously peak fiction, but still with the air of how Girls und Panzer is peak fiction or whatever my current obsession is about is peak fiction. But no, this volume is not just peak, it is fucking beautiful and I will gladly die on this hill.

Volume 6 is… different. Structurally, it differs from the previous volumes by not jumping through different times and all the perspectives are even in chronological order over a relatively small time frame. It also doesn’t mention Shun’s POV at all, instead opting out for Sophia and Ronandt out of all people. Content-wise, this volume is very introspective with a large focus on character’s thoughts and self-reflection and close to no real action. Sure, there technically is a big action climax, but the fight didn’t really have any stakes, came, though depending from whose perspective, out of nowhere and mostly likely won’t have any major ramifications in the future. The finale is by no means bad, but considering what the focus of the other 80% of this volume are, I simply expecting something different and more akin to a mind-bending twist.

So, Kumoko finally has a name. I guess me and the anime called her Kumoko, though it is not like this was her actual name. Also, I guess one doesn’t need to stretch too far to assume that whenever the name of either White or Wakaba was mentioned, they would reference to Kumoko. Alas, she shall henceforth be referred to by the name of White. I always wondered what the specific deal with names in this universe are, as the appraisal skill, beyond species and level, also list the name, meaning a name has probably a link to one’s status and the System and is not just simply a way to refer to someone. There is also the fact that all the dragons have names, while even the Queen Taratects are unnamed. C’mon Ariel, give your children some love (There is actually a reason why she never gave them names, which makes one situation very funny in retrospect)!

Ariel and White, along with Sophia and Merazophis, are traveling towards the capital of Sariella and the whole atmosphere between this group of four has a very special kind of awkwardness to it. Ariel, despite forming a truce, still wants to avenge her kin, but isn’t able to, as she simply doesn’t know how to fight against White. White is somewhere between fear from the demon lord and not knowing what she actually wants to do. Sophia deeply hates White and Merazophis is one bad day away from a total mental breakdown. I kinda want to say that one mental state is worse than the other, but Ariel is actually quite a well put together person.

It is never stated, but despite her appearance, Ariel is most likely very old and it somehow shows in her casual behavior. Despite being half demon lord, half magical girl, she is very calm and unobtrusive, so much so that she can simply walk into human settlements without causing any kind of ruckus or even bringing much attention to herself. Even the way she talks to other people with this almost uninterested tone in her voice gives her a sense of power and control in most situations. She can also cook, which makes me imagine the demon lord hiding three Michelin stars somewhere in her castle. She also just tends to understand people, which makes her able to give some really solid advice for both Sophia and Merazophis and really drives home the fact that White is an enigma for everyone else, as not even Ariel knows what’s going on in her head.

Ariel doesn’t have much of a role in this volume, but she is the characters that brings out most of the new information. In one of the towns, Ariel, Sophia and Merazophis meet upon Dustin, the pontiff of the “Word of God”-religion. This guy already came up in the fifth volume, but I simply forgot to write about him. Along with Potimas and Ariel, he seems to be part of the group that not only knows what the deal with this world is, but is also in possession of the means to do something about it. I actually wanted to write a joke about how Ariel, Dustin and Potimas are like three tabletop players with Administrator D as the GM und suddenly there is White asking if there are anymore snacks and flipping half the table. Turns out I might not actually be that off-target with this one.

In general, Dustin is not really the person one would expect to be, especially in an Isekai. Normally, religious organizations are, like, the bad ones, right? A huge group of theocratic nutjobs that basically scream “Hey, we are ready to cause trouble for the hero in a thinly veiled criticism of religious radicalism!” and… well, this might still apply, but not to Dustin specifically. He isn’t even religious and basically just somehow gained knowledge of the System, pulled a “Hey, you could make a religion out of this” and the rest is your everyday social manipulation and rhetorics at play. Most importantly, the point is not actually a simple accumulation of power, but to save humanity in the long-term. How he is going about this saving humanity thing is still open to discussion and we do know killing the followers of the Goddess religion is part of it, but in a world with evil elves and demons, the fate of humanity might actually be in the best hands of a demagogue religious leader. Nai wa~. Oh, and he is immortal, which already makes three characters in this story, lol.

Next up is Sophia, who basically gets an entire mini character arc to start another larger character arc and which basically turns her into one of my favorite characters in the series. It starts with what is essentially her outlook on live and the relation between herself and White in both their former and current world. Similar to Fei, Sophia (Or should I rather say Negishi?) became frustrated with Wakaba, though the reason differs. She never interacted with Wakaba, but comes to the conclusion that they were quit similar in the way both were unable to interact with their peers. But despite this similarity, the both of them were treated quite differently. While everyone kept their distance, most of the students looked up to Wakaba from afar, while Negishi was looked down upon and bullied. She eventually comes to the conclusion that the circumstances of her birth put her in this bad situation, while Wakaba simply “won” at life due to her beauty.

This assumption is slowly broken down over the course of the volume. Ariel just straight up says to her face that the distance between her and everyone else is due to her inability to even try to understand others and how she only thinks of herself. This is beautifully exemplified by her misidentification of Merazophis' source of grief or why White even saved her to begin with. She also has a skill literally called “Spite”, which I thought was very funny. After recognizing her flaws, she slowly starts to doubt whether she even deserves her current life, as she still goes with the very same outlook on life as her old one. Her old parents loved her unconditionally, despite themselves “loosing” at life and her new parents loved her too, even if she herself thinks she doesn’t deserves this. This also extends to Merazophis, as she considers him the butler of her parents, but not herself, leading her to thinking about letting him go.

In the end, Sophia turns herself around upon acknowledging that White did not only have a rather hard time in this life, but also wasn’t as similar to herself in her old live as she thought. This realization prompts her to actively work on herself and she swears to become a better person by combining everything both her parents in her old and new life gave her along the way. This fully cumulates in her desire to keep Merazophis for herself and that she wants to become a person he can be proud of to serve. Her character arc is very simple, yet really engaging and effective. She blamed all her shortcomings in her old life on her looks, while she now uses her new life to fully grow as a person and see beyond the horizon of one’s circumstances. Also, the scene with her almost sucking Merazophis dry, while simultaneously bawling her eyes out, speaks to me on a level, that doesn’t make sense physiologically, but I too am a petty and immature asshole, that tries its best to better themselves… So yeah, the vampire baby is quite relatable.

Merazophis also gets to deal with a couple of problems of his own. The attack on Keren County not only left him fleeing the place he lived and grew up in, but it also took the live of his best friend and the woman he loved, whose dying wish was for him to protect their child. He had this one dream in which we essentially learn he accepted their deaths, but is still very much in the grieving process and uses this pain to find the determination to protect Sophia. Beyond Ariel, it is a welcome change of pace to get into the head of more mature characters, especially with Merazophis mostly being a bystander in terms of the grander plot. This maturity also is able to make him look really cool. When Dustin explained how his actions lead to the destruction of Keren County, he gave Merazophis the option of enacting revenge. Merazophis, however, simply said something along the lines of how the life of one old man doesn’t even come close to compare to what has been lost. The refusal to make something personal is always raw, but considering how Merazophis wasn’t really in any position of power, this confrontation shows his real strength. True Giga Chad behavior.

His second struggle isn’t even something I would have guessed would be mentioned at all. Defending Sophia, he was turned into a vampire and now has to deal with all the baggage that comes with it. The novel mentions how he has to shield himself from sunlight, which is part of the reason the group mostly travels by night and, to the surprise of no one except Sophia, now has to drink blood, which causes some moral dilemmas for him. Unlike everyone else in the group, Merazophis was until recently a normal and upstanding human, taking pride in protecting other people. This might just be me, but him stalking his victim and drinking its blood somehow elicited the atmosphere and feeling of sexual assault and I doubt Okina Baba chose a female knight specifically as his first victim at random, but to rather really crush his sense of self. He, too, eventually overcomes his struggles by rationalizing it necessary for the protection of Sophia, which makes his actions really noble in a fucked up way. Good.

Last in our ragtag group of found family, there is White. As always, she tends to be a bit different, but I believe her arc seeks to strike a similar chord to the others. White is still having trouble actually talking to everyone and relies on other people, mostly Ariel, to interpret her silence or weird expressions, leading everyone to assume something different about White, even if what she wanted was indeed interpreted correctly. The best and funny example of this is when White began wrapping thread around Sophia’s limbs and started forcing her to walk… please keep in mind Sophia being a literal baby. She initially started doing so, because White wanted to acquire the puppet skill (and become bored just walking around), but everyone else took it up as training for her, as they would surely encounter dangers on their way and giving Sophia a head start is the logical conclusion, meaning White gets away with quite the better image, as if she would have stated her true motivation. It then becomes even funnier, when training Sophia actually does turn into her motivation and you start to realize, that White’s character arc is really wholesome.

Over this volume, White learns to slowly open up to the people around her. While she initially used Sophia for her own ends, her extrem parenting methods later gain a trace of fondness, considering she forces her own survival tricks, which White truly believes in, on Sophia with the best of intentions. At the end of the day, White did save Sophia and Merazophis not just once, but twice and she also doesn’t want anything in return. While White initially justified her actions akin to “Letting them die would make me feel bad”, this is just the tsundere wording of “I wanted to save them”, even before she knew Sophia is a reincarnation. This selflessness from someone who considers herself to be rather selfish and self-centered is something even Sophia caught up on, even if White doesn’t show it directly.

White also starts developing a cute bond with the remaining puppet spiders. While in town, White is normally left behind and guarded by the puppet spiders in Ariel’s possession. Not that they could actually stop White, but it is the though that counts. After observing them for a while and even noticing hints of personality between them, she slowly starts to approach them by giving them food and teaching them how to weave clothes. She also starts restructuring their bodies to appear less like nightmare-fuelled mannequins and more like… cute anime girls. The puppet spiders even start looking up to White as a kind of older sister and if it weren’t Ariel comically interrupting her, White would have even given them names.

Remember the small paragraph at the beginning of this post about Kumoko now having a name? There is actually a bit more to it. Inside the System, there is actually a skill called “Naming”, which gives you some kind of control over the one you named. Who named White? Ariel did, though White is already too strong for it to have an effect. Ariel herself mentioned that this would have been one extreme long shot, but I think it is still funny she tried it anyway. Concerning the puppet spiders though? Ariel literally interrupted White, as for her to not accidentally use the skill and take control of the puppet spiders. Anyway, the puppet spiders have names now: Ael, Sael, Riel, Fiel. The reason I think Ariel never named any of her offspring is quite simple: There already exists a skill that appears to have the same effect in “Kin Control”, so there just was never any need for names.

Now, let me talk about the most important moment in the entire series up until now: The scene everyone got drunk. Actually, it’s two scenes, but let’s skip the semantics. Alcohol has quite a lot of different usages story-wise, mostly depending on what the intended target audience is, so I fully expected it to be either used 100% for comedy, or maybe a tiny bit of fanservice at best. You know the kind. The one where, in most cases, a female character just absolutely can’t hold her liquor and the cognitive age turns to that of an infant and she starts acting as if all restraint has left her body, just so sick perverts like me with their mommy kink can rub their hands together and go like “Oh yeah, it’s all coming together!”, while drooling and imagining questionable acts of lust and desire. However, the alcohol here was not just in service of bringing you funny comedy, but also for the characters to really open themselves and be true to their own feelings.

White goes absolutely wild when drunk. Up until this point, she wasn’t even able to actually say anything, but once the alcohol flowed, she started ranting about how Merazophis should stop complaining and how she had it far worse, literally fighting for her life the second she was born and no one knew how to appropriately react to this. Like, Merazophis is getting roasted and everyone is just staring at her unable to say anything. Most importantly, it is exactly what Merazophis needed to hear to get over his issues. Also, her waking up being suspended between two trees and not remembering a single thing is very good gap moe.

White is not the only one letting loose with Ariel explaining how Mother’s hatred for humans comes directly from her and if it weren’t for Sariel, she would have ended humanity a long time ago for apparently sacrificing her. This also basically confirms Ariel being the Divine Beast worshipped by the Goddess religion mentioned in the previous volume… wait… Ariel?… Sariel?… How did I never notice?… Even Gülie joins the round and turns out to be a pretty chill dude, as long as you are currently not messing around with the dragons, though D had to remind him to not further interact with White again. Her flat “You know what I am going to say, right?” while everyone is happily drinking was hilarious. C’mon D, join them!

At the end, we come full circle with White’s character arc. Sophia needs Merazophis, Merazophis needs Sophia and even such powerful beings as Ariel and Gülie live partially for another person. Meanwhile, White states herself to only do whatever she wants to do with no regards for anyone else, though she now wants to also learn how to let other people into her live, tying the bow of the theme linking every character in this story: Connections. Everyone has people around them, but it is up to oneself how to approach and deal with these connections. I genuinely think this random volume in a series about a funny spider beautifully explores the topic about taking the first step towards better understanding another. It’s funny how you find topics that are very dear to yourself in the weirdest of places.

Honestly, it was such a poignant and profound end, I almost wanted to cry, but I smiled like an idiot instead.

Oi Hansi, I know thematic analysis is like, your thing… but you wanna actually talk about the plot in this one?


White being annoyed

Ugh! Fine, I guess. No, actually it is very entertaining and relatively brief. Ya boi and fellow spider enthusiast Ronandt escapes his state-sanctioned house arrest and travels with a young girl, whom her parents literally gave into his care so she could become a proper lady to later marry into a more wealthy family, to the destroyed city in Keren County. Upon arrival, Ronandt basically uses the first opportunity to ditch poor Aurel and starts searching for his “Master”… Fella was almost killed by White and immediately started simping for her. This might be rich coming from me, but pal… get your priorities straight!

He does find her, though. Or rather a part of her. Back in the labyrinth, White’s Parallel Minds started raising an army by putting their kin through the same ordeal as themselves, just in a slightly more controlled environment, which leads the spiders to speedrun their level and skill progressions. Ronandt, once again at awe by the view in front of him, has this utterly unhinged train of thoughts about how one has to throw away reason to acquire true strength and so forth, pleading the parallel minds in the center of this all to make him their apprentice. The parallel minds don’t really mind him, as they are several times stronger than him, but are rather weirded out by this old dude suddenly imitating the training of the spiders, which includes attacking himself, until all his clothes are destroyed. In general, Ronandt has a lot of “Reject modernity, return to… spiders?"-energy to him. Also, the parallel minds do not recognize Ronandt, as they were send away to attack Mother by White, when he first encountered her.

After some time, the spider army has cleared the upper stratum of the labyrinth of all monsters and, in search for food, wreaks havoc in the lower stratum. They easily defeat Kagna, Gehre and another dragon and before opening the buffet that would be the dragon eggs, Gülie appears and brings a stop to all this madness. I can not stress enough how funny this confrontation played out in my head. Just a month ago, Gülie pleaded a palm-sized White to not cause any more trouble and now there is an entire spider army overthrowing the entire labyrinth and almost killing off what might potentially be the last earth dragons, after Ariel’s rampage in the bottom stratum. In all this chaos, Ronandt is still there and fighting along the other spiders. Gülie even has a small talk with him, but the only thing I want to imagine happened is Gülie looking at Ronandt with about 50% confusion and at least 70% judgment. Needless to say, Gülie teleports to White and tells her to please deal with it, as he is prohibited to intervene by D.

With the spiders fleeing the lower stratum and having inherited some of the aspects of mother, the parallel minds come to the conclusion that there is a very easy solution as to how to not only feed a lot of mouths, but also how to gain EXP quickly. Thus, the attack on the humans begins. Ronandt, realizing what is happening, teleports back to Keren County, meets up with the left behind Aurel, who in the meantime befriended the hero Julius, and together they fight against the onslaught of spiders attacking the city. In the meantime, White deals with her parallel minds. Beyond the small interaction between White and her parallel minds, there isn’t really a lot to the fight. We learn how killing off all the humans might be a valid way to prevent the destruction of the planet, but with White being White, this option isn’t really on the table. White destroys the bodies of her parallel minds, they all return to her main body and Ronandt catches a glimpse of White, leading him to remembers again why he wanted to become strong in the first place, which, I guess, concludes his character arc for this volume.

The End.

Final Thoughts

To be fair, I do not know what I expected from the first novel continuing the anime, but this was not it. And I am kinda glad this is the case. Every story benefits from extended periods of levity and reflection and considering how well this volume handles its subject matter beautifully, I don’t feel bad to consider this volume my favorite up to this point. I know there are still ten more volumes in front of me, but this one definitely set a high bar to surpass. I don’t even want to imagine how the anime could have potentially messed up this entire volume by not giving it the time it needs. I still pray for a second season, but I also want to act like an elitist source material reader from time to time :D.

I already suspected I would break my streak of not writing about just a singular volume at volume 6, as it is the one continuing the story after the anime, but I initially thought this would be the case due to new plot and content and not because of its fantastic character drama. Well, at least this means the post won’t be this looo- what do you mean I am surpassing 4.000 words again? Nai wa~.

So I’m a Spider, So What? (ePub) is available on BookWalker.

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