So I'm a Spider, So What? LN: Volumes 13-14
Ach ja, we are not only slowly approaching the end, but are also finally catching up with the jumping of point at the end of volume 5. Let’s go!
So, while Volume 11 focused on a completely new perspective and volume 12 covered events we at least knew have happened, volume 13 kind of combines the two different approaches and thusly ends our little “recap” arc by showing the demon’s side of the events when shit hit the fan for Shun and friends.
The fun things about having two separate narratives run concurrently is when they finally collide and you realize just how different in scale these two stories really are. Shun and all of humanity are getting played, just utterly taken advantage of and used as if it were the most normal thing in the world. I always thought the events in volume three went by rather fast with essentially no build-up we were aware of. Now that we do have the knowledge of what went on in the background, it is almost laughable how serious and tense the uprising and Shun’s escape to the elf’s village was for me the first time I watched and read it. Honestly, White, Sophia, etc. overhearing the assassination of the king in the other room, as they are basically waiting for their cue in this bad play reached new heights of (un-)intended comedy.
We finally get insight into the several layers of mind-control, that were going on. First of, there is Potimas' influence, because of course he got his dirty little hands everywhere he can, though the implications were mostly for him to cover all of his bases, like the king intending to announce Shun his successor as for Shun not raise his skill as the hero any higher. Then there White’s manipulation of Hugo. It was stated in the second or third novel that Hugo’s escape most likely included spatial manipulation, which is weird, as there are only so many humans capable of teleportation magic. But no, it was Sophia and White all along. White basically told Hugo to manipulate more people, which eventually snowballed into what we have seen from Shun’s perspective, as was White’s plan.
From there on, it is basically following what White and the demons did while Shun and his group fled to the elves. Hugo continues to be an idiot and fries some brains via his manipulation and Sue admits that while she was manipulated at first, she eventually decided to go with the demon lord’s plan for the sake of her beloved onii-chan’s safety. Meanwhile, Sophia attacks Shun literally for the lulz. Initially, I wasn’t fully convinced of her attacking Shun out of boredom, but considering the characterization she underwent in the inbetween volumes… yeah, I can see how she would absolutely do that for even less a reason. She does so another time at the battle for the elf village. God bless our anti-social queen of sass. Also, bonus points for Wrath having the most justified “What the fuck are you doing?” upon seeing Shun fighting alongside the elves. Leave it to our wannabe hero to ruin the day.
On the other side, White is as busy as ever. On hand hand, she watches over Shun and his group escaping to the elf village and on the other hand, she is preparing to destroy the system governing the world. After Shun revealed his Mercy skill, White wanted to know what the limits of this particular skill are, as not even she can resurrect the dead. This eventually led to the events unfolding in the end of volume 3, though it is still not revealed what Ronandt’s deal is supposed to be. More importantly, we get a shocking twist: Hyrince, Julius' friend and new comrade of Shun… is actually Gülie, or rather one of his clones specifically, which brings up a lot of questions regarding his actual position in this entire conflict.
Firstly, there is a personal side to it all. He was Julius' friend and now travels alongside Shun not out of obligation as an administrator, but out of a personal sense of responsibility and duty. He wants Shun to not just die, but keep him out of harms way, which goes contrary to White’s utter lack of empathy for everything not concerning herself. White did and continues to do a lot of shady and questionable stuff, but this instance was interesting, as Gülie/Hyrince specifically called it tasteless. How much actual harm was done is up for debate, but he doesn’t approve of White either way.
Secondly, Gülie is technically not an ally, though the word “technically” does a lot of legwork, as there is a heavy bias towards Ariel. For the time, Gülie works alongside Ariel and White, because their goal to get rid of Potimas goes perfectly hand in hand with his position as one of the administrators of the world and he has his own personal stakes in freeing Sariel from the System. But beyond this, there isn’t a lot connecting him and White specifically. I mean, he more often than not refers to her as “thing” and “creature” and considering White’s track record, she might become stronger than him any time now, so yeah, he may not be that foolish in being wary of her in several ways.
Quick side note aside, White finally has an end goal she is willing to share with the reader and how the series will most likely turn out towards its end. So basically, she wants to destroy the System and save Sariel, who is used as its core, in the process and returning the world to a normal state. Incidentally, being the evil god she proclaims herself to be, D made the destruction of the system an inherent feature of said system, which, under any other circumstances, would be one hell of a contrivance, but D gotta D and it is not like White gets to do it for free either. Apparently, each owner of one of the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues skills holds a “key” to unlock part of the system. The missing locks can be picked, though White would rather avoid doing so and rather collect the keys, even if they are in the possession of the enemy or neutral fractions.
The system also fights back. This fight took up a good quarter of the novel and while I consider it a far cry from being bad, it wasn’t really interesting either. We know White is able to deal with it one way or another and the fight will simply come down to a question of how, but was simply missing the weight we otherwise have with an enemy previously established. The fight had a nice premise with the shadows taking the form of several different classes or even characters we as the reader have encountered, but as they are no real characters, it was essentially White fighting off random enemies no one cares about. Well, being successful in her endeavour, it is finally time to rid Potimas of the surface of the planet and catch up to the “present”, right?
Yes, we do, but surprisingly, this is kind of the least interesting aspect of this volume. Instead, we go way back into the past. Volume 14 is divided into Ariel and White attacking the elf village and the events culminating into how this world slowly turned into D’s playground and current setting. It is hard to find an angle from where to start, as most of the perspectives build on each other, but the gist is the following: Potimas ruined everything and continues to do so even after the (not yet quite) literal end of the world. So much nothing new. Volume 14 basically chronicles Gülie and Ariel’s interactions with Sariel, Ariel’s connection towards Potimas and how Potimas slowly kick-started the events leading to Sariel’s sacrifice and the world turning into an RPG video game for D’s amusement.
Gülie started out as a young dragon (not the winged lizard kind), until one day he came across Sariel. He initially took an interest in her, as she was even more powerful as the dragons, but it quickly became obvious for everyone but himself that he was in love with her, even though he explicitly stated he would not be enamoured by a person simply because she bested him in combat. Like, sure buddy, I am the last person to judge you for that, no need to be tsundere about it. In general, the difference between “present” and “dumb teenager” Gülie is quite fun to observe, as you can absolutely see where he is coming from and his development is handled with a surprising amount of care and nuance. This volume also clears up why he is so willingly going along Ariel’s plan that will help him free the person he feels a special connection towards, as well as getting revenge upon Potimas.
Then there is Ariel who kind of had a rough upbringing. We learn that she was created by Potimas as a chimera, before being rescued by Sariel. Her perspective is mostly about reminiscing times gone by and, similar to Gülie, what an important person Sariel was to her. There was this incredible sweet gesture of her producing embroidery for everyone in the orphanage, because she felt like she didn’t have much time left anymore.
Lastly, there is Potimas. We finally get to know what his intention and ultimate goal is all about. For generic as it may seem, up to this point, I kind of assumed Potimas wanted ultimate control over the planet, as this world for once not only gives you the means of doing so via the skills, but also because Potimas clearly has an agenda going on with fighting back against the administrators. Turns out I was wrong. Massively, in fact. Instead, it all started very simple with a man wanting immortality and not stopping in his pursue of doing so, no matter what obstacle may be in the way. You could almost think of it as the start of a tragic pipe dream, but this guy was also kidnapping children, conducting experiments on humans and was a pretty shitty person in general.
One day, Potimas discovered MA Energy, the literal life force of the planet and made it available to everyone, resulting in the world slowly getting destroyed, despite the warnings from the dragons. The usage of MA energy also explains the origin of the elves and demons. This all eventually escalated into the dragons attacking humanity, though at this point it was already too late for the planet anyway. In desperation, Gülie asked D for help, as Sariel is bound to the planet and destined to go down with it. It was D’s doing that ultimately lead to the world being gamified with Sariel at its core.
In contrast, the exploits of Ariel and White seems almost insignificant in scale, with it basically being one long and extended fight against Potimas' machines, though the fights were fun with essentially a running gag serving as the transition between them:
White (For the third time): There is no way Potimas has something stronger in stock!
*Potimas pulls out another stronger weapon*
White: Nai wa!
She also has to reveal her secret weapon she developed for Gülie in case she has to fight him. We also get yet another chapter of Ronandt accidentally fighting alongside his enemies, but this time the puppet spiders get to judge him like “What is that old geezer doing”. Never stop Ronandt. Never stop.
The finale finally gets us to the point we have all been waiting for since his introduction: Potimas' death. I appreciate how almost anti-climatic the final confrontation between him and Ariel played out. With no way to fight back against her and White, he simply reduced himself to pathetic pleading and crying for his life. Ariel even hit him with the old “Was there any meaning to a life you spent fleeting death” to fully cement her victory over him. To be honest, I might have wished for a bit grander end to Potimas, especially as we never really digged into his incentive for doing all this, which might lead to him coming off as a weaker and worse villain than he was as up to this point. Was he a perfect villain? No, but he was very enjoyable and I would rather have him in the background, than several smaller and less iconic villains arc per arc. In this sense: Good riddance!
This volume also doubles down on the friendship Ariel and White developed over the previous volumes. Ariel making sure White gets enough sleep might go down into one of my favorite moments of this series and the catharsis both characters feel upon defeating Potimas was beautiful to read. The both could have never gotten this far without the other and they are now able to stand as equals and support each other. Good for them, good for them.
I feel like I really did a bad job at talking about both volumes. Sorry about this.
With the “main villain” gone, I wonder what is to come in the final two volumes. I am sure Gülie might be up to something and I hope we get another visit from D, but beyond destroying the system and cleaning up the messy situation with the other reincarnations, I doubt there is much left to explore. But until then, I guess I have to wait a few months, as the translation for the final volume is not out yet and since I read that volume 15 and 16 were almost released back to back, I guess it would make sense to read them without a several month break inbetween. Nai wa~.
So I’m a Spider, So What? (ePub) is available on BookWalker.
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