A wizard did it.
Story: Okina Baba
Art: Asahiro Kakashi
Character Design: Tsukasa Kiryu
Translation/Adaptation: Jenny McKeon
What They Say
Mom, I’m home! Let’s have a nice family reuni-ack!!
Been lookin’ for a chance to take out earth dragon Araba, but man, that dude’s crazy strong! In the meantime, I’m keeping busy with other things. I got a surprise visit from my siblings-must be getting under Mom’s skin, heh-heh. Then I’ll fight round two with the bees and have a nice, relaxing nap at home-Wait, are those humans?! Time for a revenge match! But hold on, if I follow the humans, can I find the light at the end of the tunnel? Maybe I can finally get out of the labyrinth…!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Another day, another monster to defeat and eat.
The first half of this volume of Spider focuses mostly on Kumoko making good on old grudges. She tackles an army of sibling spiders that march on her happy little home, proving she is the inheritor of the title of top spider predator in the labyrinth. Although she hasn’t faced off against her mother yet. Then it’s time to take out the hornets that had been such a problem when Kumoko was just an itsy-bitsy spider.
All of this is in preparation for taking on the earth dragon. Kumoko sees that as her last major obstacle before escaping the dungeon. To what end escaping the dungeon will result in is unknown. Especially since humans don’t seem to see her as anything else than a terrifying monster.
Those humans happen to encounter her nest and burn it while in the dungeon. Kumoko arrives at her home and finds it destroyed with a whole company of humans ready to attack.
This is the first real opportunity we’ve had outside of short extra chapters to witness humans in this world of monsters. Kumoko’s lack of sympathy could pose to be a problem, as she seems fully committed to monster life now. Sure, she attempts to justify her actions as defensive and retaliation for them wrecking her home. Yet she never attempts to use her skills to communicate with the humans. Instead, she reacts swiftly and ends up slaughtering a whole mess of them in short order. She has quickly established herself an enemy of mankind, which is likely to become problematic if she ever wishes to rejoin society… as if such a thing were even possible.
The humans themselves are a mystery until the next chapter, where the viewpoint shifts and we get the entire encounter over again. The two men who are the main leaders of the company are a summon and a wizard. The wizard is an older man who is the strongest wizard in the nation. He comes across as competent but flippant. He quickly realizes how outclassed he was by the spider monster and despairs over the lack of knowledge.
My real problem with this shift in viewpoints is that we get a drastically different set of events happening in the same encounter. While the summoner sees the mage acting erratically we never see that occur in Kumoko’s point of view. It’s played up for comedy but it causes a temporal disconnect. Although I do find it interesting that Kumoko apparently has a thing for ‘distinguished gentlemen.’
The other problem is that going back to detail exactly who these guys are and what they were up to takes up valuable time to advance the plot. I’m so very tired of the overall loop of eat, sleep, kill, repeat.
The extras for this volume are a couple of author’s notes and the usual prose excerpt from Kumoko about the immediate thoughts of a spider monster.
This volume of Spider continues much as the last several have, and the formula has long since grown stale. There’s less focus on the abilities that Kumoko is gaining or advancing and more focus on tackling increasingly larger foes. At least until an unexpected encounter with humans shifts attention to a different set of characters. The same encounter from two different perspectives creates a conflicting narrative that portrays two characters in entirely different ways. Kumoko is closer than she’s ever been to escaping the dungeon, but what awaits her on the other side might be the might of a nation eager to take down the strongest monster they’ve ever seen. I wish the story would get on with it.
Content Grade: B –
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A –
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: March 24, 2020
MSRP: $13.00 US /$17.00 CAN