Content Consideration: Mild Animal Gore
What’s it about? One day in Japan, a high school classroom is destroyed by an unusual, deadly explosion that leaves all the students reincarnated as humans in a fantasy world. All except for one female student who had the lowest reputation in her entire class. Instead of being reborn as a human, she finds herself reborn as a spider monster. Yet this isn’t the end: in fact, this might just be a brand new–if not horrific–beginning for a girl turned arachnid!
I tried to come up with something witty to start this article off, but then I realized I don’t have many spider puns in my back pocket so… let’s just get into the introduction.
So I’m a Spider, So What? (hereafter So I’m a Spider) is being produced by Millepensee and streamed by Crunchyroll. Millepensee is a studio known for a multitude of titles, including 2016 and 2017’s Berserk and Wake Up, Girls!.
Itagaki Shin (Basquash!) is serving as So I’m a Spider’s director, with series composition being handled by Baba Okina (So I’m a Spider’s novel writer) and Momose Yuichiro (Africa Salaryman). Additionally, music will be handled by Katayama Shuji (After School Dice Club), with character design by Tanaka Kii (Hundred).
Nagaoka Shinji (Person 4 the Animation) will be the series’ art director. Yamaguichi Kazuo (God Eater) will serve as the series 3D CG head. Most excitingly, there’s three folks working on monster design: Kimura Hiromi (Cop Craft), Suzuki Masahiko (Overlord II), and Hirata Ryo (Kemono Jihen).
While I am going in having read the first volume of the light novels, I’ll also say that I don’t really remember the back half. In many ways, watching this premiere felt like engaging with the series for the first time. I take that as a good sign for viewers who haven’t read the novels.
That being said, let’s get into it!
Episode 1, “Reincarnation, in Another World?” starts off peacefully enough. We see a bunch of high school kids just being kids before morning homeroom starts. The day, thankfully, progresses as usual… until a massive explosive rocks all the kids of class 2-3’s lives, sending them into a completely different world.
Enter The Spider, one of the students who’s been reincarnated as well… a rather large spider. Really, as the world’s cutest spider, if I’m being honest because gosh. is she a cutie! I’ll take like, ten plushes of her!
Then again, I think a lot of Spider’s charm is the fact that she’s voiced by Yuki Aoi, who’s excellent acting really carries this first episode and makes the comedic beats land. She certainly adds a lot to Spider’s antics, and keeps the comedic good times coming.
As Spider explores the caves, she quickly realizes that her situation is kind of like in a light novel: she even outright states that. While trying to puzzle out what to do, she ponders the fact that there should be some kind of skills, or something to benefit her.
Seconds later, this leads to the discovery of experience points, which Spider quickly dumps into an “Appraisal” skill that lets her identify her surroundings. In fact, most of this first episode is spent with Spider acclimating to her new world using her new “Appraisal” skill. A lot of the comedy comes from her trying to just figure out where she is and what’s going on with her world.
Reality ensues, however, when Spider realizes that skills alone won’t keep her alive in her new cave home. If she wants to survive and thrive, she’s going to have to use all of her high school wit to forage and protect her new homespun home!
I’ll admit to being a sucker for the “I was a human and now I’m a monster” genre of isekai. In fact, that’s part of why I wanted to watch So I’m a Spider. But liking something alone can’t carry a show. Thankfully, Spider is funny enough to carry this entire first episode on her back, putting a nice spin on the isekai genre in a way that feels genuinely funny and refreshing.
In generally, So I’m a Spider uses a mix of 2D and 3D styles with Spider being rendered in 3D more often than not. When it cuts to the human characters in this world, they’re in the show’s 2D. Whether or not they’ll get a CG treatment remains to be seen, though I imagine should there ever be any magic, that might be a mix of both styles.
Honestly? The CG for this series is actually really, really cute, which I didn’t expect to say. Everyone’s favorite spider is done well enough in both styles in a way that’s fluid enough so as to not be jarring. While it’s definitely noticable when she stops being 2D, it doesn’t look glaring.
Even the monsters, which are also rendered in 3D, look really good: the frog monster Spider encounters looks properly slimy in a really good way. Her webs look good and sticky. Really, it’s kind of hard to say anything bad about this first episode: I just found it a nice delight.
That’s not to say It’s perfect by any means: there’s definitely times where Spider looks a bit like a 3D puppet waving its arms, especially in a few early shots. There’s definitely moments where some of the monster attacks look a bit stiff or have too little impact. Still, it’s overall better than expected, and that’s good enough for me!
Like I said, most of this premiere is spent with Spider, though we do get a taste of some of the other students and their former homeroom teacher as well. It’s comedic enough, though i found myself wanting to get back to Spider, if only to see some more of her foibles.
Part of this was because the former students come so late in the episode: late enough that I had very little interest in them. Hopefully they’ll get a bit more spotlight in future episodes.
Over all, So I’m a Spider, So What? episode 1 is a hilarious and solid opener to a series about a high school girl turned spider trying to make it in a new world. It’s funny, it’s cute, and honestly, it left me wondering what would come next, though I anticipate this show getting a lot more serious somewhere around… episode 4 or 5.
I think viewers looking for a different spin on isekai will really like this first episode, and hopefully get caught up in Spider’s web. I know I’ll be sticking around for the rest of the cour: I can’t wait to see where the story goes!