Light Novel Review: So I’m a Spider, So What?

Introduction & random thoughts

I’m there, thinking how it’s yet another light novel review I’m doing. I feel like I should review more anime but well, I feel inspired by this one, like right now. I’ve also been thinking how sometimes when I watch anime, there’s a side character being introduced, and I instantly absolutely love that character. Usually, it’s a cute girl, super lovely, and then like, two episodes later, she just dies. And every time I’m crying, so now I tend to expect it to happen, like whenever I see a such character I simply know how it’s gonna end. Not that this got anything to do with this current review.

Yeah, So I’m a spider, so what? is an isekai, how could you tell? It’s somewhat restrained for an isekai title really, and it actually describes perfectly what this is all about. And by the way, I’m super afraid of anything spider related, but I totally loved this book. I pondered a bit over reviewing the novel or the anime adaptation. But I knew I had to review the novel. It’s simply so peculiar, the anime truly can’t match up to it nor can it reproduce what’s so special about it.

Anime Adaptation

Yeah as always I’m gonna say a few words about the adaptation. It’s a decent adaptation. I truly think So I’m a spider, so what? was a challenge to make an anime of. The novel is written in a very special way. The anime tried to recreate it somewhat, and it kinda works, however in order to do so they had to change some stuff, notably the order in which we learn things. They had to do that so the viewers could understand what was going on, but in the novel that’s the thing, you can’t see the big picture at all, while the anime shows you things that you should only learn later on.

Besides that, it actually matches up to the original quite well. The main character got that same way of speaking and acting, which is truly important since it’s mostly all from her point of view. As for the quality, could be worse. It’s really not outstanding and there’s a bit too much low-quality CGI, beside that it’s mostly fine though. Still, there’s only one season, and the novel is simply that much better that you don’t really have to watch the adaptation.

To be average or not to be average

Now that this is outta the way, let’s dive into it aight. So I’m a spider, so what? starts as a pretty standard isekai. Your typical high school class gets reincarnated to a different world. A fantasy-like world with stats and everything. Well, maybe not so typical. First of all, they all get actually reborn, yes they all start as babies, and they’re all separated, some are not even humans. Speaking of not being human, yeah you guessed it, our main character turned out to be a spider. So all in all, while it’s not your basic isekai plot, it’s still not outta this world. I’m sure you all know of some other isekai with a somewhat similar ‘I’m not even human anymore’ setting (looking at you slime-kun).

And yet, I’m pretty sure this isekai gotta be the most unique isekai I know. And I know many since I love this genre. So what makes this one so different, so special? There are three things really. And god is it gonna be hard and important not to spoil anything.

The protagonist is a spider…

Yeah, characters, or rather, the main character. I could write about quite a few characters, but I don’t want to, and even if I did want to, I simply can’t. I’ll tell you why it’s so hard in a bit.

So our main character is a spider, as the title says. We’ll be calling her ‘Kumoko’, that’s how the author calls her. Most of the novel series is written from her point of view. So anyway, she’s reborn as a baby tarratect, a spider monster species. And obviously, she’s super weak, and she’s also about to be eaten. Yeah cause she’s not the only one to hatch, and you know how things are, eating your family is totally absolutely normal. Well, besides her whole spider family eating each other, they’re not the only danger in that world. Well anyway, I don’t think I can tell a lot more about her story. Oh wait, I can tell you that she’ll get really strong, like really really strong, and she’ll go through a ton of trouble in order to get there.

What I can tell however is what kind of character she is. Well to some extent, some things you will have to find out for yourselves. First off there’s still a super special narration style. It’s sort of like Kumoko is narrating, and at the same time, it’s not. A bit hard to explain but anyway, Kumoko got a certain speech pattern. She tends to talk to herself a lot, well obviously, she got no one else to talk to. And while she’s a spider, she’s written like a super cute girl from a romance/comedy.

…A very cute and clumsy one

And for a spider, she actually looks cute, well that’s how she looks like from her point of view, from a different point of view she totally looks like a monster. It’s truly hard to talk about Kumoko, she changes a lot throughout the story. But she always has this speech pattern and that sort of cuteness to her. A very interesting, full of surprises, and well-developed character. She’s also a lot of fun. She makes quite many references, and just how she talks and acts, it’s just a great ton of fun and laughs. She’s the kind to blow up an entire city by accident and then be like ‘I totally planned on this, yup totally expected, all according to plan then two seconds later “who, me? I was never here, no idea what you are talking about.”

And I can tell you that whenever there’s an interlude or parts that are not from her point of view, you’ll miss her. She has to be one of the best and most unique characters ever. This whole novel would not work without her, and wouldn’t work either if it wasn’t written from her perspective. She gotta be half the reason why this novel is so enjoyable. I can’t quite manage to describe her well enough in my opinion, but I do have limitations in order not to spoil everything.

Unique writing style

There’s one thing that truly sets So I’m a spider, so what? apart from anything else. It’s written in a way that is simply unique. In that regard, there are three different things.

First is the actual writing style. It’s like super personal since it’s all from Kumoko’s perspective, and she’s also the one narrating most of the time. Mix this with her personality and speech pattern and you’re in for a great time. While I have trouble explaining it, she’s just a lot of fun to read, and super wholesome really. It simply wouldn’t be the same without that style, and by the way, it makes it super easy to read. But anyway, that alone wouldn’t be so unique, there are other book series that do the same. And hopefully, this writing style makes it easy to read, because for real, things get quite complicated to understand.

Now there’s one particular and super famous book series that has a similar way of doing things, sort of, well it’s actually different but it has similarities. I’m talking about Game of Thrones. It’s all written from each character’s point of view, and you juggle between characters. Makes it quite hard to follow everything really, but this style is memorable. Obviously, there are other series that do things like that, but it’s not usual, and it’s usually not to such an extent that you’ve got a different part of the story every chapter. Not usually you’d have the story from two or three characters’ perspectives, that’s what sets Game of Thrones apart in that regard. And what do you know, So I’m a spider, so what? does things a bit like that. Now those two are nowhere near similar, but you get the idea.

Complicated timeline

There’s an actual juggle between Kumoko and other stuff. You’re gonna have one chapter Kumoko, and the next will be something else entirely. That other stuff can be about other reincarnations, other important characters, or even side characters. And it’s all somewhat important to some extent. Yet that’s not the end of it, far from it. This juggle matters because you get information. But there’s a twist. It doesn’t all happen in the same part of the timeline. And this is where it gets really complicated. So as a reader, you actually start knowing almost nothing of the actual story. You simply follow along Kumoko. But then you start getting information about other stuff, except you don’t know when that stuff happens.

This brings me to the next point. The story. Remember how it all started as a non-typical isekai yet not super original either? Yeah well, I can’t tell too much, but basically, that’s not the actual story. You’ve got no idea what it’s all actually about until much further. You get glimpses here and there, but you only understand the big picture much later on.

Ah well, what I’m gonna say might spoil things a bit. Remember how I said you don’t follow the story in the same timeline? Well, it goes even further than this. The explanation is simple, Kumoko being a spider, grew up a lot faster than the other reincarnations. So while you follow her, the others are still babies. But since you also follow them while they are already grown up. And because you also follow some side characters as well. You’re basically getting information from many different points in time. And then, later on, you get to see what Kumoko was doing at those times. So you basically see things happen from a different perspective but not in succession.

I really can’t explain the story

And because of all that, the story unfolds in a weird way and order. Like you obtain info but you don’t understand them. This particularity creates lots and lots of interesting stuff. I can’t give you examples because it would spoil everything. Just know that this whole novel series is a huge plot twist.

Now I think you understand why I simply can’t tell you about other characters or about the story or whatever. Anything I would say would be giving information that basically spoils certain things. It’s what the anime did though, they showed you things that you are shown later on, so you understand better, but I think it kind of ruins things a bit.

So truly, while you are reading, you don’t understand too much until later. So, simply follow along our lovely spider. There’s no good way for me to speak about characters and other things, you have to discover them along with Kumoko. Yes, not everything makes sense, yes you are always wondering how the heck things became like this or that. Yeah, you’ll be surprised more than once by what happens. But don’t worry, that’s the magic of it.

Conclusion & more random thoughts

Remember how I said that So I’m a spider, so what? is the most unique isekai ever? Yes, while it does things that can be found in other series, it’s the mix of all those things that make it unique. If not for Kumoko you wouldn’t want to keep reading, and if not for the actual interesting story behind things you would get bored at some point. And without this clever and well thought writing style none of it would work as it does. A truly remarkable light novel.

Wow, this was actually exhausting to write. I’m sure there’s a better way to describe all of this. There are probably actual terms for those speech patterns, narrative styles, and whatnot. But I never learned any of this, well I actually did, but I forgot it all eheh. Well, that’s it for this review, I hope you’ll pick up this novel, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

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Hey there, I'm TangAce. I love Japanese culture and video games. I'm on a journey to review every anime I've watched and every manga or novel I've read.
I'm also autistic, and I'm writing to get people to discover new things.

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