Kumo Desu Ga is a 2021 anime that puts an interesting spin on the isekai genre. For one thing, our reincarnated protagonist is a girl. For another, she reincarnates into a fantasy monster usually considered evil and dangerous– a giant spider, or Taratect.
This anime is also quite unusual in the structure of the plot and lore of the world. It focuses heavily on the small, incremental changes as our dear spider, Kumoko/Wakaba, slowly levels up in the underground caverns. The lore is strikingly technical and game-like for things like levels and skills of the characters. It’s very RPG-ish. I thought this would drive me insane at first, but Wakaba is so cute and engaging that I kept watching. Then I actually became invested in her progress, and here we are.
Now then, instead of writing one of my technically structured reviews today, I will simply go over some of my thoughts from notes I took while watching the show. This post is only the first of two parts. The thoughts discussed in part one only cover my impressions of episodes 1-14. Later on, I’ll make part 2, with my musings and reactions to the remainder of the series. Ready? Let’s Rant!
Two of my top favorite voice actresses play main roles in Kumo Desu Ga. Aoi Yuki voices Kumoko/Wakaba, and I don’t think anyone else could have pulled off this energetic character and her exhaustive narration better. Eri Kitamura plays Feirune the dragon. Although Fei has done really shitty things, she’s one of my favorites in show. I enjoyed and empathized with her growth into a better person– or dragon, I guess. Anyway, it’s truly a wonder to hear this pair of master seiyuu still rocking their roles.
There’s a lot of little things in this series that I liked or thought were well done. A culmination of a lot of little good things makes me think more positively of an anime overall. One example is the instrumental music, which can sound inspiring and epic in fight scenes. The scene where Shun gets the hero title and realizes his brother is dead was brief but powerful. It accurately displayed sudden shock and horror as the boy became unaware of what was happening around him. On a much lighter note, I love the parts where Kumoko eats the monsters she’s beaten. She’s always so enthusiastic about it, and her satisfaction afterward makes me smile. I especially liked the case where she consumed the catfish monster.
A weakness of Kumo Desu Ga is the overly large cast and occasional lack of clarity about which characters actually matter most. I had a hard time learning the characters at first. It doesn’t help that every character from the human world has two names. But those that I know, I love. I mentioned that Fei is a favorite of mine. Ariel the demon lord truly inspires fear while also looking attractive as all hell. As a general rule, Kumoko is delightful. She’s so lively and expressive in her spider life compared to her complete lack of social skill or self-expression back in the human world. Her design looks strange but cute, and her voice is insanely adorable since it’s Aoi Yuki. Katia is great too. I’ll probably keep mentioning other characters as I go along.
I guess this is as good a time as any to mention the visuals in Kumo Desu Ga. The studio is Millepensee, most famous for producing the horribly animated continuation of Berserk. While Berserk is entirely made of cheap 3D animation, Kumo Desu Ga has a lot of standard animation. It’s nothing special, but it’s good enough. The only CG/3D things are some of the enemy monsters and of course, Kumoko herself. I like her character design, but I don’t exactly like that she’s always CG in spider form. However, I can see why that was a necessary money-saving move for a low-budget anime made by a smaller studio. Once I got used to the CG spider, it didn’t bother me anymore. Also, the Earth Dragon Araba and similar monsters look pretty cool.
I’m on episode 14 now and I’m starting to know who some of the characters are. I like Shun even though he’s kind of a typical hero character. It’s nice to have a good, sweet, thoughtful, and relatable boy in the cast. On other notes, the tone of the show changes a little once Kumoko leaves the caverns and Hugo’s rebellion starts. Things just seem to be getting a bit darker, which I’m actually kind of happy about. I like the contrast between how Kumoko sees herself and her actions, and the way normal humans see it. It’s good dark humor.
So far, I am enjoying Kumo Desu Ga quite a bit. I’m excited to learn more about the lore, like who and what the Administrators are. I’m eager for Fei to come back after she evolves. I want to learn more about the characters. There’s a lot to look forward to once I begin episodes 15-24. I hope you will join me next time, in part two of this post, for my notes on those episodes. Thanks a ton for reading. See ya next time!
Overall score: 7.2/10.0 (Good)