OP Sequence

OP: 「keep weaving your spider way」by Azuna Riko

「転生, 異世界?」 (Tensei, Isekai?)
“Reincarnation, in Another World?”

Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka puts an interesting spin on rebirth isekai by emphasizing the harrowing nature of what life would be like in an RPG if you were among the many monsters that had to devour to survive. But while it could’ve immersed itself in the kind of edgy, dark atmosphere that’s brought to us when we see spiders cannibalize each other, much of the darker tone is remedied by the character of Kumoko, an unusual gamer who stumbles her way through her new life as a cute chibi spider.

I have to give the show credit for starting right out the gate with the grisly reality that Kumoko faces right when she’s reborn as a spider. As Kumoko makes the realization of what she’s become, the tone is set immediately when she notices her fellow spiders eating each other out of necessity. Even with Kumoko scuttling about and cracking jokes to the viewers, the grim “kill-or-be-killed” atmosphere never dissipates.

In fact, for the remainder of the episode, Kumoko remains stuck in this dank cave surrounded by monsters that she will either have to avoid or devour in order to survive. The morbid vibe provides much of the show’s tension with how harrowing it is to see Kumoko force herself to stop puking as she eats a fellow spider or chews through a poison frog until it gasps its last dying breath. It makes it interesting to see an isekai like this where the stakes are high enough that the looming threat of death is taken seriously, and survival instincts are what it takes to progress instead of just skill or talent.

At the same time, it’s not the edgiest anime of Winter 2021 by a country mile, and much of that is owed to the performance of voice actress Yuuki Aoi in providing levity through Kumoko’s eccentric personality. She hoots, hollers, screams, and quips her way through the role as Kumoko meanders from one train of thought to the next with reckless abandon. It’s easy to forgive the CGI because of how much of the spider’s physicality relies on her actress’ line delivery.

It also helps that Kumoko as a character is amusing for how she tries her damndest to make the most out of her life as a spider regardless of the setbacks she faces. Discovering she was stuck in an RPG where her stat increases could unlock new abilities was a revelation until she found out that, in this universe, the Appraisal ability didn’t work out how she thought it would. The funniest moment in the episode had to be when she decides that the first thing she should do with her webbing is to create a nest and do an MTV Cribs segment on her new furnishings. Her astonishment and disgust about the things she has to do to survive provide some humor with how often she’s impressed with herself for making it as far as she has.

If there’s one thing that’s a weak spot about the first episode, it’s the jarring transition into the world where Kumoko’s classmates were fortunate enough to gain forms as humans or friendly creatures. It provides intrigue considering how much it fleshes out the whole afterlife system in the game and gives you a whole cast of classmates who bring their issues in the past life with them to the RPG world. But aesthetically, it looks even more unappealing than the murky cave Kumoko was in. Most of the shots awkwardly frame the characters from their foreheads to their ribs, so it looks like every shot is zoomed in far more than it needs to be. It almost feels like a camrip that had to zoom in on the movie theater screen or crop out parts of the frame so that it can be posted on streaming sites.

But aside from visual hiccups like this, Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka sets a decent bar for a bulk of this season’s isekai as a quirky yet morbid journey into the life of a spider. It ended up being amusing to see Kumoko wing it as an idiosyncratic spider that has to face a number of treacherous obstacles if she has any hope of surviving in the human world. It should be neat to see how this one turns out and whether it can keep up the momentum with its unusual yet endearing tone.

ED Sequence

ED: Ganbare! Kumoko-san no Theme 「 がんばれ! 蜘蛛子さんのテーマ」 by Yuuki Aoi


  1. This series is added to an increasing list of premiers hat I just don’t know about. I finished this episode going, huh, well that was a thing that happened. I didn’t dis-like it, but I don’t know if I really loved it either. They definitely go a different path here, but I can’t quite say that it works.

    There’s quite a few series that I’m really going to have to give more episodes to, to know if their new concepts work or not.

  2. CG was way better then most i seen come around the past years.. BUT its the 1st episode, aka the one that needs to grab audience, thus it may still suffer later on.
    yes its not movie studio quality but its pretty good for anime. i can only agree on the fps part, it was very visibly slowed/jerky down.

    I was surprised by the amount of blood shown without those magical black lightbeams that some anime go for. it was even red.

    As a reader of both the WN and LN the voice acting was actually pretty decent when i take into account the somewhat dull or flat lines/jokes from the novels.

    1. Even though I usually hate the choppiness and robotic feel of CG, it does come off as less jarring when it revolves around spiders than people and they were able to combine it with 2D fairly well.

      I’m guessing that they could get away with the blood because it was from spiders and a poison frog and they’d have an easier time laying down the hammer if they were people or human-shaped creatures (orcs, goblins, etc.)

      1. I may be a bit biased, but as a manga reader, I think that was the better approach. It felt like a wide disconnect to instantly jump from the spider situation to the party one. Besides that, I would have liked it better to meet these characters right along with Kumoko to give their introduction more impact, instead of getting a huge character dump in the first episode. But I get it; gotta get viewers to see the pretty human side and [stereotypically “cute”] character interactions to give the audience something to look forward to.

    1. It was between that and “Yeah, I’m a Spider, Keep Scrolling,” but the “So What?” does make it a more overly defensive name for the series. I’m mad that it’s the second Family Guy reference I made today, but it’s the Quintuplets’ fault for having “quagmire” in their episode title.

  3. Most of the shots awkwardly frame the characters from their foreheads to their ribs, so it looks like every shot is zoomed in far more than it needs to be.

    Yeah, that description nails it. The only artistic thing I got from that was that the
    animator was trying to give the audience a huddle-like feel to the character’s
    dialogue, maybe?

    I wanted to really be impressed by this, but it wasn’t a terribly strong 1st episode.

    Gonna watch a few more to see if it finds its story-telling stride.

    1. Their approach to the artwork made more sense when it was from the spider’s perspective because she’s way smaller than her surroundings, but it made little sense why the human scenes felt cramped or crowded.

  4. This was my biggest surprise for the season.
    I love the contrast between cute characters and gore scenes, remind me of made in abyss.
    Big props to the spider voice actor, she’s dragging the whole show on her shoulders.
    The most boring part was actually the human part.

    1. The difference between our spider protagonist’s “inner genki girl” and dungeon crawling monster everyone else sees is a big part of the series. The visuals don’t really bear that out, which is why I don’t bother with the manga.

  5. As a LN reader I would say that the spider part was pretty good, but the human side was pretty much scaled back considerably compared to the books. A bit disappointing but I suppose people want to see the spider more.
    That said, the story from the other reincarnates is very important for world building as they get to interact with the world outside the labyrinth. I personally enjoyed those parts as much as the spider parts though I know others feel otherwise. The Manga cut the human parts out entirely and it seems the anime will reduced them considerably, something that I feel will hurt the story in the long run, but will probably not be noticeable this first season as out little spider spends the first 4 books alone in the dungeon, but once she gets out and starts to move about in the world the world building we got from the human side pays off.

    Here is some non spoiler info from the LN that anime skipped that may be nice to know:

    Everybody that died was conceived at the same time in the other world and reborn at almost the same time. The first human chapter in the book has Shun (male MC) waking up as a baby with full knowledge of his past life. When we meet them in the anime they are about 14-16 years old. Spider girl start her adventures at age 0 as she gets to fight for her life moments after being born, so there is a 14-16 year difference in the timelines between the spider and human stories.

    Fei/Ferirune (Shinohara Mirei), the surprisingly adorable earth wyrm that is Shun’s “pet” can not actually talk, but uses telepathy to communicate with the other reincarnates so nobody else can hear. Everybody else thinks she is a normal earth wyrm.

    1. I totally thought those reincarnees had possessed/replaced major personalities from that world. It’s indeed very confusing to make it look as if it’s all happening at the same point in time.

      1. The time differences are intentional “twists” to make you misunderstand certain things about the setting until they are “revealed”. With how slow chapters came, it certainly had downsides, but I respect that the author was trying to metagame his audience.

  6. Ok I’m super confuse, I though it about the spider and her adventure. So what’s up with dude and the other bunch if other dudes & others in the episode. Unless they destiny to meet each other to fight or become comrades in arms, in a comedian way. Are they important, why, and for what? Hope u answer my comments.

    1. They are other incarnations. It’s all part of the greater world building and central to the greater plot, which is much much larger than even two cours of this show will get to.

      It gets good and the twists are worth it.

  7. Nai wa… characters other than Kumoko? Nai wa…

    I’ve been waiting for this a long time now, and I just can’t get enough of her! I haven’t read the web novel for a while now, but I’ve been reading the manga & it’s spin-off (love those 4 spiders seen in the intro… guess who they are?). The 3DCG isn’t too jarring, and I like it for now. It kinda makes Kumoko more dynamic & expressive since there’s a smoother in-between motion that traditional animation can have, but would take more time & resource to implement for a weekly series.

    Also, I never cared for the human characters since Kumoko’s story has always been the most interesting part for me.

    Humans? Nai wa…


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