「私の戦いは、これからだ？」 (Watashi no Tatakai wa, Kore Kara da?)
“My Battle Has, Only Just Begun?”
The light of the outside world is only a leg’s reach away in Episode 12 of Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka? as Araba the Earth Dragon has one last stand for Kumoko. Although Kumoko fights her heart out to expend the Earth Dragon’s energy, her pride in her ability to survive this whole time makes her victory bittersweet.
With all of the limitations set for the CGI segments inside of the labyrinth, this episode still managed to capture an intense battle to the death between Kumoko and the Earth-Dragon. It harkens back to what makes this anime’s premise special in that it’s unafraid of putting Kumoko through the wringer. Rather than a boring back-and-forth, every move matters in their fight, and the anime doesn’t shy away from the notion that any mistakes Kumoko makes come at the cost of her limbs, eyes, body, and other parts of her that would set her even further back.
The risks she takes to survive also provide a more serious, passionate side of her as she is enraged by the Earth Dragon accepting its defeat as easily as it did once its fighting spirit was diminished. Knowing that she’s spent this whole time fighting tooth-and-nail to preserve the one precious life she has, she’s cemented the idea that she’d be dead for good if she was as reckless or careless as the Earth-Dragon. For the Earth Dragon to just burn through SP and acting as if it needed to expend all of its energy to fight a small spider, it hurts even more for Kumoko to see that stubbornness and imagine a human soul like hers would be bound to someone that threw the towel on a dime.
It’s also that side of the Earth Dragon that lends to the future Demon Lord’s understanding of dragons as a whole. The latter chunk of the episode gives us little glimpses of what’s to come as Episode 13 transitions into the next cour as Shun and his former friends and enemies get prepared for the future. At the same time, there’s brighter news for Kumoko as she makes her way towards a light that could lead to the outside world. Even though it feels like a bait-and-switch, hopefully, this will be Kumoko’s moment of glory as she ventures out into the desert of the real.