「おまえ反逆？私、自虐」 (Omae Hangyaku? Watashi, Jigyaku)
“You’re Rebelling? I’m, Self-Deprecating”
Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka? ramps up the tension for Shun’s story when Hugo uses his brainwashing skills to turn his closest friends and allies against him. Meanwhile, as Kumoko gets used to the human world, we discover her semi-connection to the vampire warrior Sophia.
The human side of the story gets a major facelift in this episode when Shun’s current conflict has the Church brainwashed to rally against him as Hugo engineers a plot to have Shun framed for his dad’s murder. Although the human parts of the show felt like they were going through the motions of your standard isekai story, this marks an interesting breaking-off point where it can come into its own.
The idea of the universe being manipulated into going against the destined “hero” and designating Hugo as their new corrupt “hero” tasked to slay him is a crazy, interesting development. It helps to shrink down the focus towards Shun and his fight for survival as he only has Oka, a newly resurfaced Fei, and a few confidants as his lifeline. The power of grief/love also played a role in erasing the brainwashing that controlled Katia, but whether Shun will be able to replicate this formula with Sue and the others under Hugo’s spell sounds like it’ll be the main focus of what Shun’s current goals are.
It’s more fascinating than the whole “live up to your brother’s legacy” stuff we’ve been bombarded with for the past few weeks and gives us a better glimpse of the demon world’s connection to the human one. One of these threads is Sophia, the vampire who happened to be Shouko in her past life. Kumoko crossed paths with her as an infant while trying to feed off of bandits. Sophia’s eventual notoriety as an insane vampire made her Hugo’s ace-in-the-hole, but they make it very clear that her support for him is conditional towards priming up the Demon Lord’s rise to power in the human world. It’ll also be speculation as to whether Sophia sticks with Hugo for the long run or abandon him once his usefulness runs low, especially since she doesn’t have a positive impression of Hugo’s ability to not get stomped by Shun.
As a side note, Kumoko’s fight with the bandits at the beginning of this episode is neat for how it’s the first instance where Kumoko mentions having consumed the bandits she fought in the labyrinth. It’s not a thread that’s really been touched, notably since it’d be odd for the chibi spider to happily gobble up a human. But since her main struggle is with the spider queen, it seems like the story is lowering its guard with how many coincidental details about Kumoko are dispelled over time such as her connection with future assets to the demon world and being a monster who has killed and eaten her fair share of people. Curious about how they’ll reveal her future and if she’ll eventually make an appearance in Shun’s timeline.