Episode 15, “Did Mother Send These Annoying Puppet Spiders?”, kicks off inside of Kumoko's mind...or so it seems. It quickly becomes clear that we're actually in her mother's mind, where Kumoko's Parellel Minds are launching a psychic attack. Things appear to be going well for Kumoko, but Mother knows best, and Big Spider Mommy (and yes, I'm going to call her this from now on) knows even better how to bait n' switch her spider daughter. As Kumoko's Parallel Minds steadily continue their attacks, Big Spider Mommy's multiple eyes glow red, which pretty much sets the mood for this entire episode.
Kumoko's Parallel Minds are not completely oblivious, however; in fact, they suspect that Mother might be plotting something with her inaction. Of course, just when they realize the true extent of the danger they're in, Big Spider Mommy rears up and launches a powerful beam of energy and cuts them off, effectively keeping them from reentering the main body… and leaving Kumoko incredibly vulnerable.
Back on the surface, Kumoko is pondering about that strange vampire baby from the previous episode. As her thoughts shift towards all the delicious food she can have, she fails to notice the giant purple energy beam bursting through the ground. It's a sequence that showcases Kumoko – and Aoi Yūki – at her tenacious best, and it all leads into a really enjoyable action sequence that pits Mother against Daughter – or rather, Queen Taratect against Ede Saine.
I ragged on the CG in the last episode, but I'm soundly in the camp of “looks good” this episode. I actually really enjoyed the multi-stage fight sequence between Mother and Kumoko. The sound design and the animation for this episode allowed all of the action beats land with solid impact. And truth be told, I got a bit worried for Kumoko, especially when she ends up back in those darn caves with loads of her spiderific kinfolk.
For me, Episode 15 is one of the most enjoyable episodes in this cour. Aoi Yūki ensured that Kumoko's ongoing internal narration of literally everything that goes wrong in her No Good Very Bad Day never loses her characteristic goofiness, and balances the intense battle scenes with some much-needed wry humor. There's also a lot of good suspense in this episode, despite the fact that viewers already know that Kumoko will be okay.
Still, even though Kumoko surviving the battle is a foregone conclusion, the introduction of some pretty neat abilities in the back half of episode 15 up the ante and make Kumoko's victory – and the second wind she gains ahead of finishing off hoards of spiders and the puppet-spider too – feel well-earned. Combined with the battle theme (which is fire; it's so enjoyable that I can see myself adding it to my playlist), I feel that episode 15 really reminds viewers that Kumoko is the best spider girl, and honestly, one of the modern isekai genre's most enjoyable heroines.
Mercedez is a localization editor & QA, pop culture critic, and a writer who also writes & reviews at Anime Feminist and But Why Tho?. There, she gushes about idols anytime someone lets her, which is… not often enough. This anime season, she's all about Super Cub, which is great because she's also reviewing it here on ANN. When she's not writing, you can find her on her Twitter, where she's always up to something.