Episode 17, “What am I doing?” doesn't open up with Kumoko. Instead, this time, our episode opens with Demon Lord Ariel since Kumoko…kind of got turned into Spider Paste at the end of episode 16. Ariel is preparing to attack the Elf Village with their hordes of spider monsters. Naturally, this attack will have a high cost for the elves who dwell there. But for Ariel, it's just another assault.
Back to Kumoko who, of course, isn't Spider Paste. You didn't really believe that she would actually die right? What a tragic ending that would be for best spider girl! But...we're not quite ready to return to her post-OP. Instead, we shift fully over to Shun, who walks the Great Elroe Labyrinth with his companions. After five hours of fighting their way through the labyrinth, their guide suggests they rest, specifically to avoid labyrinth sickness, a form of fatigue that results from pushing too hard in the dark depths. Unable to sleep, Shun ends up sitting near the fire to distract himself from the strange dream he was previously enduring. And it's here that Basgath, their guide, tells Shun of the Nightmare of the Labyrinth, who sounds…awfully familiar when you start piecing things together.
Awfully familiar, especially when you hear of this nightmarish beast's strength and tendency to rescue folks on occasion.
Still, the Nightmare, from Shun and Basgath's perspective, is a beast of unspeakable terror. Yet that's not enough to stop the group from cutting a quick, but incredibly risky, path through the Nightmare's former home. After all, time is of the essence. Shun can't risk a four day delay by taking the safe and easy course, even if that means risking the Nightmare's Vestiges, creatures birthed by the Nightmare itself. And even though a few of his group push back, Shun's determined to push ahead and go with the shortest course, even if it has maximum risk.
What ensues is an encounter with an Earth Dragon with a rating of 3,600 Speed. Meaning it's hella fast, and coupled with its roaring rage, out for blood. However, Shun keeps a cool head, and together, he and Fei figures out a way to stop the dragon on the spot, letting Shun unleash a holy beam of light that ultimately fells the beast, and nets him a level up to Level 29, as well as the title “Dragon Slayer” to boot. It's not the most exciting of sequences in So I'm a Spider, So What? But it's well animated enough that it's far from boring.
However, the Earth Dragon isn't the actual problem here. Remember those nightmarish Vestiges? Yeah, well they decide to show up, and immediately start attempting to appraise Shun's party, only to realize that they're fellow reincarnations, and weak reincarnations at that. As they circle Shun and company, it looks like they might attack. Even the music indicates such. However…the vestiges let them pass without incident, leaving Shun with a cryptic message about the world ending, as well as a multitude of questions.
The bulk of episode 17 is spent flipping between Ariel, Shun, and Kumoko, with the majority being very Shun-centric. By the end of episode 17, we've successfully seen Shun and company through to the labyrinth's end. We also see that in the past, Kumoko has survived thanks to her handy-dandy immortality and her HP Auto-Recovery skill which ultimately letrs her comedically censored head float around the ocean. However, not all is at peace, especially when the Demon Lord realizes that Nameless is alive and very, very well in the post-credits snippet. Worse, she realizes that Kumoko is alive and capable of attacking Ariel's mind thanks to the use of her parallel minds.
Episode 17 is decidedly a lighter episode, though not as light as episode 16. There's a fair amount of action with Shun, but ultimately, this feels like a transitional episode, which is good. It feels like the series is ramping up for something bigger: a breather like this feels well-timed and well-executed. I get the feeling that the next seven episodes will really lean into the plotty aspects of this series, which feels very exciting at the end of the day. I can't wait to see where Kumoko, Shun, and Ariel go in terms of So I'm a Spider, So What?'s larger plot. I'm pretty much ride or die for this series at this point, and honestly, eagerly await all the plot that's going to be thrown our way as this cour winds down.
So I'm a Spider, So What? is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Mercedez is a JP-EN 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.