So I’m a Spider, So What?, Vol. 8

By Okina Baba and Tsukasa Kiryu. Released in Japan as “Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka?” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jenny McKeon.

I’ve discussed before that the world that this book takes place in is a really horrible world to live in, but I don’t think any book to date has hammered that home quite like this volume, which shows us again and again the downside of “everyone is morally grey trending towards black”. On the surface, the plot of this book involves Ariel, White (Shiraori is used sparingly here, so I’ll stick with White for now) and company slowly moving towards the demon lands, only to be halted by the presence of an ogre/oni who is terrorizing everyone and everything in their way. White’s narration is seen less than ever before, and flips back and forth with the ogre’s narration, with cameos from Vampy, Potimas and a few humans. Those cameos are important, though, as they remind us that one person’s practical decision is another’s life-breaking horrible tragedy. And the reader may not agree with the practicality.

There’s actually a timeskip involved here: the book takes place two years after the end of the last one. Unfortunately for White, she’s no closer to being able to use any of her powers than she was before – she may be a God now, but in terms of fighting ability she’s as weak as a kitten. In her head, she spends most of the book whining and moaning about it. Of course, in reality she’s as silent as ever. Fortunately, by the end of the book she’s in enough of a life-or-death crisis that she’s able to regain a bit of her powers. This is the light part of the book, as, deadly danger aside, Ariel’s group is a lot of fun, and the danger they’re in never feels too lethal. It’s the slice-of-life camping trip part of the book.

And then there’s the rest of the book. The countryside is being plagued by a series of infants being kidnapped,l and as we’ve read the early books we know exactly who and what is behind that, but here we see how it’s affecting the families who are destroyed, and it’s heartbreaking. Ronandt, who was so much fun as a goofy old man obsessed with our spider, has been demoted as he’s lost all sense of what is harsh training and what is abuse. The adventurers in this book almost all die like dogs, and those that don’t ponder just giving up and going back to their farm. The ogre is a walking ball of rage half the time (we’ve seen him in earlier books as well, but here he’s getting his “official” intro) and the half that he isn’t is depressing and bleak… then horrific and disturbing. Lastly, Buirimas, the man presented throughout the book as a noble warrior who died without ever seeing his wife and infant… is also shown to have done something so mind-numbingly inhumane that I have no words. Again, when you don’t think of others as people, you lose the ability to make correct moral judgments.

So overall this was a good book, but the mood shifts are a pain in the neck, and by the end I was very glad it was coming to a stop. Next time hopefully they’ll hit the demon land, and perhaps another timeskip can put us closer to where we left off with Shun and company? Oh, and Potimas is still the worst. I really hate him.

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