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 had heard rumors that the Spider So What fanbase (yes, there is one, though perhaps not as much now) was unhappy with the webnovel ending and hoped it might be changed a bit for the light novel. Sad to say, I don’t think it is. Also sad to say, I get their point. Even if I haven’t liked her at times, or felt that she was being too much of an evil villain, the spider is the star of the show. White is the reason everyone is reading the book. I may enjoy following the adventures of the human cast more than the rest of the fans of this series, but that doesn’t mean that I want the book to star them instead. The book’s gimmick is its spider doing really cool things while chattering endlessly in her head. As such… why the author decided to have her appear only at the start and end of this book is beyond me.
We pick up right where we left off, with White battling Black for the future of this world. One side wants to kill half the population to save the goddess who’s being tortured to keep everything going, the other half wants to kill the goddess to save the population. There is a lot of angsting, hand-holding and self-doubt among the various cast members about this… at least until about halfway through the book, when everyone realizes what the reader pretty much knew: there are no sides, we are all in this against D, who simply wants to have bad things happen for the lulz. Everyone (except Black and White, still fighting) teleports to where D is, and some are shocked to discover that she’s the real Wakaba. They’re even more shocked to discover that she’ll give them what they want… if they defeat her.
This book ends up being a string of anticlimaxes. Chief among them I’ve already mentioned, which is White being absent from most of the book. Second among them would probably be White’s actual fate in the final pages, which I suppose is meant to be punishment for her hubris but reads like thumbing a nose at the reader. The rest of the book alternates viewpoints among the rest of this ludicrously large cast,. and the only ones who remotely get closure and a happy ending are the adventurer couple, who survive and live happily ever after mostly as she clonks him on the head and runs away from the final battle. The epilogue reads like the author lost the last hundred pages of the book so decided to submit bullet points instead. Shun’s romantic resolution is absolutely a “fuck you” to me personally. I could go on.
I made it through this whole series, and it started off great. But it began to flag a few volumes back, and the climax has been a painful experience. White deserved better than this.