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.
We now know that the series will be ending with the 16th volume. We know this because in Japan, the 15th and 16th volume came out one month apart, because the author and editor thought that the 15th book was all setup and no payoff. Unfortunately for English-speaking readers (but perhaps fortunately for the translator), Yen On decided not to do this. The final volume of Spider is currently scheduled for June 2023. As such, well, we get this book, where there’s one fight, and it’s 4/5 of the way through the book. Instead, what we get is functionally a class meeting to discuss their circumstances. That part was OK, I didn’t mind it. It was boring, but… I like the human part of this book more than most fans. With one exception. That exception is unfortunately back as well, and since Potimas is finally dead, there’s a new character riding to the “most hated” list. Hi, Sue. Please stop trying to screw your brother.
After the events of the previous couple of books, the elf village has seen better days. White and her crew now have a) a demon lord who’s used up most of her life, b) a giant pile of corpses littering the landscape, and c) a bunch of prisoners-of-war, aka the students who got reincarnated here from Japan. Explanations would be good, but unfortunately, White is terrible at speaking, and Sophia is terrible at caring about her fellow classmates, so things go badly. Then suddenly the endgame starts. White must now battle “Black”, aka Guliedistodiaz. The Demon Lord has to rush to the place where the series began, the Labyrinth, to try to save Sariel. The leader of the Church is trying to get humanity to reject Sariel so that they can be saved. And all of this is being watched over and influenced by a very amused D.
The scenes with Sue and Shun are awful, especially since they come after we’re reminded that she a) killed her father, seemingly under mind control but she doesn’t seem to care at all, and b) sided with evil so that she could get into Shun’s pants. She’s AWFUL. Things are not helped by a tug-of-war with her, Yuri (who is no longer evil but still not right in the head) and Katia (who the author, having resolved her plotline in Book 4, seems to no longer care about). This isn’t the only thing wrong with the book, of course. Hugo/Natsume’s “sorry I was evil, better now” shtick made me roll my eyes, as did everyone’s non-reaction to it. And while I like the students, hearing them argue about who had the harder life in their reincarnated world was, frankly, boring. As for White… well, she’s the bad guy. The funny parts of the book are her justifying that in the usual manic narration she has, but she’s essentially the Final Boss – as she says herself.
I wouldn’t have liked this even if Book 16 did come a month later, but as it is I’m left with very little desire to read on. I will read Book 16, as it’s the last, but this spider has worn out her welcome.