Spin-offs are sometimes necessary to build upon the supporting cast’s backstories. Further, authors can use this time to fill in plot holes are set up Easter Egg story bits within the main narrative. However, So I’m a Spider, So What? The Daily Lives of the Kumoko Sisters Vol. 1 proves that spin-offs can also be used for nonsense. And as a fan of this insane isekai, these short stories serve are a nice desert to the series.
The Daily Lives of the Kumoko Sisters Vol. 1 begins by setting up a familiar story about a high school girl dying and being reincarnated as a spider. In her mind are four personalities that end up splitting into four different versions of herself, you have Magic Brain #1, Magic Brain #2, Information Brain, and Body Brain. Each brain has a unique ability and obsesses over one thing or another, but the entirety of the chapters are simple nonsense that they encounter while trying to coexist.
The story doesn’t really go anywhere in terms of character building. Instead, I feel like each chapter exists to answer questions that the reader has about how these four operate independently and the extent of their powers. In fact, many of my questions were answered, and some were even addressed that I didn’t even think of. It’s almost impossible to speed through as I continuously slowed down to pick up on these haphazard interactions.
The panels move quickly, and before I knew it, the chapter concluded without even allowing me to take a breath. This works in terms of pacing the jokes, but it’s hard to remember everything that happens due to the short length of the chapters. Thankfully, nothing too important ever happens, but there’s typically something shared in each chapter that progresses the reader’s understanding of this alternate universe.
It’s really needed for the second half, which builds on some of these character interactions as you go from chapters used to introduce each personality to two personalities forced to work together through something. Unfortunately, the comedy doesn’t always land, but the spiders are cute enough to keep you engaged.
The manga illustrations by Gratinbird are excellent. Each character can be identified, and the environment is always detailed enough to know where I was in the story. One thing I really liked was the font of the text that Yen Press provided for each character. It sells their personality and helps the reader keep their pace and know who is saying what.
So I’m a Spider, So What? The Daily Lives of the Kumoko Sisters Vol. 1 offers fans some fun and quick chapters in an alternate universe of this already over-the-top narrative. The four spiders are charming on their own, but the attention to subtly build on the world’s rules and their relationships through zany interactions makes this a must-read for fans. I would suggest that you read the main story first, though.
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