WARNING: The following contains spoilers for So I’m a Spider, So What? Episode 3, “Earth Wyrm (Dragon), Bad News?” streaming now on Crunchyroll.
In the majority of isekai, a group is formed around a character with promising skills that makes them seem powerful enough to fend for themselves, but that’s not the case in So I’m A Spider, So What? Episode 3, “Earth Wyrm (Dragon), Bad News?” showcases the individual magical abilities of the reincarnated human characters, while teasing a confrontation with an Earth Dragon.
It almost seems like each character is showing off their skills in the episode to demonstrate which of them can become a potential threat on their own, but after a surprise visit from an angry wyrm, the reincarnated characters are only able to be successful through teamwork. This may actually become a problem.
The most powerful character at the time of the attack is the human characters' magic teacher, but he's killed in mere seconds, leaving his students defenseless. Hugo Baint von Renxandt decides to be an arrogant hero, and blast the Earth Dragon with some weak fire balls. After getting brutally slapped by the dragon, Hugo appears to have met his demise, but through sheer will power, he is able to continue fighting. The other characters have their own moments to shine but are unable to leave even a scratch on the Earth Dragon.
Schlain Zagan Analeit takes command of the onslaught and navigates a team to defeat the Earth Dragon. The message of the episode is clear: through teamwork, and probably only through teamwork, can evil truly be defeated.
Forming teams is prevalent in RPG-styled games, which is what So I’m A Spider is modeled after. But it can take away from the unique characteristics that make up each character. Fei is the MVP of the battle and acquires the title of "Kin Eater," the same one earned by Wakaba. Considering that she is not a human, her animalistic advantages shine beautifully in this episode.
Fei’s true capabilities are outshined, however, by the combined efforts of the team up against the Earth Dragon. Fei could have taken the dragon on her own, and that should have been the outcome of the episode. Fei could have thus begun her journey of redemption and also shown the others that the smallest amongst them is actually one of the strongest. But instead, the team prevails as one, and Fei’s efforts go unacknowledged -- and almost overshadowed by the humans.
The theme of teamwork has been evident throughout So I'm a Spider so far, not just Episode 3, teasing an eventual team-up between Wakaba and her reincarnated classmates. Still, though having a group creates a great dynamic, consistent collaboration will take away from the qualities that will make each character resonate more. From what we know of RPGs, the set-up will most likely be a cast of supporting characters, with some secondary bashers, followed by the main hitter. This is the reason why team-ups create a recipe for regurgitated ideas.
It would be great to instead see certain characters wander off on their own, while still upholding shared ideals. Each character has their own reason for leveling up, after all, and while the easiest way to do this is through the combined efforts of a team, the more interesting story is that of individuals seeking their own path, as Wakaba keeps proving.