So I’m a Spider, So What?
So I’m a Spider, So What?
Horie Shun, voice of Shun & Ishikawa Kaito, voice of Hugo
Watch for the contrast between the hero, Shun, and THE bad guy, Hugo!
――What were your first impressions of the series? Horie: I read it out of a personal interest. In most isekai stories, only the main character gets reincarnated in a new world, so seeing all the main character’s classmates also get reincarnated was new to me. It’s divided between Kumoko’s side of the story and the hero’s side, and it’s also interesting how the two storylines frequently seem like they should overlap but don’t. It was like reading two fun stories in one. Ishikawa: I also thought the way it was divided between Kumoko’s perspective and the hero’s was really creative. It’s fun to think about which side of the story you should give more of your focus to, plus it’s interesting to see what kind of foreshadowing happens and to imagine how it’ll come into play later. It’s definitely a story that keeps you wondering what’ll happen next. ――Then what impressions do you both have of Horie-san’s character, Shun? Horie: Shun is the fourth prince of the Kingdom of Analeit, and both before and after reincarnating, he’s the type whose strong sense of justice won’t let him ignore anyone who’s weak or in need. In his previous life, though, he didn’t immediately condemn people who were bullying others, but tried to approach everyone openly and without any bias. That made me think he was a very kind guy who treated others as equals. Ishikawa: I actually auditioned for Shun’s part as well, so Horie-kun’s Shun seemed a lot softer and gentler than I was expecting. He does have the spirit for saving the weak and the strength to follow through on it, not to mention lots of friends and acquaintances who adore him, so at a glance, he seems like this amazing hero. But he also has the naivete and artlessness of an ordinary kid with a strong sense of justice who just happened to obtain incredible power. Horie: Right, the sound director told me about that during my audition. I tried to portray him as the archetypal hero, strong and gallant with high enthusiasm, and the sound director asked me to bring down the “strong” quality a bit. During episode 1’s recording, too, I went through a lot of adjustments with the director and other crew to make sure Shun would sound like his own brand of hero, not too strong but not too weak. Ishikawa: I didn’t know that. Horie: Yeah. I was also told to play up his admiration for his older brother Julius a bit more. Once, during recording, the director asked me why I chose Shun’s part to try out for, and my answer was, “Because I seem to have a fitting voice for people with brother complexes” (lol). All: (lol) Horie: The hero side of him is important too, but they also wanted to portray the depth of his love for Julius. For that reason, I’ve been putting more emphasis on the overflowing love that Shun has, and especially his admiration for Julius. ――And what about Ishikawa-san’s character, Hugo? Ishikawa: I’m trusting that no one will get the wrong idea when I say my first impression was, “I really don’t like this guy (lol)!” Horie: You’ve been saying that for a long time (lol). Ishikawa: In total contrast with Shun, he’s an extremely self-righteous, self-obsessed guy. You really get the sense that he’s the kind of character who was designed to inspire disgust and rub people the wrong way just by watching him. As an example of one finer detail, I make sure his chewing sounds are really pronounced whenever he’s eating something. I feel like the director really wanted viewers to feel repulsed by him, and make sure everyone would perceive Shun as “good” and Hugo as “bad.” As a prince, Hugo has grown addicted to his own remarkable talents, and it’s made him arrogant, so he seems less like a mere rival and more like “THE bad guy.” Horie: He definitely seems evil when I see him normally, but when I look at him from Shun’s perspective, I also kind of pity him. No matter how hard he tries to become stronger, there’s always going to be a hero he can never surpass, and that must be a really painful way to live life. Although Shun’s fairness and lack of bias might just irritate Hugo even more... Ishikawa: Yeah, from Shun’s perspective, Hugo might just be someone who’s worthy of pity. But as far as Hugo’s part goes, it’s really important that all the viewers are repulsed by him, so I’ve been trying to act him out in a way that no one could have any sympathy for. To put it another way, I think it’s important to not be overly conscious of how he works and what he thinks. We already have Shun as the embodiment of goodness, and then there’s Kumoko with her positivity. If I portray him as a redeemable character, it would throw off that balance, and it’s quite clear that his bitterness toward Shun accumulates over the course of the story, so I’m taking great care to portray him as an evil character. ――Since the two of you are senpai and kouhai from the same agency, do you ever consult one another for advice or guidance during your recording sessions? Horie: I don’t usually ask any of my senpai for advice, including Ishikawa-san. I tend to feel like I need to find all my answers for myself. What about you, Ishikawa-san? Ishikawa: I’m the opposite. If there’s anything I’m not clear on, I’ll immediately ask for guidance. I’ve started to enjoy finding answers for myself more and more, but back when I had just made my debut, I’d go out for drinks with my senpai after every recording session and say things like, “This is the kind of expression I’m going for. Why isn’t it coming out that way? What am I doing wrong?” Horie: Oh, wow! Ishikawa: I tried out lots of different things, even stealing my senpai’s techniques, in the sense that I wanted to know exactly how they construct their acting. Once I knew their method, I could try it for myself and find out whether it gave my acting the senpai’s flavor or my own flavor. And if I didn’t like the result, I’d think up a new method. In a way, it’s kind of like playing a video game. ――Does everyone on the hero’s side record together? Ishikawa: Yes, Horie-kun and I have been recording together from the start. Horie: We also frequently record with Kitamura Eri-san, who plays Fei. Given the state of the world right now, we don’t all get to record together every time, but having our recording sessions separate from Yuuki (Aoi)-san, who plays Kumoko, actually worked out well since it made it easier for us to become immersed in the world that the hero’s side experiences. Ishikawa: Apparently, keeping us separate from the actors on Kumoko’s side was what the sound director wanted in the first place. Horie: I’m excited to see how the two sides will eventually connect. ――Are there any characters on the hero’s side that interest you? Horie: Both as Shun and as a viewer, I’d have to say Hugo interests me the most. Seeing how the conflict between them unfolds creates a lot of drama, especially early in the series. Other than him... I guess I’d say Yuri. Ishikawa: Yuri is scary! Horie: She’s the one that seems the most dangerous to me. She’s a follower of the Word of God religion, but she’s a bit of a fanatic. I kind of enjoy what a mental case she is, though (lol). Ishikawa: In terms of contrasting personality traits, I think Shun’s younger sister Sue is cute, too. She normally comes across as cool and aloof, but she’s very attached to Shun, calling him “Nii-sama” all the time. Horie: She’s very wary of other girls around Shun. But you know, they’re all classmates, so sometimes I wish she’d stop acting so threatening toward them and try to get along. Ishikawa: I’m also interested in Katia, who used to be a boy but reincarnated as a girl. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to the male spirit within her as she goes through life as a girl, what happens between her and Shun since they’re together so often, and how Higashiyama (Nao)-san will act out her thoughts and feelings. ――Thank you very much. Lastly, could you share a message with the fans who are looking forward to the anime? Ishikawa: As you could guess from the title, So I’m a Spider, So What? is about a spider and her fierce efforts to get by. I’m looking forward to seeing how a tiny spider’s battles might appear on the screen, and I hope all the fans will, too. Also, there’s a lot of drama unfolding in the relationships on the hero’s side, and I hope everyone will watch for that, as well. Horie: I think this is going to be a completely new sort of isekai series that follows two storylines at the same time. Each episode is limited to a 30-minute time slot, but the story is so dense that it surpasses that limitation, so I hope everyone will look forward to seeing how each of the characters contributes to the richness of the story.
So I’m a Spider, So What?
Yuuki Aoi, voice of “I (Kumoko)”
Her rapid speech during recording is reminiscent of a high-difficulty rhythm game
――I’m sure you never expected to be reincarnated as a spider. Yuuki: That’s for sure! But another character I voiced not long ago, Gwen in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, was also a pink and white spider, so I guess I actually have a bit of a connection with spiders. I’m definitely not into bugs or anything, but since Kumoko and Gwen had such cute designs, I’ve slowly grown to like spiders a little more. ――Do you remember your first impression of the novel series? Yuuki: Mainly that it had a lot of words (lol). I first came into contact with it in the form of the manuscript I used to audition, and I remember being surprised by how great each sentence was. Another interesting thing was that it had a much harsher setting than most stories about being reincarnated in another world. Usually, the protagonist starts out at a high level and immediately gains really strong powers, but this one reincarnates as the weakest of all monsters, in a really tough environment and with very little room to develop her abilities, so that made it seem new and unique. ――Kumoko does seem to just barely squeak through all her battles. Yuuki: That’s the interesting thing about a story that’s specifically about how she survives as a spider. In many isekai stories, the protagonist’s knowledge from their former life aids them in their new world, but in So I’m a Spider, So What?, she has to both learn and mature as a spider. ――Was it easy for you to grasp what kind of character Kumoko is? Yuuki: Yes, I could tell right away that she was a very positive girl who recovered quickly from setbacks, and when we started recording, the director said we’d be fine as long as I had those two qualities pinned down, so it was easy to grasp what her personality was like. ――So you would sum it up by saying she’s very positive? Yuuki: This sort of connects to that, but she really likes to eat, and one of her fondest hopes is to eat lots of good food. When someone is surrounded by enemies and doesn’t even know where they are, I think they’d want to give up. But not only does Kumoko fight and never give up, she also finds the hope to stay alive. I think that’s really amazing. ――Looking at the original novels, she seems to eat a lot of very strange things. Yuuki: Thanks to that, I now know some new ways to spit up food (lol). There aren’t a lot of titles that include so many ad libbed spitting-up scenes, so I’ve been trying some different variations. But as the story progresses, she starts to find some monsters that taste good. Before I knew it, I started to think they looked delicious too, even though I’m playing a monster myself, so my mental strength has been improving along with Kumoko’s. ――Kumoko is just a small spider in the story, and seeing how she fights monsters that are much bigger than her, some in large groups, is one of the highlights. Yuuki: I guess she must be really smart. There’s something philosophical about how she develops a spider’s quick wit, and it helps her persevere in battle. I think it’s really cool how she thinks quickly while also moving quickly. ――Something tells me she’ll have a lot of internal monologues, too... Yuuki: The sheer number of words in this story makes it a challenge! ――So your initial concern carried over into the recording? Yuuki: It’s physically difficult to fit so many words into such a limited span of time. I thought I was actually pretty good at speaking quickly and working various kinds of expressions into a single sentence, but a lot of moments in this title shook my confidence a bit... That just makes it even more fun when everything fits just right, though. I often compare voice recording to rhythm games, so when particularly difficult recording sessions go well, it feels like I just landed a great combo and hear a long string of “Perfect! Perfect! Perfect!” And if a “Great” or Good” makes it way into that, I get annoyed and want to do it over (lol). So I feel a particularly strong sense of accomplishment after a successful recording session for So I’m a Spider, So What? ――It sounds like the recording has been pretty harsh. Yuuki: It might be because I get too eager, but there have been moments when I had to ask for a break due to low oxygen levels. It’s rare that I get so out of breath during a recording, but that has happened at least once per session with So I’m a Spider, So What? It’s rough, but I know it’ll pay off in the end. ――How do you prepare for the role? Yuuki: Everything she thinks and feels is expressed in her lines, so even without trying too hard to understand or add flavor to them, I can clearly tell what kind of character she is and what she’s thinking. I owe that to the original novels and the scripts. Kumoko is very good at explaining things about herself, meaning all I need to help me understand her more is the script, so it hasn’t really been necessary to give too much thought to preparing for the role. ――Did the director or sound director give you any particular instructions? Yuuki: The one that left an impression on me was that they wanted the battle scenes to look really cool. I was asked to include comical battle cries as well as calmer, more serious reaction sounds. In particular, when she’s concocting a strategy or engaged in a do-or-die battle, even I’m surprised by how cool she is. That said, about 80% of it is silly gag humor! ――It sounds like the recording sessions are going smoothly. Yuuki: Yes. I’ve come to understand what kinds of reactions the director wants and the right timing for them, and it feels like we’re on the same wavelength now. Since it’s a comedy series, it’s important to know how its ups and downs should flow as well as where and how to insert punch lines, and sharing ideas until everything fits together perfectly is important since everyone interprets things differently. But we’re in a place now where I can offer suggestions as to what the director might want from me, so it’s fun thinking about what I’ll do in the next session. ――Incidentally, the original novels follow the hero’s side of the story concurrently with Kumuko’s. How have you viewed that? Yuuki: To be honest, I haven’t touched on any of the hero’s side of the story at all. Of course, I’ve read the scripts, so I know what happens, but they’re handled separately in the story, and given the current state of the world, all of us voice actors have been recording separately. I currently have no idea what kind of acting the others are doing right now, so I’m also looking forward to how their two stories will eventually connect. ――You also sang the ending theme, “Theme of Kumoko-san,” from Kumoko’s perspective. What kind of song is it? Yuuki: At 400 BPM, it’s a super high-tempo song! And the lyrics are fitting for a 400-BPM song, so I hope everyone will listen to the effort that went into them. Even I was shocked by how far a person can stretch their own limits. And the lyrics are representative of the story, so I think people will be able to imagine the various expressions of Kumoko when they hear it. ――It sounds like a very tricky song. Yuuki: It has a level of excitement that I had never seen or heard before. But learning that I could actually sing such a difficult song gave me a lot of confidence. Of course, I got through it with help from lots of people, though. In that sense, both the anime and the ending theme made me feel like I was seeing things I’d never seen before. ――Finally, please share a message for the fans looking forward to seeing the anime. Yuuki: It’s a pretty dark, harsh story about how Kumoko struggles to survive in a world filled with monsters, but at the same time, it shows off Kumoko’s sillier side with gag humor, making it a very unique series. It somehow comes across as comical even though the main character is completely serious, so I hope everyone can relax and enjoy it for the fun series it is. It also offers different tastes by following both Kumoko’s story and the hero’s story, so I think people who like to speculate will also find it satisfying. Also, I hope everyone will remember that acting out Kumoko consumed tremendous amounts of oxygen (lol).