Images courtesy of Crunchyroll.

Siobhan Sullivan hosted an interview with author Okina Baba and illustrator Tsukasa Kiryu of the hit light novel series “So I’m a Spider, So What?”. Thanks to V-CRX organizers, we also got a chance to talk to the duo.

For those that haven’t read our manga review, the story features a female student who ends up becoming a spider in a fantastical world. She must learn her new abilities and find ways to level up and survive the deep dungeon.

Sullivan introduced Baba, mentioning that he debuted as a writer with the series back in 2015 and calls himself a hikikomori. While introducing Kiryu, she revealed that the illustrator personally likes spiders.

When asked about life during the pandemic, Baba said he is at home like usual so he’s still working like he does. Kiryu replied that her job is the same but her family had to adjust and they’ve been able to sit and eat together.

Sullivan asked if they worked together a lot but Baba said they don’t due to editing that has to go through.

The author then talked about how he got ideas from books he read. Regarding his process, he said it varies from a whole day of work to no words written down that day. Kiryu said that she reads his story before she draws in order to understand the scene and mood. She mentioned that the editor will also tell her what illustrations to do. Through the editor, she will receive notes from Baba on what to do to improve on the drawing. She also talked about how he gave her a figurine of a “Monster Hunter” creature for reference. When Sullivan asked how long it took her to draw the cover art, she explained how she divides portions into layers and is quite time consuming. She revealed that Volume One’s cover was the longest to make, taking three weeks to complete. She delved on how it took days on each main step of illustrating.

Sullivan then relayed that many fans wanted to know why the main character is a spider. Baba answered saying that he had a dream about one and drew it.

The host asked both about their involvement with the upcoming anime adaptation. Baba said he was very involved with making the script from start to finish. Kiryu on the other hand, looked at the designs but said that designing moving characters was not her forte. When asked about their reactions to the project confirmation, Baba expressed some worries with the spider but Kiryu was the opposite and said she screamed “Yatta!” at home and wondered how things would turn out.

Sullivan then wanted to know if the two attended some recording sessions. Baba said that due to social distancing regulations, he couldn’t be there in person but still heard it from where he was. He called lead voice actress Aoi Yuuki’s performance cute and hoped that fans looked forward to her as the spider. Kiryu didn’t get a chance to listen but was excited from what Baba said. Baba then said that he looked forward to seeing everything from the series into the anime. The illustrator also shared the same excitement.

The panel moved on to fan questions. The first one wanted to know if Baba liked spiders and he said he doesn’t and doesn’t personally know the ones that are in his home. Another fan asked why Kiryu likes spiders. She answered that she used to watch jumping spiders move around in her old home. She was currently fascinated by the one at her place now and its web. When asked about current and favorite reading material, Baba said that he had little time to read but bought “Demon Slayer” to check out later. He also had difficulty picking a favorite novel. Kiryu said that she reads a lot for research including “Made in Abyss”, “Blood Blockade Battlefront”, “Delicious in Dungeon”, “Demon Slayer”, “Ultramarine Magmell”, “Chainsaw Man” and “Attack on Titan”. She hasn’t read much light novels or anime lately. She also had a hard time choosing a favorite.

When Sullivan asked Baba for some advice for aspiring writers, he said they should “write what [they] think is the best story ever.” Feeling of inadequacy in one’s own works may also give way to the same from readers so he wants them to write what they think would be the best.

A fan asked Kiryu about her start in drawing and she mentioned her cousin who drew Doraemon a lot and she did the same. She ended up becoming a biology major in college but continued drawing. She then said that a publisher saw one of her works from school and offered her a job illustrating. She said that she kept taking opportunities in order to reach her current point of her career.

Regarding other characters, a fan asked about possible spin-offs and favorites. The author replied that there were no plans but revealed that Volume 11 could be considered as one. He also answered that he loved all of the characters but especially the spider. Kiryu also liked the characters but mentioned the monsters Namazu and Tanishi. She also talked about how she liked the humans’ relationships in the story.

If Okina Baba and Tsukasa Kiryu could only choose one of the spider’s special abilities, Baba said he’d want “Sleepless” so he could continue work and Kiryu would take “Endurance” to have continuous energy to draw. When asked about having music while working, Baba said that music would distract him and he preferred a quiet environment. Kiryu replied similarly, saying that she would not play music during drafts and inking but would have it on while coloring. She mentioned liking Coldplay, Linkin Park, Nakata Yasutaka and the soundtracks to “Ace Combat” and “Danganronpa”.

The panel moved to an interview with just Okina Baba but Kiryu hoped fans would look forward to the upcoming show and the next installment of the book and thanked for their support in her closing remarks.

Sullivan then asked the writer when he started making stories and said that his real first work was “So I’m a Spider, So What?” but said he began writing when he was 15. Regarding the transition from web to print publication, he said that a publisher reached out to him when the story was online and it took a while to settle with the fact that he has a printed novel. When asked more about his process on creating the plot, he revealed that he decided the ending before working on the story. He then said he loved video games and got a lot of ideas from them. When asked for certain ones, he mentioned “Monster Hunter” again and said he doesn’t have time to play it lately. He talked about how the story had a framework of isekai stories and he added his own parts to become his own.

When asked about his big fanbase, he was aware of them and appreciated them greatly. Baba then thanked his fans for reading and said he would continue to work hard to bring more of the story they love.

“So I’m a Spider, So What?” will be out in the 2021 Winter season and continue in April for a second cour. Yen Press recently released Volume Eight of Asahiro Kakashi’s manga adaptation and will have Volume Ten of the light novel out in November 2020.

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