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Anime: Spider Riders
"Never give up."

Within the Earth exists the Inner World, created and blessed by a being known as Spirit Oracle. There, a war has been waging between the humans and Insectors (or Invectids). Following the journal of his late grandfather, 13-year-old Hunter Steele finds himself drawn into the Inner World. He soon encounters the independent spider Shadow, who eventually becomes his partner despite their initial attitudes towards each other, as well as the mysterious girl Corona, one of the elite warriors known as Spider Riders, who welcomes Hunter into their team.

Along with Corona, Igneous, Prince Lumen, Princess Sparkle, and the former wanderer Magma, Hunter fights against Mantid and his Insector army, trying to prevent them from collecting the four Oracle Keys.

A rather underrated anime, due to its strange title and premise, a broadcast cut short on American TV, and its genre busting. Despite its inability to generate interest to most serious anime fans, the show did relatively well in Canada, where it was dubbed and funded.

There is also a novel series, online game, and canceled manga as part of the franchise.

This show provides examples of:

  • A Boy and his Giant Spider.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Lumen is 12 and Sparkle is 8. There's no king or queen to be mentioned.
  • Action Girl: Corona, Aqune and Sparkle.
  • Audience Surrogate: Hunter, in that he's new to the Inner World, thus things need to be explained to him, as well as viewers.
  • Backup from Otherworld: Quake/Brade fills the spot of the 8th Rider needed to awaken Spirit Oracle even though he's dead. The Lost Mariner, also dead, helps the Riders escape an attack at sea.
  • Bad Bad Acting: While staring in a play to help out a struggling theater owner. Hunter plays the leading man, but his performance is stilted due to nerves, and his speech turns wooden and monotone. Corona isn't much better, turning into a Large Ham, Lumen's performance is decent (until he's Distracted by the Sexy audience member). Igneous gets stuck playing an Invectid commander, and takes his frustration out on Hunter on stage.
  • Badass Normal: Stags and Buguese.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Unlike in the first OP, Hunter never fights against Magma. It's unclear why blood is coming out of Aqune's mask in the 3rd ED.
  • Battle Couple: Hunter and Corona, who consider each other battle partners, and clearly have feeling for each other, though they aren't officially a couple.
  • Beast and Beauty: Buguese and Aqune, in a way.
  • Bee People: The Insectors/Invectids. Though ironically, Mantid is more their "queen" than Beerain.
  • Beginner's Luck: Subverted, in that Hunter begins as a complete loser. In his first fight against a member of the Big Four, it's Corona who deals the final blow. He's also humiliated when fighting Igneous to prove himself as a Spider Rider.
  • Beneath the Earth: The whole Inner World.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Sparkle.
  • BFS: Stags' sword definitely counts for this one.
  • Bishōnen
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Not to bad, but errors still occur here and there, such as when Portia was once voiced by Brutus voice actor in episode 31.
  • Bloodless Carnage
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Aqune is frequently mind controlled throughout the show, but towards the end Mantid's ultimate Machine-sector turns out to be a trap, and her mask merges with it, becoming even creepier. She then drains the power from Hunter's Oracle Keys, much to the surprise and horror of Buguese, who was sitting next to her and perfectly convinced that he was in control. After this, Mantid lends her additional power and pits her against the Spider Riders. Fortunately, Buguese stops her from killing Hunter.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Lumen.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: There must have been a reason the dub cut a certain scene of Lumen watching Sparkle play and calling her "cute." And that's not the only instance that comes to mind.
  • Bug War: It's there, but very much subverted in that the Insectors are both humanoid and sympathetic.
  • Calling Your Attacks: All the Riders do this.
  • Catch Phrase: "Never give up" is Hunter's phrase in both versions, though his Japanese secondary catch phrase, "It's Alright" (often mimicked by the others as well) was turned to the much cheesier "Arachna Power" in the dub.
  • The Chessmaster: Mantid.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Hunter, who even reaches the point of wanting to save the Invectids/Insectors, after realizing that they're being wronged and oppressed.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Oracle Keys.
  • Cry for the Devil: Mantid, a former soldier of the Oracle who became disillusioned after the death of his love Lorraine.
  • Curious Qualms of Conscience: While having pledged his loyalty to Great Mantid; one Invectid sargent decides he's tired of the war with the humans, and having already been suspicious of Mantid's behavior for some time. He helps the Spider Riders infiltrate Mantid's palace.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Katydid fits into this trope, but Beerain subverts it.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:The spiders themselves, also. It takes being brought directly into Mantid's citadel for Hunter to finally grasp what his "enemies," who live in a world of darkness, are really fighting for. Of course, Mantid himself turns out to be insane anyway.
  • Dead All Along:
    • The Lost Mariner.
    • Quake/Brade.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shadow.
  • The Determinator: Hunter.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mantid. My girlfriend died, so the world who took her away from me needs to be destroyed. Yeah... In all fairness he said he'd sufferd many losses.
    • And for whatever reason he decided to throw Imma go to the outer world again and take it over in.
  • Dub Text: Hunter and Aqune's promises to each other. Actually, most indication that Hunter had romantic interest in her. The same could probably go for Buguese calling her "my beautiful" and "my sweet." Considering that the dub even went as far as to remove some of the Hunter/Corona, perhaps they just wanted to hook Aqune up with someone.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Stags is seen briefly in the first two episodes, but has no significant role until the 14th
  • The Emperor: Mantid, although the specific term isn't mentioned in the dub. Buguese probably becomes this at the end.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Well, just the Inner World
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Sparkle.
  • Evil Redheads: Beerain
  • Expository Theme Tune: U.S. dub, "Calling All Spider Riders"
  • Expy:
    • Similar to other Bee Train anime(Madlax, Noir), Spider Riders features Corona and Aqune, two girls with no memory of their past, and some sort of connection. Aqune and Madlax even share the same seiyuu.
    • Slate/Grey is debatably an Expy of Petra from the novels, with a gender flip.
  • Facial Markings: The Insectors/Invectids have them. Whether they're genetic or painted is never bought up.
  • Fantastic Racism: Between humans and Insectors/Invectids.
  • Five-Bad Band: Mantid and the Big Four fit this perfectly. I guess that would make Aqune the sixth ranger and Portia team pet.
  • Finishing Move: Any of Hunter's Oracle Key attacks
  • Flying Dutchman: The Lost Mariner.
  • Genre-Busting: An action/adventure story with a twist... The Hero riding a Giant Spider! Way cooler than it sounds.
  • Giant Spider
  • Gladiator Games: On several occasions, the Riders are to fight minor Insector soldiers, or Machine-sectors inside a generated "Coliseum."
  • Green-Eyed Monster: At first, Corona refuses to accept Aqune as an ally, mostly due to her jealousy of her closeness to Hunter. In turn, Buguese despises Hunter for multiple reasons, one being Aqune's affection toward him.
  • Handsome Lech: Lumen.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Applies to all of the Big Four.
    • Grasshop first, when he ultimately decides to rescue Sparkle (as well as Igneous and Lumen). He then remains an ally to the Spider Riders, traveling with them until the end.
    • Then Stags, who purposely quits after being defeated by Hunter.
    • Next Beerain, who aids Grasshop by reminding him of an alternate way that the Riders can cross into Insector/Invectid lands. After that she leaves, and isn't seen again until she and Stags rescue Buguese.
    • And Finally Buguese, who turns on Mantid only after being betrayed. He then frees Aqune from Mantid's control and makes it his mission to defeat his former leader himself.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Buguese, who continued to follow Mantid loyally, despite knowing some of his intentions, believing that there would be no other way to restore sunlight to his land. He didn't even consider that the ultimate weapon Mantid just handed to him might've been part of a trap.
  • Humongous Mecha: All of the Machine-sector's fit into this, even though only the last can actually be piloted.
  • Idiot Hero: Hunter.
  • Improbable Hair Style: Igneous.
  • International Co Production: Produced with Cookie Jar Entertainment in Canada and Bee Train Production Inc. in Japan.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Not to debate whether their relationship was romantic or platonic, but fitting to Buguese, when he reluctantly freed Aqune, allowing her to be with her comrades.
  • Kid Hero: This one basically applies to the whole Spider Rider team.
  • Killer Yoyo: Sparkle's weapon fits perfectly here
  • The Knights Who Say Squee: Magma turns out to be a huge fanboy of Brade/Quake, to the point where the man is somewhat afraid of him.
  • Little Miss Badass: Sure, Sparkle's cute, but if you piss her off, she AND her adorable spider will kick your ass.
  • Lolicon: It's better not to think of the porn of 8-year-old Sparkle out there. 13-year-old Corona and Aqune (whose age was never stated but she can't be much older than Corona) have their fair share as well, but at least they look older. Furthermore, there's more than one way of interpreting Buguese and Aqune's complicated relationship. The dub doesn't help matters.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Beerain-Buguese-Aqune-Hunter-Corona. And Sparkle seems to have a thing for Hunter too. Lumen also hits on Sparkle in the Japanese version, and has declared his true love for Beerain. But he'll fall in love with just about anything female.
  • Love Martyr: Beerain.
  • Love Triangle: Igneous-Elma/Illuma-Toure/Solan. Not that the end resolution was ever a surprise, as Igneous' love was purely unrequited.
  • Lull Destruction: Abused in the dub.
  • Mask Power: Oracle Key power boosts aside, Buguese and Aqune are easily the most powerful characters in canon. Beerain subverts this though, by being generally less combative.
  • Mentor Archetype: Brade to Hunter. Igneous also plays this role to an extent.
  • Miko: Corona and Aqune, though not in a traditional sense.
  • Mind-Control Device: Aqune's mask. But then She serves the Insectors by choice, it's just the fighting she has a problem with, so she might count as Not Brainwashed too.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Quake/Brade.
  • Minionshipping: Beerain is deeply infatuated with Buguese, who in turn has a strong care for Aqune, debatably romantic attraction. Aqune cares about Buguese, but not necessarily on a romantic level. Buguese also respects and cares for Beerain as a comrade, though never returns her romantic feelings.
  • Mood-Swinger: Stags. Enough said.
  • Mook Promotion: The Big Four were minor characters in the novels
  • Morality Pet: Sparkle to Grasshop, and to an extent, Aqune to Buguese.
  • Motor Mouth: Grasshop.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Lumen is jealous when anyone gets close to Sparkle
  • Mysterious Past: Corona and Aqune. But At least we get to find out most of Corona's.
  • Never Say "Die": Actually averted in some of the dub episodes.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Any of the spiders
  • Oddly Named Sequel: "Spider Riders: Yomigaeru Taiyou," (The Resurrected Sun) honestly made no sense until the last episode When the sun finally got resurrected.
  • Older Than They Look: Mantid.
  • The Only One: The Arachnian military is generally incompetent, leaving the Spider Riders to bail them out on occasions.
  • Only One Name: Everyone from the Inner World. The dub gave Grasshop a full name, though.
  • The Pawn: The Big Four and Aqune.
  • Raised by Wolves: Aqune was raised by Insectors/Invectids. The Insectors/Invectids act like human beings, so she does.
  • Rebellious Princess: Sparkle.
  • Reincarnation: According to original plans for the series, Aqune was the Oracle's reincarnation. Because the plot was changed so much, there's no way of telling if that's still true.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Hotarla.
  • The Reveal: A big dose is revealed near the end of the series when Mantid admits that he's an earthen like Hunter. On top of that, it's also a subtle callback to the beginning of the series. Some characters spoke of a prophecy for a short time, and pretty quickly stopped mentioning it. The prophecy stating that an Earthen would bring great evil to the Inner World...and one did.
  • The Rival: Buguese vs. Hunter.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Lumen and Sparkle... although Lumen would prefer to be lazy
  • Satellite Character: Grey/Slate. And most of the spiders for that matter, aside from Shadow and maybe Brutus.
  • Say My Name: Watch any episode (besides the first). Try and guess Corona's favorite word. This is abused in the series in general.
  • Seashell Bra: Aqune's transformed outfit.
  • Shrines and Temples
  • Show Within a Show: The play titled "The Adventures of the Legendary Hero Quake".
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Aqune is Aquine in the online game. Her name is often mistakenly written as Akune or Aquna by the fans.
    • Igneous's name in became Ignus in the anime (the dub bought it back to Igneous, as it was in the novels) because it was easier for the Japanese to pronounce.
    • Try to find people in fandom who know how to spell Buguese. You'll have trouble. Doesn't help that his name is written as Baggus in Japanese either.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The show takes this trope very seriously. Especially during the Nuuma arc and beyond. Mantid is one himself, it's what lead him to his Start of Darkness.
  • Spider Tank: The entire show is based around this trope.
  • Spoiler Opening: The second OP is really bad about this. For one, it shows Aqune with the Spider Riders, even though she doesn't officially join them until the fourth-to-last episode. Next, it reveals the existence of Quake/Brade, as well as the fact that he's a Spider Rider, and has a younger form. Although I suppose viewers could assume that younger Quake/Brade was a different person entirely.
  • Synchronization: Hurting the Oracle also harms Corona and Aqune because they're handmaidens.
  • Super Soldier: Mantid creates a stronger type of Insector/Invectid soldier genetically after acquiring a second Oracle Key
  • Sword Fight
  • Sword Sparks
  • Theme Naming: With Hunter and Aqune as exceptions, the humans have mostly sun related (Corona, Sparkle, Lumen) or Earth related (Igneous, Magma, Grey) names. There are even more cases in the dub, due to the name changes. The Insectors names are all bug-related.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Aqune. Towards the end, the other Riders pick up this way of thinking too, thanks to Quake/Brade.
  • Transformation Sequence: Always a sign of lazy animators. In the English version, during one battle, Grasshop actually comments that the children take too long to transform.
    Grasshop: So you finally finished transforming? About time!
  • Transformation Trinket: Manacles.
  • Trapped in Another World: Hunter in the Inner World.
  • True Companions: The Spider Riders as a whole.
  • Turn Coat: Grasshop.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Besides the manacles that allow the Riders to transform, using the Oracle Keys allow more powerful transformations.
  • The Unchosen One: Hunter is believed by all to be the Chosen One due to his apparent ability to control the power of the Oracle keys, but it turns out Corona was the one with the ability to call upon the Oracle and her keys for help. Of course, it's eventually revealed but doesn't affect the plot much.
  • Whip It Good: Beerain.
  • Whip Sword
  • Will They or Won't They?: Hunter and Corona. So much shiptease…
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Despite being known as Insectors in both the novels and the Japanese version, they were changed to Invectids in the dub due to legal reasons, or so says Word of God.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Igneous' is blue. Aqune's is purple, Hunter's is a pinkish-orange, Lily's is lavender, and Illuma's is green. Most other characters actually have plausible colors.

Episodes of this series provide examples of:

  • Against the Setting Sun: Used when Hunter declares that he'll save the people of Nuuma
  • A Simple Plan: The episode "Ghost Spider," easily the most pointless filler episode in the series.
  • Beach Episode: Somewhat subverted, in that it's one of the more serious episodes, but when Hunter, Corona, Magma and Aqune are taken to a paradise, in order to draw them away from fighting, it includes a beach and skimpy swimsuits.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Hunter and Corona disguise as one to sneak into an Insector base
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The dub does this in the very last episode.
    • Grasshop also does this at least once, in regards to the heroes' transformation sequence.
  • Class Trip: In the novels, Hunter was on one when he finds the Inner World.
  • Comforting Comforter: In the 2nd episode, when Corona sees Hunter's leaf blanket fall off, she puts it back on him. This is one of the first hints of her later romantic infatuation with him.
  • Cooking Duel: Corona and Aqune quite literally have one
  • Disco Dan: On one occasion, Hunter dresses up as "Dan the Disco Man" in order to help Lumen out in a scheme to get girls.
  • Driven to Suicide: Buguese, after finding out the truth and realizing how much he wronged his comrades in his efforts to capture the Oracle Keys, decides to crash Dark Opal into Mantid's castle, taking out Mantid with him. When he fails at this, he even admits that he doesn't feel he deserves to live. Pretty dark for a kids show.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Grasshop does this once... only with milk. Though this may be a bit more plausible than most cases due to his being an Invectid/Insector.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: According to episode 23 of the dub The sun was taken from the "Invectid" world as punishment for their race eating all the plant life. What actually happened was Mantid caused its disappearance when he once collected the four Oracle Keys, and the plant life died as a result. The dub goes with the true story later, making the already bizarre edit seem even more awkward. One could argue that all the Invectids/Insectors believed and perhaps were told (by Mantid) the first story in order to make them hate the humans and The Oracle, when the second story was in fact the truth.
  • Hands-On Approach: As Hunter obviously isn't a handmaiden, he's unable to place an Oracle Key into the barrier, in Nuuma castle. Corona helps him by putting her hand on his, and they break through together.
  • Hostage Situation: Corona by Buguese, in exchange for both the Oracle Keys and Aqune Although Aqune was willing to return to him anyway in the Japanese version, and he's only able to get her back, because the other Riders return to retrieve the keys.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Corona, in one particular episode. The rest seem to have no problem being Spider Riders, Hunter loving it enough to abandon whatever old life he might have had.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Hunter is treated quite well when taken prisoner by the Insectors/Invectids. Mantid even offers him Aqune. But as it turns out, Mantid was just trying to convince him to give them the Oracle Keys, which he didn't even have with him. Fortunately, Brade intervenes and rescues him.
  • No One Could Survive That: Stags manages to survive after purposely falling backwards off a building, which was already floating high in the air. More surprisingly, he didn't even appear hurt. note 
  • Obvious Trap: How about following the only villager left in a conspicuously empty village into a cave? Genius, if you ask me.
  • Plot Armor: Could anyone honestly believe Hunter was killed in his fight against Stags, 3/4 into the show?
  • Recap Episode: Episode 41. It doesn't really use much stock footage, but it basically just re-accounts the Nuuma arc.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Igneous
  • Save Both Worlds: Averted! The Big Bad says that he intends on conquering the Outer World, but he's defeated before he can even get there. Considering that this is an anime that involves a boy from earth getting sucked into a subterranean world beneath our own, the fact that we didn't even see some strange phenominon going on in the outer world, this is rather unique.
  • Shipper on Deck: There's been evidence on a few occasions of Magma trying to help Hunter and Corona's relationship, such as restraining Igneous so Corona could be the first to greet him after they were separated. There's Corona's sister's too, and many other residents of her hometown.
  • Take My Hand: Towards the end Beerain saves Buguese in this way. Also, Hunter offers his hand to Mantid, which he actually does except.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: in one episode, Aqune hums the 2nd ED theme
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Subverted in that it missed but it's not like Buguese intended to kill Beerain, so it really did work as a threat.
  • We Are Team Cannon Fodder: The last episode is Hunter vs. Mantid. Everyone else just sits there looking helpless. Corona and Aqune give him power, and then go back to looking helpless.

Tsubasa Reservoir ChronicleCreator/Bee TrainMurder Princess
Samurai GunInternational CoproductionTekkon Kinkreet
Spice and WolfAnimeSpiral

alternative title(s): Spider Riders
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